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Editorial comment

Welcome to World Cement’s November issue, showcasing an exciting array of technical features and a regional report on Africa and the Middle East that includes interesting perspectives from FLSmidth and DuPont Sustainable Solutions.

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The World Cement regional report tour starts in January, covering every area of the cement world in twelve short months, just about making it back in time for Christmas. This month’s stop in Africa and the Middle East offers an insight into a burgeoning cement world that is often dogged by political and social unrest. Whilst it is true that few other regions of the cement industry face obstacles of the same nature and intensity, it is also true that no other region demonstrates such enormous potential for growth in terms of both production and technology. In the face of great political upheaval across the majority of Africa and the Middle East, the cement industry here continues to boost production and hasten expansion.

As recently as early October 2016, examples of this turmoil have been reported in Ethiopia, with multiple Dangote Cement plants falling victim to protester attacks, with vehicles and machinery at the company’s plant in Oromiya vandalised. According to various sources, the attacks formed part of a wider scale protest against the incumbent government. In response, Ethiopia accused elements in Eritrea and other countries of fanning the crisis in the country, whilst declaring a state of emergency following months of protests.1

On top of this trouble, Dangote has been plagued by gas shortages, with militants in the Niger Delta regularly disrupting Nigeria’s oil and gas production. The disruption has forced the company to turn to locally mined coal to power its plants. In an era when power generation is shifting away from coal, the move is an unusual one, with Dangote announcing that they will use 12 000 tonnes of coal each day.2

Nevertheless, with Dangote facing obstacles and attacks from all directions, the company continues to press ahead with planned expansion works. Dangote currently has an annual production capacity of 43.6 million tonnes and targets output of between 74 million and 77 million tonnes by the end of 2019. The company has also invested more than US$5 billion to expand outside its home market in the past few years.

In this month’s report, we aim to offer an update on today’s situation in the area and to demonstrate how the region continues to thrive with unrivalled enthusiasm and courage. We would love to hear your thoughts on this month’s regional report. What are your predictions for the future of the industry in this area? Will the region continue to thrive in adversity or will the rate of expansion plateau? Please contact us at or with your thoughts.

I’d like to extend my warmest wishes to all our readers, authors and advertisers. Thank you for your continued support, and if you picked up a copy at the AUCBM conference in Abu Dhabi, don’t forget to visit the World Cement booth F14. Come and say hello!