Africa’s richest man, Mr. Aliko Dangote, has provided reasons he deserted his initial trading schemes to zoom fully into manufacturing.
Dangote is a business tycoon who is into manufacturing a whole spectrum of products.
According to Dangote, he had to dump trading because it does not add value and is just a temporary thing because one can be trading today and the next thing you know, the shop has been closed down.
He posited that manufacturing provides jobs for people and leaves behind a legacy for the next generation to benefit from.
He made his submission in an interview with Economist, Dr. Doyin Salami, during the High-Level Roundtable Discussion on Industrialisation in Africa.
He was quizzed: Trading seemed an easier proposition. Why did you go into manufacturing giving all the difficulties that you have listed?
He replied: Before I started manufacturing I do not have a single gray hair. But you have to check why other entrepreneurs before us that tried manufacturing were not really very successful? For manufacturing, you will need very stable government policies. You need to have electricity. These two things are the most important. And I am glad that today we have a good relationship between the government and the MAN. The government’s own is to listen as we tell them areas that are not implementable.
Then back to your question on how I got into manufacturing. For me, it is better that I go into manufacturing than trading. Trading does not add value and is just a temporary thing because one can be trading today and tomorrow decides to shut down his shop. But manufacturing is where you will create massive jobs and also leave a legacy and the whole thing for me is to build something that I should leave as a legacy to future generations. At a time Nigeria was importing almost 90 per cent of the cement consumed in this country.
But we took it upon us to make sure that we will make Nigeria self-sufficient and also export the excess that we have. For me, trading is really not the right way to go. I know, yes, that manufacturing is really difficult but we have to work together with the government to make it much easier so that we can add value. Somebody who is trading has a simple lifestyle: he sits in his office and order goods, they arrive and he sells without adding any value. But for manufacturing, you are creating value for yourself, for the society, for the country, and for everybody.