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ALIKO DANGOTE: The richest man with much potential

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Beyond his repeated story of an interest in purchase of the top English Premier League club, Arsenal FC and sensational news of his estimated net worth of US$14.1 billion this year, Alhaji Aliko Dangote has proved to be a Pan-African entrepreneur, whose words and actions have lately shown the world his seriousness in changing African narratives in the global economic relations.

Born about 65 years ago, Dangote currently sits on board of the Dangote Group, which is an acclaimed industrial conglomerate with visible presence of his Cement concern at least nine other African countries, including South Africa, Ethiopia, Cameroon, Tanzania, Congo, Ghana, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Zambia, where it has another 12.3 million tonnes capacity a year.

At the Abuja International Trade Fair in October 2021, the Director-General of the Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) Ms Victoria Akai attested to the stature of the Dangote Group and described it as the flagship and the epicenter for Africa’s industrialization.

Akai declared, “As a reputable Nigerian brand, Dangote is an institutional miracle that is driving the growth of the Nigerian and African economy. We must place on record that Dangote remains a unique enterprise with capacity to expand the Nigerian economy as evidenced in the Multi-billion naira Dangote Refinery and several plants all over Africa.”

ND Magazine gathered that Dangote was the major sponsor of the 16th Abuja International Trade Fair, where Ms Akai made the applauded declaration asserting Dangote Group’s status as a major player for the African Continental Free Trade Agreement.

Dangote has recorded what has been described as a wholesale breakthrough in Sugar and Cement, particularly owing to the growth of housing development in Nigeria and increased government infrastructure expenditure. Dangote cement has presence in 10 African countries where it is making significant contributions to infrastructure development of the host countries.

ND Magazine also learnt that Dangote’s Cement investment in Cameroon is soaring higher in its contribution to Cameroon’s economy. On November 1, 2021, Dangote unveiled a new type of cement, Dangote Falcon, in the market. It is packaged in 50-kg bags to adapt to the rallies in the prices of clinker (the main raw material used in cement production) on international markets.

According to Marketing Manager, Dangote Cement Cameroon, Emmanuel Ngando, “One of the solutions to resolve the price rallying problem was to take mitigative actions. So, we have decided to launch a grade 32.5 cement type to reduce the volume of clinker used. This measure will help maintain volume performances while improving profitability.” 

Also, Dangote Falcon is marketed at XAF4300, but, margins can be added for transport depending on the distribution site. This mark of officially set retail prices is an opportunity for distributors who have often been accused of speculating on prices to set prices they want in times of soaring international commodity prices

In Senegal, Dangote is equally contributing to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), through its export revenue from neighbouring countries and social investments in the country.

This much was confirmed by Charge D’Affaires, Embassy of Nigeria, Senegal, Mr. A.K Zanna, who affirmed the company’s role in the friendly relationship between his country and Nigeria.

« As one of the biggest foreign investors in the Senegalese economy, Dangote Cement is contributing significantly to the country’s economic development. We are proud to associate with the company as a Nigerian brand. The company has done a lot in Senegal since its establishment in 2015. It has created huge employment for the Senegalese; it has created both direct and indirect employment opportunities for many people in Senegal, » he confirmed,

And prior to that, the company operates three cement plants in Benue, Kogi and Ogun states, with a combined production capacity of 29.25 million tonnes per annum. The firm holds the largest market share in Nigeria.

ALIKO DANGOTE

Coming from this success story, the Kano-born industrialist has shifted attention to Fertilizer and Oil refinery, and he is not looking back in his resolve to also strike gold in the two.

Economics experts’ views on the Dangote Refinery and Fertiliser projects have been as positive as they are assuring with a picture of the best industrialised projects that would ultimately turn around and indeed accelerate the economic development of Africa. Sitting on 500 hectares of land at Ibeju Lekki Free Trade Zone, Lagos State and the largest of its kind in Africa and the second largest in the world, the fertilizer plants have imposed on Dangote sleepless nights of meetings with expatriates and other stakeholders to make his dream a reality at record time.

