An Executive Director at the Dangote Group, Hajiya Halima Aliko-Dangote has urged millennials in Nigeria and across Africa to diversify from service-oriented enterprises to manufacturing and agriculture in a bid to fast-track growth and economic development in the continent.
Dangote said the economic realities around the world had shown that the way to go was agriculture and that the youths must take the lead more when most African countries are still grappling with low economic growth.
Addressing the 58th Conference of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) in Abuja yesterday, she said African countries have been gropping in the dark for too long, urging the millennials to stand up to be counted as the future of the continent.
In her paper titled “Roles of Millennials in Transition and Institution Building”, the Dangote Group Director, explained that the youths have the potential to turn around the fortune of the African continent. She stated that “Millennials are young ones born between 1980 and the mid-2000s, who account for 27% of the global population (about 2 billion people) and Sub-Saharan Africa alone is home to 13% of the entire millennial population, ranking second to Asia.
According to her, “available statistics have also revealed that by 2025, 75% of the global workforce will be millennials, large enough to influence consumer spending patterns; change consumer business models and impact the global economy. Most members of this generation are at the beginning of their careers and so will be an important engine for economic growth in the decades to come.”
She further stated that the theme of the conference which was “Transition, Transformation, and Sustainable Institutions,” could not have come at a better time than now and therefore lauded the association for coming up with a subject that Nigeria and Africa needed to discuss.
She congratulated the outgoing President of the NBA, Mr. A. B. Mahmoud as well as the incoming President, Mr. Paul Usoro, and “all my learned friends here for successfully continuing with the vision handed down by the fathers and founders of the Association.”
The Executive Director also urged millennials and other relevant stakeholders to exercise restraint in the face of common desperation for wealth by their contemporaries adding that, “Success in entrepreneurship takes time, dedication and hard work. There is a need to disabuse our mind from the concept of overnight success. Industrialisation requires patience and perseverance.”
She also spoke extensively on the successes recorded by the Dangote Group, founded by her father, Aliko Dangote, in creating numerous jobs and establishing value-adding industries and contemporary businesses through importation, manufacturing and backward integration to generate and highlight local content for overall development.
While noting that the achievement by the group did not come easy, she said “the Millennials should see these opportunities and diversify from service-oriented enterprises to manufacturing enterprises. Manufacturing has the capacity to create numerous jobs, develop an economy, sustain jobs and open other linkages.”
She noted that millennials are leaders in transition and are evolving. To her, “With smartphones and connections, the Millennials can exert much influence and swing the outcome of a situation. This confers on them great role and responsibility in shaping the outcome of policies and politics in a nation”.
In the same vein, the Managing Director of Mojec Holdings, Chantelle Oluwabumi Abdul, said her company controls about 80 per cent of metering in the power sector in West Africa.
She said young people should look into creating ideas and as well execute the ideas promptly.
“I believe in the Nigerian dream. I believe in Africa. Young people now look at creating real wealth in billions and not millions again,” she added.