Lagos — EXECUTIVE Director of 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 the development of the continent.
Halima Dangote said that economic realities around the world had shown that the way to go is agriculture, and that the youths must take the lead more as most African countries are still grappling with low economic growth.
Addressing the 58th Conference of the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, in Abuja, yesterday, Hajiya Halima Dangote said African countries have groped in the dark for too long and it is high time the millennials stood 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 potentials to turn around the fortunes of the African continent. She stated that "Millennials are young ones born between 1980 and the mid-2000s, who account for 27 per cent of the global population (about two billion people) and Sub-Saharan Africa alone is home to 13 per cent of the entire millennial population, ranking second to Asia.
According to her, "available statistics have also revealed that by 2025, 75 per cent 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."
Amid intermittent applause from the lawyers, Hajiya Halima Dangote stated that the theme of the conference which is "Transition, Transformation, and Sustainable Institutions" could not have come at a better time than now and therefore lauded the NBA 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 OON, the incoming President, Mr. Paul Usoro SAN, 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 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, Hajiya Halima Dangote 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."
"The Nigerian and African Millennials in this context although largely preoccupied with start-ups, business activities and professional success are also intensely politically and socially active through the social media", Hajiya Halima Dangote added.