By Franklin Alli
PRESIDENT of Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote, has urged entrepreneurs in Africa to focus on job creation for the continent’s teeming youths as a way to ensure economic prosperity and poverty reduction in the continent.
Speaking at the launch of AfroChampions Initiative, Dangote emphasized greater integration of African economies for real development of the continent. He said that the AfroChampions initiative is for African businesses to accelerate development and create more jobs to tackle unemployment of youths in the continent.
Dangote acknowledged that it is the first time that leaders from Africa’s multinational companies will meet, not to discuss their sector and ad-hoc investment opportunities, but to exchange views on Africa’s transformation and on what contributions they can make.
He noted that Africa’s young population and a growing labour force are valuable assets in an aging world, adding, “Africa’s current population of 1.2 billion (16 percent of the world’s population) is expected to grow to 3.8 billion by 2100 – accounting for 49 percent of the world population. By 2034, the working-age population is expected to hit 1.1 billion, larger than that of either China or India.
“We as African business leaders can overcome our differences and speak with one voice, to foster reforms facilitating trade between our states with investments in strategic projects and synergies between our countries. We do have to change the dynamics in a way that is more favourable to Africa and Africans because as Africa’s biggest multinationals, we owe a duty towards our communities, towards the next generation of young men and women who now want to become Pan-African entrepreneurs.”