By Ololade Julianah
Aliko Dangote, Africa’s richest businessman and chairman of Dangote Group, has disclosed that the commissioning of Africa’s biggest cement plant in Nigeria would create 4,500 direct and about 25,000 indirect jobs.
Speaking with enthusiasm at the commissioning of the cement plant in Okpella, Etsako East Local Government area of Edo State over the weekend, Alhaji Dangote stated that planned projects around the continent would produce 25 million metric tons of cement per annum and create employment for youths in the continent.
Dangote said that the development challenges in Nigeria were quite enormous and would require the combined efforts of government and private sector to overcome them.
He disclosed that as the group matches ahead, a 100MW power generation plant for both Itori and Okpella were also in pipeline to boost the installed capacity of the cement plants at the two locations in Ogun and Delta states.
“Edo State is blessed with abundant mineral resources and I am aware that the overarching intent of the Edo State government under the leadership of comrade governor is for the state to become a leading economic centre of Nigeria where the people live in dignity, powered by a government that is responsive to the needs of the people.
“This, I am told, has necessitated the plan by the state government to diversify the economy and reorientate it from its dependence on government activity to an economy based on employment generation and value addition with private sector participation.
“A key factor that drives investments in an economy is the presence of an investor-friendly business climate. Indeed, Edo State today, is one of the most attractive investment destinations in Nigeria,” Dangote said.
The Chairman of the Dangote Group disclosed that the economic reforms in Edo State especially in the area of tax, innovations in rural finance and investment on infrastructure that have produced an enabling environment were the major incentives that endeared the group to the state as the right destination for the investment.
The Okpella cement plant with over $1 billion 2-line six million metric tons capacity, according to Dangote, is only one of our several successful projects currently going on in some parts of the country and outside in more than 16 other locations in African countries.
He added that in line with the Pan African investment strategy of the organisation, more plants would be commissioned very soon, in Senegal, Congo Brazzaville and South Africa.
“Also last year, in Lagos, we signed a deal valued at $4.34 billion, with Sinoma International Engineering Company Limited, for the construction of 10 additional new cement plants across Africa, with one in Nepal in Asia.
“The combined capacity of these new projects will be 25 million metric tons per annum. By the time all these new projects are completed in the next few years, we will have a total capacity of 81 million metric tons annually.
“This will make us one of the top six cement companies in the world. We are currently consolidating our cement businesses across Africa in order to reap the benefits of scale. As a matter of fact, our operational offshore cement plants have started to make substantial contributions to our Group revenue,” he added.