Rwanda will soon get the first ceramic tiles manufacturing plant, thanks to a deal that was signed between Nyanza district and Africeramics Ltd this week.
Africeramics is the subsidiary of Milbridge Holdings, which already has investments in Rwanda’s cement production space.
Nyanza district owns a minority stake in the investment in exchange for the land availed by the district to Africeramics Ltd, according to a statement from Rwanda Development Board which facilitated the deal.
Planned to be operational in less than two years, the high-tech multi-million euro factory is expected to directly employ over 100 people in the district and indirectly employ over 300, they say.
In the first phase of production, 9,000 square meters of tiles will be produced daily and this will be doubled in the second phase targeting both the domestic and regional market.
Subsequent phases will focus on other ceramic products on demand.
According to Francesco De Martino, the Group CEO, Milbridge Holdings, their choice of Nyanza was based on its strategic location.
“We chose Nyanza as the base of our plant because it is strategically located where we can source high quality inputs such as clay, granite and other alloys needed for ceramics,” he said.
Nyanza boasts a number of people involved in small scale ceramics production. It has for long been widely practiced in this district and a few other places across the country, but using traditional methods, which made the products uncompetitive.
The Mayor of Nyanza district, ErasmeNtazinda, said they have much expectations from the new investment.
“We are excited to attract this mega investment and have high expectations for this project. This accelerated process showed that all the parties were interested in ensuring the successful commencement of the project. I thank Africeramics Ltd for investing in our district. We commit our support to this project”.
The Deputy Chief Executive Officer at Rwanda Development Board, Emmanuel Hategeka, cited that the investment aligns with the country’s domestic market recapturing strategy.
“This investment fully aligns with our domestic market recapturing strategy and will go a long way to reduce our import bill on construction materials, generate exports while at the same time generating jobs,” he noted
Being located in Nyanza district, he added, presents an added advantage of distributed development uplifting the rural economy.
Currently, all ceramic tiles in the country are imported yet studies show that the country has some of the best quality clay for ceramics in the world.