NAIROBI - Kenya’s gypsum exports are expected to climb after the African Development Bank (AfDB) approved a Sh24billion ($30million) loan to finance a new cement plant in Rwanda that will source the raw material locally.
“The project involves the construction of a 700,000 tonne per annum cement plant in Rwanda that will replace the existing 100,000 capacity plant to make up for a supply shortage and satisfy high local demand, mainly driven by housing sector growth and infrastructure development,” AfDB said in a statement after approving funding for the project.
A work plan by the Rwandese government and AfDB showed that the plant, to be located in Muganza, Rusizi district, will run on gypsum imports from Kenya.
Gypsum is a key ingredient used in the manufacture of cement.
Locally, deposits of the mineral are mainly found in eastern and coastal parts of the country as well as Kajiado and some parts of Central and North Eastern provinces.
According to estimates, the Rwanda’s cement production plant (CIMERWA) will take about 24,000 tonnes of gypsum from Kenya every year. The commodity will be transported by road.
This means dealers will have more openings to make the shipments to the Rwandese market whose profile is fast rising due to a strong economic run partly supported by the newly created East Africa common market.
“It (construction of the new cement plant) will also provide additional resources to the Rwandan government in terms of foreign currency savings through import substitution, as well as improve regional trade within the East African economic community,” AfDB further said.
But imports of heavy fuel from Kenya are expected to take a hit following modification on CIMERWA plant to replace the use of oil with peat —a locally available energy producing material.