The ACCA Team led by chief executive Helen Brand OBE paid a courtesy visit to Alhaji Aliko Dangote, chairman Dangote Industries Ltd, who during discussions acknowledged the relevance of ACCA members stating that an ACCA member with an entrepreneurial mindset is even more solution driven. He shared that his company does not have enough ACCA professionals and that the Group and even economy at large is struggling to get talent in finance, especially with the rapid changes in business and technology. According to him, Dangote PLC in particular has more challenges, with a revenue projection of over $4 billion to over $30 billion in 2020 whichunderpins an increasing need to have people with business agility to deal with changes in business models.

Helen Brand acknowledging his concerns shared results of the ACCA employer-led global research; ‘Social Mobility: Purpose and the Profession’which revealed that social mobility is transforming the potential talent pool for professional accountants. She also highlighted the 7 quotients developed from ACCA’s research titled ‘Professional Accountants: The Future’ and how the ACCA qualification ensures the sustainability of these skills through the recent changes in the qualification; further highlighting ACCA’s work around policy development through its professional insights.Alhaji Dangote was quite pleased with this information, expressing concerns on the issue of skills gap and its effects on policy contribution.

Also present at the meeting was Taiwo Oyedele, Partner & Head of Tax, West Africa, PwC, who agreed that policy contribution is even more practical with business owners and entrepreneurs. Adding that the highest risk of doing business is inconsistency of government policies. Dangote expressed that the future is bright globally and he will continue to work towards wealth creation, noting that the future in Africa is huge. He shared how the profitability of Dangote Group had doubled during recession due to the urgency for cost effectiveness that was created, and is considering doing more business outside Africa from 2020, as the African environment tends to pose many barriers for businesses. According to him, developing capabilities is critical to the growth of businesses and the economy in Nigeria and the future is the SMEs.

Helen Brand shared highlights of the ‘Professional Accountants – The Future’ follow-up research titled ‘Generation Next’ particularly the finding that 81% of over 18000 young professionals in over 150 countries say that they want to own their businesses at some point. Dangote was quite pleased about this information, charging ACCA to support the enablement of an environment where these young professionals can succeed.

Alhaji Aliko Dangote remarked that the progress of intra-Africa trade is getting better with the introduction of the ECOWAS passport however, there is still work to be done with Africans/ African countries having a general acceptance and support of each other to support the objective which is to aid cooperation and not competition.

Helen Brand presented Alhaji Aliko Dangote with an ACCA award in recognition of his continuing support as a key employer of ACCA members.