Africa’s richest man, Nigerian billionaire Aliko Dangote, plans to spend US$ 350m to build a new cement plant in Niger as part of a continent-wide drive to boost output, he said following a meeting with the country’s president. Dangote Cement, Africa’s largest cement producer, is targeting production of 55 million tonnes by 2016 and said last year it was investing $5bn to build cement plants on the African continent. Dangote met with President Issoufou Mahamadou in the capital Niamey. “I announced to the head of state my intention to build a cement plant worth $350m which will produce 1.5 million tonnes (annually),” Dangote told journalists following the meeting. “The realisation of this project will create 6 000 to 7 000 jobs,” he added. He said the plant would produce its own electricity with an anticipated surplus to be used to bolster Niger’s currently unreliable power output.
Dangote Cement has previously said it planned ventures in countries including Cameroon, Ethiopia, Zambia, Tanzania, Senegal and South Africa. And last month Kenya’s government announced the company would invest $400m to build a plant there. Niger currently has just one cement plant, built in 1964, with a capacity of 40 000 tonnes. It launched the construction of a new 540 000tonne plant in 2011 under a joint venture between the state and private investors. Construction, initially scheduled to last two years, has yet to be completed.