Rwanda is now home to a $100 million new cement manufacturing plant, thanks to a joint venture with West China Cement subsidiary, Anjia Cement.
Located about 50km southwest of Kigali, the new cement grinding station targets an annual output of 1 million metric tonnes, once fully operational. The New Times understands that the plant currently manufactures 2,255 metric tonnes per day.
This would make Anjia Prefabricated cement plant the largest cement factory in the country, with Cimerwa coming second and Prime Cement Ltd.
The development comes at a time when Rwanda has a supply deficit in cement, a gap that continuously frustrates the construction industry.
Statistics from 2022 indicate that the country’s cement demand was estimated to be 950,000 tonnes annually, against a domestic supply of 480,000 tonnes per year.
Beyond the supply gap, players in the industry have also raised concerns about the rising costs.
For instance, the local pricing of cement currently stands at Rwf12,500, (Cement 32.5) while 42.5 stands at Rwf13,000.
But the new entrant, Anjia Cement, promises to change tack, saying that customers will now be able to buy cement at reduced prices.
Under the new development, the unit cost could be lowered to Rwf9,750 (Cement “Cheetah” 32.5) while Cheetah 42.5 could cost Rwf10,500.
“We are now focused on improving plant operating efficiency and also testing some projects that would allow us to open up additional air capacity organically within the factory,” Israel Byiringiro, a senior staff at the plant told The New Times in an exclusive interview.
He added, “If you look at the few months we have been introduced on the market, our capacity utilization has been quite decent, producing at least 2,255 metric days daily, but we still have things to work on.”
According to Byiringiro, the plant currently employs more than 200 staff, among whom 185 are Rwandans.
“We are looking at having that number to 500, once fully operational.”
For Byiringiro, the new plant will complement the other two factories that are already in the country, to further meet the demands, address the trade balance and reduce significantly on the import bills.
“Competition is very good for us because it gets our creative juice flowing and brings us up on our feet in terms of innovation and how to do things differently,” he said.
Equally important, he highlighted, “It’s good for the industry and the consumer, having another local player in Rwanda has widened the choice for consumers.”
Owing to the Covid-19 pandemic, the past three years have been tough for different sectors across the globe and cement has not been an exception,
This has seen logistics service providers increasing the rate of transportation, which further puts a burden to customers.
According to the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Rwanda’s cement domestic supply stands at 600,000 metric tons, sufficing roughly 50 percent of the demand.
The country relies on imports to cover the production shortfall, but imports have been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic and geopolitical issues.