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updated 6:54 AM SAST, Mar 14, 2031
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Dangote Cement to bankroll $275 million project in Niger

The Dangote Cement group has begun construction work on a cement plant in Keita, near Tahoua, in western Niger.

The construction of the US$275 million project is expected to last 26 months and will include the construction of a 100-megawatt coal-fired power plant, according to the country’s Ministry of Industry. The plant will have an annual capacity of 2.5 million tons and is expected to bring down the price of cement, in a country that currently imports 80% of its cement from neighbouring Nigeria and Benin.

On 9 October, Niamey authorised Dangote Cement’s local subsidiary to conduct a research on “coal and related substances” on four permits in the Agadez and Tahoua regions. A government statement said that the company had agreed to invest $2million on each permit over the next three years. It also agreed to finance collective infrastructure worth up to $50,000 per year for each of the areas hosting the permits.

Niger is one of the poorest countries in the world, with the highest population growth with a record fertility of 7.6 children per woman.

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Zimbabwe: cement sector has excess capacity – Lafarge

The cement industry has excess capacity to meet the 1,3 million tonnes annual domestic demand as the sector has an installed capacity of 2,4 million tonnes, an official has revealed.

Last month the market experienced cement shortage, which the country's largest cement producer, PPC Zimbabwe, attributed to annual maintenance works at its factories in Harare and Bulawayo. As a result of the temporary shortage some hardware shops, despite the improvement in cement supply, increased the price of the commodity from $11 for a 50 kilogramme to $15 depending on the brand.

There are reports that some dealers are also demanding US$12 per 50kg bag of cement, while others are charging 25 bond notes. Lafarge Cement Zimbabwe commercial director Ms Edith Matekaire said the sector has enough capacity. "The current installed capacity in the cement industry is still around 2,4 million tonnes. Demand is only 1,3 million, so there is excess capacity . . . so, why are we currently having the shortage.

"Today what we are experiencing are issues to do with forex in relation to our ability to maintain and keep our production running at optimum capacity," she said. At present, Ms Matekaire said her organisation has an excess of $2 million backlog of forex required by the cement producer to maintain its plant. "We therefore have delays in kiln shutdowns. Normally these must happen at specific times. If they happen during peak periods, we will begin to experience the shortage that we have.

"And if the forex is available, delays in forex allocations result in critical shut downs, which have impacted on the supply of cement," she said. The sector is dominated by three major players, PPC Zimbabwe, Lafarge Cement Zimbabwe and Sino-Zimbabwe Cement. Ms Matekaire said in light of the micro and macro-economic challenges facing the cement industry, beyond 2020 the local cement industry would begin to run out of capacity.

The depressed supply of cement has seen institutional and individual projects being delayed as projects owners spend time looking for cement at official prices, which is however, not available.

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Entries for the 2019 PPC Imaginarium Awards closing soon!

Entries for the 2019 PPC Imaginarium Awards in South Africa and Zimbabwe are open! The prestigious competitions invite creatives to test their skills and produce innovative works using Portland cement-based concrete. Entrants stand to win their share of publicity, mentorship opportunities and over half-a-million-Rand in cash prizes!

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South Africa and Rwanda to receive US $500m energy fund finance

South Africa and Rwanda are set to receive US $500m from the African Development Bank (AfDB) to help fund the upgrade and expansion their power grids, in line with the Bank’s ‘High 5s’ programme which aims at tackling  the power  problem by improving access to electricity to Africa bringing with it industrialisation and economic development.

Amadou Hott, AfDB vice president for power, energy, climate change and green growth, confirmed the reports and said the approved programme will support the government to add over 193,000 new on-grid and over 124,000 off-grid connections.

In its commitment to South Africa, the bank has loaned US $217.9m to the state electricity provider Eskom, including US $25m from the Africa Growing Together Fund (AGTF), a joint project with the People’s Bank of China.

The funds will be directed towards the construction of 555 km of 400 kV transmission lines in KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga, as well as the upgrading of substation equipment in Mpumalanga as part of the Eskom Transmission Improvement Project (ETIP).

In Rwanda, the bank has approved a loan of US $266m towards an expansion project for the electricity supply system, which is part of a drive to transform the country into an export-oriented economy. The US $266m is a joint amount of US $192m AfDB loan from the bank and US $74m credit from the African Development Fund, over three years, and will go into the scaling up electricity access program (SEAP II).

Additionally, the programme will see the construction of 7,317 km of low voltage power lines and 795 km of medium voltage, aimed at improving the power network across the country and providing power to communities with no access to power.

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