The attendance of Kenya’s fifth President William Ruto’s inauguration by Africa’s richest man Aliko Dangote has sent signals that the latter could be interested in investing in Kenya. Dangote is a trillionaire who had initially prospected on limestone in Kenya’s Ukambani region but his move hit headwinds due to lack of political goodwill.
In 2017, Dangote Group had rolled out plans to set up two cement plants in Nairobi and Mombasa but the conglomerate is said to have had a bumpy ride as Kenya’s officials demanded heavy kickbacks. Irked by the corrupt nature of the unnamed Kenya leaders, Dangote told journalist Jeff Koinange that it was a rude shock on him that Kenyans’ penchant for greed and selfish interests could surpass that of Nigerians. Koinange lifted the lid on the conversation he had 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,” revealed Koinange.
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But after change of guards and with the Kenya Kwanza government indicating that they will roll out multimillion projects on infrastructure and affordable housing, Dangote could receive green light to spread tentacles of Dangote Cement into Kenya. According to a reliable source, Dangote Cement’s plan was to produce up to 3 million tonnes of cement in Kenya. This would make it the second largest cement producer in Kenya after Bamburi which produces approximately 3.2 million tonnes of cement.
Dangote’s 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.
Earlier this year, Dangote set up a multibillion fertiliser factory in Nigeria. This could also be another channel of the tycoon’s investment into Kenya given the government’s commitment to lowering the price of fertiliser amid high prices and shortages of the commodity. After his inauguration, President William Ruto lowered the price of fertiliser from Ksh 6500 to Ksh 3000. Ruto indicated that the government would supply 1.4 million bags of fertiliser in readiness for the short rains season.
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