By Franklin Alli, in Ndola, Zambia

Dangote Group, yesterday, strengthened the bilateral trade between Nigeria and Zambia with the official opening of the Group’s $400 million cement plant, with installed capacity of 1.5 million metrics tonne per annum, and a 30 megawatts coal plant to power the factory.

L-R His Excellency, President of the Republic of Zambia, Mr. Edgar Chagwa Lungu; His Excellency, Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Professor Yemi Osinbajo; President/CE, Dangote Industries Limited, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, during the unveiling of Dangote Cement Plant Zambia, a few minutes ago.

The greenfield project was commissioned by Zambian President, Edgar Chagwa Lungu, at Masasiti district, Ndola, Zambia.  The event was graced by Nigeria’s Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo; Edo state Governor, Adams Oshiomole; Tony Elumelu, Chairman UBA Plc; Chief Kola Jamodu, Chairman Nestle Nigeria Plc; and Niyi Adebayo, former Governor Ekiti state, among other personalities from Nigeria and Zambia.

Speaking at the event, Vice President Osinbajo said that the projects are very significant to bilateral relationship that has exists between Nigeria and Zambia.

He lauded the government of Zambia and the people for having approved the projects and saw it to completion.

President Lungu also noted that Zambia has continuing cordial bilateral relationships with Nigeria over the years, assuring that his government will continue to encourage private sector initiatives. “I invite other investors to genuinely come and invest in other sectors in Zambia,” he said.

In his speech at the occasion, President of Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, said that the Zambian cement plant was the sixth out of his14 cement plants in Africa to have started productions, adding that four new plants will be commissioned before the end of the year. “We are spearheading the economic revolution in several African countries,  we are a strong advocate of Africans investing in Africa,” he said.

Engr. Joseph Makoju, Special Adviser to President/CEO,   Dangote Group,   said that with the investment,   Nigeria can proudly claim to be the economic leader in Africa. He noted that the event is more about economic diplomacy rather than political diplomacy.  “What Dangote is doing here is strengthening Nigeria’s position indisputably as a leader of Africa, economically and politically, “ he said.

Tony Elumelu lauded Dangote for the feat, describing him as the only private sector investor driving cross-border investments in Africa. “This is economic diplomacy and Dangote is helping to foster bilateral relationship between the countries in Africa,” he said.

Governor Oshiomole, also hailed Dangote for playing pioneering role of Africans investing in Africa, and creating jobs across the continent. “Politicians make noise about creating jobs. Dangote doesn’t make noise but goes about creating jobs. He is providing economic bridges to promote peace and unity through his investments in Africa,” he added.

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