New government in Malawi promises cement subsidies for poorest people

Byrebecca3360

Updated Thu, 05 Jun 2014 11:32:38 GMT

Following presidential elections in Malawi, the new Vice President Saulos Chilima has promised subsidised building materials, including cement and iron sheets, to the neediest people. Construction appears to be a major pillar of the incoming president’s plans for the country, which is among the poorest in Africa. Community colleges, new roads and improved housing are among the campaign promises.

There are three cement producers in Malawi, including Lafarge, which operates a grinding plant in the country. The cost of cement is comparatively high, as most raw materials and clinker are imported and freight costs are significant. One of the three, Shayona Cement, is investing in a new cement production plant, which is due to come on stream in 2015.

Malawi may also benefit from the increase in capacity in neighbouring Tanzania, where Dangote Cement is in the process of building a 1.5 million tpa cement plant and where Tanga Cement is adding a second kiln line. Other companies are also taking advantage of the increased demand in the region to enter the market, where capacity looks set to double in the next few years.