Exploring Sustainable Solutions for Africa’s Construction Industry

Zanzibar, September 25, 2023 – The National Carbon Monitoring Centre (NCMC) was represented by Paulo Lyimo at the recent Timber Workshop held in Fumba Town, Zanzibar, where experts and stakeholders from various organizations gathered to discuss innovative solutions for the construction industry’s sustainability and growth.

Day 1 (22/09/2023)
The first day of the workshop began with a meeting at the Fumba Town Office, setting the stage for two days of intensive discussions and presentations. Sebastian Dietzold, representing the CPS, acted as the moderator for the event.

Participants from prominent institutions such as UDSM (University of Dar es Salaam), TAFORI (Tanzania Forest Research Institute), FITI (Forestry Industries Training Institute), SUA (Sokoine University of Agriculture), Gatsby Africa, CPS, and NCMC were introduced.

CPS presented its mission, which focuses on building affordable wooden houses with innovative technology, emphasizing affordability, environmental friendliness, and high quality. They also highlighted their core values, which include a strong commitment to the local economy and sustainable, green construction.

The discussions revolved around addressing the challenges of urban development in Africa, technology and research, credibility in the construction sector, and the role of timber in developing new sustainable technologies. The workshop emphasized the importance of sustainable, locally-sourced materials in transforming communities and economies.

Jack from Gatsby Africa then presented their work in East Africa’s forestry sector, emphasizing their efforts in catalyzing innovation, tree genetics transfer, technology upgrades, and green field forestry investments. Their work aims to unlock the potential of sustainable timber and create a circular economy while enhancing public-private partnerships.

Day 2 (23/09/2023)
The second day of the workshop delved into the concept of a circular economy, highlighting the construction industry as a significant investment opportunity in Tanzania. The detrimental effects of industries like mining were also discussed, emphasizing the need for sustainable alternatives.

Participants watched a video about Fumba Town, showcasing how a circular economy can provide all essential resources within a localized ecosystem.

The discussions underscored the importance of timber as a sustainable construction material, with its capacity for regrowth, carbon sequestration, and local availability. Forestry’s potential in Tanzania was explored, including initiatives to strengthen associations, develop a comprehensive species database, and advance research on tree adaptation to climate change.

Additionally, the workshop addressed the need for improved accuracy in the timber value chain and highlighted the importance of coordination in the forestry sector’s development. The role of organizations like Gatsby Africa and the creation of a Commercial Forestry Unit were also emphasized in unlocking the sector’s potential.

The Timber Workshop in Fumba Town served as a platform for experts, institutions, and organizations to come together and explore sustainable solutions for Africa’s construction industry, ultimately aiming to create a more prosperous and environmentally friendly future.

As the workshop concluded, participants left with a shared vision of transforming Africa’s construction industry through sustainable timber solutions, circular economies, and collaborative efforts. The NCMC representative conveyed a sense of hope for what lies ahead, emphasizing the industry’s potential for positive transformation. They underscored the significance of timber as a sustainable construction material, highlighting its unique ability to sequester carbon.
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