ZIMBABWE – Africa’s richest man Mr Aliko Dangote is expected back in Zimbabwe in the next few weeks to follow up on US$1,2 billion worth of investment proposals he tabled in August 2015.
The Sunday Mail has established that Mr Dangote has earmarked US$500 million for cement manufacturing, US$400 million for power generation and US$300 million for coal mining.
Bids show that the cement plant will have capacity to produce 1,5 million tonnes yearly, with the power station adding 250MW to the national electricity grid.
Experts from the Nigerian tycoon’s holding company — Dangote Holdings — are winding up data analysis and will draw up feasibility studies.
Mr Dangote’s company has since secured an investment licence and registered with the Registrar of Companies as Dangote Zimbabwe Holdings Pvt Limited.
In an interview with The Sunday Mail, businessman Mr Jide Agbeniyi, who with his wife Ms Josey Mahachi, engineered Mr Dangote’s first visit to Zimbabwe, said the investment plans were surging forward.
“Mr Dangote’s plans to investment in Zimbabwe are still intact. In fact, there is a lot going on behind the scenes. We are actually finalising the dates when the team will come back into the country. His team is preparing to come. So, it will either be end of this week, or the start of next month.
“Geologists and other experts who visited the country after Mr Dangote are working on data they gathered here. When they came to Zimbabwe, they were given information on potential sites for the projects by the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development.’’
Mr Agbeniyi also said, “When he came to Zimbabwe, Mr Dangote gave specific timelines, saying the cement plant should be up and running before the end of the first quarter of 2016. We are still working towards that plan and are not behind in any way. Mr Dangote is a top businessman, not an entertainer. He didn’t come here for a comic show, but came to do business.”
Zimbabwe Investment Authority chief executive Mr Richard Mubaiwa said his office was constantly in touch with Mr Dangote’s team.
“As an investment authority, we keep track of all investment proposals and I can confirm without doubt that the Dangote proposal is still on. I am in constant contact with the chief strategist, Mr Abdu Mukhtar, and he has been informing me that his team will return to the country soon.
“We are hoping to host them anytime from now. So far, they have not encountered any hurdles that they have communicated to us. We granted them the investment licence for their company and everything is in order.”
Mr Mubaiwa added: “Some people have been saying that the cement investment is not necessary because we already have enough cement manufacturing companies here. This is ignorance of the highest order! We are going to need more cement as a serious construction boom is taking place.
“We have major road projects underway and all these need cement. Government is also implementing its housing programme and this is going to need lots and lots of cement as well. Moreover, some of the cement has been earmarked for export to Zambia.”
Mr Dangote – ranked 67 on the Forbes World’s Richest Men List – first visited Zimbabwe in August after TV host Ms Mahachi encouraged him to consider investing in the Southern African country.
During his visit, the billionaire met President Mugabe at State House where he laid the groundwork for major investments.
In September, authorities set up the Inter-Agency Platform – co-ordinated by the Office of the President and Cabinet – to handle these investments.