All eyes on Dangote as Bakhresa sneaks into Zimbabwe


All eyes were on Africa’s richest man Aliko Dangote when he visited Zimbabwe this week and met key government officials including President Robert Mugabe and Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa and announced plans to set up Africa’s biggest cement plant in the country.

Dangote said he was also interested in power generation and coal mining and would start his projects next year if approved by the government.

President Mugabe’s cabinet quickly approved the projects. Now people have to wait and see whether Dangote will keep his promise or this would be another mega deal with little action like the Chinese and Russian mega deals announced last year but not yet implemented.

Little attention was, however, paid to a done deal when Tanzania’s Bakhresa Group took over Blue Ribbon Industries on Wednesday. The group bought BRI for just $1  (yes, one dollar) but plans to inject $30 million into the ailing company.

BRI is the holding company of BRI Logistics, Blue Ribbon Foods, JA Mitchells and Nutresco Foods.

Bakhresa is a food and manufacturing giant with operations Tanzania, Kenya as well as in Uganda, Malawi, Zambia, Mozambique, Burundi, Rwanda and recently entered the South African market.

Its owner Said Salim Bakhresa was ranked the 44th richest man in Africa by Forbes last year.

“In November 2013 he launched Azam TV, a pay TV service for East Africa that plans to wrestle with South African behemoth DSTV and China's Startimes for a share of the lucrative pay TV market in the region. It won't be an easy ride,” Forbes says.

“Bakhresa dropped out of school at age 14 to sell potato mix, and then opened a small restaurant and later moved into grain milling. In the last four decades, he has grown his $750 million (sales) Bakhresa Group into one of East Africa's largest conglomerates, with more than 5 000 employees and interests in food and beverages, packaging, ferry services and petroleum trading.”

The Bakhresa Group has been after BRI for some time.


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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.


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