Kenya’s cement industry now faces a bleak future, even as its export to neighbours seems to be dwindling day by day.
In the first nine months of 2019, exports to East African markets suffered a 67.9 percent slump, blamed on increased production capacity in the region amid a general economic slowdown.
According Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) latest data, the manufacturers sold 41,349 metric tonnes valued at Ksh475.2 million to Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, South Sudan and DRC Congo down.
In the same period of 2018, the manufacturers sold 128,961 tonnes valued at Ksh1.3 billion.
During the time under review, one of the manufacturers, Athi River Mining company, shut down over difficult financial times.
ARM’s Tanzania subsidiary, Maweni Limestone Ltd, was bought by a Chinese company, Huaxin Cement, for $116 million (about Ksh11.9 billion).
The construction of a 700,000 metric tonne a year cement plant by Prime Cement in Musanze District, Rwanda is set to be completed in the near future, which spells doom for Kenyan manufacturers.
Recently, the Dangote Cement entered the DRC market while Bamburi Cement Group penetrated Uganda at Hima and at Tororo, eating up market that was previously enjoyed by Kenyan manufacturers.