NIGERIA – Dangote Industries Ltd has announced that its cement expansion plan and fertilizer investments will open new trade routes for the company and Nigeria under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) trade deal that kicked off at the beginning of this month.

Already, the cement company, despite an installed capacity of 29.3Mta in Nigeria, is targeting an expanded entity in-country and in Cameroon, while new plants will soon be ready for commissioning in Niger, Benin, Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, and Togo.

According to President/Chief Executive, Dangote Industries Ltd, Aliko Dangote, Africa needs to deliberately improve its per capita consumption of cement in order to aid infrastructural development by stimulating further demand and forcing down the cost of the commodity.

For Dangote Industries Ltd, moving goods like cement by road from Nigeria where they are manufactured to Ghana, where there is a big market, is “unviable”, hence the need for new plants that will open multiple trade routes.

Group Executive Director of Dangote Industries Limited, Devakumar Edwin, had earlier explained that the movement of products via road is expensive as the governments of Togo and Benin complained of the pollution that the trucks will bring to the environment as well as the toll on the roads.

With the success of the Doula plant in Cameroon, the company is already doubling its capacity in Yaoundé and targeting three million tonnes in the country to check competition as well as earn foreign exchange.

Last year, Dangote Cement’s Pan Africa performance has been strong for all its operations in terms of margin in local currency with a few exceptions due to Covid-19.

As the restrictions in many economies are lifted, the company is hopeful of improved performance and earnings.

Dangote however described the plant 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.”

“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,” he had said:

“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 that the desire to ensure that Africa becomes self-sufficient in cement production informed the signing of a US$4.34 billion 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.

Minister of Mines, Industry and Technological Development, Gabriel Dodo Ndocke stated that since Dangote Cement was established in Cameroon, accessibility to cement product, the price and the quality has been enhanced, adding that the impact of the company on the economy is huge.

“Today you can get cement everywhere and the price is accessible for everyone and the market has been open to other investors creating job opportunities.

“Dangote has thrown the market open and before he came to Cameroon, our market was with just one investor in the sector. The presence of other investors has made it easy for us to get cement in a good quality and at an accessible price”, he added.

The firm’s Country Manager, Bertrand Thaïs Mbouck, said the cement company is completing a period of induction, going by the sustainable approach towards growth.

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