Dubai’s Mara Group has finalised plans to establish a float glass plant in Nigeria, it was revealed at the recent 12th Mara Mentor ‘One-on-one interactive session’ in Abuja.

According to Hetal Shah, country director for the Mara Foundation, construction work on the float glass plant has now begun at a location in Port Harcourt, where production will be expected to commence from 2016.

Shah added that the glass plant would help to contribute to job creation, as well as reduce the importation of glass-related products, lowering the country’s foreign exchange deficit.

The project is being handled by MJG Egi Glass, a partnership between Mara, JS Group, Ghani Group and the Egi Community, and is targeting a production of 500 tonnes of float glass a day for applications ranging from architectural solutions to automotive purposes.

It highlights the ongoing opportunities in the glass sector in Nigeria, where demand in the domestic market has increased to an estimated 360,000 tonnes a year, fuelled by the country’s booming housing sector, and largely supplied by Europe, South America and China.

Atlas Mara completes acquisition of Rwanda’s Commercial Bank

From commodity to community

The Mara event also saw Shah discuss the importance of the ongoing Mara Mentor initiative in Nigeria, an instructional social platform that provides young entrepreneurs with the opportunity to connect and exchange ideas with leading businesspeople in the country.

“You will agree with me that foreign direct Investment alone may not wipe out unemployment completely from the country, but mentoring young men and women in entrepreneurial skills in SMEs and ICT will go a long way to tackle headlong, the problem of joblessness around us,” Shah affirmed.

The initiative also gives young Nigerian entrepreneurs the opportunity to competitively pitch their ideas to some of Nigeria’s finest business leaders for a chance to be selected for a six-month business mentorship placement under their tutelage.

This year’s event selected 40 young African entrepreneurs to join the programme.