Buhari, Nguesso hail Dangote over new $300m Congo cement plant
Dangote Cement Plc on Thursday said the opening of its new cement plant in Mfila, Congo Brazzaville, had added fillip to the ongoing efforts at economic emancipation of Africa.
The new plant, estimated at $300m with a capacity for 1.5 million metric tonnes of cement production per annum, has the potential to create about 1,000 direct jobs and thousands of indirect jobs, according to a statement.
The Congolese President, Mr. Denis Nguesso, was quoted as saying while inaugurating the plant that the investment was an industrial revolution of sorts within the Economic Community of Central African States, adding that his country was happy to be the recipient of the investment.
He described the entry of Dangote Cement into the country as timely and encouraging, noting that it came at a time when the government’s revenues had plummeted by 31.3 per cent and revenues from the oil sector had fallen by 65.1 per cent since 2015 due to a slide in global crude prices.
President Muhammadu Buhari, who was represented at the event by a delegation led by the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, commended Aliko Dangote and his company for championing economic renaissance of Africa with the construction of cement plants several countries on the continent.
He said his government had consistently supported and encouraged the Dangote Group in its quest to contribute its quota to the economic emancipation of the African continent.
Buhari stated, “I believe that it is only home-grown practical solutions that can address the myriad issues plaguing Africa today and one of such challenges that Africa has been grappling with for decades is the infrastructure deficit.
“I am confident that massive investments in cement production, which is a key driver of infrastructural development, will contribute in no small measure to addressing this perennial problem.”
According to him, the backward integration policy of the Federal Government in the cement sector, which was launched in 2002, has contributed to the success story by successfully substituting imports with local production.
“We have saved over $2bn spent on cement importation into Nigeria annually. We have also started using cement for road construction in the country due to its numerous advantages over the more common bituminous road. Again, in this area, Dangote Cement is leading the charge, through AG-Dangote, its joint venture with Andrade-Gutierrez, a construction giant in Brazil,” Buhari added.
The Chairman, Dangote Cement Plc, Aliko Dangote, said his company was delighted to have completed the plant on schedule, adding that the addition of the 1.5mtpa plant had increased the total cement production capacity of Congo to 2.55mtpa, far in excess of national demand.
He stated, “It is envisaged that this will contribute substantially to the availability and affordability of cement in the country, and the Republic of the Congo will no longer need to depend on imports to bridge the gap between demand and supply.
“It is our hope that the inauguration of the plant will boost Congo’s economy, conserve foreign exchange that would otherwise have been spent on imports for the country, and create employment opportunities down the value chain. We believe that our investment will contribute to Congo-Brazzaville’s current economic renaissance under the leadership of President Nguesso.”