Dangote to Inaugurate East Africa’s Biggest Cement Factory in Ethiopia

Plans to invest on potash mine, cotton, sugarcane plantations

Africa’s richest person, Aliko Dangote, is going to inaugurate East Africa’s biggest cement factory he built in Ethiopia at a cost of 500 million dollars.

A subsidiary company of Dangote Industries Group, Dangote Cement Ethiopia PLC, built a state-of-the-art cement factory in West Shoa Zone, Adaberga wereda, near Muger town, 85 km west of Addis Ababa. The factory lies on 134 hectares plot of land has the capacity to produce 2.5 million tons of cement. Teshome Lemma, country general manager of Dangote Cement, told The Reporter that the fully automated factory is the biggest cement factory in the East African region. According to Teshome, the factory produces OPC, PPC and special cement for dam construction.

Construction commenced in March, 2012 and was completed in two years time in unmatched pace by any company in Ethiopia. This has prompted state minister of Industry Tadesse Haile to write a letter of appreciation to Dangote Cement Ethiopia some months back.

Dangote first came to Ethiopia in 2008 to venture into cement production when the Ethiopian economy was starving for cement due to a construction boom in the country. Back then the dearth of cement supply compelled the government to import the bulk product with hard earned foreign currency. This triggered the government to invite foreign and local investors to build cement factories.

Sinoma International Engineering, a giant Chinese construction firm, built the cement factory. Sinoma International is a leading cement factory construction contractor. The cement magnet, Dangote, who built cement factories in 17 African countries has personally been closely following up the progress of the construction flying his personal jet to Addis Ababa every two weeks. Surprisingly, he does not spend a night in Addis. Colleagues reckon that he only once spend a night at the Sheraton Addis after a tiring field visit to the construction site. “Usually he flies back to Nigeria the same day,” an employee of Dangote Cement Ethiopia said.

Teshome said all the machineries were procured from Germany, Sweden and Italy. “The factory has a state-of-the-art latest cement technology that is available in the world market today and it produces a world class cement that can be sold any where in the world,” Teshome told The Reporter.

Dangote Cement Ethiopia has imported mining equipment that mines the limestone and other raw materials from the quarry. It has installed automatic truck loading machines. “It is a robot that loads the cement on the trucks. We also use a robot technology to test the quality of the cement,” Teshome said.

The automated truck loading machine can load nine trucks at a time. It takes a truck only 15-20 minutes to  enter the premise of the factory, load 800 sacks of cement and leaves the compound.

“The factory is environment friendly. There is no smoke coming out of the factory as latest pollution controlling technology is applied,” Teshome said.

According to Teshome, Dangote did not take any loan from local banks to build the giant cement factory. “He brought all the money from his coffer and he gives due attention to his investment project in Ethiopia.”

Ethiopian Electric allocated 40 MW of electric power to the new cement factory. The company constructed a 57 km power transmission line all the way from Sululta town to the project site. A Bosnian power company, Energo Invest, built the transmission line while ABB of Germany erected the power substation at the factory.

Dangote Cement Ethiopia will soon begin importing 500 trucks from China that will transport cement. Six of the trucks are bulk cement carriers.

The factory will be inaugurated after three weeks in the presence of Aliko Dangote and senior Ethiopian government officials. The test production is slated for March 29-April 2. According to Teshome, the factory will start channeling its products to the local market in end of April or in early May, 2015.

“We will offer the best quality product with competitive price. So we will not face any problem in the market,” the manager said. The factory will create more than 3000 direct and in direct jobs for Ethiopian nationals.

In addition to the cement factory, Dangote Group is looking into other investment opportunities in Ethiopia. The group has shown a keen interest to engage in potash mineral exploration and development project. Currently, Dangote Group is building Petro Chemical, Fertilizer and Oil refinery in Nigeria at a total investment cost of nine billion dollars.

The group needs potash mineral for the fertilizer factory. Accordingly, the group asked the Ethiopian Ministry of Mines for potash exploration license in the Afar regional State, a region known a vast potash deposit. According to company officials, the investment group also has an interest to develop cotton and sugarcane plantations in Ethiopia. The cement mogul arrived in Addis Ababa yesterday morning for routine visit.

The group owns Dangote Cement, Africa’s biggest cement company and number one cement supplier in Africa, Dangote Sugar Refinery, Dangote Industries and Dangote Oil Services. According to Forbes magazine, Dangote is worth 15.8 billion dollars.