Ethiopian officials want part of Dangote Cement given to unemployed youth

Dangote Cement Factory in Ethiopia [Photo credit: www.tigraionline.com]
Dangote Cement Factory in Ethiopia [Photo credit: www.tigraionline.com]

Regional officials in Ethiopia are demanding that foreign cement producers in the east African country, including Dangote Cement Plc, surrender control of some parts of their businesses to unemployed youth, Bloomberg reported Monday.

Dangote Cement’s 2.5 million metric tons per annum plant in Ethiopia is facing protests by youth groups demanding control of a section of the plant.

The protest by youth from communities adjoining the company’s plant located in Mugher, about 90 kilometers north of Addis Ababa, is coming months after a similar protest by Oromo communities forced the company to halt production.

According to Bloomberg, an agreement drafted by Oromia state’s East Shewa Zone administration this month, proposed the cement companies allow the youth to run their Pumice mines.

Pumice is an additive used in cement manufacturing and its extraction was overseen by local bureaucrats, rather than Ethiopia’s central government, the financial news organisation said.

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

Oromia has 1.2 million unemployed youth, according to the Addis Ababa-based Walta Information Center news service, which cited a local youth affairs office.

The state is targeting the creation of 950,000 new jobs for young people, it said.

The Oromia administration shut down Dangote and Derba’s operations amid discussions about the proposals, the Addis Ababa-based newspaper The Reporter said on March 11.

Derba’s chief executive officer and chairman of the Ethiopia Cement Producers’ Association, Haile Assegidie, said proposals to give control of pumice to youth cooperatives came without warning, according to the paper.

Dangote Cement CEO, Onne van der Weijde, said the disruptions could not have forced the plant to stop production.

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

A director of mineral marketing in Ethiopia’s federal mines ministry, Teweld Abay, was quoted by Bloomberg as saying that he was aware of East Shewa’s plans, but the local administration was yet communicate them to the ministry.

Mr. Abay condemned the youth attack on the companies, saying they did not have any right to demand that cement companies sign the contract.


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  • sammyctu ode

    This is very absurd for the Ethiopian government to be demanding that cement factories there cede a percentage of their companies to their youths meaning that the thought is a state sponsored economic terrorist action. Was this part of the original agreement when these companies came to set shop? Yes the communities around these plants must be empowered by training them, work at the plants, give them a good total sustainable package to integrate them into the business but it’s an absurdity to compel Dangote and other cement companies to give their shares to the youths. Africans are their own worst enemies when it comes to many issues to advance the continent.

    • Kay Soyemi (Esq.)

      Very soon, they’ll appreciate the meaning of the term “capital flight”.

  • marc umeh

    This is hard to believe. Unemployed youths demanding a share in a private company.
    Well this ia a cautionary tale for companies that establish factories in politically unstable environments.

  • Adam Abbas

    When we show the world we don’t like ourselves who will like us?

  • Abdullah Musa

    Where were the youths, their governments, before the cement companies set up their plants?
    But their message is: mutually assured destruction if you don’t comply.
    And the question is: how did the youth ownership of the resource arise? Elders, women, and children have no shares?
    Now I can understand the motivation behind regime change for nations with clout.

  • Tedi

    It is a distorted news story! The idea is not about youth having share of the plant. It is about the youth supply raw material to the factories. The resource is being supplied to the factories from the backyards of the youth. There is no value addition to it. So why do the multi million companies do all the small things while the youth is starving? The sustainability of the investment is dependent on its willingness to cooperate with the local community.