’I Need 35 Visas To Travel Africa’: Dangote Calls Improved Intra-continental Trade

Chinwe Okafor
3 Min Read
’I Need 35 Visas To Travel Africa’

Africa’s richest billionaire, Aliko Dangote, has raised concerns over the difficulties faced by investors traveling within the African continent, revealing that he needs 35 different visas on his Nigerian passport.

Speaking at the Africa CEO Forum Annual Summit in Kigali, Dangote shared his frustrations with Rwandan President Paul Kagame, contrasting the challenges African investors face with the ease of travel enjoyed by those with French passports.

“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,” Dangote said.

“But you see, the most annoying thing is that yes, if you are treating everybody the same, then I can understand.”

Dangote illustrated the disparity by highlighting that Patrick Pouyanne, chairman of Total Energies, does not need 35 visas on his French passport to access African countries.

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

Dangote also addressed the broader challenges of conducting business within Africa, emphasizing the need to strengthen regional markets as a precursor to a successful Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).

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“Our main job is to make sure the regional markets all work. Once they work, then we can now go to AfCFTA. But then, for AfCFTA also, we need to make sure that it works,” he stated.

He pointed out the low intra-continental trade rate, which is currently less than 16 percent, and urged African investors to take the lead in driving 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,” Dangote emphasized.

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“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,” he concluded.

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