Itwill now be easy for Rwandans to access quality roofing materials, thanks to the launch of a new factory last week. The plant located in Kigali Special Economic Zone in Nyandungu, Gasabo District will specialise in the manufacture of stone-coated steel roofing tiles, officials from S&H Industries Rwanda said.
The tiles are trading under the brand name ‘Hippo’.
S&H Industries Rwanda is a joint venture partnership between Rwanda’s Horizon Group and SISAY Investments owned by an Ethiopian investor. Hippo Roofing’s facility.
Speaking at the launch, Getenet Motle, the S&H Industries Rwanda chief executive officer, said the company could reduce the import bill for stone-coated roofing tiles by 50 per cent.
Motle said this would help improve the country’s foreign exchange reserves. He added that they would source some of the raw material locally and from the region to ensure sustainability.
“We are also targeting to create over 100 jobs, as well as technology transfer that will boost the sectors capacity and skills,” Motle said.
Eugene Haguma, the Horizon Group chief executive officer, said joint ventures are important for the country’s economic growth. The tiles’ durability and aesthetic value can last for over 50 years.
Last week, another state of the art construction facility specialising in the manufacturing of straw boards, another alternative construction materials seeking to bring home affordable houses.
Commenting on the development, Francois Nsenga, a local importer and distributor of roofing materials, said the facility could reduce the cost of importation by almost 50 per cent.
He said the country spends a lot of money on imported roofing materials from Asia and South Africa. “However, with the new facility, we will be able to reduce the trade deficit gap and improve our foreign exchange reserves,” Nsenga told Business Times.
It costs almost Rwf50 million to import a 40ft container of stone-coated roofing tiles. These tiles can only roof between four and five houses, experts say.
S&H Industries is the first firm to manufacture stone-coated steel roofing tiles in Rwanda. The tiles are coated with aluminum-zinc alloy steel and Italian stone granules.
The facility employs modern automated technology from South Korea. It has the capacity to produce 5,000 metres of stone-coated roofing tiles, which will boost the country’s construction and real estate sectors.
According to Emmanuel Hategeka, the Permanent Secretary at Trade and Industry Ministry, such alternatives have the capacity to reduce the country’s import bill by at least $450 million by 2018.
Charles Haba, the director of Century Real Estate and chairperson of the Association of Real Estate Developers, said alternative and innovative solutions are required to reduce the cost of building homes.
Rwanda is implementing projects for affordable housing, especially in the City of Kigali, to serve low and middle-income market segments. The country needs more than 344,068 housing units by 2020 to be able to meet the growing demand, particularly in towns and provincial cities. This translates into about 35,000 housing units required per year on average.