Speaking at the event officiated by the Republican President Mr Edgar C. Lungu, the Head of State called on companies to invest in Zambia and work with the Government of the day to bring development to all corners of the country. In a speech read on his behalf by Honorable Mwanakatwe, the President said, " companies should emulate Lafarge and invest in Zambia. The PF Government is in a hurry to develop the nation, and we are committed to job creation, growing the middle class, improving the lives of the community and developing an educated work force".
President Lungu was encouraged to note that Lafarge would use local people alongside the specialised team of contractors to build the plant. However, he called on Management, to employ and train as many Zambians as possible to enable them develop the necessary skills and acquire hands on experience, that could be used on any other future project of this size either in Zambia or the surrounding region.
The President further stressed the importance of Corporate Social Responsibility and its role in the development of many thriving communities seen in the world today. He pointed out that Government alone could not effectively achieve this but would do so by working with companies having a long term plan to develop their communities.
Lafarge Zambia Board Chairman, Mr Muna Hantuba stressed that the Company was ready for any competition. "I would like to be one of the first to congratulate Dangote on building a plant in Zambia. We welcome competition because it is healthy and this will help us improve our service delivery as we build bigger cities", Mr Hantuba said. He further challenged Lafarge Management to ensure that the new plant was built within the expected timeframe.
Speaking at the event Mr. Emmanuel Rigaux CEO of Lafarge Zambia said that the new plant coined “Big Chilanga” would be the largest cement plant in the entire Southern Africa region, churning out 2.5 million tonnes of cement per annum. He stressed the Company's focus on people development and respect for human values that included Health and Safety which was the Company's core value. Mr . Rigaux said, " Lafarge Zambia’s priority is to invest not just in equipment and production capacities but also in people. As part of this great project, Lafarge Zambia commissioned the first Shared Service Centre of its kind together with a training centre last week. We will be commissioning next September a Technical and Vocational School which will train local Zambian youths that will be attached to the project to help develop skills in the area of plant erection and other technical skills”.
Mr Rigaux added that the new plant would support the promotion of the country's exports. " The new plant will also enable the Company to grow its exports to neighbouring countries especially the DRC. The Lafarge brand is highly preferred in these export markets and this additional capacity will enable the Company to increase its exports which have currently been contained in preference to supplying the local market" Mr Rigaux said.
Mr. Rigaux said the project team had mobilized experts from everywhere in the Lafarge Group, and construction would start in the next few week after obtaining regulatory permits.He said the new line was expected to be completed within the next 18 months. The foundation stone was blessed by His Grace Telesphore George Mpundu, the Archbishop of Lusaka. He prayed that the construction takes place smoothly and that God would look after the men and women that would be undertaking this project. Others that witnessed the ceremony included the Minister of Works, Supply, Transport and Communications Honorable Yamfwa Mukanga, MP, the Minister of Lands and Environmental Protection, Honorable Christabel Ngimbu, MP, the Deputy Minister of Justice and Chilanga Constituency Member of Parliament, Honorable Keith Mukata, MP, and the Chilanga District Commissioner, Mrs Edith Muwana,
Big Chilanga is set to have a capacity of 2.5 million tonnes of cement per annum. It will use the most advanced technology in environment management. This demonstration of long term investment shows that although Lafarge Zambia is part of an international group, it is truly a Zambian Citizen Empowered Company committed to Building Better Cities.
Notes to the Editor:
A world leader in building materials, Lafarge employs 63,000 people in 61 countries, and posted sales of €12.8 billion in 2014. As a top-ranking player in its Cement, Aggregates and Concrete businesses, it contributes to the construction of cities around the world, through its innovative solutions providing them with more housing and making them more compact, more durable, more beautiful, and better connected. With the world’s leading building materials research facility, Lafarge places innovation at the heart of its priorities in order to contribute to more sustainable construction and to better serve architectural creativity. More information is available on Lafarge's website: www.lafarge.com
About Lafarge Zambia
Lafarge Zambia is the main supplier of building materials and constructions solution provider in Zambia. Established in 1949 as Chilanga Cement, it was acquired in May 2001 by the Lafarge Group. With over 1000 employees and contractors Lafarge Zambia has a production capacity of 1, 300,000 tonnes cement per annum, which enables the Company to cater for the ever-growing demands of the Zambian and regional markets. Its product range includes Mphamvu, which is a flagship brand and has established strong presence in both domestic and regional markets, Powerplus, used in heavy construction projects, SupaSet, for block makers and concrete product manufacturers, Roadcem, for soil stabilization in road construction as well as Wallcrete for wall plastering. Innovation and customer satisfaction are at the core of the company’s performance. www.lafarge.co.zm Contact the Communications and Sustainable Depart:
+260211 367 400, +260211 367 600