Rwanda continues to become a regional hot spot for cement producers despite Cimerwa, the local cement producer, having injected $140 million six months ago to meet local demand and generate surplus for export.
On August 17, the Prime Minister Anastase Murekezi officially launched the new $140 million Cimerwa plant in Rusizi, western Rwanda, which was expected to increase the firm’s production capacity from 100,000 to 600,000 metric tons per year.
Cement imports are only increasing, as regional cement giants aggressively penetrate the growing Rwandan market.
Yet, exports of Cimerwa decreased from 351.4% in volume in 2014 to 143.9% in 2015 and dropped from 457.3% in value to 71.3% respectively.
Cimerwa CEO, Busi Legodi told KTPress the firm is “still on the ramp up stage” of the expansion process.
“We are currently growing our markets where we could not reach before,” Legodi said.
The $250 million plant, largely controlled by South Africa’s Pretoria Portland Cement Company (PPC Cement), is still producing at 65% capacity, making the firm only cater for 40% of the market.
“We plan to work our way up to help to fill the growing demand,” Legodi said.
However, the February 2016 central bank’s monetary statement blames Burundi and DRC decreased import of cement, which has dramatically affected Cimerwa’s export volumes and values.
Meanwhile, Cement supply in Rwanda is estimated to be between 400,000 and 600,000 metric tons per year, largely catered for (60%) by Uganda’s Hima Cement and Tanzania’s Kirimanjaro Cement.
Even though Cimerwa is not biting large on the booming construction industry both locally and internationally, CEO Legodi says the cement sector is “Exciting and encouraging, especially with the growth of cement demand in Eastern Africa.”
Exciting or not, until the firm takes full control of the local market first, with increased production, hopes of taking advantage of the boom remains in the talk.