China grew cement exports to Kenya in first half of 2016
China grew its cement exports to Kenya tenfold in the first half of 2016 even as contractors of flagship projects continue to deny shipping materials available locally into the country. Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) data shows that China exported Sh2.2 billion worth of cement to Kenya in the first six months of the year compared to Sh201.6 million in a similar period of 2015.
The huge cement import bill is set to embarrass Chinese contractors, who recently insisted that they only bring in machinery and equipment for Kenya’s mega projects. KNBS data indicates that portland, aluminous and slag cements were imported from China in the last six months.
Local manufacturers have, however, complained of being left out of the railway project, accusing CRBC of importing raw materials and bringing in Chinese labourers.The CRBC has in the past dismissed the claims, saying it sources all its construction materials from local firms and only imports machinery, equipment and locomotives that are not available in Kenya.
The firm says cement is sourced from local firms Bamburi Cement, East African Portland Cement, ARM Cement and Savannah Cement. Official data shows that local firms produced 3.2 million tonnes of cement in the year to June against a consumption of 2.9 million tonnes, leaving a surplus of 300,000 tonnes. The average retail price of a 50-kg bag of cement has dropped to Sh670 from the peak of Sh740 in 2008 due to fierce competition. Nigeria’s Dangote Cement is set to start feeding the Kenyan cement market through imports from its plant in neighbouring Ethiopia.