He is the most important business leader of his generation in Africa. In Nigeria, he is replicating what industrialized conglomerates do: solve challenging problems which not many companies can attempt. As Nigerian Naira faded, in Feb 2021, I wrote, “Yes, Nigeria waits for Dangote because only him has a credible roadmap to change the economic trajectory of his nation. His position today is very vital and critical because he could be the only cousin to make Naira stronger. Naira looks like an orphan with no one helping it to compete globally.
“Dangote will come to assist it to find its space in the league of global currencies. Across human history, nations rise when pioneering entrepreneurs emerge. The moment of truth is here – and Naira needs pioneers in markets to save it from the ruins of the scale of Mexico, Venezuela, Argentina and even Zimbabwe, at different times of their histories.”
As the politicians fall over themselves on the shines as Dangote Refinery begins operations, do not be deceived: they deserve not a single commendation. This is Dangote’s moment and no politician or government agent should take part in the glory. Why? If these politicians have good oil in their brains, PHC, Warri and Kaduna national refineries are test labs for them to have shown us.
I commend Dangote not because he built a refinery. I commend him because he believes in his nation. This is part of that translation as China overtakes Japan as the world’s largest exporter of cars. As China rises with its new types of cars, “new energy” refineries will also be needed in Nigeria to power these cars. Dangote Refinery has secured the flank for the current energy, Nigeria needs other bold entrepreneurs to secure the future energy because change is moving really fast. We salute the legend, and Nigeria needs new legends to rise!
According to reports, China is now the world’s biggest exporter of cars. Credit tariffs, the war in Ukraine, and the changing automotive landscape that have positively affected the country’s car production.
Chinese officials have released figures showing the country exported 1.07 million cars during the first three months of 2023, an increase of 58 percent compared to last year. That number pushes Japan, with 954,185 cars, to second place despite increasing its production by more than 6 percent in the same period. Germany, which previously held the second spot for passenger car exports, was surpassed by China last year — it now sits in third.
China’s rise in vehicle production is due to increased global demand for new energy vehicles (NEVs) as countries enact legislation limiting fossil fuel (combustion) vehicles and their emissions. The Asian nation is well-positioned to accommodate the demand. According to an International Energy Agency report released in July 2022, China produces 75 percent of the world’s lithium-ion batteries and holds 85 percent production capacity for anodes and 70 percent for cathodes. The report says that China’s first-quarter exports of NEVs, including electric cars, rose more than 90 percent compared to a year ago.
Great entrepreneurs shape nations; Dangote is serving his nation. The Naira has a great pal because Dangote Refinery will help it to fight in the global arena.
Comment 1: Thank you Ndubuisi Ekekwe for sharing this post. It highlights the importance of pioneering entrepreneurs in shaping the economic trajectory of a nation. Dangote’s efforts in Nigeria are commendable, not just because he built a refinery, but because he believes in his nation and is working to solve challenging problems that not many companies can attempt. As the politicians fall over themselves in admiration, it’s important to recognize that this is Dangote’s moment, and no politician or government agent should take part in the glory.
This begs the question: what can governments do to support and encourage pioneering entrepreneurs like Dangote, who are critical to a nation’s economic success? How can we ensure that these entrepreneurs have the resources and support they need to tackle the challenging problems that will drive growth and development?
Comment 2: Aliko Dangote is large, he is not the King of Boys for nothing, he’s alone at the top of the food chain.
Not everyone will appreciate what he has accomplished, Nigeria is a place that when you want to build anything significant, you will face obstacles from all corners, even those who used to be your allies will turn against you. The politicians and all those jostling for optics, some of them gave him tough time, some had frustrated him in the past, but of course during commissioning, everyone will be high-fiving and grinning ear to ear.
The only problem is that Nigeria is not a normal place, so sufficiency in crude oil refining won’t be much different from that of cement, our cement is far from being cheap, we are still paying far ahead of what it ought be, for an essential good. The same will play out in local pump price of petrol and others, because nothing is normal about Nigeria.
It just feels like anything we announce self-sufficiency in or produce locally, we are automatically going to pay more, from cement to rice, and petrol won’t be different.
Since Aliko Dangote has shown that a refinery can be built, let more people who lay claim to plenty riches build theirs, so that we can see semblance of competition.
Comment 3: I am imagining Dangote asking to be paid in Naira when he begins to export his products to other countries. Assuming this comes in addition to the huge savings from not importing petroleum products with scarcely available forex.. This s not a crazy thought I suppose…
My Response: That shall come but today, let us thank him for risking his $$billions in this way. Others would have gone to Switzerland for more bank accounts
Comment 4: Not again. On this timeline, several posts have been made to counter this narrative. It is an uninformed narrative. Before Dangote came into cement business, we had WAPCO, now Larfarge, (makers of Elephant cement). We had Ibeto Cement. We had others. What stopped them from expanding their business. Dangote came and up the game with product specialization of 3X 42.5R grade. That product alone redefined cement standards. Other competitors tried to blackmail him, but at the end of the day, they adopted that cement standard.
Rabiu Abdulsamad of BUA is building his own refinery in Akwa-Ibom. I have it on good authority that Folawiyo oils is also going to build a refinery in Ibese.
Do you still call this “monopoly”?
As entrepreneurs, we should deal on facts, not on street gists and biases. After all, Prof Ndubuisi Ekekwe had once noted on this timeline that even Jeff Bezos of Amazon, and Elon musk of SpaceX bother enjoy some “government subsidies” because they are solving problems for the government.
If you help the government solve problems, you will make money even if you don’t want to.