Dangote Cement faces youth unrest, shut down in Ethiopia

Dangote Cement faces youth unrest, shut down in Ethiopia

Dangote Cement Ethiopia, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Dangote Cement PLC has been shut down due to youth unrest and demands that locals must run pumice mines supplying the factory.

The Nigerian cement conglomerate is facing stiff opposition and demands from Oromia state’s East Shewa Zone, a region in Ethiopia where administrative officials are demanding that the company hand the control of its pumice mines.

Regional officials are demanding this local participation to create jobs for millions of locals youths who are vastly unemployed and poor.

The pumice additive used in cement manufacturing process is said to be supplied by big businessmen and politically-connected bureaucrats without the central government’s control.

Oromia, a highly restive region due social political crisis and call for independence from the central government of Ethiopia has over 1.2 million unemployed and poor youth, this is according to the Addis Ababa-based Walta Information Centre news service.

The government claimed that it is looking at generating over 900,000 jobs to reduce massive youths unemployed in the region.

Regional leaders have drawn up a contract with Dangote Cement to be signed as an agreement that the company will transfer the management of the major mines that supply pumice additives to the factory

“The youth have to get the advantage from the resource, and side-by-side the companies must get advantage from this resource,” Yohan Tesso, head of East Shewa’s urban employment creation and food security office, said by phone. “It’s a win-win.”

Dangote Cement’s CEO Onne van der Weijde, said the factory has not being closed

“They shouldn’t force us to do it and then charge a high fee for getting something that we were doing ourselves before.”

“Prices being discussed are from 20-30 birr ($0.89 to $1.33) per metric ton of pumice, Van der Weijde said. The contract refers to 20 birr”.

The disruptions haven’t forced Dangote to stop output, CEO Onne van der Weijde said in an interview.

The company’s plant in Mugher, about 90 kilometers north of Addis Ababa, has the capacity to produce 2.5 million metric tonnes a year of cement, according to Dangote’s website.

The Nigerian company is discussing the proposal with Oromo officials and may be willing to sign a contract “s long as that doesn’t involve higher costs and lower quality and the quantity can still be delivered,” he said.

“They shouldn’t force us to do it and then charge a high fee for getting something that we were doing ourselves before.”

Prices being discussed are from 20-30 birr ($0.89 to $1.33) per metric ton of pumice, Van der Weijde said. The contract refers to 20 birr.