“I do not think anyone in Nigeria needs persuading of the need for urgent action on the environment. Desertification in the north, floods in ... the centre, pollution and erosion on the coast are enough evidence. For Nigeria, climate change is not about the perils of tomorrow, but what is happening today,” President Muhammadu Buhari said during the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in October. And today means Nigerians are finding it increasingly hard to afford basic food items.
The project will need an estimated $2bn in investment, which will come from both partners. It should cover part of West Africa’s phosphate fertilizer needs and create several thousand direct jobs. Mining development work is expected to begin before the end of 2019.
The two parties are complementary. For its part, Togo is one of the continent’s leading phosphate producers: the country has more than two billion tonnes of phosphate in its subsoil.
Dangote fertiliser plant
The Dangote group, for its part, will be able to rely on its future ammonia and urea plant based in Ijebu-Lekki (Lagos), expected to be commissioned in 2020.
- “Ammonia is an essential ingredient in the transformation of phosphate into phosphate fertilizers derived from phosphates,” Dangote said in a statement, adding that “Togo will provide access to phosphate resources and the Dangote group will provide access to ammonia and the Nigerian market.
Togo hopes to benefit from the expertise and investment capacity of one of Africa’s largest industrial groups, whose revenues were close to $5bn in 2018.
- “By processing our phosphate, we will not only create jobs, but we will also be able to provide our farmers with good quality fertilizers at an affordable cost,” said Togolese President Faure Essozimna Gnassingbé.
- “This partnership is part of our transformation agenda to create prosperity and strengthen economic development not only in Togo, but also in Africa,” said Aliko Dangote.
His group has also announced the establishment of a cement production plant in Lomé, which should start construction in the first quarter of 2020, with commissioning scheduled for before the end of 2020. The investment is estimated at $60 million and is expected to create 500 direct jobs.
Projects in Congo-Brazzaville
In line with this investment in the fertilizer sector, the Nigerian businessman also met with the President of the Republic of Congo, Denis Sassou Nguesso, on 21 August 2019. It was an opportunity for Aliko Dangote, already present in the country with the Yamba cement plant – according to him the largest in Central Africa – to express his willingness to develop other projects there.
- “We plan to make major investments in potash, phosphate and if possible ammonia as we have done in Nigeria. We have confidence in the Congo. These are large industries that will create many jobs and trade with the outside world,” Dangote said.
This article first appeared in Jeune Afrique.
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