Nigeria has granted Dangote Cement Plc, majorly owned by Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote to export its products through the land borders to neighbouring countries.
Nigeria had in August 2019 closed its land borders with its West African countries neighbours over increase smuggling activities across the borders, stalling export trade through land boarders across the West coast.
The waiver granted the biggest cement firm in the continent raises hopes that Africa’s most populous nation may soon reopen trade with its neighbours through the land borders after a year-long blockade.
According to the Chief Executive Officer of Dangote Cement, Michel Puchercos, the government granted the authorization for the company to export cement to Niger and Togo in the third quarter for the first time in ten months.
Puchercos, who disclosed this during an investor call in Lagos, noted that the export was made possible “through authorization given by this administration.”
The exemption to Dangote Cement is seen as a softening of the government’s position on a border closure that started in August last year and could open the way for other businesses to fully resume exports across the country’s land borders.
Nigerian authorities closed borders with neighboring countries including Benin and Niger to curb smuggling and boost local production.
Although the blockade encouraged the consumption of locally grown produce such as rice, it hurt factories across West Africa, which rely on Nigeria’s market of 200 million people.
Dangote resumed land export with “restricted volumes,” and plans to grow the trade using the sea channels, according to Puchercos.