Rwanda is to start importing cement from China to complement locally produced volumes.
The move comes at time prices of cement in Rwanda are increasing steadily following shortage of supply from both local and on the regional distributors.
Justin Nsengiyumva, the Commerce ministry secretary general said the shortages may end soon and prices may stabilize as government has permitted Rwanda Cement factory (Cimerwa), the only cement producing firm in the country to import 7,000t of cement monthly from China.
This will supplement the factory’s 12,000t production capacity, annually.
The country current demand is estimated at 25,000tpa.
"So we cannot sustain the demand. But we hope to increase production after importing these tonnes.
This will also help reduce the price of (imported) the cement to about Frw9,000 per bag," he said.
At one time, builders in Kigali were forking out 11,000 Rwandan francs for each bag of cement, until government intervened to protect the consumers.
The booming construction industry in the region is also partly responsible for the high prices.
"We have been importing cement from Uganda and Zambia. But now Uganda is consuming her cement in the construction of hotels for CHOGM (Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting). Zambia’s cement is being consumed by South Africa in construction of 2010 World Cup Stadiums," Nsengiyumva explained.