President Muhammadu Buhari and his Tanzanian counterpart, Dr. Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, have hailed businessman Aliko Dangote for stimulating African economy through his investments.
Dangote’s investments, the two leaders said, were sustaining the continent’s economic stability and standard of living.
They spoke at the inauguration of Dangote Cement’s $600 million plant in Mtwara, Tanzania as well as the groundbreaking of a 26-hectare jetty.
The cement plant was described as the largest in East and Central Africa and the largest single investment in Tanzania.
He described the three million metric tonnes per annum (mtpa) cement plant as the largest in the eastern and Central Africa.
The Tanzanian president noted that the investment would have a huge impact as well as bilateral relation between his country and Nigeria.
“It will go a long way in transforming our happily existing diplomatic and political relations into investment and trade arena,” he noted.
Kikwete added that the timing of the cement plant’s establishment was “very auspicious”, coming at a time when the demand for cement was on the upsurge locally and regionally.
His words: “It is logical that there is a sound relationship between economic growth and booming of the construction sector, whereby cement is a critical input. Tanzania is one of the countries where such relationship can easily be traced.”
Kikwete, who said Tanzania was attracting more investment, added that it has registered an average growth of seven per cent.
He said the country was one of the top 10 fastest growing economies in Africa.
Buhari, who was represented by Kaduna State Governor Nasir El-Rufai, said Dangote was a key role player in the Africa’s economic development.
The president added that the businessman’s investment model was in tandem with his government’s economic policy.
He said Dangote taught the continent the need to adopt an economic integration policy to encourage Africans to invest on their continent “rather than waiting for the elusive foreigners to come and help invest and develop Africa”.
Buhari added that Dangote had proved a point that though there could be challenges, “there are huge returns for African investment in Africa”.
“Others should emulate him and partner with the government on the onerous task of job creation. As our son, we are proud of Dangote. Nigeria is very proud of him,” the president said.
The Federal Government, he said, was placing an emphasis on job creation.
Buhari noted that it would work assiduously to achieve the plan to create a million jobs.
He hailed the government and people of Tanzania for “providing the enabling environment that makes business to thrive, even to non-indigenes”.
Dangote said the “key factor that drives investments in an economy is the presence of an investor-friendly business climate”.
He noted that Tanzania was one of the most attractive investment destinations in Africa.
The businessman added that was attested to by the substantial amount of Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) that flows into the country yearly.
The cement plant, he said, was part of the company’s African expansion drive.
The Tanzanian plant is the fourth plant to be commissioned after Ethiopia, Zambia and the Cameroon plants.
The Dangote Group now has cement operations in 18 African countries and it plans to commission its cement plants in Senegal and South Africa before the end of this year.