The European Investment Bank (EIB) today agreed to provide EUR 82 million for the construction and operation of the Ohorongo cement factory located 435km north of Namibia’s capital Windhoek. This will be Namibia’s only operating cement production plant. It will help to supply both the domestic market as well as demand in Botswana, Zambia and post civil-war Angola.

“The European Investment Bank is pleased to be able to provide Namibia’s only cement factory and stimulate economic activity in northern Namibia. We welcome the factory's planned compliance with EU emission and safety standards, and commitment to improve living standards and employment around the facility.” highlighted Plutarchos Sakellaris, European Investment Bank Vice-President responsible for Africa.

The project promoter Schwenk Zement, is a German family-owned medium-size construction materials and cement company with over 160 years experience of cement production. Ohorongo Cement Limited will own and operate the cement plant.

 “Ohorongo will have unlimited access to Schwenk's expertise, in particular using alternative fuels such as biomass. This helps reduce carbon emissions and Namibia’s need to import cement, coal and oil.” added Gerhard Hirth, CEO Schwenk Group and Chairman of Ohorongo Cement (Pty) Ltd.

The plant will have an annual production capacity of 700,000 tonnes and cover cement production from raw material preparation to cement dispatching. The loan will also finance a grinding mill, access roads, a railway spur and housing facilities for the workforce.

The new cement plant will make a significant contribution to reducing poverty and sustainable economic development in northern Namibia. The Ohorongo plant will provide over 300 direct jobs and provide indirect employment for over 2,000 people in the Tsumeb area, a poor rural district.

Other  lenders in the  project (total investment € 250 million) are DEG, part of Germany’s KfW Banking group and the Development Bank of Southern Africa. 

Notes for Editors:

  • The European Investment Bank, the European Union’s financing institution, supports investment projects fostering European development aid and cooperation policies.
  • The EIB has been a development partner in many African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries since 1963
  • EIB loans in the ACP regions concentrate on fostering private sector-led initiatives, including SME investments that promote sustainable economic growth and help to reduce poverty. The Bank also supports public sector projects that are critical for private sector development and the creation of a competitive business environment.
  • Schwenk Zement intends to use all its 160 years of experience in operating a cement production and cement plants, especially using latest technology in energy efficiency, product quality, health & safety and environmental protection for the success of its Ohorongo project.
  • Schwenk Zement provides more than 80 % of their fuel needs using waste products such as tires, woodchips, plastic, municipal waste, and sewage sludge in German operations. Schwenk hopes to take a similar approach in Namibia and wishes to use invader bush to supply 50% of the plants energy demand, further boosting local employment through harvesting and delivery activities.