To reaffirm its status as the biggest cement producer in Africa, Dangote Cement has set the pace with the exportation of 27,800 metric tonnes of clinker to a neighbouring African country.
“With this historic maiden voyage from its Export Terminal located in Apapa Port, Lagos weekend, Dangote has gradually made Nigeria, which until recently was one of the world’s largest bulk importers of cement, first self-sufficient in cement production, and now an exporter of cement clinker to other countries,” a statement by Dangote said on Monday.
The company is expected to increase the quantity of clinker export to other African countries within the next few weeks, it was further learnt.
It said this development would enable Dangote Cement to take advantage of the African Continental Free Trade Area, and by so doing contribute to the improvement of intra-regional trade within the ECOWAS region.
Meanwhile, the Manufacturing Association of Nigeria has commended Dangote Cement for leading the way for Nigeria to become one of the biggest cement and clinker exporters in the world.
Speaking during the departure of the ship conveying clinker from the Export Terminal at the weekend, Dangote’s Group Executive Director, Sada Ladan-Baki, said the increased exportation of clinker and cement to other African countries would not only place Dangote Cement among top clinker exporters in the world but would also boost Nigeria’s foreign exchange earnings and reduce unemployment in the country.
Ladan-Baki said, “The beauty of what we have done is that we are going to be generating foreign exchange for the country in terms of dollars and euros. For every batch of clinker we export, the money comes back to Nigeria. The amount we are talking about is not small.
“Presently, Dangote Cement should either be number one or number two exporter of cement in Africa and the revenue we have generated in the form of foreign exchange is running into millions.
“Today, we have formally launched the Dangote Cement Export Terminal. We are still going to do another major launch when the second ship is going out of the country.”
Ladan-Baki recalled that only a few years ago, Nigeria was one of the world’s largest bulk importers of cement, adding, “Dangote has gradually made Nigeria self-sufficient in cement production as well as an exporter of clinker to other countries.”
He disclosed that the company would also be launching its export terminal in Onne in the next few days and that the export terminal would enable the company export clinker, initially to its grinding facility in Cameroon and then to new grinding plants the company is building across West Africa.
He explained that not only would this generate useful foreign currency for Dangote Cement to support other expansion projects outside Nigeria, it would also help to increase the output of the Nigerian plants.
Ladan-Baki said: “This terminal will assist Dangote to actualise the full potential of the company’s investment in cement. You know as usual when the rain comes, sales decline, but not clinker export. This feat by Dangote is going to generate a lot of jobs because the export terminal has already created jobs for many Nigerians.
“As of now, the numbers of employed Nigerians at the terminal have reached 100. We are targeting about 200 to 300 workers in the Lagos terminal alone. But, apart from job creation opportunities, the exportation of clinker by Dangote will position the country to participate fully in the Africa Free Trade Liberalisation Agreement when it comes into being so that Nigeria will be protected against foreign products.
“It will also help the country compete effectively with every country that are in the business of exportation of clinker. At Dangote Cement, we are going about it aggressively and we are seeing it as an opportunity.”