This emerged in an interview with Nkosi Mwaba, who is the Executive Director of the Botswana Cement Manufacturers Association (BCMA). Mwaba described BCMA as a membership-based industry association based in Gaborone.
He said the organisation was set up in early 2020 as the sole industry representative and voice of cement manufacturers in Botswana. BCMA has three members, namely Kago Phepa in Mahalapye, Matsilojoe Portland Cement (MPC) in Matsiloje and PPC Botswana in Gaborone. These three companies represent the cement industry in Botswana.
With over 20 employees across all of its locations, Kago Phepha is part of the wholesale sector and generates an estimated P5 million on average annually in sales revenue.
Matsiloje Portland Cement is a privately owned domestic company that began its operations in 2009. At its peak, the company employed more than 100 people. Situated in Matsiloje in the North East District, the company has an annual total production of approximately 36,000 tons.
PPC Botswana is the leading and biggest cement manufacturer in the country. As a leader in the cement and concrete product manufacturing industry, PPC Botswana has over 63 total employees across all of its locations and generates an estimated P5 billion in sales annually.
According to Mwaba, the association’s mandate is to undertake lobbying and advocacy efforts to influence policy and create a conducive business environment for its members in Botswana.
“We aim to enable growth of the sector and extend opportunities to local value chains,” he said. “We have been tasked to engage stakeholders, key among which is the Government of Botswana, on common cause issues. These are both challenges faced by the industry and opportunities for growth, beneficiation and self-sustainability within the local market.”
Mwaba added that BCMA was set-up to share and disseminate industry and market information and statistics, promote fair competition among players, settle disputes and help protect the industry against existential threats. “What we would like to see is a sustainable and self-reliant cement industry in Botswana,” he noted.
The Botswana market demand sits at over 500,000 metric tonnes per annum. As at 2020, said Mwaba, local producers were contributing about 65 percent of local demand with the rest being imported from South Africa and Namibia.
“We are seeing an increase in imports in the northern region of the country, mainly from Namibia, and from SA in the southern region,” Mwaba explained. “This is despite the fact that our members have the capacity to produce over 70 percent of the local demand. In order to achieve self-reliance and reduce imports, BCMA intends to lobby for a protective instrument that will control the influx of cement products from outside Botswana.”
The Executive Director of BCMA said the organisation will also be looking at any cross-border trade issues that may arise in order to protect local players and benefit the Botswana economy as a priority.
He noted that BCMA has so far established good working relationships with key stakeholders such as the Ministry of Investment, Trade and Industry, Botswana Railways and Botswana Power Corporation (BPC).
“We are at an advanced stage of working with BPC on the off-take of fly ash, which is produced in abundance in Botswana, in order to substitute raw material imports in the making of cement products,” he said. “Fly ash is a key ingredient in the production of cement.”
Mwaba emphasised that BCMA has a lot of work to do in stabilising and growing the industry. He noted that the association’s primary objective is to ensure sustainability and fairness as well as to maximise economic benefits while creating increased opportunities for Batswana.