Derba MIDROC Cement Plc, Ethiopia’s largest cement factory, was inaugurated this week in the presence of the country’s Prime Minister Meles Zenawi and other invited guests at a ground-breaking ceremony held with in the premises of the factory.
The 351 million dollar plant was built by the MIDROC Ethiopia group owned by Mohammed al-Amoudi, an Ethiopian-born Saudi Arabian billionaire who is one of the biggest investors in the Horn of Africa.
Derba MIDROC located about 70 kilometers northwest of the capital, Addis Ababa, near Chanch town of Oromia State will produce 8,000 metric tons of cement daily.
Prime Minister Meles Zenawi on the occasion said the plant will contribute a lot to the ongoing development in the industrial sector.
It will also help the country to meet the increasing demand of cement in the construction sector, Meles said.
The plant will raise the country’s annual cement production to over 9 million tons.
Mohammed al-Amoudi on his part said MIDROC will continue to contribute share to the efforts of the government towards development.
In this regard, MIDROC has plans to built gypsum and marble factories in the coming 10 years at a cost of 100 billion Birr.
Ethiopia, a net importer of cement, plans to boost output by ten-fold by mid-2015 to 27 million tons, according to the government.
The Derba plant will add 2.5 million tons of cement per year, while expansions to Mesobo Building Materials Production Plc and state-owned Mugher Cement Enterprise will add another 1 million.
Ethiopia “will be self-sufficient for the coming two to three years” in cement.
Derba Cement, built by China National Building Material Co., may earn more than 2 billion birr (115.9 million dollars) annually, Project Manager Tadesse Kebede said in an interview at the site. “If everything goes well it will be a cash cow,” he said.
Al-Amoudi’s company invested 100 million dollars in the operation, with the European Investment Bank, the African Development Bank, the International Finance Corp. and the Development Bank of Ethiopia providing the rest of the funds.
The project was delayed for “almost one year” because obtaining the loans took longer than expected, Tadesse said. “To work with multilateral banks is very difficult,” he said.