Positive response from Dangote
AFRICA’s richest man, Mr Aliko Dangote, has invited a team of Zimbabwean officials for crunch talks to finalise agreements on the proposed multi-billion dollar investments that the billionaire intends to set up here, The Sunday Mail has established.
The Zimbabwean delegation has hinted it is ready to meet Mr Dangote in Lagos, Nigeria during the third week of February where they will finalise discussions on the billionaire’s interest in setting-up a 1,5 million tonne per annum cement manufacturing facility, a coal mine and a power plant in Zimbabwe.
The projects are valued at US$1,2 billion with US$500 million being poured into cement making, US$400 million into electricity generation, and US$300 million targeted for coal mining. The Sunday Mail last week gathered that the meeting which was initially scheduled for this month has been moved to February owing to Mr Dangote’s unavailability.
During the visit, Zimbabwe is also seeking host an investment conference in Nigeria, which is Africa’s biggest economy, where top level Nigerian investors will interface and get an appraisal on investment opportunities available locally.
Secretary in the Ministry of Investment Promotion Dr Desire Sibanda will lead the delegation which will also include officials from the Ministries of Mines and Mining Development; Finance and Economic Development; Zimbabwe Investment Authority, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and the Zimbabwe Geological Survey.
The Zimbabwe-Nigeria Invest- ment meeting seeks to broaden the scope of the investment visit to include other opportunities available in the context of Inter-Africa Trade and Investment.
While Dangote Group has already agreed to meet the Zimbabwean delegation, officials on both sides are drawing up exact dates for the meetings, the agenda and the visit’s itinerary.
Already, Dangote Group has set up Dangote Cement Zimbabwe, which is operating under Dangote Zimbabwe holding company, and has secured an investment license and registered with the Registrar of Companies.
Dr Sibanda recently wrote to Dangote Industry Limited Strategist, Ms Rumbidzai Sibanda accepting the invitation.
Dr Sibanda further proposed a partnership between the Zimbabwean Government and Dangote Group in hosting the investment conference.
Reads the letter in part: “Reference is made to your response to our letter requesting to meet the Dangote Group, assuring us that you are expediting securing the dates for the visit.
“The third week of February will suit us perfectly well but we wait to hear from you on the exact dates.
“We are also proposing holding a Zimbabwe-Nigeria Investment meeting alongside the Dangote Group visit to broaden the scope of the investment visit to include other opportunities available in the context of Inter-Africa Trade and Investment.
“The Zimbabwe-Nigeria/ Dangote Group Investment meeting will present other opportunities in the context of the new Special Economic Zones, explain the incentives available and the role of our Ministry and ZIA in facilitating such investment.
“Please feel free to suggest other areas which would be of interest to the Dangote Group and the Nigerian Investors.
“We are coming with an inclusive delegation to cover other investment areas. In the meantime, may you also propose the programme for the visit.
“We are adequately preparing for this important visit, please feel free to also propose other sectors of interest to the Dangote Group to be included in the discussions.”
Responding to the communication via email Ms Sithole said: “Thank you for your communication which was well received.
“We are working on trying to secure a date for the delegation to visit. We will be in touch over the next few weeks to communicate the timing.
“Please accept the assurances of our highest regards.”
The developments follow recent Government’s actions that have breathed fresh momentum into the Dangote deals.
Government has already resolved legal and technical obstacles around ease of setting up and doing business that had stalled progress on the project.
Mr Dangote had made specific requests that include exemptions from specific legal and regulatory conditions required to set up a business in Zimbabwe.
The projects are now set to take off the ground after Government met its side of the bargain by setting aside some of the stringent legal and regulatory requirement that constrained the proposed investments.
Investment Promotion Minister Dr Obert Mpofu said last week: “I have appointed Dr Sibanda to head the delegation to meet with Dangote.
“The team he leads will include other high level officials from relevant ministries and the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe as well.
“This time we are not only going to discuss about the Dangote deals but also host an investment conference where will sell investment opportunities to other Nigerian investors.”
The billionaire investor visited Zimbabwe in August, 2015 and met President Mugabe at State House where he expressed interest in investing here.
Dangote Group has interests in manufacturing and power generation.