Market News

Cement consumption rises 20pc

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A construction site in Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | NMG

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Summary

  • Data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics shows that the increase was the biggest since 2014, when the volumes were boosted by the start of construction of the Nairobi-Mombasa standard gauge railway.
  • Cement consumption has been one of the few economic indicators that have remained robust in the face of the pandemic.
  • Developers continued their projects even with the Covid related restrictions, although they reduced their headcount on sites to comply with social distancing measures.

Cement consumption in Kenya rose by 20 percent last year to hit 6.5 million tonnes, driven by both private and public sector construction activity that defied the Covid-19 pandemic.

Data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics shows that the increase was the biggest since 2014, when the volumes were boosted by the start of construction of the Nairobi-Mombasa standard gauge railway.

Cement consumption has been one of the few economic indicators that have remained robust in the face of the pandemic.

Developers continued their projects even with the Covid related restrictions, although they reduced their headcount on sites to comply with social distancing measures.

A National Construction Authority (NCA) report shows that there were more private projects approved and supervised by its engineers than public projects, indicating that Kenyans spent the lockdown time to put up residential and commercial properties.

According to the Architectural Association of Kenya’s (AAK) Status of The Built Environment report for the second half of the year, construction activity “contrasted with other indicators in the property market like rent, home prices and land costs that reported subdued growth”.

In the public sector, NCA said it sanctioned 85 big ticket projects undertaken by the county governments (31), the national government (21) and parastatals (33) during the second half of 2020,with 12 of these being valued above Sh1 billion each.

During a similar period in 2019, NCA approved 66 projects, where 28 were submitted by county governments, national government (7) and parastatals (31), with10 worth above Sh1 billion each.

There are also large ongoing public infrastructure projects that are driving the use of cement, most notably the Sh60 billion, 27.1 kilometre Nairobi Expressway whose main feature is an elevated carriageway that is supported by concrete pillars.

Other ongoing roadworks in the city include the 17 kilometre Western Bypass and the 25 kilometre James Gichuru-Rironi highway.

In the Coast region, the government is also constructing the second and third phases of the Dongo Kundu bypass in Mombasa, which include sea bridges, and work also continues on the second and third berths at the Lamu port project.