ZIMBABWE – PLAYERS in the cement production sector are reportedly panicking over the presence of Aliko Dangote, the richest man in Africa who is in Zimbabwe for a two-day investment scouting mission.
Dangote is ranked by Forbes Magazine as the 67th richest person in the world in 2014 surpassing Saudi-Ethiopian billionaire Mohammed Hussein Al Amoudi in 2013 by over $2.6 billion to become the world’s richest person of African descent. Dangote is into sugar, refinery and cement manufacturing among other interests.
Cement companies like Larfage, SINO-Zimbabwe and PPC Zimbabwe are the major cement manufacturing companies in Zimbabwe. Although huge commercial construction has somewhat lulled due to the depressed economic environment, the surge in housing construction and roads maintenance in Harare and some cities has ensure that the cement industry remained afloat.
However, the coming on board of Dangote into the Zimbabwean market has rattled some traditional players who were said to have been holding meetings to strategise on plausible ways of remaining competitive.
Minister of Economic Planning and Investment Promotion Simon Khaya Moyo confirmed the visit by the Nigerian business mogul who he said was schedule to hold meetings with government and some business people in the private sector.
“Yes, he is in the country and will meet with both private and public sector players. He is scouting for investment opportunities in the country,” said Khaya Moyo.
Khaya Moyo said Dangote was seeking opportunities of partnering with certain key public institutions like the National Railways of Zimbabwe and Air Zimbabwe and also plans to establish a cement plant in the Midlands province.
Zimbabwe has recently embarked on charm-offence crusade to try and lure foreign direct investment following the failure of most of its policies to revive the economy. However, investors are still skeptical of the Indigenization law which is viewed not friendly to potential investors.