Dangote stated this at the UN General Assembly in New York on Tuesday, according to a statement from the African Press Organisation.
Global oil benchmark, which fell from a high of $115 per barrel in mid-2014, has continued to hover around $53 per barrel in recent months.
At the headquarters of global law firm, Shearman and Sterling LLC, high-level business leaders and international diplomats invited by the Corporate Council for Africa to hear Africa’s richest man, Dangote, and the Rwandan President, Paul Kagame, openly conversed on Africa’s opportunities and challenges, a statement by the Dangote Industries stated.
Both leaders, it said, underscored the ongoing movement to diversify African economies.
In the case of Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy, Dangote said, “We should pray that oil prices remain low. This helps wean us off the dependency on revenues from petroleum. We must take oil to be the icing on the cake. We already have the cake.”
Dangote told investors, “(With) agriculture, agriculture, agriculture, Africa will become the food basket of the world.”
In addition to agriculture, he cited Nigeria’s vast mineral resources and natural gas as sources of economic prosperity and stressed the need to manufacture more goods locally for domestic consumption.
Dangote, who cited the continued need for heavy investments in education, specifically said that “five of the 12 million jobs needed in Africa soon must be created in Nigeria.”
He has expanded his business from cement, sugar, and other household commodities to fertiliser and other processed high-value goods.
“Technology, of course, helps us a lot and our factories are state of the art with the use of robotics but we shouldn’t be overly tech-oriented to create wealth,” he told investors.
Dangote, who is often cited as one of the most inspiring business leaders in the world today and a model for young entrepreneurs, offered advice to Americans who tend to rely on outdated news and wrong perceptions of Africa, saying, “Don’t be lazy. Go there and find the real story for yourself. Things have changed.”
He described Rwanda, where he has business interests, as an example of positive change, good governance and leadership, and where corruption had been cured.
He cited a personal experience of offering a $100 tip for services at the Kigali Airport to a worker who refused to take money for work they were paid to do.