East Africa rises
East Africa’s cement demand continues to rise as infrastructure and housing needs provide the basis for future consumption. While cement capacity investments continue, a shift in the make-up of ownership is being seen as local companies take up a more prominent position. By Francis Mwangi, Standard Investment Bank Ltd, Kenya.
Over the past decade, the east African region has registered GDP growth of 5.8 per cent, compared to 5.5 per cent for sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) as a whole. Since 2005, per capita income growth in East African Community (EAC) countries has averaged 3.7 per cent, compared to 3.2 per cent for SSA. A drop in inflation to single-digit levels, improved access to financial services, a revolution in the telecommunications sector and increased investment in infrastructure stick out as key drivers behind EAC’s strong economic performance. Over the next four years (2014-17), the IMF estimates that the EAC region will grow by 6.3 per cent, versus 5.4 per cent for SSA (see Table 1). When compared with the past five years, five out of the seven east Africa countries are expected to grow at a faster pace (see Table 2).