MONROVIA, Feb 7 (LINA) – President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Africa’s richest man, billionaire Alhaji Aliko Dangote of Nigeria on Thursday held discussions on Dangote’s plan to establish a cement factory and coal-based power plant in Liberia.
During a courtesy visit on President Sirleaf, Mr. Dangote and the Liberian leader discussed ongoing arrangements for a cement plant which the billionaire’s company, Dangote Cement Liberia Ltd., intends to commence building in Liberia shortly.
The Nigerian billionaire also briefed President Sirleaf about plans to establish a coal-based power plant that would greatly reduce the cost of, and access to electricity in the country, according to an Executive Mansion press release.
Mr. Dangote is ranked by Forbes Magazine as the 43rd richest person in the world, and the richest man in Africa.
He informed the Liberian leader that seven acres of land have been identified at the Freeport of Monrovia for the construction of the power plant and a jetty.
Mr. Dangote said after a three-year delay, it was time to move ahead with the project, and assured President Sirleaf that the limestone needed for the cement – which Liberia does not produce – would be imported and crushed and ground for the manufacture of cement locally.
He also proposed the establishment of a coal-burning power plant which would produce some 20 megawatts of power, but said his cement factory operations would require only 1.2 megawatts.
The excess, he added, could be sold to the government at no more than 12 cents per kilowatt hour. “Tell us what you need, and we will produce it,” he said of the power-generation capacity of the plant which, he said, could be operational in 15 months.
According to Mr. Dangote, approximately 30 acres of land is needed for such a facility, which includes huge boilers and cooling plants, along with access to a source of sweet water – where the water table is high.
Mr. Dangote pointed out that throughout Africa the major issue is power, declaring, “No power; no growth.”
He observed that any economy will climb to double digits, once there is power at the right price, adding, “With affordable power, people will produce products locally, will gravitate to the private sector, leading to the creation of a middle class.”
He recommended coal-based power plants, noting that there is plenty of coal in South Africa, Mozambique and Guinea, and that with today’s technology, emissions of coal dust is at zero level.
In response, President Sirleaf agreed that it was time to fast-track the cement factory project, and assured Mr. Dangote that the land would be turned over by February 16.
On electricity, the Liberian leader pointed out that the hydro represents the best form of power generation for Liberia, because of the abundance of rainfall and the many rivers, although other sources would be needed in the dry season.
This, she said, could be addressed through an upstream dam producing some 1,000 megawatts of power. To determine exactly how much power the country would need, she said, the experts would need to study ongoing systems as well as those coming on stream.
She then invited Mr. Dangote to send his engineers to study the feasibility of building the coal-based power plant.