NIGERIAN multinational industrial conglomerate, Dangote Group, is still interested in establishing a cement manufacturing plant in Zimbabwe.
When that happens, the plant will be its 11th across Africa as it expands its footprint on the continent.
Owned by Nigerian billionaire Aliko Dangote, the company first expressed interest to invest in Zimbabwe in 2015 when he last visited the country.
During that time, it was said the company was interested in building a US$400 million cement plant, but the plan did not come to fruition, a development largely blamed on bureaucracy prevalent under the previous government.
During his visit then, Dangote also expressed interest in investing in power generation and coal mining.
However, with the coming in of the New Dispensation led by President Emmerson Mnangagwa, Zimbabwe’s investment climate has vastly improved, resulting in renewed investor appetite.
This time, it appears the Dangote group’s interest is equally piqued by investment prospects in Zimbabwe, driven by the government’s thrust of pursuing investor friendly policies.
Dangote Group executive director, Engineer Mansur Ahmed, who is in the country for the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) told New Ziana: “Today our flagship business, the Dangote cement business has footprint in about 14 African countries, with actual investment in cement plants in 10 of these.
“It is my hope that perhaps not in the too distant future Zimbabwe will be the eleventh,” Ahmed told delegates at an investment conference on the sidelines of the ZITF.
Dangote cement is Sub-Saharan Africa’s largest cement company with a production capacity of 48.6 million tons a year across 10 countries.
The company has cement plants in Nigeria, Zambia, Tanzania, South Africa, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Ethiopia, Ghana, Senegal, and Cameroon.
Meanwhile, Ahmed said the Dangote Group, which is invested in steel, agriculture, transportation, infrastructure, oil and gas among other sectors, is eager to play its role in Africa’s infrastructure development agenda.
Its commitment to infrastructure development is ideal given Zimbabwe’s current thrust on infrastructure development across the board.
“At Dangote, we have a fair understanding of the importance of infrastructure to economic development,” he explained. – New Ziana