Editorial: There are many opportunities in the manufacturing sector

The BuildExpo Africa Summit winds up today in Kigali. It brought together over 1,500 delegates from 16 countries to examine challenges in the construction sector and how to streamline them.

The BuildExpo Africa Summit winds up today in Kigali. It brought together over 1,500 delegates from 16 countries to examine challenges in the construction sector and how to streamline them.

The construction industry in the country is currently one of the healthiest and has been growing steadily at the rate of 12 per cent per annum and it currently contributes 7 per cent of GDP.

This is an industry that that is bound to continue to boom given that the government has set a target of coming up with 34,000 housing units every year.

At the moment there are over 30,000 units in the pipeline by various players and foreign investors have taken a keen interest in the industry.

Two factors however will determine whether the government will hit its target; the first is the high cost of construction materials. Most materials are imported and the best quality is way beyond the reach of the ordinary potential home owner. Many resort to cheap imitations which prove to be expensive in the end when they have to be replaced.

The other hurdle is dwindling land, especially in urban areas where most construction projects tend to prefer. Large scale expropriations also tend to be costly pushing up the cost of a finished house.

This can be tackled by good planning and efficient land use, but the issue of the high cost of construction materials will continue to hamper the sector as long as local manufacturing is still low.

That should be the new Eldorado for manufacturers of construction materials and hopefully cheap imitations will be a thing of the past.