Ethiopia to double cement capacity

Ethiopia to double cement capacity

Amid a building boom, Ethiopia will more than double its cement output capacity after a new factory and two enlarged plants begin production later this year. Ethiopia's per capita cement consumption of 35 kg (66 pound) per year is very low by international standards. The increase is expected to help end the need for imports. Ethiopia has licensed 36 companies including Lafarge SA, the world's biggest cement maker and Dangote Cement Plc, Nigeria's largest company by market value, to help it meet a target of producing as much as 27 million tonnes of cement annually by 2015. The country's demand for cement may be met by the end of next year, when the completion of 22 projects takes annual production to 13.5 million tonnes from 2.7 million tonnes. The projects that are likely to add to capacity include Derba Midroc Cement which is owned by Ethiopian-born Saudi billionaire Sheikh Mohammed al-Amoudi, plans to start operations at its new 2.5-million tonne plant in September 2011. Then there are the state-owned Mugher Cement Enterprise and the ruling Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front's Messebo Building Materials Production Plc, which will add another 1 million tonne. Next in the line is the Al-Amoudi's plant near Chancho, 70 km northwest of Addis Ababa, which is expected to reach full production capacity in the first quarter of 2012. The country is banking on the high-quality limestone deposits and plentiful water supplies. Derba Transport, an affiliate of Derba Midroc, has ordered 1,000 Volvo AB trucks for $141 million that can each deliver 40 tonnes of cement to buyers from the factory.

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