By OLUSHOLA BELLO, Lagos
Dangote Cement Plc, with presence in 10 Africa countries, has contributed and still contributing to economic development on the continent. .The company has a mission to help Nigeria and other African countries towards self-reliance and self-sufficiency in the production of the world’s most basic commodity, by establishing efficient production facilities in strategic locations close to key growth markets.
Recently, the company’s huge investment has been described as one of the major contributors to the development of the Senegalese economy. Besides, the Cement plant located in Pout, 60 kilometers away from Dakar, has greatly assisted in strengthening the business relationship between Senegal and Nigeria.
Dangote Cement Senegal currently holds a capacity of 1.5 million tonnes per year, producing higher quality cement to meet the country’s demand as well exporting to neighbouring countries around Senegal.
Charge D’Affaires, Embassy of Nigeria, Senegal, Mr. A.K Zanna, who spoke on the contributions of Dangote Cement’s investment in Senegal at his office in Dakar recently, called on Dangote and other interested investors to explore the investment opportunities available in the Senegalese Salt Mining and Real Estate industry.
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According to him, Dangote’s Cement investment in Senegal is contributing significantly to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), through its export revenue from neighbouring countries and social investments in the country. “I think the company has done a lot in strengthening the existing relationship between Nigeria and Senegal,” he added.
Zanna stated that, “as one of the biggest foreign investors in the Senegalese economy, Dangote Cement is contributing significantly to the country’s economic development. We are proud to associate with the company as a Nigerian brand. The company has done a lot in Senegal since its establishment in 2015. It has created huge employment for the Senegalese; it has created both direct and indirect employment opportunities for many people in Senegal.”
He said Dangote Cement is contributing significantly to the relationship between Nigeria and Senegal.
“Unfortunately, most of the trade relations between Nigeria and Senegal are in the informal sector. However, with the way things are going, there is going to be improvement in economic activities between both countries. Already, we have two Nigerian banks operating in Senegal. And Many Nigerian companies have signified interests in investing in the Senegalese economy. This will further improve the business relationship between the two countries,” he said.
The Envoy also commended the company for contributing to the well- being of its host and surrounding communities in Pout, Senegal, saying, “Dangote is involved in corporate social responsibilities programmes. The company has done a lot for the communities where it is located. The company’s community development in Senegal is assisting the government’s responsibilities to its citizens.
“I know that the company has built maternity clinics, health centres, schools, awarded scholarships to students, and created avenue for poverty eradication in the country. The company is also fully involved in women empowerment. Dangote Cement’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programmes are having direct positive impact on the host communities. So, by extension, the company is shouldering some of the responsibilities of the Senegalese government.”
He also urged investors from Nigeria to invest in Senegalese Real Estate industry, adding that, “Senegal is becoming a vibrant economy and the country building a new city at Diaminadio.
“There is opportunity for investment in real estate in the Senegalese economy. Apart from that, maybe by 2023, Senegal will start production of crude oil and many opportunities will be available for Nigerians with technical expertise in the oil sector.”
Country manager, Dangote Cement, Senegal, Luk Haelterman, attributed the success of the company in Senegal in the past five years to the company’s investment in quality production and introduction of what is commonly referred to as the ‘Senegallisation’ policy.
According to him, the company’s introduction of 42.5-degree brand of cement to the major market in Senegal upon entry has enabled the company gain the desired market share in the country.
He stated that, “the success of Dangote Cement is coming from quality planning based merely on the improvement on the quality of cement to 42.5R that was not available everywhere and certainly not to everybody at affordable price in Senegal. Introducing this into the market was a guarantee for us to gain the market share that we needed.
“Secondly, without any doubt, is the creation of a very good team spirit and passionate involvement in aiming at continuous improvement towards excellence. When we entered the market, it was characterised by 32.5-grade cement. We supplied 42.5-grade cement at affordable price. Putting up quality gave us a chance to enter the market.”
Haelterman also disclosed that Dangote Cement Senegal has developed a culture of supporting local employees and prioritising local hiring, which allows local country employees have the necessary knowledge, experience, and support to take up key roles within the company.
He said the policy aims to gradually reduce the number of expatriates employed by the business by enhancing the skills and capacity of Senegalese employees to take up leadership positions.
“We have ensured that our image has been aligned with two key principles from day one: maintaining high quality, and taking a local approach in everything that we do,” he said.
Dangote Cement is a subsidiary of Dangote Industries Limited, a diversified and fully integrated conglomerate as well as a leading brand across Africa in businesses such as cement, sugar, salt, beverages, and real estate, with new multi-billion dollar projects underway in the oil and gas, petrochemical, fertiliser and agricultural sectors.
Dangote Cement operates three cement plants in Benue, Kogi and Ogun states, with a combined production capacity of 29.25 million tonnes per annum. The firm holds the largest market share in Nigeria. Dangote Cement also operates in at least nine other African countries, including South Africa, Ethiopia, Cameroon, Tanzania, Congo, Ghana, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Zambia, where it has another 12.3 million tonnes capacity a year.