Billionaire businessman Aliko Dangote has encouraged African countries to be deliberate in liberalising integration and allow for easy entry and exit of Africans.
The Dangote Group CEO, who spoke on Sunday at the 30th Afreximbank Annual Meetings held in Accra, Ghana, stated that if the continent was committed to boosting inter- and intra-African trade and investment opportunities, they should support visa on arrival.
“I think what, maybe, African countries need to do is that, why don’t you give Africans visas on arrival that will facilitate trade?” he suggested, sharing a scenario where one has to get a visa to get into “country A” as an African.
Recounting a personal experience, the industrialist decried a situation where “we go with a British guy or maybe a Nigerian holding a British passport (and) he is allowed in”.
He added, “We were arguing, debating about my visa and I am the one with the money. If you are making life difficult for me, there is no way I will go and invest.”
Also speaking at the event, the Chairman of the Afreximbank Annual Meetings, Mohamed Maait, noted that the continent could harness its trade and investment portfolio in order to grow its economy.
“If you look at the treaty documents that established the Organisation of African Unity, they clearly set out an objective and that objective is that we must have economic integration in Africa and that we must introduce tools to advance that objective of economic integration in Africa,” he stated.
The continent’s top business minds, government functionaries and policymakers, as well as past and present leaders were present in Accra to grace the occasion.
Also present at the event were former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka, and former industry, trade and investment minister Niyi Adebayo.
Over the years, Africa has continued to deal with several challenges: the COVID-19 pandemic, the Russia-Ukraine crisis, rising debt profile, and the impact of insecurity on the continent.
It therefore became imperative for African countries to find an avenue out of this state that threatens to keep the continent prostrated, despite its huge resources and investments potential.