Nigeria’s population is estimated at somewhere between 180 to 200 million.

Many business people see it as huge opportunity and Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote is among them.

Dangote believes that Nigeria’s huge population should portend huge advantage for the country but regretted that this is not the case yet.

Dangote said on Wednesday that Nigeria had not taken advantage of its huge population for economic growth, wondering why local content was being relegated while relying heavily on importation of goods and services.

Dangote, who was represented by Group Executive Director, Dangote Group, Ahmed Mansur, spoke on the topic, ‘Industrialisation-Backward integration as a strategy for national development: The story of the Dangote Group’, during the inauguration of the University of Ibadan Business School complex donated by the industrialist.

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According to him, Nigeria is spending over 1.5 trillion Naira annually on food importation, stressing that this puts a heavy pressure on the foreign reserves.

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He explained that up to 80% of the inputs in most manufacturing processes in Nigeria still rely on imported components, while noting that Dangote Group’s backward integration policy had birthed economic advantage for the country.

Dangote said: “With an enviable population and natural resources, not many countries have the advantages that Nigeria offers to manufacturers. Corporations like Dangote Industries that long ago embarked on backward integration are now starting to reap the benefits.

“Backward integration is when a business exerts control over sources of raw materials or other businesses that are part of the overall manufacturing process. For example, a cement trader becomes backward integrated when he takes ownership or control of bagging, cement grinding, and limestone mining.”

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