The last iceman in west Africa

Published 28 September 2020

Dr Michael Clark takes a look at the history of the cement industries in Côte d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso and Togo, which have each seen an influx of new capacity surplus to demand.  Regarding the strategy behind the companies investing in new facilities, it could be a case of defending market share in a hugely competitive environment.

HeidelbergCement’s clinker plant in Tabligbo, Togo

The inspiration for this month’s Technical Forum came from the CemNet webinar held on Wednesday, 3 June 2020, featuring Tony Hadley of Tony Hadley African Advisory and Erkam Kocakerim of Limak Cement. Mr Hadley presented an update on the market and COVID-19 situation in Africa, with particular emphasis on Egypt, and east and south Africa. He left Mozambique and west Africa for Mr Kocakerim, these being the regions where Limak are active (Mozambique and Côte d’Ivoire).

It was something said by Mr Kocakerim that triggered particular attention for Dr Clark. He noted that no-one could expect to make any profits in Côte d’Ivoire with the current market situation. This being that there are currently seven players in the country’s market, operating 10 cement grinding plants with a total capacity of 11.7Mta against optimistic demand of 6Mt. Another four projects are expected to contribute an additional 6Mta of capacity by the end of 2021.

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