Ethiopian cement industry faces persistent challenges

Ethiopian cement industry faces persistent challenges
06 August 2018

While the Ethiopian cement industry has expanded significantly and changed from being a net importer to a net exporter, the industry faces continued challenges, according to Haile Assegide, president of the Ethiopian Cement Producers’ Association in a key note address at the third annual East African Cement, Concrete and Energy Summit.

A shortage of skilled manpower, lack of foreign currency and erratic power supply all continue to haunt domestic cement plants. Mr Assegide said that there is no adequate number of professionals in the local cement industry.”Our engineers start training in our factories. So we are forced to cover this gap by bringing experts from China, India and other countries.” Moreover, the expatriates’ salary paid in foreign currency escalates the cost of the cement factories. He added that the Ethiopian Cement Producers Association is closely working with the Ministry of Industry to alleviate the issue. The ministry is looking to establish a cement technology training centre with the aim to replace expatriate labour in three years’ time. All the major cement plants, including Derba, Dangote and National Cement are run by Chinese and Indian engineers. The Ethiopian Cement Producers Association hopes that the Adama Science and Technology University and the Addis Ababa Institute of Technology will work on cement technology education.

The shortage of foreign currency affects the imports of spare parts, which need to be ordered before the annual maintenance campaigns start, said Mr  Assegide. The Ethiopian Cement Producers Association is holding talks with the National Bank of Ethiopia to find ways that the bank could ensure foreign currency is made available to the cement producers.

While there is no shortage in supply of electricity, cement plants are affected by the limited capacity of power transmission lines and substations. The Ethiopian Electric Utility is currently building new transmission lines and substations to alleviate the issue.

Published under Cement News