The New Times (Kigali)

18 January 2013

Rwanda: Kagame Launches Cement Factory Extension

President Paul Kagame yesterday laid the foundation stone for the extension of Rwanda's largest cement-producing factory - CIMERWA.

'As a fast developing nation, there is need for much and cheaper cement. With the new investor in CIMERWA we expect factory to perform much better than it was before.' - President Kagame

The expansion of the factory follows a deal in December last year that saw South Africa's largest cement firm, Pretoria Portland Cement Co (PPC), acquire 51 per cent of CIMERWA's equity with a buyout of US $69.4 million.

With PPC's investment, the production capacity of the factory is expected to increase from 100,000 to 600,000 tonnes annually.

Speaking in Rusizi District after laying the foundation stone, President Kagame noted the increased production will help bring down the cost of cement.

As a fast developing nation, he said, there is need for more and affordable cement. And with the new investment, the factory's performance is expected to improve remarkably.

The residents of Rusizi will be among the key beneficiaries of the factory's expansion through the creation of jobs.

President Kagame also announced that the government will partner with the factory to put tarmac on the road leading to the factory.

CIMERWA pledged to meet 40% of the total cost of the road construction.

The factory has been operational in Rwanda for almost 30 years.

The other 41% of the shares are owned by the government and a consortium of local investors, including the Rwanda Social Security Board (RSSB), Sonarwa and Rwanda Investment Group (RIG).

PPC, a leading supplier of cement, operates in southern Africa with manufacturing facilities and milling depots in South Africa, Botswana and Zimbabwe boasts an overall capacity to produce 8 million tonnes of cement per year.

Based on Rwandan and the Great Lakes Region's positive economic outlook, regional cement demand is projected to increase to 1 million tonnes during the next decade.

While also in Rusizi, President Kagame visited Mashyuza Rice Mill in Bugarama Sector. The Rwf 455 million factory is jointly owned by SOPAV-Kigali, Cyangugu Diocese and Caritas Rwanda.

The factory has the capacity of processing 2.5 tonnes per hour.

The rice processed in Mashyuza Rice Mill is cultivated on Bugarama marshland which lies on about 1500 hectares and has a capacity of producing 16,000 tonnes annually.

The factory only opened 2010 and by 2011 it had recorded a profit of Rfw34 million.

The Government in close cooperation with the residents through cooperatives moved to stream line the growing and processing of rice in the area.

Innocent Bashimande shared a testimony of how much profit he has made since rice farming was streamlined in Bugarama marshland.

"Before the government initiated redistribution of plots in the marshland I used to produce 500kg of rice annually earning Rwf 150,000. I was then given an extra plot and now I produce 2.4 tonnes of rice bringing Rwf 636,000.," he said, adding that he can now afford health insurance, has accumulated farm animals and his family generally lives a better life.

Rusizi has five factories and four cooperatives that deal in rice.

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