Alhaji Aliko Dangote, President, Dangote Group
Dangote Cement Plc is set to build a $400 million plant in Zambia this month, Zambia's Commerce, Trade and Industry Minister, Mr. Felix Mutati disclosed last Monday.
Reuters quoted Mutati as saying a team of construction experts from Dangote was expected in Zambia this week for an arrangement for the plant.
According to him, the plant, one of Zambia's largest investments outside mining, is expected to produce 1.5 million tonnes of cement a year when it reaches full capacity by 2013.
"They are positioning themselves to capture the regional cement market, in particular Congo DR and we hope their presence will also help give Zambia the prominence that it craves for. Dangote's new plant would also bring competition, which was expected to result in a higher quality of product and lower prices,” Mutati said.
He added that the project would create more than 1,500 direct and indirect jobs during the construction and operational phases.
Dangote plans to set up plants and import terminals in other countries including Cameroon, Ethiopia, Ghana, Ivory Coast and Senegal to bring its production capacity across the continent up to 46 million tonnes a year in five years' time, 30 million of it in Nigeria.
Only last weekend, the Dangote Cement crashed the ex-factory price of a 50-kg bag of the product from N1,500 to N1,350.
The move was a further step taken by the company after the directive issued by President Goodluck Jonathan in May which forced cement stakeholders to work together to bring down the price of the commodity from about N2,500 to around N1,800 per 50kg bag,
The company’s Executive Director, in charge of Sales and Marketing, Mr Ekanem Etim told cement distributors the reduction in its ex-factory price was in line with the company’s declared policy to make the product affordable to Nigerians as it expands its local capacity in the country.
Etim also informed the distributors that the country would be self-sufficient in cement production, especially with the inauguration of Ibeshe plant of the company before the end of the year, with an installed capacity of six million metric tonnes of cement per annum.
The Executive Secretary of Cement Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (CMAN), Mr James Salako, commended Dangote Cement, stating that it was in line with the objectives of the association. Salako said the commitment, which the association had repeatedly made that Nigeria would be self-sufficient in cement production before the 2013, was indeed a reality and efforts such as what Dangote was currently doing were “tell-tale-signs that this is going to happen.”