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Published On: Tue, Oct 8th, 2019

Economic Summit: Dangote leading Nigeria into 4thindustrial revolution

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By Etuka Sunday

President of the Dangote Group Aliko Dangote has said that the private sector is key to the much touted industrial revolution, adding that his conglomerate is leading Nigeria into the new epoch through massive investment in the manufacturing sector and skill development.
This is one of the fallouts of the panel of discussion at the ongoing Nigerian Economic Summit in Abuja Monday.
He said the theme for this year’s Economic Summit, Nigeria 2050: Shifting Gears, was apt, as Nigeria has to drive on the fast lane of industrialization.
The title of the session is, competing with the Giant: Achieving Rapid Industrialization, transforming education.
Mr. Dangote, who was represented by the company’s Group Executive Director, Government and Stakeholder Relations, Ahmed Mansur, said Nigeria and indeed Africa must take bold steps to change the narrative of industrial backwardness.
He described as unacceptable the contribution of the manufacturing sector in the country to the GDP, which currently stood at 9%, unlike in the Asian countries which stood at about 30%.
“To achieve a significant level of industrialization, this trend must be reversed,” he said.
Mr. Dangote said where there is will, there is way, adding that with the right policy framework, consistency and infrastructural development, the goal can be achieved.
“Dangote is in the business of producing and distributing cement, foods etc. However, we have found ourselves engaged in power generation, road construction etc as these are critical foundations for our businesses,” he added.
He said his company was already leading Nigeria into the 4thindustrial revolution, adding that: “Once we catch up with 2ndindustrial revolution, our entrepreneurial youth can help us leapfrog to the 3rd and 4th. This is what happened with the IT revolution in India.”
According to him, “the 4th industrial revolution is global in nature.
Solutions are being developed by global companies for a global market.
Skilled people from all over the world are participating in the development of these solutions.”
He urged government to encourage more investments from local entrepreneurs, saying the country can learn from the Korean experience where they supported a number of conglomerates.
Mr. Dangote also said the government must do among other things: decongest the ports, expand rail network, tackle smuggling, implement gas masterplan and entrenching responsive bureaucracy.
“At Dangote, we set up training Academy several years ago primarily to provide a talent pipeline to our group. Plans are ongoing to take our passion for talent development a step further by setting up a world class university within the next few years.”
Speaking also, Chairman of the Economic Advisory Council, Dr Doyin Salami, the country will require innovation and the private sector must play a central role for the radical transformation of the Nigerian economy.
Another member of the panel of discussion, Chairman of First Bank Plc, Mrs Ibukun Awosika said inclusiveness and the right educational system are required for rapid development.
Speaking earlier, the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed rolled out 11-point priority for economic development. These are: macroeconomic stability, anti-corruption, improved health, availability of energy, sufficiency in petroleum products, improved transportation, industrialization and development of small scale industries, security, agricultural development, social inclusiveness and mass housing.
The chairman of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG), Asue Igbodalo said the partnership between the private and the public sector is key to the economic development of the country.

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