How my regime made Dangote, others billionaires – Obasanjo
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has said the banking consolidation carried out during his regime made it possible for Nigerian banks to fund Aliko Dangote and other entrepreneurs’ business ideas in cement and other sectors.
Obasanjo made the claim while speaking at the Babacar N’daiye Lecture by the Africa ExportImport Bank (Afreximbank) on the side lines of the International Monetary Fund/World Bank meetings in Bali, Indonesia.
The former president alongside Professor Jeffry Sachs chaired the second Babacar Ndiaye Lecture series, which was created to honour Dr. Ndiaye, who was president of the African Development Bank from 1985 to 1995.
Speaking on who will develop Africa, Obasanjo said: “Africans will develop Africa and we have to get that right.
“In Nigeria, Aliko Dangote who is the cement magnate and the richest man in Africa said to me, if we had not had the banking reform, all the ideas he had about cement would not have come to pass.”
“We had 87 banks and none of them had enough capital to be able to support him but when we reduced to 25 banks, they had enough capital to be able to support him. Today, not only is Aliko producing over 30 million metric tonnes of cement in Nigeria, he is doing the same outside Nigeria and the price of cement has come down. If we can do that in cement, we can do it in steel and any other area of our development but we must get it right, nobody will do it for us.”
He said Africa cannot overcome fears of trade wars until it achieves 50 per cent intra-Africa trade.
“We now have the Continental Free Trade Agreement which is a good idea and I can assure that Nigeria will soon sign. Hopefully we will soon have a president who will be able to sign because the president that is there now, his hands are too weak to sign.”
He said the future of Africa trade and effectiveness of policies to achieve macroeconomic stability in Africa will largely depend on the strength and resilience of AfricaSouth trade.
A Boko Haram’s anti-aircraft gun truck that was damaged when Boko Haram members attacked troops of the 118 Battalion in Arege, Borno State. The troops captured one-gun truck, three anti-aircraft guns, two AK- 47 rifles, one RPG bomb and some mortar bombs, while three-gun trucks were burnt Army headquarters