Developers challenged to be more innovative

Real estate industry players have been challenged to adopt innovative and cost-effective technologies to deliver affordable and quality houses to citizens.
The local real estate sector is seen as targeting only one market segment, the well-to-do corporates and business people, leaving low-income earners unserved.  File
The local real estate sector is seen as targeting only one market segment, the well-to-do corporates and business people, leaving low-income earners unserved. File

Real estate industry players have been challenged to adopt innovative and cost-effective technologies to deliver affordable and quality houses to citizens.

The move could trigger growth in the housing sector, and make the real estate business lucrative and attract more investments, Lilian Uwanziga Mupende, the City of Kigali director of urban planning and the One Stop Centre, said.

“Developers need to be innovative and use appropriate and cost-effective technologies to be able to build affordable and durable houses for Rwandans,” Mupende said.

Eng. Peterson Mutabazi, a senior engineer at the Ministry of Infrastructure, urged real estate developers to be organised and embrace private-public partnerships to improve the sector.

Real estate and construction industry has been growing at an average of 9 per cent since 2011, contributing about 8 per cent to the country’s Gross Domestic Product.

The National Institute of Statistics Rwanda predicts that 30 per cent of the population will live in urban areas by 2020, the more reason the real estate should up its game to meet this demand.

Currently, Kigali has a population of over 1.2 million people, which is expected to hit 3.8 million by 2025.

Eckardt Dauck, the chief executive officer of Strawtec Building Solutions, a Germany-based company that makes straw board panels, said using locally-manufactured construction materials will make it possible to build affordable houses, and also create jobs for the Rwandans.

According to the Rwanda Development Board, there are many investment opportunities in the real estate and construction business sub-sectors, including construction of commercial complexes and shopping areas, entertainment centres, and making of different materials required by the industry like bricks and tiles.

Titien Taratibu, a Kigali-based developer, said it is important for sector players to form partnerships that will help in resource mobilisation to ensure quality and affordable housing for residents.

“Forming joint ventures with firms that have better expertise and more resources will make it possible for real estate developers to build quality and affordable houses for Rwandans.” 

The Ministry of Infrastructure drafted a new construction policy last year to streamline the construction industry. According to 2012 study on affordable houses, Kigali has about 114,197 existing housing stock and the demand for new housing units is projected to be about 344,000 by 2022.

The study by the City of Kigali and the European Union in 2008 revealed that 29.5 per cent of city dwellers earn between Rwf200,000 and Rwf900,000 per month and can only afford mid-range mortgages, while more than half of the population (54.1 per cent) earn between the Rwf33, 500 and Rwf200,000.

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