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Dangote Laments: 35 visas required for African travel

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

Dangote raised the issue at the Africa CEO Forum annual summit in Kigali, Rwanda, highlighting the damaging impact on business operations across the continent.

During his speech at the summit, Dangote shared his frustration with Rwandan President Paul Kagame, pointing out that such visa requirements do not exist in Europe.

“I still complained to President Kagame. I told him that as an investor I now have to apply for 35 different visas in my passport, and I told the president: I really don’t have time to hand over 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.

“You don’t need 35 visas in your French passport. This means that in Africa you have freer freedom of movement than I do,” he added.

The billionaire’s comments underline the broader issue of limited freedom of movement within Africa, which he says is hindering economic integration and growth.

Dangote emphasized 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 ensure that the regional markets all work. Once they work, we can now move to the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).

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

He lamented the low level of intra-African trade, which stands at less than 16 percent, and called for a collective effort by African countries to boost economic development.

“We cannot have a promising continent and our intra-trade rate is less than 16 percent. Okay, so we Africans will have to make do. If we wait for foreigners to come and do it, it will not happen for the sake of African development,” he said.

Dangote urged African leaders and businesses to take the initiative in promoting economic growth and integration.

“So it can only happen to us Africans. We must put our resources on the line and ensure we are leading. Then there will be people who actually trust and believe in Africa, like Patrick, who will come and help us get to the next level.”

Dangote’s comments resonate with broader calls for the lifting of visa restrictions in Africa to improve business operations and economic cooperation.

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