President of Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote
By Crusoe Osagie
The Republic of Congo and Dangote Group have stated that the company’s cement project in the country would commence production in the year 2014.
Dangote Group recently extended its Pan-African cement investment to the Republic of Congo in Central Africa, with a $350 million Investment Agreement signed between the group and the Federal Government of Congo.
While President of Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote, signed the agreement on behalf of his company in Brazzaville, the Minister of Planning, Economy, Integration and Coordinator of the Economic Pole Mr. Pierre Moussa, the Minister of Industrial Development and Private Sector Promotion Mr. Rodolphe Adada, and the Minister of Mines and Geology, Mr. Pierre Oba, all endorsed the agreement on behalf of the Government of Congo.
Adada, who spoke on behalf of the government, hailed Dangote’s move to invest in the country and pledged full support of the government for the project. According to him, Dangote is a symbol of the emancipation of the African continent with this significant investment in to Congo.
“The Dangote project is important to our people and our economy as it enables us achieve President Denis Sassou Nguesso’s vision for a robust and diversified economy.
“The project will help the country significantly reduce the imports of cement and even enable us become a net exporter of cement while boosting economic growth, development, job creation and income generation”, he added.
“We are proud to have Dangote in Congo and it is a demonstration of an excellent relationship between the governments of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Republic of Congo,” he said.
Also speaking at the event, Dangote said the intention of the company in its foray into Congo was not just to make profit but also to further empower the people of Congo, create new jobs and wealth.
“We are committed to our business all over the world and Congo will be no exception. We are going to invest $350 million in the construction of a fully integrated cement factory with an installed capacity of 1.5 million metric tonnes per year within the next three years and transform Congo into a net exporter of cement,” Dangote said.
According to him, this investment would serve as a launch pad into other sectors of the Congolese economy.
The factory would be located in the territory of the administrative district of Bouenza in the southern part of the Republic of Congo. As a fully integrated plant the facility would process local limestone and other raw materials.
Dangote assured of a successful delivery of this project, which is one of many other successful projects in 14 other African countries, where the company has invested.
He said he believed that this investment would further strengthen the bilateral ties between both countries.
“This indeed, shows that Africa is gradually taking its destiny in its own hands rather than wait for investors from outside. Investment in the real sector of the economy is the only way that our continent can achieve the much desired accelerated growth and development that we have yearned for,” he said.
“The developmental challenges of Africa are quite tremendous. According to a report by the McKinsey Global Institute issued in June 2010, Africa requires at least $46 billion in spending annually to meet infrastructural needs.
“It is obvious that African governments alone cannot hope to meet this demand due to the various competing needs in other aspects of the economy. This is why private companies are needed to complement the government’s efforts. It is in this light that we have decided to invest in Cameroon,” Dangote explained.
“We are motivated to create an African success story because we believe that entrepreneurship, especially our own home-grown African entrepreneurship, holds the key to the future economic growth of the continent. The fact that Africa offers one of the highest returns on investment (ROI) in the world is an additional incentive for any discerning investor, who can take calculated risks,” he added.
Stressing his commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) he noted that while Dangote Group was in the business of creating wealth primarily, they were also mindful of the need to touch the lives of people.
“As a company, we have always been conscious of the need to give a little of our profits back to the society as a guarantee for sustainable business success. This has been our guiding business philosophy. In all our host communities where we operate, we have a robust CSR strategy in place, for translating this philosophy into projects and actions that touch positively on the citizens,” Dangote noted.
“With the cooperation of our host communities, we will create employment opportunities and help small businesses to grow in Congo,” he assured.
He hinted that the long term ambition of his company is to develop 50 million metric tonnes of cement production and terminal capacity in Africa by 2015, stressing that they want to become a truly pan-African champion in the sector, capable of competing globally with the largest cement companies in the world.
“We quite understand the dynamics of doing business in Africa because we are Africans. We respect the people and their cultures anywhere we operate in Africa and for us this is an undeniable edge,” he said.