Dangote announces $2bn phosphate investment in Togo

Nigerian industrial conglomerate Dangote Industries is to collaborate with the government of Togo on phosphate fertiliser projects worth $2bn, and will also build a $60m cement plant in Lomé, the capital of the country.

A joint statement by Dangote and the Togolese presidency said Togo would make its phosphate resources available and the Dangote Group would provide access to ammonia and to the Nigerian market. Ammonia is an ingredient in the production of phosphate fertiliser and Nigeria has about half of west Africa’s agricultural land.

Togo has more than 60 million tonnes of phosphate under the ground, but needs help to extract it. From a high point of 2.7 million tonnes in 1997, production dropped to 1.1 million tonnes in 2002 as a result of the depletion of easily accessible deposits and a lack of funds for new mines.  

Dangote is planning to extract about 1 million tonnes a year, which it will process at a new complex in Lagos, Nigeria, making it a leading fertiliser producer in the region.

The cement plant, which will use clinker from Togo and Nigeria, will produce about 1.5 million tonnes a year. Work on it is expected to begin in the first quarter of 2020 and it will be commissioned before the end of the year.

Togo is among the world’s top five producers of phosphate, but the 10th poorest country in the world. Its GDP is less than $5bn and it has a rural poverty rate of over 80%. Dangote Industries’ investment represents a massive influx of capital into the country.

Faure Gnassingbe, the president of Togo, said: "The structural transformation of our economy is the main objective we have set ourselves in the context of the 2018-2022 National Development Plan. By processing our phosphate we will not only create jobs but we will also be able to provide our farmers with good quality fertilizers at an affordable cost."

Aliko Dangote, the billionaire founder of Dangote Industries, said: "This partnership is in line with our transformation agenda in creating prosperity and enhancing economic development not only in Togo but also in Africa."

Image: A phosphate mine in Togo (Alexandra Pugachevsky/CC BY-SA 3.0) []

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