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OCP plans African chemical plants and fertiliser blenders

Morocco’s OCP Group, expects to reach a deal this year to build a Nigerian ammonia plant and to start production at a $3.7 billion chemical plant in Ethiopia by 2023/2024, the chief executive of its OCP Africa subsidiary said.

The world’s largest phosphate exporter, which is 95 percent state-owned, is also considering a factory in Ghana in 2020 as it seeks to bring customised fertilisers closer to key African markets.

Like many other Moroccan firms, including banks and insurers, OCP has been expanding its investments in Sub-Saharan Africa in recent years, boosting the kingdom’s economic clout.

The Nigerian plant would cost $1.5 billion and would have a total capacity of 1 million tonnes of ammonia.

OCP signed a protocol agreement in June to build the industrial platform with Nigeria’s Sovereign Investment Authority.

In Ethiopia, the Moroccan firm expects its chemical plant to be operational by 2023 or 2024, with an initial capacity of 2.5 million tonnes of fertilisers.

These investments are part of a strategy to boost phosphate-based fertiliser use and production in Africa where there is potential to boost consumption five-fold from about 5 million tonnes currently.

The group plans a blending facility in Rwanda, three in Nigeria, one in Ivory Coast, five in Ethiopia and one in Ghana, with each costing between $8 million and $12 million.

In Ethiopia, OCP sold a customised fertiliser combining phosphates, nitrogen and sulphur which helped increase maize yield by 37 percent.

The group, which controls 75 percent of the world’s phosphate reserves, has a 65 percent market share of phosphates-based fertilisers in Africa.

OCP has twelve subsidiaries in Africa, but at the moment the group will focus on Ethiopia, Nigeria, Ghana, Ivory Coast and Senegal.

However, OCP faces legal hurdles in Kenya where authorities allege it exported fertilizers which were non-compliant with regulatory standards.

OCP stopped shipments to Kenya last summer and asked authorities for a re-testing of its fertilisers.

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