Dangote Industries Limited has said it plans to commission cement plants in five different African countries as part of its plans towards opening new trade routes for Nigeria under the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), which kicked off on January 1, 2021.
President of the Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote who made the disclosure in a statement on Sunday, noted that the company is targeting an expanded entity in Cameroon in addition to its 29.3 million tonnes per annum capacity factory in Nigeria.
According to Dangote, new plants would soon be ready for commissioning in Niger, Benin, Ghana, Cote D ‘Ivoire and Togo.
Dangote stressed the need for Africa to deliberately improve its per capita consumption of cement to aid infrastructure development by stimulating further demand and forcing down the cost of the commodity.
He said that the desire for Africa’s self-sufficiency in cement production informed the signing of a $4.34 billion contract with Sinoma International Engineering Company Ltd., a Chinese construction company for the construction of 11 new cement plants in 10 African countries, and Nepal in Asia.
Dangote said the report by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development on the development of deficit infrastructure to ensure competitiveness in the AfCFTA, encouraged the company to leverage the deficit with its cement investment.
“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,” he said.
In his remarks, Devakumar Edwin, the company’s group executive director, said the movement of products via road was expensive.
Edwin added that the governments of Togo and Benin Republic had complained of the pollution that the trucks brought 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 3 million tonnes in the country to check competition as well as earn foreign exchange,” he 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, political stability, adequate security and growing infrastructural development.”
Gabriel Dodo Ndocke, Cameroon’s minister of mines, industry and technological development, described the impact on the Dangote Cement on the Cameroonian economy as huge.
The AfCFTA, which took off on January 1, is aimed at creating a single market, for the movement of capital, goods, people and investments to further deepen the economic integration of the continent.