During his tour to the plant last year, President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Dr Akinwumi Adesina led board members of the bank and dropped some words which did not only gladdened the heart of Dangote but also challenged him to redouble his efforts to live up to expectations. Adesina called Dangote an enigma, deserving continental honour for combining passion, vision with determination to develop and ensure that Africa is rescued from the jaw of poverty through employment generation scheme across most African countries.

 “One of the things I admire the most about Alhaji Dangote is that, he actually believes in Nigeria, and he invests his money in Nigeria. He believes in Africa and invests in Africa. Nobody could invest the type of billions of dollars that is here, unless the person not only has the vision but also the commitment and passion for his country. We are extremely proud of you and of your commitment to the continent. Aliko is quite an inspirational and visionary business leader and for anybody to have done what I have seen here, I think that person deserves world class kudos for that… I see a company that I will proudly call Africa’s growth accelerator company.

The president noted, “With this project, we see an acceleration of how to reduce imports. We see acceleration on how to have an outbound on export; a value chain development and how to compete regionally and globally. I am completely blown away with what I saw here today…I can’t believe what I saw…this project will reverse the huge sum the nation spends on foreign exchange…when you look at how much we import, it is about $57 billion worth of different products and we export only about $50.4billion, so, we have to balance that with about $7billion  and talking to them here, they showed us that they can have a domestic market of about $11billion and that is an incredible market and that will save Nigeria about $9 billion dollars, a year from importing petroleum products. So, this is huge for Nigeria and even for Africa as a continent.”

In his response to Adesina’s complimentary remarks, Dangote assured the team that the refinery would commence operation by the third quarter of 2022, adding that on the mechanical completion are almost finished. “But we have started hydro testing, almost 70 per cent gone, hopefully before the end of Q3 operation will commence,” he said.

ND Magazine further findings revealed that the refinery complex is the largest single-train refinery in the world, featuring petrochemical plant, a fertiliser plant to produce 650,000 barrels-per-day and stimulate the economic development of Nigeria.

“Dangote Petroleum Refinery can meet 100 per cent of the Nigerian requirement of all liquid products (Gasoline, Diesel, Kerosene and Aviation Jet), and also have surplus of each of these products for export,” a source told our correspondent.

On March 20, 2022, the multi-billionaire was host to President Muhammadu Buhari, 18 governors, ministers, captains of industry and traditional rulers on the publicized occasion commissioning of the plants during which Dangote shocked President Buhari with revelation that his product has capacity to make Nigeria self-sufficient, saying that the product is already being exported to Europe, the US and South America.

He explained that the capacity would later be expanded to produce what he called multi-grades of fertilizer to meet soil, crop and climate specific requirement for the African continent.  

Dangote also revealed that the fertiliser plant was built at a cost of $2.5 billion, and is expected to reduce drastically the level of unemployment and youth restiveness through job creation, disclosing that agriculture accounts for 20 per cent of the nation’s GDP and that the new plant was an ambitious project that would provide both direct and indirect jobs, thereby reducing youth restiveness.

« Dangote Fertiliser is working with farmer associations, corporate farmers, NPK blenders, NGO/development partners and state governments all over Nigeria, and governments across Africa and beyond who are looking for sustainable approach to improving soil quality and farm yields, » he said.

President Buhari also said the plant would create huge opportunities in the areas of employment, trade, warehousing, transport and logistics.

ALIKO REFINERY

« In the agricultural sector, another focal point of our economic policy, we expect a boom as fertiliser is now readily available. Many Nigerians who hitherto practised subsistence farming because of non-availability of necessary inputs can now take up agriculture as a business. We expect a rise of new breed of agropreneurs who will add value to farming and make the nation self-sufficient in food production, » he remarked.

The president further said that his administration is more resolute to provide enabling environment for private sector investors to thrive, adding that his government would continue to improve on infrastructure, power, security and enact relevant laws and regulations that would drive investments in the economy.

