Africa’s richest man, Alhaji Aliko Dangote said Monday that he planned to invest in mining and power generation projects in Zimbabwe as well as set up a large cement factory.
Dangote met with President Robert Mugabe in Harare, the capital in a rare sign of possible foreign investments in Zimbabwe, which has been in economic decline for more than a decade.
“We have already made up our minds to invest and so we are here and we will invest.”
“We had very, very good meeting with the president and I told him that we have already decided to invest in three areas: One is power, second is cement and third is coal,” Dangote told journalists.
The Nigerian multi-billionaire said he would spend close to $400 million on the cement plant, which will produce 1.5 million tonnes of cement a year, making it the biggest in the country.
He said the investment package would create jobs and “help Zimbabweans to develop their own economy.”
Dangote is the founder of multi-billion dollar Dangote Group which has interests including cement production in several African countries.
The company has major oil, gas, food and real estate investments across the continent.
Zimbabwe’s economy has collapsed since Mugabe’s land reforms of 2002, which broke the country’s agricultural backbone
Laws which require locals to hold majority stakes in all firms are also blamed for scaring off foreign investors.
Many companies have closed, downsized or relocated. The International Monetary Fund said this year Zimbabwe’s economic prospects looked “difficult”, with growth falling again after a brief improvement
Food shortages, rampant inflation, economic sanctions and disputed elections have added to the country’s woes in recent years.