Business mogul, Aliko Dangote, has made a firm undertaking to invest US$1.5 billion in the energy sector in Zimbabwe, a close aide has said.
Dangote is the founder of the Dangote Group, a Nigerian multinational industrial conglomerate, which is the largest in Africa. The group is one of the leading diversified business conglomerates in Africa and employs over 26,000 people.
A technical team of engineers and geologists is already in the country ahead of the visit by Dangote, who is expected in the country in the next few days. “It is a clear and firm endorsement of the new political dispensation. What I can tell you is that Mr Dangote is back,” said Zanu-PF parliamentary aspirant, Josey Mahachi,. “I am not at liberty to discuss about the past and what stalled the previous initiatives but I can assure you that the man is serious about investing in the country.”
She said the technical team currently in the country was expected to compile a report, which will give guidance on the specific investments to be undertaken in the country. “For now, he is focusing on coal mining and power generation. Cement production will come later,” Mahachi said.
Sources said Dangote’s team was frustrated by bureaucratic bungling by previous government officials. Buy Zimbabwe executive director Munyaradzi Hwengere, who was part of the team that welcomed Dangote’s technical team, expressed confidence that the Nigerian billionaire would set up shop in Zimbabwe.
Hwengwere said investment in power generation would go a long way in reducing the country’s import bill. Information obtained from the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development shows that Zimbabwe hosts large reserves of coal in the lower Karoo rocks of the middle Zambezi Basin and the Save-Limpopo basin.
Dangote is believed to be eyeing a number of investment projects in the Southern Africa region. His return to Zimbabwe comes after Tanzania awarded a coal mining licence to his group as part of plans to lure Dangote Cement, which is Africa’s leading cement producer with operations in 10 African countries and revenues of US$2 billion in 2016.