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‘The mafia in the oil industry is stronger than the mafia in the drugs industry’ – Aliko Dangote



Nigerian industrialist, Aliko Dangote, has shared a key lesson learned on his mission to build Africa’s largest refinery.

After over eight years of waiting, the Dangote Refinery is finally complete, with diesel production already underway.

The Dangote Refinery, which opened in May 2023, will have the capacity to produce 650,000 barrels per day, once fully operational.

The refinery, which is about the size of 4,000 football fields, is located at the Lekki Free Zone outside of Lagos, Nigeria.

However, the $19 billion investment has not been without its challenges.

According to Dangote, one of the main lessons during his journey was finding out that there was a cartel that runs the oil industry in Africa.

He mentioned that this cartel, which has long existed in the oil industry for decades, has blocked Africa’s efforts at developing its own refinery for oil production.

This, he said, is accompanied by beneficiaries of oil imports onto the continent.

Speaking during a panel discussion at the 31st Afreximbank Annual Meetings held in the Bahamas, Dangote said, “I knew there would be a fight, but I didn’t know that the mafia in the oil industry was stronger than the mafia in the drugs industry.

“I can tell you this for a fact because I knew they [oil industry mafia] existed, but not as strong as the way I have faced them. They are very strong. There’s a local one, a global one, and it’s all mixed up,” Dangote shared as the crowd burst into laughter.

He mentioned that this mafia has tried everything to block his quest to develop an oil refinery in Africa, adding that “all my life, I have been fighting for what I believe, so I think it’s part of my life to fight for things I believe in.”

When asked if he has yet to win this fight against the said mafia, Dangote said, “We will win because the population and the government will be on our side because what we are doing is right.”

Oil cartels are formed when multiple oil-producing countries or companies collaborate to control the production, pricing, and distribution of oil on the global market.

Drug cartels, on the other hand, are criminal organizations that control the production, distribution, and sale of illegal drugs, such as cocaine, heroin and marijuana.


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