“Our factory in Nigeria is only 28km into the Republic of Benin but the Republic of Benin, does not allow us to take cement into the Benin Republic, but they import from China”, the owner of Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote has said.
According to him, it is not a matter of the Dangote cement being expensive because if the Chinese cement in Benin is selling at zero, he also has to sell at zero.
“It is not about competition, it is about allowing us to go in,” Aliko Dangote told Mo Ibrahim at the 2019 Ibrahim Governance Weekend in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire.
The Nigerian business magnate and investor believe that the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) is something which will go a long way to help the continent but the leaders are not discussing its implementation.
“We are very good at designing programmes but the implementation of the designed programmes is key which is really missing,” Dangote said.
Dangote indicated that ECOWAS rhetoric about free trade areas and borderless regions are not happening in reality. This is because it takes him about a week before his cement can be transported to Togo which is just 210km from Nigeria.
This, he said is not due to bad roads but it is usually the customs that delays him all because of corruption.
“I think the CFTA will help us but before we jump to CFTA, we have to make sure that the regional markets are working very well” he reiterated.
Aliko Dangote believes that Togo and Benin are the two major countries that will benefit more from the CFTA because it is easier for him to take his cement to Benin than to Lagos even though he is close to Lagos.