Leaders of Nigeria’s private sector along with public sector players converged yesterday in Ethiopia as Dangote Cement Plc officially opened its new plant in the country.
The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele; Managing Director of First Bank of Nigeria Limited, Mr. Stephen Olabisi Onasanya; Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State; Chairman of Forte Oil Plc, Mr. Femi Otedola; and Managing Director of Access Bank Plc, Mr. Herbert Wigwe, were among the many captains of industry who graced the opening of the 2.5 million metric tonnes cement plant in the Oromia region, Ethiopia.
Speaking at the ceremony, the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Mr. Ato Hailemariam Desalegn, who led other government officials from the country, commended Africa’s richest man and President of Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote for the timely completion of the factory, stating: “I give you my word that I will be personally supporting this project and all your other projects in the future.”
The prime minister praised Ethiopia’s rapid economic development, crediting the unprecedented growth of the nation’s economy to the inflow of massive foreign investments to the country.
“Within a short time, we have become one of the fastest growing economies in the world, yet we have only just scratched the surface.
“The amount of foreign investment entering the country will continue to increase, taking advantage of the comparative and competitive edge that Ethiopia provides,” Desalegn said.
Also speaking at the event, Emefiele said the Dangote initiative underscores the importance of fostering intra-Africa investments.
He stated: “Africans must first and foremost invest in Africa. We need to promote a symbiotic and mutually beneficial flow of direct investments within the continent.
“The recent endeavours of Alhaji Aliko Dangote confirm that Africans have the capacity to drive the continent’s economic integration, growth and development, rather than depend almost entirely on foreign investors.”
He hailed Dangote for braving the odds and increasing investment across the continent at a time the regional economy of sub-Saharan Africa and the economies of the constituent countries seem to be slowing down due largely to the impact of exogenous global shocks.
In his remarks, Dangote said the company is currently simultaneously setting up new cement plants and terminals across 16 African countries including Ethiopia, in pursuit of the long term target of becoming one of the world’s biggest cement producers.
According to Dangote, “We believe that manufacturing and not trading is the best way to grow an economy. This event which we are witnessing today attests to the fact that we took the right decision when we decided to transit from a trading company in our home country Nigeria into manufacturing in 1996.
“It might interest you to know that we are now not only self-sufficient in cement production in Nigeria where Dangote accounts for over 60 per cent of the market, we now also export cement.”
He noted that his company was also investing substantially in other sectors of the economy such as agriculture, oil and gas, petroleum refining, fertiliser production and petrochemicals, adding, “In all, we have 13 subsidiaries in Nigeria and we are investing about $16 billion between now and 2018 in new projects and existing plants.”
Dangote said the Ethiopian plant was his company’s sixth offshore plant that has commenced operation in Africa, identifying the other countries as Senegal, Cameroun, Ghana, South Africa, and Zambia.
Reports Afrique – culled from http://reportsafrique.com/2015/06/nigerian-ceos-converge-on-ethiopia-as-dangote-opens-500m-cement-plant-2/