By Peter Egwuatu
Dangote Cement Plc has emerged as African’s best cement manufacturer company with the presence of its plants in 14 different African countries.
The countries include: Zambia; Tanzania, South Africa, Congo (Brazzaville), Ethiopia, Cameroun (Grinding), Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Ghana, Senegal among others.
The move, according to the company was to ensure that African remains self-sufficient in cement production and making the products easily available and at highly affordable costs to the end users.
It would be recalled that the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), a United States-based rating agency, listed the Dangote Group among the top 40 African Challengers, which are companies of African origin that have the potential to rival Fortune 500 Companies.
Some of the criteria used in making the selection include size, growth and international expansion. Dangote Group has 13 subsidiaries spread all over Nigeria and it operates in over 14 African countries. All these enhanced its positive rating.
While a whopping $400 million was invested in Zambia for the construction of the plant, Dangote increased its stake in Sephaku Cement (Pty) Limited, which is based in South Africa, from 19.76 percent to 64 percent, with an investment of R779 million.
The huge investment into Sephaku Cement by Dangote, is the largest ever foreign direct investment (FDI) by an African company into South Africa.
Aliko Dangote, President of Dangote Group, commenting on the global expansion of his business, especially his cement arm, recently said: “By the middle of 2013, all our factories in Africa will be ready.
We will be fully operational, manufacturing about 14 countries in Africa alone. The 14 factories are the ones on ground now. If there are opportunities in more countries, like in Zambia and Kenya, we will definitely go there. These 14 are purely in cement. But other countries are equally asking us to come and do some other things”
He also said, the group has also opened office in “in Dubai, in Gibraltar, in London, in China and we will soon be opening an office in India”
Lauding the Federal Government’s backward integration policy, Dangote said:
“Some people grumble about cement manufacturing versus cement imports. Fine. But let’s look at it this way. The expectation is that Nigeria will be consuming about 20 million tonnes of cement next year. Twenty million tonnes next year will be, at least, even with the low prices abroad, about $2 billion. Why should Nigeria spend $2bn importing cement. It doesn’t make sense; it doesn’t make any economic sense at all.
We have all the raw materials to produce enough cement here and Nigeria should be exporting cement to Cameroun, to Chad, to Ghana. Ghana consumes 4 million tonnes per year and they don’t produce one bag. We should be self-sufficient in cement production here, which is going to happen by next year.
Without government’s favourable policy, there is no way we would achieve that. There were hitches in the last two years but we thank God government has reversed that to ensure the nation benefits from local production of cement”