Nigerian multi-billionaire investor, Aliko Dangote, has expressed the desire of his group to further consolidate on his existing investments in Zambia and other African countries by exploring opportunities in the energy and agriculture sectors.
Mr Dangote was speaking when he paid a courtesy call on President Edgar Lungu of Zambia to express his gratitude for the enabling environment that the country continues to offer investors at every level.
Already, the business mogul has a cement factory running in Zambia in which several hundreds of Zambia’s are gainfully employed.
Mr Dangote urged Zambian government to roll out policies that will encourage massive investments in the country and the produce very competitive.
“I am here not only to explore investment opportunities and consolidate our existing business relations, but also to congratulate your Excellency for your victory in the last general elections. I wish you many years of success as you guide your nation to greater heights and prosperity,” said Mr Dangote to President Lungu.
“During your tenure, you need to implement agricultural practices which will ensure that yields per hectare are high and competitive,” this is because, “Zambia’s natural advantage in the export market is the readily available captive market that consists of eight neighbouring countries and other nations in the great lakes region,” he said.
Mr Dangote said energy is a critical requirement for economic development and so it is important that Zambia expands its energy supply footprint both for local consumption, and export to regional markets.
“We are going to explore investment opportunities in the energy sector and perhaps look at the viability of existing petroleum refinery facilities,” pledged Mr Dangote.
President Lungu said his government was determined to put in place policies that will be investor friendly and guarantee conducive and enabling environment for the businesses to thrive .
The Zambian helmsman then instructed the Minister of Finance and all relevant government ministries and agencies to ensure that the process of facilitating investments in job-creation enterprises is efficient.
“Agriculture is the major thrust in Zambia’s economic diversification drive and among our top priorities, which include the provision of affordable food, fuel and farmer inputs.
“I admire your tenacity and commitment to invest within Africa because that is what improves the brotherhood between nations. We will support you and facilitate your investments in Zambia,” assured the President, adding that, “we need to put our hands together to help our people out of poverty,” he said.
Earlier, Mr Dangote held a consultative meeting with the Minister of Finance Felix Mutati. During the meeting, Mr Dangote encouraged the Zambian government to strengthen business management skills especially among small and medium enterprises.
The Nigerian multi-billionaire also said support by the banking sector to small and medium enterprises is key to deepening the Zambian economy and creating jobs for locals.