Dangote: Beneficiaries of fuel importation discouraging African governments from building refineries (VIDEO)
Dangote: Beneficiaries of fuel importation discouraging African governments from building refineries (VIDEO)
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Dangote: Beneficiaries of fuel importation discouraging African governments from building refineries (VIDEO)

Aliko Dangote, Africa's richest man and Chairman of Dangote Refinery, has expressed strong criticism towards African governments for their failure to build a single refining facility in the last 35 years. 

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In an interview with CNN's Eleni Giokos, Dangote argued that this stagnation is due to vested interests benefiting from massive fuel imports into the continent.

“There are so many issues. I can’t count them, but there are so many. It’s not only money, political will, and also people who are benefiting from this whole stuff of importing petroleum products into Africa are actually discouraging those governments from building a refinery," he said.

The business magnate explained that Africa's inability to secure strong financial support from international banks further hampers such projects. "And they won’t get the loans anyway, because they don’t have very strong banks. The international banks will not support anything like this.  We’re talking about industrialising the continent, creating a more connected Africa," he stated.

“But we have to make sure we focus and say, look, we are the only ones that can deliver. We Africans are the only people that can develop Africa. If we’re waiting for foreigners or foreign investors to come and develop Africa, it will never happen,” he stated.

Dangote, who recently completed the $19 billion Dangote Refinery, shared insights from his experience, stating that the challenges he faced were far greater than anticipated. "If I knew what I was going to go through, I wouldn’t have tried," he admitted. Despite this, he noted that with the knowledge gained, he would undertake the project again but with improved strategies.

He highlighted that the construction of the refinery required extensive groundwork, including the dredging of over 65 million tonnes of sand. The initial hurdles forced Dangote and his team to take on the roles of Engineering, Procurement, and Construction (EPC) contractors themselves.

Dangote pointed out that foreign aid and investments are not the solutions for Africa's development. "We Africans are the only people that can develop Africa," he asserted, emphasizing the need for self-reliance. He also revealed that many had doubted the project's success, and there were significant efforts to discourage him, partly because of those benefiting from the status quo of fuel imports.

Looking ahead, Dangote expressed optimism about exploring new opportunities in petrochemicals and upstream sectors. "The sky is the limit," he declared, adding that the nearby fertiliser complex, with a capacity of 3 million tonnes, is another testament to their achievements.

Reflecting on the accomplishment, Dangote said, "I feel very proud as an African doing this. Nobody ever expected us to pull this through. A lot of people had given up. But we’ve been able to deliver."

The Dangote Refinery is now valued at nearly $19 billion.

Watch the entire interview below;

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