Since the creation of the Company in Cameroon as the first privately-owned cement production firm in the country, Dangote Cement Cameroon, has completely captured the minds and hearts of local consumers, blending top quality cement with very low and affordable price; under the management led by, ABDULLAH BABA, the Company has completely dominated cement production and distribution in Cameroon, positioning itself as the undisputed number one producer and distributor of cement in the country.
In a visit to the Company’s headquarters in Douala, Naija Diaspora Magazine caught up with Mr. ABDULLAHI BABA, who painted a clear picture of the Company’s current position, and its future projects.
ND MAG: WHO IS THE CEO OF DANGOTE CEMENT CAMEROON?
CEO: Well, my name is ABDOULAYE BABA, I am a Chemical Engineer and a Nigerian. I joined the cement industry precisely in November 1981, and this is my 38th year in the industry.
ND MAG: HOW IS DANGOTE CEMENT CAMEROON DOING?
CEO: Well, in terms of target, expectations, acceptability, the Company is doing very very fine because I can tell you, from the first three months of entering the market, we took over its leadership, and from June 2015 until today, we have maintained that. There are struggles here and there, of course, in every endeavor there are struggles, but we are glad to say that we have remained there, on top, all these years.
ND MAG: CAN YOU GIVE US SOME SALES STATISTICS OF THE COMPANY?
CEO: Yeah, thank you very much. The installed capacity of this plant is 1.5million metric tons, and we have consistently done 1.2million metric tons in each of the last three years, and we are hoping to be able to increase on this as time goes on; we have plans to improve our market shares and this is a secret we will keep, but definitely, we are doing something. Statistically, we have done very well in terms of volumes and RCI over the years.
ND MAG: IN JUST OVER FIVE YEARS, DANGOTE CEMENT HAS CONQUERED THE CAMEROONIAN MARKET. WHAT IS THE SECRET?
CEO: It is important firstly, we are an African company; it is a brother-to-brother company. We came to Cameroon to produce the highest quality product and at the lowest possible cost; and this have paid off over these years. Apart from that, we virtually identify with the people; we are here not just to produce cement and sell, but we have also done a lot of social corporate responsibility activities all across our operation areas, and we are very proud of that; in fact, we tag this as one of our major achievements, because if you come to a place and you are doing business, your business must rub off on the communities in which you operate.
ND MAG: SO ARE YOU ENTIRELY SATISFIED WITH THE ACHIEVEMENTS OF THE COMPANY?
CEO: The moment I tell you that I’m satisfied with the performance of the Company today, then I am out because there is always room for improvement; in whatever we do, there is always room for improvement. Ok, yes the numbers, the sales we are doing, our bottom line is fine, but then, we can do more. The best is yet to come from us.
ND MAG: IS THERE ANY NEW PROJECT IN THE PIPELINE?
CEO: You know that we are doing a project in Yaoundé, we are building a cement factory there, and the activities are already on; land-clearing, surveys, levelling, and everything have been completed, and we are waiting for equipment and construction material to start arriving anytime from now. So, definitely, that is there, and of course we see Cameroon as a brotherly nation, and so whatever we do in Nigeria, where the opportunity provides itself, definitely, we will do same in Cameroon.
ND MAG: AFTER THIRTY EIGHT YEARS IN THE INDUSTRY, HOW DO YOU RATE THE CEMENT PRODUCTION INDUSTRY IN CAMEROON?
CEO: I have spent about 17 years working with Dangote Cement, out of my thirty eight year experience. In Cameroon, if you recall, before we came here, it was only one company providing cement in the country, but since our entry, three or four others have come in; so, I’m glad to say that the industry is progressing in Cameroon, to the extent that more players have come in which is better off for the consumers because they now have the freedom of choice which was not there before. So, yes, the market has grown, the industry has grown within Cameroon.
ND MAG: AS A NIGERIAN, HOW DO YOU COPE, LIVING IN CAMEROON?
CEO: I am very very comfortable in Cameroon; the country is like home to me. You know, we were properly received and supported by the government and we have no complains whatsoever. Cameroon, as far as we are concerned, is home away from home.
