The demand for cement and other building materials in Africa, particularly south of the Sahara, continued mostly to develop positively in 2020 despite Covid-19. Figure 1 shows the Top 10 cement producing countries in Africa in 2020.
The Top 10 account for 73.3% of the cement production and 73.8% of the cement capacity in Africa in 2020 and are home to 53.7% of the population. The other 33 cement producing countries in Africa only account for 26.7% of the production and 26.2% of the capacity but for 46.3% of the population. This review starts in North Africa and ends in South Africa.
Largest African cement producing countries
In 2020 Algeria had a population of 44.4 million. With a cement consumption of 23.1 Mt/a the PCC stood at 522 kg, which is the highest figure of all countries in Africa. There are 2 major cement producers in the country and four smaller ones. The largest are Groupe Industriel des Ciments d’Algérie (GICA) and Holcim. Figure 2 shows how GICA has developed in the last few years. In 2020, the cement capacity in the country stood at 40.6 Mt/a; 25.0 Mt/a were produced of which 1.9 Mt/a (cement and clinker) were exported. The capacity utilisation was 61.6%, which is one of the highest in Africa. For 2021 a moderate increase in cement production to 26.5 Mt/a is projected, corresponding to a CAGR of 6.0%.
In Egypt the cement industry is under pressure. In 2020 only 44.9 Mt/a of cement were produced after 48.7 Mt/a in 2019. With a population of 100.8 million, the PCC has fallen to 425 kg, after much higher figures years before. With a cement capacity of 84.5 Mt/a the capacity utilisation only stands at 53.1%. Egypt has 16 cement producers. The largest are El Arish Cement, Suez Cement (HeidelbergCement), Lafarge Egypt (Holcim), Assuit Cement (Cemex), Amreyah Cement (Intercement), Beni Suef Cement (Titan Group), Arabian Cement and Sinai Cement (Vicat) (Figure 3). The El Arish cement plant with six production lines, each with 6000 t/d is the largest cement plant ever built. For 2021, a production increase in Egypt by 2.4% is projected.
Morocco has a population of 36.0 million. In the last few years, the country could not fulfil the high expectations of the cement industry and analysts. In 2020 cement sales declined by 10.0%, with highest losses in the Marrakesch-Safi region and in Casablanca-Settat. Cement consumption was 12.3 Mt/a, corresponding to a PCC of 342 kg. With a modern cement capacity (Figure 4) of 21.5 Mt/a, the capacity utilisation stands at 61.6%. The largest producers are Lafarge Maroc, which is a 50/50 partnership between the Lafarge Group and SNI/ONA (Société Nationale d‘Investissement), Ciments du Maroc (HeidelbergCement), Ciments de l’Atlas (CIMAT) and Votorantim.
At the moment, Tunisia is facing political and economic turmoil. The country, which has only 11.9 million inhabitants, faces its biggest crisis since the 2011 spring revolution. The cement consumption was 5.94 Mt/a in 2020 (Figure 5), leading to a per capita consumption of 499 kg. With 31.4% lower exports, only 6.9 Mt/a of cement were produced after 8.0 Mt/a in 2019. With 12.5 Mt/a operational cement capacity, the capacity utilisation was 55.5%. Nine cement producers operate nine cement plants. Carthage Cement, Ciments d’Enfidha (Grupo Cementos Portland Valderrivas), Ciments Jbel Oust (Votorantim Cimentos) and Ciments de Bizerte have the largest capacities. For the year 2021, the cement production is expected to recover.
The cement market in Nigeria is booming. In the pandemic year the cement production increased by 14.9% to 26.2 Mt/a, of which 0.18 Mt/a were exported. However, with a population of 206.1 million and a cement consumption of 26.0 Mt/a, the PCC is only 126 kg. With just 48.3%, Nigeria has the lowest cement capacity utilisation, resulting from a cement capacity of 53.5 Mt/a. With Dangote, Lafarge Nigeria (Holcim) and BUA Cement, there are only three cement producers in the country. BUA resulted from a merger of CCCN and Obu Cement in January 2020. Figure 6 shows the market shares in Nigeria by cement capacity. However, it has already been announced that much more cement capacity will be installed in the next few years.
