Akinwunmi Adesina is the President of the African Development Bank (AfDB) and over the weekend, he had some things to say about Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote, and rice exportation.
He had been speaking at the Mo Ibrahim Forum in Morocco when he made the statement about the possibility of Dangote becoming the foremost leader in rice exportation in the world by 2021.
His statements also covered the need for Africa to focus on agriculture to drive growth and create jobs on the continent. Speaking of the first part we mentioned above, Akinwunmi Adesina took us back to a time when Dangote was focused solely on importation and what has changed since then;
“I remember when I was a minister of Agriculture in Nigeria. Aliko Dangote was there, and he was our biggest importer at the time, and he and I used to have all the time to dialogue,”
“One day, I was in my office, about 10 O’clock, Aliko walks in, Ngozi was a minister of finance. Aliko bangs on my door and said ‘minister I came to see you’, and I said ‘what are we going to disagree on this time?”
“He said no, I have actually looked at the policies, and the policies you put in place for import substitution are very right policies. So, I have changed my business model from being an importer to being a local producer.”
“I said what exactly are you going to do. He said I will put in $300 million into producing and processing rice in Nigeria. I said yippee! I went home, I told my wife, my best day as a minister,”
“He comes back three months after that, he says I have changed my mind, I said ‘what in the world happened?’ He said no, I have changed my mind from $300 million to a billion dollars.”
Akinwunmi Adesina’s revelations are in line with the recent unveiling of a tripartite agreement put together by the Dangote Rice limited to create jobs for 16,000 out grower rice farmers in Sokoto which was signed with the Sokoto state government and rice growers in the country. In the aftermath of signing the agreement, Dangote launched the rice out-growers scheme in Sokoto.
Why Dangote is looking to rice exportation
A press statement had seen Dangote admitting that his reasons for going into rice cultivation and rice exportation was tied into the genuine interest of the Federal government to revive agriculture as the mainstay of the economy and reduce importation of foods that could be produced locally.
Dangote further stated about the scheme;
“Dangote Rice out-growers scheme is committed to creating a significant number of jobs, increasing the incomes of smallholders farmers and ensuring food security in the country by providing high-quality seeds, fertilisers and agrochemicals as well as technical assistance on best agricultural practice to farmers.”
“This Scheme will help to diversify the economy, alleviate poverty and reduce the nation’s import bill. The scheme has been designed as a one-stop solution for the rice value chain,”
As always, we hope that Dangote is successful in this new goal that focuses not only on creating profit for himself but also secures African business interests and creates more jobs, in this case, for Nigerians.