China grew its cement exports to Kenya tenfold in the first half of the year even as contractors of flagship projects continue to deny shipping materials available locally into the country.
Data prepared by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) shows that China exported Sh 2.2 billion worth of cement to Kenya in the first six months of the year compared to Sh 201.6 million in a similar period of 2015.
The huge cement import bill is set to put Chinese contractors on the spot, having recently insisted that they only bring in machinery and equipment for Kenya’s mega projects.
The KNBS data indicates that Portland, aluminous and slag brands of cements were imported from China in the last six months.
Chinese contractors control the majority of Kenya’s multi-billion shilling infrastructure projects, among them the standard gauge railway, highways, ports and real estate.
China Road and Bridges Corporation (CRBC) holds the priciest contracts in Kenya — the construction of the Sh 327 billion Mombasa-Nairobi standard gauge railway — expected to be completed early next year.