I didn’t think Kenya would be more corrupt than Nigeria: Why Dangote Dropped Plans To Set Up Multi-Billion Plant In Kenya


Africa’s richest man, Nigerian tycoon Aliko Dangote net worth is estimated to be US$ 19.2 billion, that’s according to the official Bloomberg Billionaires Index website.

The tycoon who turned 65 in April is the CEO of Dangote group, a conglomerate that has grown tentacles into manufacturing, food processing, telecommunication, real estate and banking.

His cement Pan-African investment has the capacity to produce over 50 million tonnes and has bases in more than 10 African countries in sub-Sahara Africa. These countries include: Nigeria, South Africa, Senegal, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Zambia, Tanzania, Congo Brazzavile, Sierra Leone, Togo and Ghana.

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Despite being a continental economic powerhouse, Kenya misses out of the list. This is contrary to reports by the industrialization ministry that the Nigerian entrepreneur had been given a nod for prospecting limestone in Kitui County. This was part of Dangote’s $ 1.4 billion partnership with a Chinese company called Sinoma International Engineering that would see Dangote cement expand in various countries across Africa.

According to celebrated journalist Jeff Koinange, Dangote informed him that some corrupt government officials frustrated his plan to set up a firm in Kenya as they demanded ‘kickbacks’. Koinange revealed details of his conversation with Dangote in 2018 after he attended his (Dangote’s) daughter wedding.

I asked him, ‘Al Hajj when are you coming back to Kenya?’ and he said ‘Jeff, there are people in that place (Kenya) who put greed and personal interest ahead of national interest. I didn’t think Kenya would be more corrupt that Nigerians,” Jeff revealed in one of his radio shows.

The Growth of Dangote Cement 

According to Dangote Cement’s official website, the company was founded in 1981, just a few years after Dangote had  began trading in various household products such as sugar, flour, salt and pasta. In its maiden days, Dangote Cement operated two termini in Nigeria’s Port Harcourt and Appa for importation and distribution of cement.

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In 1990’s the company became a fully fledged integrated manufacturing plant and acquired Benue Cement Factory from the Federal Government in 2000. Two years later, Dangote acquired another industry, the Obajana Cement PLC. By 2007, Obajana Cement plant had a capacity of producing 5 million tonnes of cement annually.

In 2010, Obajana and Benue Cement were merged and renamed Dangote Cement PLC. It is this same year that Dangote Cement was listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange.

Expansion Into Africa 

Because Africa is gradually expanding, the idea of Dangote’s expansion was to tap into the high demand for cement across the continent. Over the last 10 years, Dangote Cement has risen to unprecedented levels and below are some of its subsidiaries in various countries and their estimated annual outputs.

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  • Ghana – 1 mllion tonnes
  • South Africa – Two industries with total output of 4.5  million tonnes
  • Senegal – 1.5 million tonnes
  • Cameroon – 1.5 million tonnes
  • Ethiopia – 2.5 million tonnes
  • Zambia – 1.5 million tonnes
  • Congo Brazzavile – 1.5 million tonnes
  • Tanzania – 3 million tonnes
  • Sierra Leone – 0.7 million import terminal.
  • Togo – 1.5 million tonnes
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