Felex Share Harare Bureau
THE Dangote Group says it will start operations in Zimbabwe this year, with its chief strategist, Abdu Mukhtar, yesterday asserting that they now feel “comfortable and excited” about investing in the country.
Mukhtar said the group had been satisfied with the preliminary work carried out and was ready to roll out its projects.
As such, he said, the group’s geologists, who arrived in the country on Wednesday, would remain in the country for site visits and collection of samples for analysis ahead of the setting of a cement manufacturing plant.
Mukhtar made the remarks after meeting Acting President Emmerson Mnangagwa at his Munhumutapa offices yesterday.
“As you know, we’re part of the Dangote Group that was here a few months ago and we’re here to continue to work on the projects that we said we’re going to do in Zimbabwe,” he said.
“Everything is on track, we’re back and happy. We’ll continue to come back here this year and 2016 is going to be a very active year. We’ll be coming in and out to do all sort of things as we kick-start the projects.”
Dangote Industries Limited, which has also expressed interest in coal mining and power generation, is owned by Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote. The Forbes Magazine estimates the businessman’s net worth at more than $18 billion.
Mukhtar, who was expected to also hold a series of meetings with officials from the Office of the President and Cabinet and other senior government officials, said a lot of background work had been taking place since Dangote’s visit in August last year.
Said Mukhtar: “We’ve been doing a lot of work in the background, analysing detail, looking at all sorts of things and doing all sorts of analysis. Now we feel we’re very comfortable, so we’re here actually with experts who’ll go out into the field.
“They’ll be here for about three weeks. We’ve a very good programme where they’ll go around the sites identified for these projects.
“This visit will see samples being collected that we’ll go and analyse further and based on that we’ll start looking and zeroing in on the sites where these projects will take place. As you know, we’re talking about doing a cement plant here, we’re thinking about a power generation plant as well as coal mining.”
The government has proposed a number of sites where the company could set up the cement manufacturing plant.
Mukhtar said their commitment to invest in Zimbabwe remained high and all the planned projects were on track. “Our commitment to invest in Zimbabwe remain very high, we remain positive, very interested and excited about what we plan to do here,” said Mukhtar.
“We said a lot to the Acting President and assured him that we continue to be committed and interested in these projects. So far we’ve been getting a lot of cooperation and support from officials from the government of Zimbabwe and we’ve not had any problems.”
The Dangote Group has already registered a company with the Zimbabwe Investment Authority and has been licensed.
Dangote Group has a vast business empire that spans manufacturing, logistics and power generation in several African countries, including Zambia where it has established a $400 million cement manufacturing plant.
Dangote’s investment deals will be a major boost to the economy and they are expected to complement the mega deals Zimbabwe has sealed with China and other countries.