Africa’s richest man and President of Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote, has said the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement signed on by most African countries will fail except they start massive productions of goods on African soil.
It will be recalled that Forty-four African countries had already signed up to the trade agreement aimed at paving way for a liberalized market for goods and services across the continent.
But Nigeria is yet to sign it as President Muhammadu Buhari-led government said the AfCTA was still being studied.
Dangote was among the discussants on the theme: “Investment in Africa” alongside President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa, President of African Development Bank (AfDB) Dr Akinwunmi Adesina and Chairman of Al-Ghurair Group, Abdul Aziz Al-Ghurair.
He said the AfCTA would not work until African countries make policy that discourage importation and encourage massive production of goods locally.
He also said countries in Africa should at least have minimum of 80-85 percent local contents in production of goods and products.
‘’Even the AfCTA would not work unless we produce our own goods. Nobody would come and develop Africa except Africans themselves; only Africans can truly make things happen on the continent,” Dangote said.
He advised African heads of state to encourage entrepreneurship and discourage importation.
‘’A situation where we import almost everything is not good for us.
‘’If you import, you are creating unemployment at home and creating jobs abroad where you are importing from’’, he said.
President Ramaphosa had earlier praised the adoption of AfCTA, saying it would help the continent.
Dr Adesina said African leaders must continue to improve on ease of doing business to attract more investment to the continent.
Al-Ghurair on his part advised African countries to look towards tourism because there are huge opportunities in it.