Ethiopia’s cement industry has enjoyed substantial growth in the past decade. However, challenges linked to the government’s investment policy could erode these gains, as Shem Oirere reports. With nearly 16.5 million tonnes of cement capacity and 10% average growth in annual consumption, Ethiopia is among the top cement producers in sub-Saharan Africa. Only Nigeria and South Africa rival it.
The country’s cement capacity and consumption has been driven mainly by the federal government’s five-year Growth and Transformation Plan to help the country achieve an 11-15% annual economic growth between 2010-2015.Ethiopia has enjoyed a cement consumption boom in the five years to 2015 as the government invested heavily in infrastructure, transport and otherwise. Projects include new railway links such as the 900km Addis Ababa-Djibouti; the 289km Mekelle-Hara-Gebeya; the 229km Hara- Gebeya-Semera-Assayita; and the 278km Awash-Kombolcha-Hara-Gebeya.
Massive public investment has also been seen in the energy sector – construction of the 6000MW Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam as well as the 1870MW Gilgel-Gibe III and 254MW Genale Dawa hydroelectric projects. Additional infrastructure projects such as the completion of the Assayita-Mekele and Awash-Woldia railway corridors and construction of six rail networks to link Ethiopia’s five key transport corridors should further boost cement consumption.