Africa’s wealthiest man, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, has continued to position himself as a master strategist who is able to perceive business opportunities where others see nothing. His business success is a product of prompt identification of opportunities and making drastic decisions.
While many businesses and entrepreneurs are still pondering on making 2023 a great year, Mr. Dangote is already thinking of the next decade. The African billionaire has identified the Saudi Arabia Vision 2023 as a potential model that would continue to cement his status as Africa’s wealthiest man.
The twelve-time African richest man has made public his admiration of. Dangote has praised what he referred to as a “new rhythm” created by Saudi Vision 2030 and the opportunities it offers for trade and investment.
The president and CEO of Dangote Group made the comments during a visit to Riyadh, the Capital of Saudi Arabia, as part of a high-profile Nigerian delegation led by the Minister of Information, Culture, and Tourism, Lai Mohammed. The team was on a mission to meet with top government officials of Saudi Arabia to promote investment between the two countries.
In an exclusive interview with Arab News, Dangote said: “I have seen what the Kingdom is doing in line with Saudi Vision 2030. I congratulate Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for turning things around.”
The Nigerian delegation’s visit is part of efforts to strengthen bilateral cooperation, with the Saudi-Nigeria Business Council seeking to deepen trade ties between the two countries.
The council will have 10 representatives from each country, including prominent entrepreneurs from both the public and private sectors, as well as from institutional stakeholders, such as the Ministry of Trade and Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
“With the joint council, the two countries can make a big improvement in the level of bilateral trade and investment,” Dangote said.
Why is Dangote Interested in Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030?
In Nigeria and Africa at large, Aliko Dangote is a white elephant who has been deliberate in separating his business operations from direct government involvement. So, it was a surprise to see the African billionaire in the company of an official government delegation.
Some critics are of the opinion that the proposed partnership between Nigeria and Saudi Arabia was brokered by Dangote himself. Speaking on his interest in Saudi Arabia’s 2023 Vision, Dangote said, “Saudi Arabia is diversifying everything and opening up for visitors, so it has become easier to conduct business in the Kingdom.
“We have seen several ministers in terms of looking for investment opportunities in Saudi Arabia, and also to see how we can collaborate in terms of investment outside, solely in Nigeria.
We had some presentations from the Saudi Ministry of Investment. We want to see what are the best areas that align with our business in Nigeria and Africa.”
On trade volume between the countries, Dangote said that both countries are strongly involved in the oil and energy sector, so the scale of business is currently not large.
“That is what we are here for, to try to increase the level of bilateral trade. It depends on the entrepreneurs, and we are here to see how we can collaborate with our Saudi counterparts.
“Apart from the diplomatic relationship, which is very important, we want to make sure that the business relationship is substantial between Saudi Arabia and Nigeria, because we are interlinked, based on culture, religion and a lot of other things,” he said.