Dangote Laments: 35 Visas Required For African Travel

Aliko Dangote

Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote, has highlighted significant obstacles faced by investors traveling within Africa, citing the need for 35 different visas on his Nigerian passport.

Dangote raised this issue during the Africa CEO Forum Annual Summit in Kigali, Rwanda, emphasizing the detrimental impact on business operations across the continent.

Speaking at the summit, Dangote shared his frustration with Rwandan President Paul Kagame, pointing out that such visa requirements are nonexistent in Europe.

“I still complained to President Kagame. I told him that as an investor, I have to now apply for 35 different visas on my passport, and I told Mr. President, I really don’t have the time to go and be dropping my passports in embassies to get a visa,” he said.

Dangote contrasted this with the experiences of European investors, using the French passport as an example. He noted that Patrick Pouyanne, chairman of Total Energies, does not face similar barriers.

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“You don’t need 35 visas on your French passport. This means you have a freer movement than myself in Africa,” he added.

The billionaire’s comments underscore the broader issue of restricted movement within Africa, which he argues hampers economic integration and growth.

Dangote stressed the importance of operational regional markets as a precursor to the successful implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).

“Our main job is to make sure the regional markets all work. Once they work, then we can now go to Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).

But then, for AfCFTA also, we need to make sure that it works,” he said.

He lamented the low rate of intra-African trade, which stands at less than 16 percent, and called for a collective effort from African nations to drive economic development. “We cannot have a very promising continent and our intra-trade rate is less than 16 percent.

Okay, so we Africans will have to do it. If we are waiting for foreigners to come and do it, both the development of Africa, it’s not going to happen,” he said.

Dangote urged African leaders and businesses to take the initiative in fostering economic growth and integration. “So it can only happen to us Africans. We must risk our sources and make sure that we lead, then we will have people who actually trust and believe in Africa like Patrick to come and help us to push to the next level.”

The comments by Dangote resonate with broader calls for the removal of visa restrictions within Africa to enhance business operations and economic cooperation.

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