Construction

How can African countries address both their current housing crisis, the continent’s growing infrastructure gap, as well as anticipate technological developments?

Background

How can African countries address both their current housing crisis, the continent’s growing infrastructure gap, as well as anticipate technological developments?

The continent will be home to the world’s fastest growing cities over the next 30 years. Projections are that in 2100 the world’s three biggest cities will be in Africa. Without the right infrastructure - particularly housing - they will serve neither their citizens nor the environment well, and existing social problems will be exacerbated.

This is a complex challenge. One of the things to get right is to produce circular construction materials that are affordable, accessible, and even regenerative.

We are seeing a swathe of innovations, from people turning waste plastic into modular construction materials that outperform concrete, to initiatives using locally sourced materials from nature.

There are obstacles to innovation. The construction market is conservative, and users may be sceptical of alternative construction materials and technology. Regulatory standards sometimes simply do not recognise new products, or fail to provide the incentives for the use of recycled materials. And they may not yet have reached a level of affordability that is suitable for the informal construction market

Challenges

Materials

One of the things to get right is to produce circular construction materials that are affordable, accessible, and even regenerative. We are seeing a swathe of innovations, from people turning waste plastic into modular construction materials that outperform concrete, to initiatives using locally sourced materials from nature.

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