He reiterated that part of the government’s effort in this regard was the partnership with the private sector via a tax credit scheme, in the rehabilitation of roads across Nigeria under the Presidential Order No. 7.

The president added, « As we all know, good roads contribute to easy movement of goods and services across the nation, thus reducing cost of doing business and improving productivity. We are also rehabilitating our railway lines and building new ones to lessen the burden on our roads and create more effective multi-model transportation networks.”

Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, declared that Nigeria was indeed indebted to Aliko Dangote for his giant strides to boost the nation’s economy.

« It is great that a Nigerian has taken not just this great initiative of helping to solve our perennial problem of importing petrochemical products, including fertilizer, but has taken advantage of the emerging huge market opportunity presented by recent global developments.

“In addition to the lessons we learnt from the protectionist actions of countries during the early days of COVID-19, this investment is again a glaring testament to the foresight and tireless efforts of Mr. President in encouraging domestic production of items that can be produced in Nigeria, especially agriculture. This would not only help to enable greater productivity of our agricultural sector but also help in insulating Nigeria farmers from depending on imported fertiliser, » he stated.

Similarly, the host Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu also praised Dangote for always blazing the trail, saying Lagos state government was happy and adding that Nigeria would quickly forget its many economic problems if another entrepreneur like Dangote could be replicated in other regions of Nigeria.

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Gallery: Diaspora Excellence Award 2023

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At the occasion organized in commemoration of the 10th anniversary of Naija Diaspora Magazine, several individuals, companies, governors, traditional rulers, business owners, government agencies and parastatals as well as politicians were honored for their outstanding performances in 2023. The publication celebrated its
10th anniversary with a two-day event that included the Symposium and Annual Diaspora Excellence Award. This platform provided a unique opportunity for collective learning, networking, and gaining insights into government policies that relate to communities. Attendees were empowered to navigate pathways of positive change. The Symposium lecture was titled: ‘Building a Nation’, with several dignitaries as speakers.

CLICK EACH IMAGE TO ENLARGE

 

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Inaugural Anambra State Union Football Tournament Triumphs Amidst Adversity

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On the 6th of August 2023, a monumental event took place at St Michel, Terminus, Douala, marking the commencement of the First Edition of the Anambra State Union Football Tournament. Under the stewardship of Sir Emeka Uzoka, Chairman of the Anambra State Union, this tournament emerged as a testament to unity, sportsmanship, and the indomitable spirit of the Anambra community.

The opening ceremony set the stage for what would become an unforgettable showcase of camaraderie and competitive fervor. A true celebration of tradition and athleticism, the tournament kicked off with a Veteran Match at 2:00 pm. The clash between Aguata Local Government Union and Nnewi Local Government Union resulted in a gripping encounter, with Aguata securing victory with a 2-0 score line.

Distinguished figures graced the event with their presence, adding prestige to the occasion. Among them was Mr. Oliva Ochi, Consul 1 at the Consulate General Douala, representing the esteemed Consul General, H.E. Amb. (Mrs.) Efe A. Clark-Omeru.

The honorable gathering was further enriched by the participation of key personalities, including: Hon. BIC Okwujiaku, President of the Nigerian Community Douala, HRH Eze Jonathan T. Onyenagubor, Eze Gburugburu 1 of Ohanaeze Ndi Igbo, Cameroon, Sir, Lovinus Ezeh, Vice President, Nigerian Community Douala, Chief Alex Nwoye, Vice President 2, Nigerian Community Douala, Chief Uche Obiekwe, Patron of the Nigerian Community Douala, Chief Innocent Obiorah Odoh, Patron Anambra State Union, Chairmen of Imo and Enugu States Union, Esteemed members of the Anambra State Union.

The event also extended its reach to include esteemed guests from Douala and beyond.
In recognition of the paramount importance of safety and well-being, the organizers ensured the presence of dedicated medical health and security personnel, assuring attendees a secure environment throughout the event.

