(Xinhua) -- When Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam
Desalegn inaugurated Ethiopia’s latest cement plant in Holeta
town, Oromia regional state, on Wednesday, he had more than one
reason to feel satisfied.
And it was not only because the
Chinese firm Northern Heavy Industry (NHI) contracted to
complete the project finished the 155.3 million U.S. dollars
cement plant in just two years.
Habesha Cement Plant, located just 35
kms west of Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa, is of the rare type,
one built with the help of local businesspeople in a country
where the state, well-connected local tycoons and foreign firms
have the financial muscle and initiative to construct big
Engineer Mesfin Abi, CEO of Habesha
Cement Share Company, said when the company started with three
people in September 2008, he never imagined it would reach today
to 16,500 plus shareholders.
However the exponential increase in
shareholder numbers was not enough as the company had to sell 53
percent of its share to two South African firms Pretoria
Portland Cement (PPC) and Industrial Development Corporation
It also had to solicit and
successfully receive loans from the Trade Development Bank (TDB)
the financial arm of the Common Market for East and Southern
Africa (COMESA) and the state owned Development Bank of Ethiopia
to plug financial gap.
Ethiopian Prime Minister pointed out
that with Ethiopia undertaking large infrastructure like the
6,250 Mega Watts hydro dam on Blue Nile River as well as housing
projects, the need for cement supply is set to continue.
“With the inauguration of Habesha
cement we have increased Ethiopia’s cement production
capacity to 16.4 million tonnes of cement annually,
increasing by around 10 times in 10 years, enabling us to
cover our needs and be in a position to export to
neighboring countries,” said the prime minister.
Habesha Cement Plant currently
produces about 4,500 tonnes of cement daily with a maximum
annual production capacity of 1.4 million tonnes of cement.
Ethiopia hopes by 2020 to be able to
produce about 27 million tonnes of cement annually, making it an
African powerhouse in cement production.
Liu Hequn, chairperson of NHI, said
his company focuses on all aspects of project operations,
ensuring that a plant works to its utmost projected life cycle.
“The project for NHI is significant,
as it’s a large dry process cement clinker production line
of Northern Heavy Industry, a masterpiece in the
international project construction and also after the
national cement project a successful service for Ethiopia
cement engineering general contracting market,” Liu said.
NHI donated 500,000 birr (23,000 USD)
to Oromia regional government to deal with drought conditions
that have affected hundreds of thousands of people in parts of