ND MAG: ANY HIGHS OR LOWS SO FAR IN YOUR STAY IN CAMEROON?
CEO: Well, I think what I consider to be my most difficult period was at the beginning of the project when we had a lot of objections, resistance, but by the grace of God, and by the help of the government, we were able to overcome all these, and I’m glad to report today that our worst ‘enemy’ at that time is actually our ‘best friend’ today. So, that’s what life is; you know, one thing is clear, uncertainty creates a lot of issues with people because in the beginning, the ‘Sawa’ people thought we were coming to take away their site (which actually belonged to the Douala Port Authority) but through our activities, we created about ten hectares of land which we gave to the Douala City Council to manage for the organizing of the ‘Ngondo’ Festival; meaning that the ‘Ngondo’ Festival now has a permanent site. I recall one of the elders telling me that he could not believe that this was going to happen in his lifetime, but it did happen, so we are very happy to be a part of this, and it gladdens our hearts that what matters to the people the most, we have been able to deliver.
ND MAG: WHAT DO YOU LOVE BEST ABOUT CAMEROON?
CEO: Everything. Everything. Cameroon is a very culturally-aware society; I know this because we take part in some of their cultural activities (we are sponsors of Nguon, Ngondo, and many more still envisaged). Culture is wonderful, the food is unbelievable; there is a vast array of foods not just foods, but healthy foods) in Cameroon, and I’m proud to be part of this, and also sure that when I’m leaving here, that’s one of the biggest things I will miss, the Cameroonian food.
ND MAG: CAN YOU MENTION SOME OF THE MENUS THAT YOU LOVE MOST?
CEO: Ndole is a wonderful one; and of course, you know that with plantains, you can prepare all manner of dishes; I also love ‘Miondo and Ndole’ which is a delicacy as far as I’m concerned. You also have the fresh fish which also has the best sources of protein you can have; so, with all these dishes, which one would you chose and which other would you dislike?
ND MAG: WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THE NIGERIA-CAMEROON TRADE, TOURISM AND CULTURAL FESTIVAL TO BE ORGANIZED BY THE NIGERIA CONSULATE GENERAL FOR THE LITTORAL/WEST REGIONS IN CONJUNCTION WITH OTHER NIGERIAN DIPLOMATIC REPRESENTATIONS IN CAMEROON?
CEO: These things are very necessary to integrate the people. You know, for a very longtime, colonization has separated the people; the world’s people have been separated culturally, musically, business-wise, and it is only events like this that can bring the people together to realize that they are one, and that the differences between them are really not as much as we think. We are one people, and must be able to do business together, and then we will be surprised at the level of similarities that exist between our cultures; sometimes, if you get to the Cross River State in Nigeria, the culture, dressing, food, and everything is not too different from what we have in Cameroon. Such festivals are very important in opening up avenues for business, cultural interchanges, and so many other things. In fact, it has been long overdue.
ND MAG: ANY INDIVIDUAL PROJECT?
CEO: I am an employed personnel and cannot have divided loyalty; I’m 100% loyal to my company, but however, if by tomorrow I am no longer in the Company, I believe there are a lot of things to do in Cameroon, so, why not? We might see things that are interesting to share in, especially now my Company has opened my eyes to realize that there’s not much difference between us and Cameroonians; we are one, our aspirations are one, everybody wants to climb up the social ladder, and where such opportunities come, we take advantage of it and make progress.
ND MAG: AS A FOREIGN EXPATRIATE, WHAT ADVICE CAN YOU GIVE TO THOSE WISHING TO TRAVEL ABROAD FOR GREENER PASTURES?
