By Gabriel-Eddie Njoroge

The investment of the Dangote Group in Africa’s oil refining sector has been described as exceptional and enormous by the Former Ethiopian Prime Minister, Hailemariam Desalegn who also urged other private sector investors to take a cue from the group’s investment drive.

Desalegn, speaking during the tour of Dangote Jetty, Fertilizer and Refinery Plant, said that the President of Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote has enormous influence in the sector and that his involvement in the general economic wellbeing of the whole of Africa is unquantifiable.

He therefore encouraged the consideration of the strategic nature of investments made by the conglomerate, by other investors, and their emulation in order to enhance the value of the continent’s economy. “I think this is a lesson for other African investors to take risk and bring about big change. A mega project of this magnitude, actually needs dedication and commitment, as well as sacrifice.”

He insisted that Africa needs massive investment like the Dangote Refinery for economic development.

Investors in the continent must recognize that investment in essential sectors would remain critical to sustainable economic growth, according to Desalegn. “I think this project is not only for Nigeria, but for the entire African countries”, he added.

“The project would provide 135,000 retail outlets, 26,716 filling stations and 129 depots in Nigeria, while 2,600 trucks for transport will create additional jobs,” said Devankumar Edwin, Group Executive Director, Strategy, Portfolio Development and Capital Projects, Dangote Industries Limited.

The area of skill development and capacity building for Nigeria is another invaluable area of interest the project will enhance. Edwin noted that training of the second batch of Nigerian Engineers has already started in New Delhi.

“We are sending all engineers abroad in batches. They will engage in classroom training for one month and on the job training of one year. They will be working with real time experts in the industry every day,” he said.

A significant portion of Nigeria’s crude oil production to be refined domestically rather than importing, is the company’s target, Edwin disclosed, in the process creating jobs within Nigeria, and bringing a halt to the current importation of refined petroleum product.

“Over 100,000 indirect employments through retail outlets is going to be provided for by the refinery and with the refinery designed to meet Euro V grade, which is the highest standard in the world, products can be exported to any part of the world,” he said.

“It will be well diversified and able to process Nigerian crude, African crude and crude from other parts of the world. In terms of evacuation routes, two crude oil single point mooring (SPM) buoys and three multi-product SPMs will be located within the Atlantic Ocean to transfer crude oil to a calling tanker,” he added.

It was also revealed that the company was constructing the largest fertilizer plant in West Africa with the capacity to produce three million tonnes of urea per year.

Consisting of Ammonia and Urea plants, Dangote Fertilizer Complex is considered to be one of the world’s largest fertilizer plants with a total capacity of 3 Million tonnes per Annum of Urea fertilizer. Therefore, the Dangote Fertilizer is positioned to bridge the gap between local demand and national capacity. The Urea produced by Dangote Fertilizer Plants will assist farmers boost their crop yields through easy access to fertilizer.