Members of Tombel community in Douala, Cameroon have commended Dangote Cement for complementing government’s efforts in the provision of road infrastructure in their communities, as part of the company’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).
According to members of the community, constructing new roads does not just create access but opens up the economy and improves the well-being of the people. With new communities accessing new markets, the number of people living in poverty reduces.
In his remarks, Deputy Mayor, Tombel, Enongene Bazie Ebong, explained that the development of a 5km road in topography with loose soil, has not only opened up the economy but also reduced the number of out-of-school children in the community.
“The municipality appreciates the various initiatives of the company. It is one thing to make a demand; it is another for such to be approved. Tobel-Loum road has long been deplorable. Addressing this concern has aided the growth of businesses and the economy of the municipal,” he added.
A resident, Aobe Yvette who has been living in the community for over a decade, said to commute has become easier for residents, while congestion in the town has reduced, as many are able to live and work within the community.
Community Leader, Menoh Moses, noted that the construction of the road has helped the community to develop, even as he asked for continued intervention in the states.
To the Isokolo Market in Limbe II Council, Dangote’s intervention through the provision of stalls and toilets in the market place has no doubt helped to address logistics challenges among traders, as well as improved trade activities.
According to a beneficiary, Mrs. Etuka, the intervention has helped to bring stability to her family after many months of being displaced from their home.
“Accessing the stall has helped to bring stability to my family and put us back on our feet. The unrest in the country has pushed us out of our homes, but the stall has helped us to get some daily living,” she added.
On his part, Batoke Chief, HRH Molungu Otto Molive, stated that the partnership forged between the community and Dangote Cement has been sustainable with each party fulfilling its agreement.
“We have a Memorandum of Understanding on the things that we believe would be of benefit to our people. Under the agreement, 80 children in the community are enjoying scholarships from the company, while some of our youths are gainfully employed at the quarry.
“We agreed to have a project each year and we are bold to say that Dangote Cement has fulfilled its part of the bargain well,” the paramount ruler added.
Minister of Mines, Industry and Technological Development, Gabriel Dodo Ndocke stated that since Dangote Group was established in Cameroon, access to the cement product and quality have been enhanced, adding that the impact of the company on the economy is huge.
“Today you can get cement everywhere and the price is accessible for everyone and the market has been open to other investors creating job opportunities.
“Dangote has thrown the market open and before he came to Cameroon, our market was with just one investor in the sector. The presence of other investors has made it easy for us to get cement in good quality,” he added.
Pioneer Country Manager, Dangote Cement Cameroon SA, Abdullahi Baba, stated that the journey in the last five years has been excellent, noting that it was not easy to oversee a project from the drawing table until full actualisation.
“We came in and the market was already satisfied but we brought out high-quality products. We are so proud of the way we have been received both by the government and the people of Cameroon and I want to say that as of today, we have become the household name and we have come to stay in the entire country.
“There are so many highpoints for the company. The first was that we came into Cameroon with the best technology available in the industry anywhere in the world. The other was that we introduced products that were the trail-blazer in Cameroon at that time because our quality was up there.”
He however noted that though competition has been coming up fast in the country, the firm is not relenting on its oars, saying, “We are doing everything we can to ensure that we maintain this position, but the key thing is the market share, the profitability and the maximising of the use of local raw materials in the production of cement.”
Succeeding Abdullahi, the new Country Manager, Bertrand Thaïs Mbouck, said: “When it comes to our CSR involvement and in the past six years, we have been spending an average of about 80 million CFA across the country every other year.
“What I will like to say is that when it comes to CSR, the idea is not how we benefit our balance sheet, but how we share prosperity among the people.