CEO: Well, I will tell you this, people who want to travel abroad will be shocked and surprised about what those who travel abroad are going through; there is no place like home. You think that the wages you get here are small, but so also is your cost of living, but if you go abroad, you will collect high wages with a very high cost of living too, and there’s not much freedom there too; look at the US, as a black person today, going about, you are not even sure you will come back to your house safely, without being harassed by either the police, or some of the citizens, whereas no one can harass you in your country because, just like every other person next door, you are a full-fledged citizen. Apart from this, if you are in your country and can raise one or two blocks in a month, you have done it, and overtime, you will see the level of progress you have made; but stay abroad and send money home, and by the time you come back, you will only get stories. I’m sure you are aware of this, people send money back home for houses to be built and they come back, no house, no money; you see, there are certain things we take for granted; when you harvest food from your farm and eat it without passing it through the refrigerator, you get a huge amount of minerals into your system, whereas, almost everything you consume in Europe, America, or Asia, are processed foods with added supplements which can have a long term effect on your health. You can always travel abroad when you have a well-defined and established job waiting for you, but if it is for random hustling, I wouldn’t advise anyone to travel abroad.
ND MAG: WHAT ADVISE CAN YOU GIVE TO NIGERIANS LIVING IN CAMEROON?
CEO: My advice is simple. Respect the laws of the land, that’s advice number one. Advise number two, respect the laws of the land. Advice number three, respect the laws of the land. And finally, make your living legitimately so that at any point in time, all the people around you can bear witness that yes, you have lived honorably. That’s all I can say.
ND MAG: WHAT CAN YOU SAY ABOUT ND MAGAZINE BEING ONE OF ITS MAJOR PARTNERS?
CEO: Yes the Magazine is waxing stronger and stronger, and it is our prayers that it attains that eminence that we all wish it to be; definitely, it is something that a young man has pursued all along, and we have the responsibility to support him realize his dreams, and the dreams of all Nigerians, because it is important for us to have a voice that we can call our own. That is why this Magazine is very important, and we will give it all the necessary support to get to that level. It is our collective voice.
Gallery: Diaspora Excellence Award 2023
At the occasion organized in commemoration of the 10th anniversary of Naija Diaspora Magazine, several individuals, companies, governors, traditional rulers, business owners, government agencies and parastatals as well as politicians were honored for their outstanding performances in 2023. The publication celebrated its
10th anniversary with a two-day event that included the Symposium and Annual Diaspora Excellence Award. This platform provided a unique opportunity for collective learning, networking, and gaining insights into government policies that relate to communities. Attendees were empowered to navigate pathways of positive change. The Symposium lecture was titled: ‘Building a Nation’, with several dignitaries as speakers.
CLICK EACH IMAGE TO ENLARGE
Inaugural Anambra State Union Football Tournament Triumphs Amidst Adversity
On the 6th of August 2023, a monumental event took place at St Michel, Terminus, Douala, marking the commencement of the First Edition of the Anambra State Union Football Tournament. Under the stewardship of Sir Emeka Uzoka, Chairman of the Anambra State Union, this tournament emerged as a testament to unity, sportsmanship, and the indomitable spirit of the Anambra community.
The opening ceremony set the stage for what would become an unforgettable showcase of camaraderie and competitive fervor. A true celebration of tradition and athleticism, the tournament kicked off with a Veteran Match at 2:00 pm. The clash between Aguata Local Government Union and Nnewi Local Government Union resulted in a gripping encounter, with Aguata securing victory with a 2-0 score line.
Distinguished figures graced the event with their presence, adding prestige to the occasion. Among them was Mr. Oliva Ochi, Consul 1 at the Consulate General Douala, representing the esteemed Consul General, H.E. Amb. (Mrs.) Efe A. Clark-Omeru.
The honorable gathering was further enriched by the participation of key personalities, including: Hon. BIC Okwujiaku, President of the Nigerian Community Douala, HRH Eze Jonathan T. Onyenagubor, Eze Gburugburu 1 of Ohanaeze Ndi Igbo, Cameroon, Sir, Lovinus Ezeh, Vice President, Nigerian Community Douala, Chief Alex Nwoye, Vice President 2, Nigerian Community Douala, Chief Uche Obiekwe, Patron of the Nigerian Community Douala, Chief Innocent Obiorah Odoh, Patron Anambra State Union, Chairmen of Imo and Enugu States Union, Esteemed members of the Anambra State Union.
The event also extended its reach to include esteemed guests from Douala and beyond.
