Tendai Kamhungira 30 April 2017
HARARE – It’s been two years since Africa’s richest man, Nigerian
billionaire Alhaji Aliko Dangote, jetted into the country in a
highly-publicised investment deal, but nothing has come to fruition.
The so-called “mega deal” has remained pie-in-the-sky that occasionally
pops up in lapdog State media when propaganda mandarins are desperate for
a feel-good story.
Since Dangote’s visit into Zimbabwe, nothing has been done to fulfil the
deal, with the finer details of the transaction remaining sketchy.
The businessman’s investment deal in Zimbabwe could have been one of the
biggest in nearly two decades.
Dangote – with a net worth of $17, 2 billion, according to Forbes Magazine
– had plans to invest locally in three sectors -power, energy and cement
manufacturing, with claims that he was going to set up a 1, 5 million
tonne cement grinding plant in Zimbabwe.
The businessman met President Robert Mugabe and several government
ministers during his visit in Zimbabwe.
The Dangote deal was touted as creating thousands of jobs, creating a
foreign currency base and spurring economic development.
But Dangote is still to consummate the investment deal after getting
approval from the Zimbabwe Investment Authority.
Dangote Group’s chief strategist Abdu Mukhtar visited Zimbabwe in January
last year and said they felt “comfortable and excited” about investing in
“Everything is on track, we are back and happy,” Mukhtar said.
“We will continue to come back here this year and 2016 is going to be a
very active year. We will be coming in and out to do all sort of things as
we kick start the projects.”
But that was the last visit.
There are claims that some competitors have been throwing spanners in his
works, while some claim Dangote fears losing his investment due to
Zimbabwe’s high political risk.
During his stay in the country, Dangote urged the government to relax its
stringent visa conditions and improve on the ease of doing business.
Economic analysts have also singled out policy inconsistencies as one of
the reasons behind low foreign direct investment inflows into the country.
With 93-year-old President Mugabe in charge, several investors are edgy
over the country’s future, fearing a new government could repudiate their
For a while now, the government’s controversial indigenisation policy
forcing foreign-owned companies to cede 51 percent of their shares to
locals, has spooked investors.