Zambia seeks billionaire, Aliko Dangote’s support to develop the country’s Agricultural Sector

PHOTO Credit: Benedicte Kurzen/NOOR

The Zambian government has approached Africa’s richest man and President of Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote pleading for support for the development of the country’s agricultural sector through the establishment of fertiliser plant in the country.
Minister of Commerce and Industry, Zambia, Mr. Chipoka Mulenga, made the request at the weekend, when he led the country’s delegation on a tour of the three million metric tonnes per annum Dangote Fertiliser plant in Lagos, calling for a collaboration between Dangote Group and the Zambian Government on the establishment of fertiliser plant in the southern African country.
According to a statement issued Sunday by the Dangote Group, Mulenga expressed belief that any investment in fertiliser production would not only help the country to be self-sufficient in food production, but would also help to grow the Zambian economy as well as that of the neighbouring countries.

Noting that the country’s fertiliser consumption had increased tremendously in the last few years and had continued to increase, the minister expressed happiness that Zambia no longer has to go outside of Africa to seek investors.
Mulenga maintained that Dangote had been able to change the narratives through his investment in cement production across Africa, stating that Africans are now investing in the continent.
Pointing out that Dangote had already established the biggest cement plant in Zambia, the minister noted that Dangote Cement Zambia had a remarkable portfolio and was bringing positive change to the cement industry, not only in the Southern African country but to other neigbouring countries.

He said the Zambian Government had created an enabling environment and introduced incentives capable of attracting local and foreign investments in all sectors of the economy.
Mulenga said, “The Zambian government in the last budget made some pronouncements which focus on value addition, industrialisation, skill enhancement and development. We have a huge youthful population who are ready to work if given the opportunity to be productive.
“Rather than continue to import fertiliser from anywhere, we want Aliko Dangote to come and establish plant in Zambia. The country’s fertiliser consumption has increased tremendously in the last few years and has continued to increase.
“I am happy that we no longer have to go outside of Africa to seek investors. Dangote has been able to change the narratives through his investment in cement production across Africa.  We now have Africans investing in the Africa continent.
“Dangote has already established the biggest cement plant in Zambia. Dangote Cement Zambia has a remarkable portfolio and is bringing positive change to the cement industry, not only in Zambia, but also to other neigbouring countries.”

He described Zambia as Africa’s new investment destination because of its stable political system, stable macroeconomic environment and investment protection guarantees, adding that Zambia was strong in agriculture and even seeking to become stronger through having its own fertiliser plant.
Mulenga, however, commended Dangote for investing massively in fertiliser production in Nigeria, saying, “This could only happen because the company put the right people, right leadership, right technical skills and the right management in place to have such a remarkable result.

“This fertiliser plant is not only serving the needs of Nigeria, but also attracting foreign exchange into the continent.

“This is a good demonstration that we can have this kind of investment in any part of Africa, which can grow and be beneficial to other countries.”

He, therefore, enjoined Nigerians to guard Dangote’s investments and other local investments in Nigeria, pleading with all Nigerians to support the investment to grow from strength to strength.

“This is amazing and we will like to have a similar investment in Zambia,” he added.

Speaking at the end of the tour, Chief Executive Officer of Dangote Fertiliser Limited, Mr. Vishwajit Sinha, said the demand for Urea fertiliser in the Nigerian market and beyond remained robust and was expected to continue to grow.

He said the $2.5 billion fertiliser complex would make Nigeria self-sufficient in fertiliser production with excess capacity exported to other African countries and the rest of the world.

“The key focus of Dangote Fertiliser has always been to cater to the growing fertiliser demand of the domestic market in Nigeria and also to work towards bringing a green revolution in the country so as to contribute towards food security for Nigeria. The surplus production after supplying the domestic market is exported,” he added.

Sinha stated that Dangote Fertiliser was positioned to take advantage of the federal government’s policy, which focuses on agriculture as one of the keys to unlock the diversification of the Nigerian economy.

“As population is increasing, food consumption is changing. Many countries’ economic progress is linked to agricultural development, which is the best form of inclusive development.

“For all the countries that I have been to, I can see the potential of agriculture in the entire value chain from the farm to the kitchen in Nigeria.

“Dangote Fertiliser has the potential to transform the entire African region. Definitely it will have a huge value on the country,” he added.

Sinha described Dangote Fertiliser plant as a company that would not only increase food-sufficiency in Nigeria, but also drastically reduce the level of unemployment and youth restiveness in the country through the generation of direct and indirect employment.

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