In recognition of the paramount importance of safety and well-being, the organizers ensured the presence of dedicated medical health and security personnel, assuring attendees a secure environment throughout the event.
Despite the inclement weather characterized by heavy rain, the unyielding spirit of the Anambra community remained unshaken. A testament to their passion for football and unity, a remarkable number of attendees braved the elements, converging to witness the unfolding of history on the lush fields of St Michel, Terminus.
The final was held on Sunday 12th of November 2023 @ Bonamousadi Stadium Douala. Oyi Local Government lifted the trophy while Aguta Local Government took the bronze and Idemili Local Government took silver.
The inaugural Anambra State Union Football Tournament stands as an embodiment of shared values, intercommunity collaboration, and the timeless appeal of sport. This event not only etched a significant mark on the sporting calendar but also served as a reminder of the resilience and unity that define the Anambra community.
As the tournament concluded its first chapter, it left in its wake a legacy of camaraderie, sporting excellence, and the promise of more remarkable editions to come.
CAMEROON: Miniature Africa
Cameroon, nestled in the heart of Central Africa, is a country with a captivating blend of rich cultural diversity, stunning landscapes and abundant wildlife. Often referred to as « Miniature Africa, » Cameroon offers travelers a unique and multifaceted experience, showcasing the continent’s essence in a single destination.
With more than 250 ethnic groups and languages, Cameroon is a melting pot of diverse cultures, traditions and customs. The capital city, Yaoundé, and the economic hub, Douala, provide excellent starting points to dive into Cameroon’s cultural wealth.
Cameroon’s diverse geography offers a plethora of breathtaking landscapes, each with its unique charm.
In the West, the mist-covered peaks of Mount Cameroon, the highest mountain in West Africa, beckon adventurous hikers to climb and witness awe-inspiring views of the surrounding scenery.
Towards the North, the Sahelian region boasts vast savannas and semi-arid landscapes, offering visitors an opportunity to spot magnificent wildlife, and in the East, the dense rainforests of the Congo Basin teem with a rich variety of flora and fauna, including gorillas, chimpanzees, and exotic bird species.
Tourism Spots on a Budget
Here are a selection of the most distinguished and captivating tourist destinations in Cameroon. These remarkable locales boast accessibility without undue strain on one’s financial resources, making them irresistible choices for tourists.
Mefou National Park:
Mefou National Park houses the Mefou Primate Sanctuary, a rescue center managed by Ape Action Africa. With over 300 rare and endangered primates, it’s a significant conservation project in Africa, providing lifelong care and rehabilitation for animals rescued from illegal trades.
Formerly known as Victoria, Limbe is a port city with a diverse flora and fauna influenced by its colonial past. The Limbe Wildlife Centre/Botanical Centre offers a close-to-nature experience, rescuing and caring for ill-treated and endangered animals.
Mount Cameroon, also called the « Chariot of the Gods, » is West Africa’s highest mountain and an active volcano. A popular destination for adventurers and hikers, the trek offers stunning views, diverse landscapes and encounters with wildlife like monkeys and birds.
Kribi Beach, in the southwestern region, boasts long white sand beaches and clear waters. It’s perfect for swimming, sunbathing and water sports. Visitors can also enjoy the Chutes de la Lobé waterfall, where they can swim under the falls. Local cuisine and seafood delicacies await at various restaurants.
Korup National Park:
Korup National Park, renowned for its bird species, offers pristine tropical wilderness. Visitors can enjoy lodging infrastructure and spot unique primates like the Nigeria-Cameroon chimpanzee and Perseus’s red colobus. Located near the ocean, Mundemba serves as a starting point for tours to the park, where guides often speak the local Cameroonian language.
Cameroon stands tall as a remarkable destination for audacious travelers seeking a blend of cultural diversity, awe-inspiring landscapes and thrilling adventures. From the depths of the rainforests to the heights of its mountains, and from the bustling cities to the serene beaches, the land beckons with open arms, ready to share its enchanting beauty and warm hospitality with all who venture to explore its wonders. As tourism in Cameroon continues to grow sustainably, the country’s potential as a captivating and memorable destination will undoubtedly flourish.