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Yaoundé - 26 February 2024 -
Agribusiness

Prometal invests CFA57bn, launching modern steel plants and powering growth in Cameroon

Prometal invests CFA57bn, launching modern steel plants and powering growth in Cameroon
  • Comments   -   Wednesday, 17 January 2024 16:05

(Business in Cameroon) - Cameroon's Prime Minister is expected to preside over the inauguration of two new steel processing plants on January 19, 2024. These facilities are built by the Prometal Group, in the industrial zone of Douala-Bassa, for a total investment of CFA57 billion.

The first plant, named Prometal 4 and built with CFA45 billion, is touted as the most modern and diversified steel transformation plant in Sub-Saharan Africa. According to the Prometal Group, this plant increases the group's annual production to 360,000 metric tons of finished steel products (such as reinforcing bars) and intermediates (including wire rods, a new product). In addition to introducing new products like beams, angles, and flat bars, Prometal 4 is the first in Sub-Saharan Africa to produce wire rods, which are the basis for manufacturing materials like nails, screws, and smooth bars.

The second plant - Prometal 5, is the fifth steel transformation plant built by the leading iron-based construction materials company in Central Africa. It is a production unit for gas cylinders and metal structures with a production capacity of 600,000 cylinders and 5,000 metric tons of metal structures annually. Its construction has swallowed CFA12 billion. According to the builder, this new plant will enable Cameroon to end imports of gas cylinders, previously aimed at meeting a local demand estimated at 400,000 cylinders  year.

Conquering AfCFTA

Official estimates suggest that the two plants will create 3,000 new jobs, including 1,000 direct jobs. With production capacities that surpass national demand and the introduction of pioneering materials (wire rods) to the SSA market, Prometal 4 and 5 provide Cameroon with the opportunity to venture into external markets. This positions the country to more vigorously engage in the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), an area where local economic operators have been relatively cautious until now.

Furthermore, by ending gas cylinder  imports, Prometal 5 eliminates the expatriation of capital amounting to CFA8 billion annually (the cost of importing these products), thereby reducing the country's trade deficit by the same amount, according to authorized sources. With the production of wire rods, Prometal 4 is expected to reduce Cameroon's trade deficit in iron-based construction materials by approximately 50%, according to the company.

A Prolific Investor

The two plants set to be inaugurated by the Cameroonian Prime Minister bring the total to three industrial units built and operationalized by the Prometal Group in the last five years. This probably makes Hayssam El Jammal, Head of the group, the most prolific investor in Cameroon during this period. In addition to Prometal 4 and 5, his group discreetly commissioned the Novia Industries plant in the industrial zone of Bonabéri in 2023.

With an investment exceeding CFA50 billion, this agro-industrial complex, emerging after more than two years of work and creating over 300 jobs, has a daily production capacity of 500 tons of refined oil and 160 tons of soap. According to reliable sources, the plant is also equipped with production lines for other agro-food products, expected to start in the coming days.

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