The Dangote Group, a multinational conglomerate founded by Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote, has announced its plan to tackle the high unemployment rate in Nigeria by investing in the country’s agricultural sector.
Devakumar VG Edwin, the company’s Executive Director, Strategy, Capital Project and Portfolio Development made the announcement at the second edition of the Agribusiness Summit in Abuja.
A report from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) shows that the unemployment rate in Nigeria rose from 17.6 million (18.8%) in the third quarter of 2017 to 20.9 million (23.1%) in the third quarter of 2018. This sharp rise in just nine months makes unemployment one of Nigeria’s biggest challenges.
While addressing the high unemployment rate in the country, Devakumar VG Edwine revealed that Dangote Group will be tackling unemployment by upping its investments in the agricultural sector. He explained that agriculture appears to be the most viable solution, adding that huge investments from the company should improve Nigeria’s economy.
In his words, “Agriculture employs 37 per cent of the population. This is against the backdrop of a 23 per cent unemployment rate in the country. The time is rife to put the agricultural sector in the front burner, more so that Nigeria’s ever-growing population is projected to hit 440million by the year 2050.”
Speaking on the Group’s strategy, Edwin stated that his conglomerate will be investing in rice, tomato paste, sugar, dairy products, and oilseeds.
To achieve its purpose, the company is constructing a state of the art storage silos for a total capacity of one million tons of paddy. He also disclosed plans to construct a 3 million tons fertilizer plant and have 40,000 hectares to produce sugar.
“There is an ongoing investment in 15,000 hectares to produce and process tomato paste of 150,000 tons per year. The current import is 0.5million tons per year,” he added.
The Dangote Group executive concluded by calling on Nigerians to “support the agricultural drive by the Dangote Group which is in line with government policy and the yearnings of the people.”
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