The New Times (Kigali)

18 December 2007

Rwanda: Second Cement Factory Planned

Kigali — The Rwanda Investment Group is planning to build a second cement factory to help address a shortage brought on by the recent construction boom.

The consortium of local investors announced plans to construct the factory next year. It should produce more 20,000 tonnes of cement annually.

The investment will involve a commitment of an amount between $25m and $35m (Frw13.625b-19.075b).

The Rwanda Investment Group is the majority share holder in the Rwanda Cement Factory (CIMERWA), currently the country's only such facility. They've been criticized for hoarding cement, charging high prices and failing to meet customer demands due low productivity of cement in terms quantity.

It is alleged that most of the CIMERWA-produced cement is smuggled to the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The chairman of the group, Tribert Rujugiro, denied the allegations, saying the group doesn't hoard cement in the DRC. Rujugiro insisted he wants to maximize profits in an underserved Rwandan market.

He said that by the time the Rwanda Investment Group acquired CIMERWA, both Burundi and DRC were already being supplied with 900 tonnes a year. This was reduced to 600 tonnes under the guise of the investment group.

"We currently supply 100 tonnes to Goma, 200 tonnes to Bukavu and 300 tonnes to Burundi. This is done to maintain the brand image of CEMERWA so that if we increase our production capacity in future it becomes easier to fully penetrate the market," Rujugiro said.

Rujugiro maintained that his group is selective in supplying cement because demand is exceeding supply. That's despite more 500 tonnes of cement being imported from the Ukraine and China.

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