Despite the inclement weather characterized by heavy rain, the unyielding spirit of the Anambra community remained unshaken. A testament to their passion for football and unity, a remarkable number of attendees braved the elements, converging to witness the unfolding of history on the lush fields of St Michel, Terminus.

The final was held on Sunday 12th of November 2023 @ Bonamousadi Stadium Douala. Oyi Local Government lifted the trophy while Aguta Local Government took the bronze and Idemili Local Government took silver.

The inaugural Anambra State Union Football Tournament stands as an embodiment of shared values, intercommunity collaboration, and the timeless appeal of sport. This event not only etched a significant mark on the sporting calendar but also served as a reminder of the resilience and unity that define the Anambra community.

As the tournament concluded its first chapter, it left in its wake a legacy of camaraderie, sporting excellence, and the promise of more remarkable editions to come.

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CAMEROON: Miniature Africa

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Cameroon, nestled in the heart of Central Africa, is a country with a captivating blend of rich cultural diversity, stunning landscapes and abundant wildlife. Often referred to as « Miniature Africa, » Cameroon offers travelers a unique and multifaceted experience, showcasing the continent’s essence in a single destination.

With more than 250 ethnic groups and languages, Cameroon is a melting pot of diverse cultures, traditions and customs. The capital city, Yaoundé, and the economic hub, Douala, provide excellent starting points to dive into Cameroon’s cultural wealth.

Cameroon’s diverse geography offers a plethora of breathtaking landscapes, each with its unique charm.
In the West, the mist-covered peaks of Mount Cameroon, the highest mountain in West Africa, beckon adventurous hikers to climb and witness awe-inspiring views of the surrounding scenery.
Towards the North, the Sahelian region boasts vast savannas and semi-arid landscapes, offering visitors an opportunity to spot magnificent wildlife, and in the East, the dense rainforests of the Congo Basin teem with a rich variety of flora and fauna, including gorillas, chimpanzees, and exotic bird species.

Tourism Spots on a Budget
Here are a selection of the most distinguished and captivating tourist destinations in Cameroon. These remarkable locales boast accessibility without undue strain on one’s financial resources, making them irresistible choices for tourists.

Mefou National Park:
Mefou National Park houses the Mefou Primate Sanctuary, a rescue center managed by Ape Action Africa. With over 300 rare and endangered primates, it’s a significant conservation project in Africa, providing lifelong care and rehabilitation for animals rescued from illegal trades.

Limbe:
Formerly known as Victoria, Limbe is a port city with a diverse flora and fauna influenced by its colonial past. The Limbe Wildlife Centre/Botanical Centre offers a close-to-nature experience, rescuing and caring for ill-treated and endangered animals.

Mount Cameroon:
Mount Cameroon, also called the « Chariot of the Gods, » is West Africa’s highest mountain and an active volcano. A popular destination for adventurers and hikers, the trek offers stunning views, diverse landscapes and encounters with wildlife like monkeys and birds.

Kribi Beach:
Kribi Beach, in the southwestern region, boasts long white sand beaches and clear waters. It’s perfect for swimming, sunbathing and water sports. Visitors can also enjoy the Chutes de la Lobé waterfall, where they can swim under the falls. Local cuisine and seafood delicacies await at various restaurants.

Korup National Park:
Korup National Park, renowned for its bird species, offers pristine tropical wilderness. Visitors can enjoy lodging infrastructure and spot unique primates like the Nigeria-Cameroon chimpanzee and Perseus’s red colobus. Located near the ocean, Mundemba serves as a starting point for tours to the park, where guides often speak the local Cameroonian language.

Cameroon stands tall as a remarkable destination for audacious travelers seeking a blend of cultural diversity, awe-inspiring landscapes and thrilling adventures. From the depths of the rainforests to the heights of its mountains, and from the bustling cities to the serene beaches, the land beckons with open arms, ready to share its enchanting beauty and warm hospitality with all who venture to explore its wonders. As tourism in Cameroon continues to grow sustainably, the country’s potential as a captivating and memorable destination will undoubtedly flourish.

 

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