Nigerian billionaire Aliko Dangote says his group will set up an integrated cement plant in Zimbabwe which will be bigger than all his plants. “We will make cement available”, he said. “Any country we visit means, ‘Yes, we’ve made a decision to invest, ‘” Dangote told journalists in Harare.
It was “a very, very good meeting with the president”, Dangote said, according to AFP.
Dangote met government ministers and Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Dangote Cement Plc, Africa’s largest producer of the building material, cut prices in its home market of Nigeria in an attempt to boost cement consumption and compete with imports.
Responding to questions on when his group’s Zimbabwe cement plant would be built, Dangote said much rests on how quickly relevant permits would be issued.
Construction could begin as soon as the first quarter of 2016, according to EconomicTimes.
The government has halved its economic growth target for this year to 1.5 percent, blaming a scorching drought that has hit the key agriculture sector.
The country has lagged behind neighbours like Mozambique and Zambia in attracting foreign investment but said last month it had approved $971 million in foreign investments in the first half of the year versus $555 million a year ago.
Zimbabwe’s economy has collapsed since Mugabe’s land reforms of 2002, which broke the country’s agricultural backbone. He said the company plans to bring the latest and the most suitable technologies to Africa and work on transferring skills to local workers.
Zimbabwe is abandoning its indigenization policy, which requires foreigners to cede 51 percent shares in their companies to blacks. NewZimbabwe.com reports the comments of former Finance Minister Tendai Biti, who reportedly said that he knows Aliko Dangote personally and that ‘(h)e is not going to pour billions into an economy that is as dysfunctional, as dishonest and as broken down as that of Zimbabwe’. While the billionaire has interests ranging from sugar to oil, the majority of his investments outside Nigeria have been focused on cement.