Addis Ababa, 11 January 2021 (ECA) – The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is providing the Dangote Cement Company the impetus toexpand its cement production capacity with new plantsin Africa as businesses across the continent strategize under the trade deal, the company has announced.
Africa’s largest cement producer that already has plants in more than 10 countries said in a statement that the expansion would “open new trade routes for the company and Nigeria under AfCFTA”.
Dangote would be commissioning new cement plants in the five West countries of Niger, Benin, Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, and Togo while existing factories in Cameroon and in its home base, Nigeria, would be increasing their output, said the company, owned by Africa’s richest man Aliko Dangote.
“Africa needs to deliberately improve its per capita consumption of cement in order to aid infrastructural development by stimulating further demand and forcing down the cost of the commodity,” Dangote said in the statement.
With the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) report for 2020 clearly stating that for the Africa free trade area to work, the deficit in infrastructure should be looked into. Dangote is hoping to leverage the infrastructure deficit with his cement investments in the continent, according to the statement.
Trading under the agreement began on 1 January after it was postponed from 1 July last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The AfCFTA aims to create the world's largest free trade area with the potential that brings together more than 1.2 billion people with a GDP of over $2.5 trillion and usher in a new era of development. It has the potential to generate a range of benefits through economy of scale, trade creation, structural transformation, productive employment, and poverty reduction.
Through its African Trade Policy Centre (ATPC), the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) has been working with the African Union Commission (AUC) and member states to deepen Africa's trade integration and effectively implement the agreement through policy advocacy and national strategy development. The ECA also works closely with the International Trade Centre (ITC), UNCTAD, and a selection of independent trade experts with the financial support of the European Union (EU) to support the implementation of the AfCFTA across the continent.
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