Dr Congo: a Massive Opportunity for Uganda’s Cement

As of March 2018, Uganda cement manufacturers had installed a capacity of 6,800,000 tonnes of cement annually, with Tororo Cement Limited being responsible for 3.0 million tonnes (44%) and Hima Cement Limited producing 1.9 million tonnes (28%). Simba Cement Uganda Limited* produces 1 million tonnes annually (15%). Other smaller companies are responsible for the remaining 900,000 tonnes (13%).


In January 2018, Uganda’s consumption was estimated at 2.4 million tonnes annually;35.3% of total annual production, although that percentage is on the rise significantly, given the multitude of major, ongoing infrastructure projects in the country.The remaining output that is not consumed locally is marketed to regional neighboring countries, including RwandaKenyaSouth Sudan and eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo.


Uganda’s cement exports mainly to the region registered recorded 24% increase in the calendar year ending 2018, a Bank of Uganda report indicated.

In an interview with Prosper Magazine, Hima Cement’s public relations officer, Ms Caroline Kezaabu, said: “At least 30% of our 2 million tonnes production capacity is taken up by the export market.”

Rwanda takes 22% and the remaining goes to DR Congo and South Sudan. Kezaabu said: “We are seeing our exports to South Sudan which used to be a major market before they went through instabilities, now picking.”

While meeting the former Trade and Industry Minister, Ms Amelia Kyambadde in 2018, players in the industry said there was high demand for cement exports from neighbouring countries especially Rwanda and DRC.
Demand for cement at the local market jumped to 30%, up from 23% on account of the construction sector in 2018.
The construction projects which consumed the cement were Karuma Dam and Isimba Dam plus several projects in the oil and gas industry.

Kenya’s cement production fell by 8.5% year-on-year to 5.64 metric tonnes in 2018 from 6.16 metric tonnes in 2017.
Data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics also shows that consumption decreased by 5% to 5.49 metric tonnes from 5.79 metric tonnes. This follows drops in production and consumption since 2016.

China imports
Cement manufacturers are also being forced to battle for market share with cheaper imports from China, India and Pakistan.
Last year in March alone according to records from Uganda Revenue Authority, the country recorded the highest clinker importation – a key raw material for making cement.


With the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan joining the East African Community (EAC), the associated removal of obstacles to trade such as tariff barriers (a condition for joining the trading bloc), Uganda is presented with a unique opportunity to benefit from these markets.

South Sudan has no known cement manufacturing plants, in addition to having an excellent road connection to Kampala and Tororo, which hosts three cement manufacturing plants. Such proximity means Uganda can effectively become the sole provider of cement to Juba, something it started doing 12 years ago.

With a population of almost 90 million people, the Democratic Republic of Congo is an area Uganda where can boost its cement exports. Work has already begun on a Ugandan plan to build 223km of roads in the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo to improve trade between the two countries.

The $330m “Regional Connectivity Roads Project” will be carried out by a Ugandan construction company called Dott Services. The aim is to build three roads to improve communications between Uganda and the eastern DRC cities of Beni, Goma and Butembo.

Uganda, in its negotiation, can exploit the construction of these roads inside DRC to sell more of its cement to the contractor. Consequently, the opening up of Beni, Goma & Butembo will give Uganda unfettered access to the Eastern DRC, hence boosting cement sales.

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