Ghana has a population of 31.1 million. The +1.1% GDP growth in 2020 is a steep fall from the pre-Covid-19 levels of 6.5%. However, the cement industry was unaffected and production rose to 6.7 Mt/a, after 5.9 Mt/a in 2019. With a PCC of 215 kg the country has the highest rate in sub-Saharan Africa. Ghana has six cement producers with a combined cement capacity of 10.6 Mt/a, which is completely generated by grinding plants (Figure 7), because the country has no limestone resources. The largest producers are Ghacem (HeidelbergCement Group), WACEM, Dangote and Ciments d’Afrique (CIMAF). Ghana is the largest clinker importer in Africa, while cement imports are relatively small.
Kenya has a population of 53.5 million. Over the last ten years, Kenya has introduced important reforms to transform the country into “a newly industrialising, middle-income country” by the year 2030. Cement production increased from 5.97 Mt/a in 2019 to 6.55 Mt/a in 2020 (Figure 8). The PCC stands at 147 kg.
A cement capacity of 11.3 Mt/a results in a capacity utilisation rate of 58.0%, which is above the African average. The largest producers are Bamburi Cement (Lafarge Kenya, member of Holcim), National Cement (Devki Group), Savannah Cement, Mombosa Cement and East African Portland Cement (EAPCC). National Cement recently acquired the ARM and Cemtech Sanghi assets in Kenya, which made the company the country’s No. 2 in cement.
Tanzania has a population of 59.3 million, which is almost as big as the population of Italy. In July 2020, the country formally graduated from low-income status to lower-middle-income country status. In 2020 cement production increased slightly from 5.5 Mt/a to 5.9 Mt/a. With a cement consumption of 5.6 Mt/a the PCC increased to 94 kg. Tanzania has six integrated cement plants and seven grinding plants with a combined cement capacity of 11.0 Mt/a.
Accordingly, the capacity utilisation was only 53.6%. The largest cement producers are Dangote (Figure 9), Tanzania Portland Cement (HeidelbergCement Group), Huaxin Cement (after its takeover of ARM Cement), Tanga Cement (Afrisam) and Lafarge Tanzania (Holcim). The Tanzania Investment Centre (TIC) has supplied Sinoma and Hengya Cement with a permit to begin construction of the company’s US$ 1 billion greenfield cement plant in Tanga region.
Ethiopia has a population of almost 115 million, but there are growing concerns for its unity as the Tigray conflict spreads. Cement production increased from 8.7 Mt/a in 2019 to 9.8 Mt/a in 2020, but the PCC of 84 kg still relatively low and the cement capacity utilisation rate is only 49.7%. There are 15 cement producers with an estimated combined capacity of 19.7 Mt/a in 2020.
The largest producers are Derba Midroc Cement (Figure 10), Dangote, Mugher Cement, Messebo Cement, Habesha Cement and National Cement. For many years now, the cement industry has been affected by cuts in the power supply and by difficulties in the spare parts supply . Some smaller cement plants still use the vertical kiln technology.
10 South Africa
South Africa has a population of 59.6 million, equal to that of Tanzania. Its economic growth in the years 2018 and 2019 was only slightly above the zero mark. In 2020 the economy shrank by -7.0% and Moody’s downgraded South Africa’s sovereign credit rating to “junk” status. Cement production has been in decline for several years.
In 2020 only 10.8 Mt/a were produced (Figure 11) after 13.76 Mt/a in 2018, which corresponds to a PCC of 180 kg. There are six cement producers with a combined cement capacity of 19.5 Mt/a, leading to a cement capacity utilisation of 55.4%. The largest producers are Pretoria Portland Cement (PPC), Afrisam, Lafarge South Africa (Holcim), Sephaku Cement (Dangote) and Intercement. Mamba Cement is the newest entrant into the market with a 1.2 Mt/a integrated plant, owned by Tangshan Jidong Cement.