ABUJA, May 8 -- One of West Africa's richest entrepreneurs has encouraged African business people to invest in the continent to ensure that the environment created by the governments would become attractive to foreign investors.
According to him, the opportunities in Africa were enormous, but some African rich people were refusing to bring investments into the continent.
Speaking on the panel discussion on "Unlocking Jobs" at the ongoing World Economic Forum in Nigeria's capital Abuja on Thursday, Aliko Dangote a multi investor and an industrialist said African governments were doing their best to create enabling environment for investors while local investors who, mostly preferred to keep their monies abroad, were not taking the risk to promote intra-Africa trade.
"There are a lot of business opportunities in Africa. The biggest challenge we are facing in Africa is that many Africans prefer to keep their monies abroad. By doing that, it means you are not encouraging confidence. You have to create confidence as an African to encourage foreigners to come here with their own money," the international business man stated.
He urged African rich people to help create confidence as Africans, to encourage foreigners to come here with their own money.
Dangote has factories manufacturing cement and sugar, while other aspects of his business also invest in agriculture and other businesses.
He explained that with governments offering tax holidays and other incentives for investors, the environment had already been created and what was left was for the investors, especially Africans to take advantage of it.
Dangote, however, lamented the low level of intra-African trade which is as low as 15 percent of total trade that takes place on the continent.
His company would invest this year to create 180,000 jobs in the area Islamic militants, Boko Haram was operating, stressing, "We believe the only way to end Boko Haram's insurgency is to create jobs."
It has been observed that the high growth rate of Africa has not generated enough jobs, or improved the well-being of the people.
"Because, here, we are talking about the people, you cannot get growth by few companies," Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda pointed out.
He cautioned Africans to stop pursuing the kind of growth where countries continued to grow at the expense of others, while others lose, while some are talking about equity, equality and how job creations can be achieved.
Kagame identified Intra-Africa trades as having huge potentials, "but how much are we contributing to encourage trades among Africans?" he asked rhetorically.
Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, on his part, averred that no government would be able to provide all jobs.
He said what government's doing is to create the environment for private sector, because when the private sector sees the gains they can make in a particular sectors they will make the efforts.
"One of the key areas which government is trying to the necessary environment is agriculture. Agric should be practiced in this country as a pure business along the value chain," he added.