Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn conferred with the Nigerian business tycoon Aliko Dangote Friday.
During the course of the meeting, the premier assured the African billionaire that his government is fully committed to support the Group in the efforts towards diversifying its investments.
He said that government encourages companies such as the Dangote Group to engage in Ethiopia so as to boost employment opportunities and knowledge and technology transfer as well as economic development.
After the discussion, Dangote told journalists that he is ready to diversify his investments in Ethiopia.“The Group is ready to engage in packaging and sugar investment in Ethiopia.”
As Dangote Cement Factory has been importing cement bags from abroad for its products, costing it millions of dollars, he said.
The Group, which also engages in packaging, has decided to establish a huge packaging plant in Ethiopia over the coming few months to substitute imports, he added.
“We are also opening a very big factory to produce cement bags. We used to import all bags from abroad in millions. But right now we are going to establish the factory and actually to be ready in the next few months this year,” he said.
Dangote also said that his company is looking at Ethiopia’s sugar sector.
“We are also looking at the possibility of looking at other areas, sugar and others mainly agriculture, which we now discussed with government to move forward,” he said.
According to Dangote , the violence occurred few months ago in parts of the country do not affect the Group’s investment in Ethiopia.
“The objective of my trip to Ethiopia is to show the Prime Minister that we are not temporary investors. We are Ethiopian investors; we are actually Africans so we are part and parcel of Ethiopia. This sort of thing [the disturbance] does not really rattle us”, Dangote said.
“But the main purpose of my trip to Ethiopia is to show the Prime Minister our commitment to continue to invest in Ethiopia,” he said.
Regarding creating jobs, Dangote said his company would continue to diversify investments thereby create more jobs, saying it is the private sector’s duty to create jobs.
“People do need to understand that government doesn’t create jobs at all. Government will facilitate and put all the policies in place for people to create jobs. It is our own job as private sector to partner with the government and create jobs. They create policies and we create jobs. So that, I think it is a win- win situation,” he said.
Dangote Cement is the biggest cement factory in East Africa and Ethiopia.