A consortium of investors from Saudi Arabia have opened a $260m cement factory in Mukalla City in the Hadramout province in eastern Yemen.

The 22 square-kilometre integrated factory plans to produce 1.5 million tonnes of cement a year. The site will also contain a 36MW power plant to provide the plant with electricity.

An access road will also be built to link the surrounding villages to the plant and connect the district to Yemen’s national highway network.

The plant is owned by the local Arabian Yemen Cement Company and is sponsored by a consortium of Dammam-based Eastern Province Cement Company and Saudi businessmen Sheikh Mohammed Hussain al-Amoudi and Abdullah Ahmed Bugshan, as well as five other minority shareholders.

This is the first cement plant in Yemen’s underdeveloped eastern region and promises to help the country reach its production goal of nine million tonnes of cement a year, while also providing jobs to local Yemenis.    

In June 2007, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector arm of the World Bank, extended a $70m loan and mobilised an additional $55m from local banks to help finance the project.

The cement plant is the latest in Arabian Yemen Cement Company’s investment in Mukalla City and the surrounding region. Under the patronage of Saudi entrepreneur, Abdullah Ahmed Buqshan, the company built a 3,600-student school and a 4,600 square-metre hospital in the Hadramout Valley in 2008.

The company also supported two school expansions in Yemen’s eastern region, prepared a series of wells in the Doa’an Valley and built a dam in Yemen’s Al-Ain Valley in 2007.