The European Investment Bank (EIB) on November 16 agreed to provide EUR 82 million for the construction and operation of the Ohorongo cement factory located 435km north of Namibia’s capital Windhoek.
This will be Namibia’s only operating cement production plant. It will help to supply both the domestic market as well as demand in Botswana, Zambia and post civil-war Angola.
“The European Investment Bank is pleased to be able to provide Namibia’s only cement factory and stimulate economic activity in northern Namibia. We welcome the factory’s planned compliance with EU emission and safety standards, and commitment to improve living standards and employment around the facility.” highlighted Plutarchos Sakallaris, European Investment Bank Vice-President responsible for Africa.
According to EIB, the project promoter Schwenk Zement, is a German family-owned medium-size construction materials and cement company with over 160 years experience of cement production. Ohorongo Cement Limited will own and operate the cement plant.
“Ohorongo will have unlimited access to Schwenk’s expertise, in particular using alternative fuels such as biomass. This helps reduce carbon emissions and Namibia’s need to import cement, coal and oil.” added Gerhard Hirth, CEO Schwenk Group and Chairman of Ohorongo Cement (Pty) Ltd.
The plant will have an annual production capacity of 700,000t and cover cement production from raw material preparation to cement dispatching. The loan will also finance a grinding mill, access roads, a railway spur and housing facilities for the workforce.
The new cement plant will make a significant contribution to reducing poverty and sustainable economic development in northern Namibia. The Ohorongo plant will provide over 300 direct jobs and provide indirect employment for over 2,000 people in the Tsumeb area, a poor rural district.
Other lenders in the project (total investment € 250 million) are DEG, part of Germany’s KfW Banking group and the Development Bank of Southern Africa.