With many countries strategizing for the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) which kicked off this month, the management of Dangote Industries Ltd, says its cement expansion plan and fertilizer investments will open new trade routes for the group and Nigeria.
Dangote Cement with an installed capacity of 29.3Mta in Nigeria, the statement said, is targeting a further expansion in-country, as well as in Cameroon, even as new plants near completion in Niger, Benin, Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire and Togo.
The statement quoted Aliko Dangote, President/Chief Executive of the group as saying Africa needs to deliberately improve its per capita consumption of cement to aid infrastructure development, while stimulating further demand and forcing down cost.
According to the 2020 report by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTD), for Africa’s free trade area to work the infrastructure deficit must be looked into.
Alhaji Dangote, the statement continued, hopes to leverage this infrastructure deficit with his cement investment in the continent, even as the group noted that moving goods like cement by road from Nigeria where it is manufactured to Ghana, where there is a big market, is “unviable.”
This, it continued, is why there is need for new plants that will open multiple trade routes, even as Group Executive Director of Dangote Industries, Devakumar Edwin, explained that the movement of products via road is expensive.
Already, he stressed, the governments of Togo and Benin have raised concerns about the pollution that cement laden trucks will bring to the environment as well as the toll on the roads.
With the success of its Douala plant in Cameroon, the group said it is already doubling its capacity in Yaoundé and targeting three million tonnes in the country to check competition as well as earn foreign exchange.
In 2011, Dangote announced plans to invest $100m in the building of a cement factory in Cameroon, which he described as “our largest Greenfield project in a neighbouring country with which we not only share a boundary but also a long history of brotherly relationship dating from our colonial days. Owing to the rich culture and history that we share, we have a better understanding of Cameroon.”
He had said: “Our desire to increase our investment with the Phase 2 project is based on not only the fast growth rate of the Cameroonian economy but also due to the warm welcome extended to us and the enabling environment created by the government of Cameroon.
“Our choice of Cameroon for this multi-million-dollar investment is quite strategic. Cameroon is the largest economy in Central Africa and is well endowed with abundant natural resources. The country also enjoys political stability, adequate security and growing infrastructural development. In addition, President Biya has created an enabling environment that has continued to attract investors both from within and outside the African continent.”
He said the desire to ensure that Africa becomes self-sufficient in cement production informed the signing of a $4.34bn contract with Sinoma International Engineering Company Limited, a Chinese construction giant, for the construction of 11 new cement plants in 10 African countries, and Nepal in Asia.