The third East African Cement, Concrete and Energy Annual Summit was recently held in Addis Ababa under the theme "Sustainable cement, and concrete investment in East Africa." The major objective of the summit was to assess the current state of the sector and look into possible ways to improve its regional economic contribution.
The first and second summits were organized under themes "Strategic cooperation among cement, concrete and energy industry: Agendas for action" and "Investing in East Africa's Future: Exploring cement, concrete and energy potentials" respectively.
The third summit was specifically designed as an annual knowledge sharing platform and provides opportunity to seek and share knowledge with business leaders, policy makers, academia, technology suppliers, and researchers in the sector.
The third annual summit also encompasses many sub-themes and the discussions mainly focused on impact of foreign currency shortage on cement, concrete and energy investment, environment, corporate social responsibility and business ethics in cement and construction sectors. alternative energy management and cost reduction, policy and regulatory challenges of cement and alternative energy investment, steel prices hike and its impact on cement and construction sectors, human capital productivity and talent development in cement and concrete sectors, advanced technologies for cement and concrete manufacturing, challenges of innovation in cement and concrete sectors, and quality and standards for cement, concrete and energy as well as potential and new opportunities investment.
The fruitful discussions on each sub-theme are believed to enable stockholders to be aware of the sector's state of competence, productivity and look for better production and market placement in Ethiopia as well as in the region as a whole.
Asregedew Kassa (PhD), Adjunct Faculty, Bahir Dar University stated that for long the construction and material production practices have been lagging way behind in utilizing alternative solution and addressing environmental pollution. In addition, he said, the conventional cement, concrete and energy investment and production process have had negative impact on environmental pollution.
Accordingly, as to him, the summit opens new ways and alternative solutions to reduce waste and environmental pollution, save cost, conserve nature and build capacity to improve design standards in the Ethiopian construction industry.
Haile Assegide president of Ethiopian Cement Producers Association and CEO of Derba MIDROC Cement said since recent times, the utilization of modern and latest technology for the production of cement has helped overcome the prolonged quality challenge. Also the summit provides further opportunity to share best experiences with partners to further improve the quality of cement production, he added.
As to him, Ethiopia has a big potential for cement production as per medium and long run per capita consumption, yet it is lower level compared to an average per capita in Africa. "In the fluctuating cement market, our production capacity utilization rate is not higher than 50 percent. So addressing these issues is one of the sector's priorities in the coming several months," he added.
Regarding the negative impact of the industry on the environment, he said: It is possible to ensure safe co-existence between the environment and construction industry if guided by modern technology. Using modern technology can create many advantages: it saves time of production, is vital in producing quality product, keeps the environments from pollution and enables to have good market placement and marketing environment.
Dr. Shumete Gizaw state minister of Science and Technology on his part said high ethical value is essential in the sector to ensure and enhance the industry's credibility, dependability and sustainability.