The Building Blocks of Africa
A giant in the African construction sphere, we speak to Dangote Cement Tanzania about the company’s regional and national projects and operations
Writer: Marcus Kääpä | Project Manager: Joshua Mann
Africa is a vast continent.
Not only does it have substantial natural resources and a multitude of varying national markets, but its continental location gives it the advantage of being able to efficiently export goods to Europe, the Middle East, and the Indian Ocean region.
Within its domestic markets, African construction is a booming industry, and Dangote Cement stands as a key player in the sector across many countries.
The company is a subsidiary of the industry giant Dangote Industries Limited; an international, diversified and fully integrated conglomerate. The Group’s interests span a range of sectors in Nigeria (with its headquarters in Lagos) and across Africa. The core business focus of the Group, which started operations in 1978, is to provide local, value-added products and services that meet the ‘basic needs’ of the populace.
The Group’s business unit, Dangote Cement, is renowned within the pan-African construction sector, and in Tanzania, the company holds a well-known, reliable and respected presence. The company is Sub-Saharan Africa’s leading cement company, with a production capacity of over 48 million tonnes per year across ten countries. Together, these operations make the company the largest cement producer in Sub-Saharan Africa.
“I joined this industry in 1981 and it is currently both an incredibly exciting period due to exporting opportunities, and very challenging because of a tough 2020,” begins Abdullahi Baba, General Manager of Dangote Cement Tanzania.
Baba began his journey in the sector in multiple positions such as Chemical Engineer and Process Manager before he rose through the ranks of the company to reach his current position.
“In recent times I have had the privilege of being Project Manager for Dangote Cameroon and have had the honour of managing it before coming to Tanzania in August of last year.”
Innovation and Optimisation
With an international name and presence as well as its continental provision of cement, Dangote Cement is increasing its power capabilities to expanding its production in both scale and variety.
“We have diversified our product mix by constructing additional silos in order to create leverage and compete more efficiently in the market,” Baba tells us. “This is a major innovation for us, as is our compressed natural gas (CNG) station.”
Dangote Cement Tanzania’s CNG station will fuel the company’s trucks optimising efficiency through cost-effectiveness and increased sustainability practices. With lengthy cement delivery distances this implementation of CNG fuel is a critical element to maximising cost-effectiveness. The use of CNG can cut fuel costs by up to 40 percent on top of a substantial 15 percent reduction in tail-pipe CO2 emissions for dual-fuel trucks; a profitable and more sustainable practice in the industry.
“We are very proud of our CNG station,” Baba states. “It is the best of its kind in Africa, and we are considering constructing a second one in the future to support our operations and products.”
Behind Dangote Cement Tanzania
A vital element to the fluidity of the company’s operations is Dangote Cement Tanzania’s supply chain; business partnerships that ensure the company’s efficiency, and consequently, success.
“These supply chain partners are very important to our operations. It’s very difficult for a company to operate on its own,” Baba elaborates. “In our case, we have key raw material suppliers, such as those who provide gypsum, and their provisions are vital to our operation and continuation.
“It is very important for us to take into consideration our specific location to identify what we can source locally and what we need to bring in from abroad, but we cherish our local supply chain and the brilliant yield we receive from the open channel between us.”
Despite the supply chain maintaining the fluid operation of Dangote Cement Tanzania through the provision of materials and resources, the company’s success and continued provision of high-quality cement across Africa equally comes down to the dedication and professionalism of its workforce.
“Our people are our strongest resource,” Baba affirms proudly. “Irrespective of whatever technology you put in place, at the end of the day it will still be operated by people, and we treat our employees as the forefront of our company.
“Dangote Cement Tanzania provides each and every individual attention to training and rewards in each particular environment of work. In line with this, we try to keep our staff happy and motivated, with clear career paths outlined to show them that they can each be promoted to higher positions within the company.”
Nurturing a Vision
Just as remaining employee-centric is an element of Dangote Cement’s core values, ensuring that the company’s operations and footprint benefits the localised working region holds just as much importance.
For Dangote Cement Tanzania, corporate responsibility is not just a choice but also a necessity, especially within areas such as social and environmental promotion.
“We take our corporate responsibility very seriously,” Baba explains further. “We have engaged in the creation of awareness and direct support for various communities, such as the provision of quality water, engaging in seminars in multiple educational institutions, helping out places that have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic or HIV.
“We have established a Community Relations Committee consisting of ourselves, community representatives and representatives of the government who meet regularly, evaluate projects and build stronger relationships with the community involved.
“On top of this we are working with communities and the schools around us to raise awareness of sustainability.”
The company’s sustainability commitment ties heavily to “The Dangote Way”; Dangote Group’s approach to building prosperity and self-sufficiency across Africa and a world-class, multinational manufacturing company.
Driven by the highest level of governance, this approach is embedded in the company’s corporate culture and guides its approach to building a prosperous and sustainable business.
2021 and Beyond
“Going forward, we are hoping to increase our production capacity of our Tanzanian plant to its fullest in the next couple of years,” Baba tells us. “We are looking at both the domestic and the export markets very optimistically and we are very confident that we will deliver the full capacity of this plant in 2022 or at latest 2023.”
With production capacity and innovative sustainable methods of operation at the forefront of its business, Dangote Cement Tanzania holds a lot of promise for the next few years.