Ready-mix concrete is new to Nigeria
I read a very enlightening press release today from Lafarge WAPCO in Nigeria. It was published in The Daily Sun News, which is a member of the growing ranks of Nigerian press outlets.
The “news” is that ready-mixed concrete has been invented by an international cement company and is now rolling out in Nigeria. The curious fact is that ready-mixed concrete was invented over 100 years ago and is so common place in some parts of the world that it would never prompt a news story. So why is ready-mixed concrete such a remarkable discovery in this African nation?
Because concrete technology in developing countries is normally ground-based rather than ground breaking…
In poor nations they mix concrete on the ground using shovels in a process that is nothing like the modern ready-mixed technology. Ground-based mixing is backbreaking and produces some of the poorest results in the world. The measurements are inaccurate, the mixing is inconsistent and skimping on cement is common when mixing is done on the ground.
It is a sad commentary on the construction supply system of a poor nation when the news of the day is the introduction of ready-mixed concrete.
When Lafarge publicized the idea of ready-mixed concrete delivery at the Nigeria Infrastructure and Construction (NIC) exhibition, they made real news. Spokesman Chris Lobel suggested; “We have plants located strategically around various cities, but Lagos at the moment where we technologically mix the concrete with cement and transport it to the construction site which ensures that the strength and quality is maintained and according to specification. This allows contractors to build fast”.
In most industrialized nations there are ready-mix concrete producers in almost every small community, making ground-based mixing a relic of the past. Yet in the developing world they are left to produce poor construction products using their shovels.
CementTrust believes that there should be a ground-swell of outrage and action to change this problem. There should be an international effort to raise the quality of concrete production and provide ready-mixed concrete in every corner of the world. This could be accomplished using production systems that are scaled appropriately and deployed widely.
We call upon governments and charities to recognize the good news that will result when concrete withstands disaster and lives are saved from stronger concrete. We look forward to the great reports of strong infrastructure and dynamic economic growth that a vibrant concrete supply chain will deliver. We are happy to work with Lafarge or any other manufacturer to see this happen. What do you think of this news?