Following the recent Commissioning of a $600m Cement plant in Tanzania by President of the Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, Africa’s richest and most successful businessman, it is clear that the man popularly known amongst friends and admirers alike as simply Aliko, is itching several steps forward in the realization of the African growth and development vision. The New Diplomat team which was on ground in Tanzania to witness the ground-breaking inauguration of the multi-million dollars plant with a capacity to produce 3 million tonnes per annum,report that with this latest plant, which is one of the 18 plants, the Dangote Group is building across Africa and Nepal, Asia, will boost the company’s standing in Africa and increase returns for shareholders in the long-run….
President Muhammadu Buhari who was represented by Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State said Dangote is not only a major economic player in the economic growth of Africa but also a key exponent of the business philosophy which emphasizes that Africa can truly make meaningful progress and development if African entrepreneurs and businessmen invest in Africa through an strategic integrative business development model. He said” Others should emulate him and partner with the government in the onerous task of job creation. As our son, we are [proud of him.” According to the President given Dangote’s resilience in the face of mounting challenges, the businessman is not only a major encouragement to others that with the will and vision, it is possible to grow the African continent and actualize that pan-African vision, but also a firm in the idea that Africans need not wait endlessly for foreign investors in Europe, Asia and the Americas to come and develop Africa when we can do so with ‘’ drive and vision.’’o say that Alhaji Aliko Dangote is a a key symbol of the African growth and development vision is to state the obvious. This expectedly manifested in several ways in Tanzania last month when Dangote Cement Plc took a dramatic step towards a total consolidation of its spread across Africa with the inauguration of its Tanzania Plant. The event which received presidential accolades from both the Presidents of the host Country Tanzania and Nigeria, was graced by eminent personalities, including captains of industry and top government functionaries. In his speech, Dr Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete who was full of commendation for the Dangote described the the plant as the biggest investment so far made by an entrepreneur in the country stressing that the people of Tanzania are grateful to the company and would continue to work to boost private sector development in the country. According to him the multi-million dollars plant which remains the largest in both East and Central Africa would go a long way in translating that great Africa vision and dream to reality ‘’ as it would boost Africa economy, accelerate job creation and opportunities for Africans as well as strengthen bilateral ties between Nigeria and Tanzania’’.
On his part, Dangote said the Dangote Group which is already consolidating its business spread within the continent, adding that the economic and business venture is very positive and that the outlook signposts positive returns on investment. On the choice of Tanzania, the business mogul has this to say: “A key factor that drives investments in an economy is the presence of an investor-friendly business climate. Indeed, Tanzania is one of the most attractive investment destinations in Africa. This is attested to by the substantial amount of foreign direct investments (FDI) that flow into the country, annually.The economic reforms in Tanzania, especially in tax, public sector, financial sector, innovations in rural finance, telecommunications and infrastructure, as well as revamped legislative frameworks, have produced an enabling environment that has further provided a platform for future growth. All these factors made us to consider investing in the country. We hope to see more foreign investors take advantage of these opportunities and invest in other sectors that will have multiplier effects on the Tanzanian economy.”
He added: “The Tanzanian economy has been growing rapidly over the last few years. GDP growth rates have averaged 7 per cent per annum. The World Bank predicts that Tanzania can maintain this impressive growth over the next five years if the government continues to spearhead these laudable reforms. This attests to the success of Ujamaa (African Socialism) that Tanzania has vigorously championed.
The construction sector is a major emergent component of the Tanzanian economy that has been receiving the attention of investors. This makes it an ideal market for cement production. The existing cement manufacturers have historically been unable to satisfy local demand, which has been filled by imports. As essential economy-driven infrastructure continues to be built to improve electricity supply and the transport network, additional demand for cement can be expected. The Dangote Cement investment (as has been the case in Ethiopia, Cameroon and Zambia), will certainly contribute to Tanzania’s on-going story of infrastructure development, job creation and broad economic development”.
It would be recalled that the Tanzania Cement plant is seventh multi-million dollars plant outside Nigeria. Just before Tanzania, Dangote had inuguarated that of Zambia, which was graced by Vice president Yemi Osinbajo. The idea according to investment analysts is to build about 16 big Cement plants across the continent with the aim of also addressing the infrastructure deficit which is quite evident in Africa.
There is no doubt that going by the Country’s estimated population of about 42 million people, Tanzania’s per -capita cement consumption of around 50kg per annum is well below the global average and low even for the continent of Africa. Policy and development experts believe that the country’s economy is projected to grow at an estimated ratio of 7.0 % over the next five years on a consistent basis. This growth would be anchored on supports and backings from other sectors such as the manufacturing, mining and tourism sectors. Officials in Tanzania are of the view that the country enhanced economic performance has expectedly accelerated strong demand for cement hence the economic and business justification for citing the gigantic Cement Plant in Mtwara by Dangote Group. The rural community known as Mtwara is just about 400km from Dar Salaam, the capital of Tanzania.
Full operational activities are projected to commence by the end of this year, after an investment of more than $600m. With the factory in full force at that time to meet the rising demand of the domestic market, there is no doubt that the Dangote Tanzania Cement Plant located in Mtwara will also be able to serve local export markets by sea. The plant has 500 million tonnes of limestone reserves, enough for 149 years.