- Published on Thursday, 16 August 2012 03:20
- Written by MOSES FERDINAND
- Hits: 1215
TANZANIA Investment Centre (TIC) officials visited the area where a renowned investor and billionaire in Africa, Alhaji Aliko Dangote is building a cement plant in Southern part region of Mtwara.
Apart from presenting what he gathered during interviews, Correspondent MOSES FERDINAND who was present during the tour also explains the meaning of such huge investment to Tanzania. Read on…
It is now loud and clear that Alhaji Aliko Dangote, the Africa’s richest person will have a presence in Tanzania in terms of investment. The Nigerian commodities titan is in the process of constructing a cement plant in one of the Southern regions of Tanzania, Mtwara at the value of $ 500 million (about 700bn/-).
The new plant will have a capacity to produce over 1.5 metric tonnes of cement per annum. Alhaji Dangote through his Dangote Group is famously called Africa's cement king; and this is not by accident.
Look at this. In February this year, Dangote announced the opening of a new $1 billion Nigerian cement plant, which is expected to increase his company's production volume by 40% in that country. Dangote Cement's capacity is so great that the company has implored the Nigerian government to increase infrastructure investment in time to absorb what they're calling a "cement surplus."
In late 2010, Dangote listed the company on the Nigerian Stock Exchange, integrating his cement investments across Africa. It is now the largest company on the Nigerian exchange. He also invested $4 billion to build a new cement facility in the Ivory Coast and is building a $115 million cement plant in Cameroon, plus owns plants in Zambia, Senegal, and South Africa.
The self made billionaire started trading commodities more than three decades ago after receiving a business loan from his uncle. He then built the Dangote Group, which in addition to cement owns sugar refineries, flour milling and salt processing facilities.
According to Forbes Magazine, the Nigerian billionaire has a net wealth valued at $ 11.2 billion as of March 2012. He is ranked at number 76 in the world in the Forbes billionaires list and the richest in his native country and Africa.
But what does it mean for Tanzania attracting such a huge single investment? According to the Acting Executive Director of Tanzania Investment Centre (TIC), Mr Raymond Mbilinyi, the massive investment is expected to create 400 permanent employments.
“This investment will help boost the economy of the Southern regions and the whole country at large,” he told members of the media when visiting the project recently. Explaining on the importance of the investment expected to be completed after eighteen months, Mr Mbilinyi said that apart from creating employment, the factory will stimulate other investments in the Southern parts of the country.
“Statistics shows that we had a cement deficit of one million tonnes by 2011, so this investment will help solve this problem,” he said. It is also expected that Tanzania will be a net exporter of the cement in two years as fully supported by the projected strong demand from its neighbour countries of Burundi, Rwanda and East Democratic Republic of Congo, (DRC).
He noted that it is conducive investment climate created by the government and the private sector that has attracted Dangote Group to come in Tanzania. The investor has interests in various parts of African continent. “The government will continue creating attractive investment climate for more potential investors and existing ones,” he noted.
On his part, the Mtwara Regional Commissioner, Mr Joseph Simbakalia, said cement is a requisite in modern construction; therefore, the coming of the factory is a blessing for people in Southern parts of the country.
“This investment adds up to what Mtwara will hugely contribute to the nation’s coffers,” he said, referring to gas deposits available in the region.
As the Mtwara RC is explaining, one can see what this new investment will mean to the region that is relatively backward compared to its Northern counterparts. It is no secret that this region has been lagging behind in many aspects; but this is going to end soon.
The Dangote soil expert, Mr John Olalokun, said that they have already done a thorough investigation and concluded that the region has enough raw materials needed for producing enough cement. “We will do our best for this Southern regions and the whole country at large,” he noted.
TIC deserves a lot of commendation for working tirelessly to promote and facilitate investors in the country. By attracting an investor of Dangote Group caliber, the government agency working with other stakeholders is making the country proud.
This supports the government’s Integrated Industrial Strategy (2011) that is promoting diversification, productivity, and competitiveness driven by technology, innovations and human skills. It also supports the government’s implementation of the nation’s Five Year Development Plan which seeks to achieve industrialization, increase employment, and increase Foreign Direct Investment in to the country among others.
This investment also shows the confidence that investors still have toward efforts that the government of Tanzania is taking to improve the investment climate. Recent report shows that Tanzania noted the growth of FDI inflows totaling 1,095 USD in 2011 contrary to the decline experienced by Africa overall 2011 inflows.
It is no secret that the coming of Dangote Group will boost the nation’s economic activities; for the cement industry sector contributes to the development of the important infrastructural facilities needed to speed up economic development of any country in the world.
Cement product is more useful to enable the construction go on. Construction of structures such as residential properties, commercial buildings, hospitals, fibre optic cables, service centres and others need cement; so the more availability of the material the more that can help accelerate the rate of development, hence the country’s development. We have every reason, as a nation, to welcome Dangote Group and other investors.