Friday, June 05, 2015 04:22PM /Dangote Cement
Dangote Cement Plc, Africa’s largest independent cement producer, plans to invest a whopping $16 billion in new projects and existing cement plants across Africa between 2015 and 2018, a period of three years, President/Chief Executive Officer, Dangote Cement Plc, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, has said.
Speaking at the commissioning ceremony of Dangote Cement Plant, Ethiopia, on Thursday, June 4, 2015, Dangote said the investment is in line with the company’s long term vision to become one of the world’s biggest cement producers. “We envisage that by the time we complete all our ongoing African projects, will be on track to achieving our target,” he said.
To achieve the target, he said the company is currently simultaneously setting up new cement plants and terminals across 16 African countries, including Ethiopia, which is the 6th offshore plant that has commenced operations in Africa outside Nigeria. Other countries where the company’s plants are currently running include Senegal, Cameroon, Ghana, South Africa, and Zambia.
While the company’s cement plant in Tanzania is set for commissioning in few months time, he said other plants in other African countries are in various stages of construction, and are scheduled for completion next year. He said construction on the new 2.5 Million Metric Tonnes Per Annum (MMTPA) Dangote Cement plant in Mugher District in Ethiopia started in March 2012.
While promising that the company would double the capacity of the plant starting from this year, Dangote explained that the choice of Mugher, a village located about 85 kilometers from Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital, for the $480 million project was informed by the availability of abundant natural resources required for the manufacture of cement
He listed them to include limestone, gypson, clay, silica sand, and ferrogeneous basalt. Besides, Mugher, he said, is major cement hub in Ethiopia. “The plant will produce our premium 42.5 cement quality grade that has raised the bar as far as cement usage in Africa is concerned, because of its superior qualities that include extra strength, extra yield and extra life,” he announced.
Dangote further announced that the plant would create direct employment for about 2, 000 people in the main plant operations and logistics with a fleet of about 600 trucks, as well as over 5, 000 indirect jobs. “The project will, in addition, substantially boost the supply of cement to the Ethiopian market. With the envisaged increase in the availability of cement in the market, the entire construction industry, which creates thousands of jobs will receive a boost,” he said.
The Pan-African investor added that youths, who constitute about 55 per cent of Ethiopia’s 95 million population, will benefit most from the project. “It is also our hope that successful completion of a project of this magnitude will motivate other foreign investors to invest in Ethiopia. Our investment is a sure and solid step in the journey of the transformation of Ethiopia from an agricultural-based economy to an industrial economy,” he added.
Explaining his company’s decision to set up the multi-million dollar cement plant in Ethiopia, Dangote said the government of Ethiopia put in place an enabling environment, which made the country attractive to foreign investors. According to him, this explains why today Ethiopia ranks among the fastest growing economies in the world, and has become a driving force for opening the African economic region.
He further said the Ethiopian government has made remarkable progress thart has seen a period of significant and inclusive economic growth. For instance, Ethiopia’s official Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rates have surpassed 10 per cent over the past decade, with 10.6 per cent projected this year.
“This makes Ethiopia the largest economy by GDP in East and Central Africa. The government is also investing massively in several large scale infrastructure projects, including construction of the continent’s largest hydro-power dam. All these make Ethiopia a beautiful bride to investors,” Dangote stated.
Minister for Industry, Ethiopia, Mr. Ahmed Abitew, in his speech, confirmed that Ethiopian has seen significant growth in GDP in the past decade, making the country one of the fastest growing economies in the world. He said the government of Ethiopia has put in place the right socio-economic policies and strategies that have created new opportunities for investment.
Mr. Abitew also said the manufacturing sector has been given priority to ensure increase in its share of contribution to the country’s GDP from the current four per cent to 18 per cent. He also noted that there are 18 cement companies in Ethiopia, including Dangote, all of which would increase the country’s cement capacity to about 17.15 metric tonnes per annum, from the current 11.5.
Prime Minister of the Federal Republic of Ethiopia, Mr. Haile Mariam Desalegne, describe Dangote’s investment in the country as “A welcome development to the growing list of cement companies in Ethiopia.” While assuring Dangote Cement, Ethiopia, that his government would stop at nothing to address whatever challenges that will come its way, he said his government is currently reviewing the country’s laws to make room for more local and foreign investments.
Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor Mr. Godwin Emefiele, said Dangote’s investment in Ethiopia underscores the importance of intra-African investment. “It confirms that Africans have the capacity to drive Africa’s economic integration rather than depend on foreign investors,” he stated.
He added that apart from engendering economic growth and development and creating employments, the project would advance the continent’s quest for self-sufficiency in cement. Besides, the investment, he said, would spur a lot of positive externalities, as well as encourage bilateral economic ties.