According to the African Development Bank, East Africa’s gross domestic prod-uct will grow by 5.6% in 2015 and 6.7% in 2016, making it the fastest-growing region in Africa.
Events management company Hypenica marketing manager Tamsin Collins notes that because of this, the theme of the Totally Concrete East Africa conference and exhibition, which took place last month in Nairobi, Kenya, was cement and construction technology for sustainable urbanisation in East Africa.
“Today, 54% of the world’s population lives in urban areas, but by 2050, the urban population in Africa is expected to rise as high as 62%,” she asserts, adding that only 40% of the African population currently resides in urban areas; however, some African cities will grow by 85% over the next 30 years as the rate of urbanisation increases.
Collins highlights that the sub-Saharan Africa’s current urbanisation growth rate of 3.6% has doubled the global average. “Shifting African demographics result in more people flocking to cities and, as cities densify, it is imperative that urban development focuses on not only housing development but also the development of sustainable cities.”
She states that the aim of Totally Concrete East Africa is to allow for collaboration among the region’s public and private sectors to support infrastructure delivery in pace with urbanisation trends.
“Totally Concrete East Africa unites property owners, local construction professionals, building materials suppliers, investors and government to collaborate towards efficient and sustainable infrastructure build, enhanced service delivery and reduced construction costs for stakeholders across the industry value chain,” Collins explains.
Several presentations were held at the event to highlight the successes and developments of some of the region’s most important infrastructure projects, including the Two Rivers development, in Kenya, and the Lamu Port-Southern Sudan-Ethiopia Transport corridor project.
Collins notes that of particular value to the attendants was the roundtable discussion preparing for urbanisation in East Africa featur-ing the participants from Kenya Vision 2030, the National Construction Authority of Kenya, the Kenyan Ministry of Land, Housing and Urban Development and the United Nations’ (UN’s) human settlements programme UN-Habitat.
The following day was highlighted by a spotlight session on Africa’s architectural awakening, held by Belgian architect Thierry Bogaert and Spanish architect Urko Sanchez.
The final day featured a housing for East Africa seminar, which included presentations from UN-Habitat, Kenya-based Centum Investment Company and housing development company Karibu Homes.