Dangote Cement Plc has rolled out products from its $300 million Cement Plant in Senegal amid excitement by the country’s government on the prospect of direct employment for about 5,000 locals by the company.
The establishment of the cement plant by Dangote is said to be the single largest investment in Senegal by an African and the Senegalese government promised to protect the company to achieve its optimal production capacity.
Both the Nigerian ambassador to the Republic of Senegal, Katyen Jackden, and Senegal’s director of Mines, Ousmane Cisse, commended the doggedness of the chairman of Dangote Cement in seeing the plant through despite various setbacks.
Speaking in Dakar, the country’s capital, during a ceremony to announce the formal commencement of production at the plant, the Senegalese director said the government of Senegal was happy with Dangote as the single largest investor in the country and urged other African entrepreneurs to emulate his business acumen.
The new plant located in Pout district of Senegal, about 75 kilometres east of Dakar, has a nominal capacity to produce 4,000 metric tonnes per day and 1.2 metric tonnes per annum. The plant is expected to create more than 5,000 jobs, with a total production capacity of 1.5 million tonnes annually.
The Nigerian ambassador explained that Dangote had through his investments in African countries built bridges of friendship across nations, fostering unity and integration among African countries.
She lauded Dangote for making Nigeria proud with the commencement of production, noting that Dangote Cement has been instantly accepted in the market because of its high quality.
“Dangote has proved a worthy Nigerian ambassador in business,” she affirmed.
Ambassador Jackden used the opportunity to thank the Senegalese government and its people for the support and opportunity given to a foreign investor like Aliko Dangote, who has been able to bring cohesion among African nations with his investments.
In his address of welcome, Luk Haelterman, the country head of Dangote Cement, said the firm offered the best choice for consumers as it is the only 42.5 grade high quality cement available in the Senegalese market, adding that the commencement of production would boost the housing sub-sector of the Senegalese building industry.
Haelterman noted that the entrance of Dangote cement into the Senegalese market had altered the equation in the cement market as the company had targeted the exportation of the product to Mali to the tune of two million tonnes while the sale of the product in other neighbouring countries are also being considered.
He said: ‘’Senegal with a population of 14 million people is a market with an ever growing demand for cement because quite a lot of constructions are going on. There were two existing cement plants before Dangote came on board but, today, Dangote has become the biggest and best because we remain the only company producing the 42.5R, which is better than what we met on ground, which is the 32.5R”.
Making a presentation on the occasion, the director of Sales and Marketing, Serigne M. Dieng, said that Senegal, with 14 million people and a growing GDP of +4 percent by 2013, had cement market of three metric tonnes per annum and consumption rate of 230kg.
He expressed satisfaction that Dangote Cement was accepted immediately it got to the market because of the aggressive awareness strategy embarked upon by the company to introduce the 42.5 grade which was not known to the majority of cement customers, except few corporate customers.
Also, Athanasios Bampos, chief operating officer of the plant, said the location of the factory was not only rich in limestone but also in clay and laterite, the major components needed in cement manufacturing.
‘’The only other component Dangote Cement plants import, gypsium, is being sold by a local firm, ICS Chemical Company, which is about 45 kilometres from the factory,’’ he said.