Byiers, B., Karaki, K., Vanheukelom, J. 2017. Regional markets, politics and value chains: The case of West African cement. (Discussion Paper 216). Maastricht: ECDPM.
This study points to the need to view cement not just as a background story to more important development policies or more ambitious narratives. With recent regional and national policies in West Africa increasingly focused on economic transformation and the potential role of low-value minerals-based industrialisation, cement is at the centre of a range of development processes through production, distribution and construction, often funded or co-funded by public money. Further, the cement sector seems to be at the nexus of a range of structural and current issues for development policy in West Africa: high local production and transport costs; cheap cement imports from East Asia; a regional power or hegemon placing national over regional interests; weak competition effects to counteract inefficiencies in production; and unpredictable and politically motivated policy-making. Lessons from the cement sector may be valuable for promoting value chain development in other sectors in the region.
Photo: Building of a clay house with no wood. Credits: Gustave Deghilage via Flickr.