Africa’s successful business entrepreneur and chairman of the Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote, says the challenges facing businesses in Africa are not insurmountable but can be tackled if governments and relevant authorities put their heads together.
Addressing the third Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurs (TEF) forum, in Lagos, Nigeria, over the weekend, Dangote said Africa still has a lot of business opportunities but must first remove hurdles that inhibit investments in the continent.
“The reason why African business fail is because of the inconsistencies in government policies,” said Dangote at the event which was attended by more than 1,300 participants from 54 African countries.
He said weak rule of law, corruption and low inter-trade rates, standing at 16 percent, are some of the challenges facing African businesses. Dangote also mentioned collapsing commodity prices as well as infrastructure gap and power shortages as impacting economic growth.
“But we can really overcome some of these problems,” said the bullish businessman. Dangote expressed gratitude that there is a new growth story emerging in Africa where African economies are growing at an average 5.5 percent.He added that the African economy has more than trebled since the turn of the century. “Several growth drivers exist such as political stability and improved macro-economic environment,” he added.
Dangote reiterated that the government does not create jobs but it is the private’s responsibility to do so. He took the opportunity to teach and mentor budding entrepreneurs across Africa to develop solutions in their mindset that solve the problems or address the needs that people have.
“Think big but start small. Be diligent and passionate about what you do. Learn to bounce back from setbacks because there will be setbacks. Know what you want and be humble to seek advice,” said Dangote.
He added: “Take risks and see the invisible and be daring to do the impossible and don’t be afraid to fail and failure is usually a precursor to success,” said the entrepreneur at the TEF forum.
Dangote added that in business there are many ups and downs but one should never give up. “There are many more failures but that does not mean that you will not succeed and you just have to be determined and focused,” said the man with the biggest business empire in Africa.
TEF founder and chairman of the United Bank for Africa, Tony Elumelu, told Africa’s biggest business gathering that a strong African-led private sector is an imperative for unlocking Africa’s economic potential.
During the two day event, entrepreneurs from across Africa had a rare platform to network and connect with business leaders, policymakers and investors from all over the world.
The TEF supports innovation across sectors, including agriculture, technology, health-care, fashion and power generation. Its flagship programme, The Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme was borne from a $100 million commitment by the founder to identify, train and invests in 10,000 African entrepreneurs over the course of ten years.
The aim of the programme is to have not only empowered 10,000 entrepreneurs but also to have contributed to the creation of 1 million jobs across the continent which in turn will bring $10 billion in revenues.