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Owens Corning urges investment in Africa

9 April 1998: US glass fibre giant Owens Corning said it planned to expand further in southern Africa, and urged other American companies to follow its lead in the region.
“We need to see more Americ…

9 April 1998: US glass fibre giant Owens Corning said it planned to expand further in southern Africa, and urged other American companies to follow its lead in the region. “We need to see more American investment. We need more American companies to come here and target Africa,” Brian Lemar, general manager of Owens“ Botswana operations, reportedly told a high-level US delegation travelling with President Bill Clinton on his tour of Africa. While Clinton and his wife, Hillary, were in Botswana“s famed Chobe National Park for a spot of game viewing, Transport Secretary Rodney Slater reportedly led US officials on a tour of Owens“ pipe plant in Gaborone. The plant, which was visited by the late US Commerce Secretary Ron Brown two years ago, will supply glass fibre pipe for Botswana“s massive 360 kilometre, US$ 400 million North-South Carrier pipeline currently under construction. The US$ 12 million facility is the result of a joint venture between Toledo-based Owens Corning, state-owned Botswana Development Corp., and a group of private Batswana investors. “Projects like this one will create new jobs, spur growth and quality of life for the people here,” Slater told an audience of plant workers. Botswana boasts one of Africa“s fastest-growing economies with annual growth rates of 5-6%, due mainly to its vast diamond wealth. It is the world“s biggest diamond producer on value terms, worth an estimated US$ 1.82 billion in 1997.

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