African cement demand ‘to remain robust’

16 January 2015

The high growth, but low levels of infrastructure, means African cement demand will be high until 2050

Austria-based specialist refractory supplier RHI Group and South African cement and lime kiln specialist Dickinson Group, foresee sustained demand in Africa for cement and related products throughout the next three decades.

Despite additional cement production capacity being built in Africa, the scale of demand will require cement from all parts of the world, says RHI Cement and Lime GM Thomas Jakowiak.

The refractory supply industry, however, could be heading into a period of consolidation, in light of decreasing prices and the multitude of suppliers.

“Cement and refractory growth is linked to gross domestic product (GDP) growth and the level of infrastructure spend. If GDP is favourable, demand for cement will be high and the regions will require cement production and, hence, our refractory products. This is what we foresee in Africa.”

The proportion of African cement production, compared with world production, is expected to grow from 8% to 17% between 2020 and 2050 to support construction of infrastructure and cities.

Jakowiak says cement production can form a greater part of Africa’s waste management strategy, as cement kilns can burn municipal waste, while generating a high-value product.

The use of alternative fuels increases the chemical weathering of the rotary bricks, but RHI can supply specialist chemically resistant refractory bricks to meet this challenge, he says.

“The growth of the cement industry and the complexity of pricing and capacity challenges makes knowledge sharing across the industry essential for it to sustainably support Africa’s growth,” concludes Dickinson.

By: Schalk Burger

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