LAGOS, Nigeria (VOICE OF NAIJA)- The Zambian Minister of Commerce and Industry, Mr. Chipoka Mulenga, has sought the assistance of the President, Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote in the development of his country’s agricultural sector.
Chipoka Mulenga, who led a delegation from Zambia on tour of the 3.00 million metric tonnes Dangote Fertiliser plant at the weekend, called for a collaboration between Dangote Group and the Zambian government in the establishment of a fertiliser plant in the southern African country.
Mulenga expressed belief that any investment in fertiliser production will not only help the country to be self-sufficient in food production, it will also help grow the Zambian economy as well as that of the neigbouring countries.
According him, the Zambian government has created an enabling environment for local and foreign investment through great incentives to attract investment in all sectors of the economy.
“The Zambian government in the last budget made some pronouncements which focus on value addition, industrialisation, skill enhancement and development. We have a huge youthful population who are ready to work if given the opportunity to be productive,” he said.
He described Zambia as Africa’s new investment destination because of its stable political system, stable macroeconomic environment and investment protection guarantees.
He said that Zambia is strong in agriculture and even seeking to become stronger through having its own Fertiliser plant. “Rather than continue to import Fertiliser from anywhere, we want Aliko Dangote to come and establish plant in Zambia. The country’s fertiliser consumption has increased tremendously in the last few years and has continued to increase. I am happy that we no longer have to go outside of Africa to seek investors. Dangote has been able to change the narratives through his investment in cement production across Africa. We now have Africans investing in the Africa continent. Dangote has already established the biggest cement plant in Zambia. Dangote Cement Zambia has a remarkable portfolio and is bringing positive change to the cement industry, not only in Zambia, but also to other neigbouring countries,” he added.
Mulenga commended the President/CE of Dangote Group, Mr. Aliko Dangote for investing massively in fertiliser production in Nigeria. ”This could only happen because the company put the right people, right leadership, right technical skills and the right management in place to have such a remarkable result. This Fertiliser Plant is not only serving the needs of Nigeria, but also attracting foreign exchange into the continent. This is a good demonstration that we can have this kind of investment in any part of Africa, which can grow and be beneficial to other countries.”
He therefore enjoined Nigerians to guard Dangote investments and other local investments in Nigeria. “Let all Nigerians support this investment to grow from strength to strength. This is amazing and we will like to have a similar investment in Zambia.”
Speaking at the end of the tour, Chief Executive Officer of Dangote Fertiliser Limited, Mr. Vishwajit Sinha said demand for Urea fertiliser in the Nigerian market and beyond remains robust and is expected to continue to grow.
He said the $2.5 billion fertiliser complex would make Nigeria self-sufficient in fertiliser production with excess capacity exported to other African countries and the rest of the world.
“The key focus of Dangote Fertiliser has always been to cater to the growing fertiliser demand of the domestic market in Nigeria and also to work towards bringing a green revolution in the country so as to contribute towards food security for Nigeria. The surplus production after supplying the domestic market is exported,” he added.
Sinha stated that Dangote Fertiliser is positioned to take advantage of the Federal Government’s policy, which focuses on agriculture as one of the keys to unlock the diversification of the Nigerian economy.
“As population is increasing, food consumption is changing. Many countries’ economic progress is linked to agricultural development, which is the best form of inclusive development. For all the countries that I have been to, I can see the potential of agriculture in the entire value chain from the farm to the kitchen in Nigeria.
“Dangote Fertiliser has the potential to transform the entire African region. Definitely it will have a huge value on the country,” he added.
Sinha described Dangote Fertiliser plant as a company which will not only increase food-sufficiency in Nigeria, but also drastically reduce the level of unemployment and youth restiveness in the country through the generation of direct and indirect employment