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Master Builders consider sustainability

Online since 2.11.2015 • Filed under Advertorial • From Issue 16 page(s) 37
Master Builders consider sustainability

The theme of this year’s 110th Annual Master Builders South Africa (MBSA) Congress was Building Sustainability in Africa.

Over a two day period, issues impacting the construction industry and its sustainability both within South Africa and on the rest of the continent were addressed by experts from a variety of sectors at the 110th Annual Master Builders South Africa Congress. Discussing ‘The Macroeconomic Outlook for sub- Saharan Africa and South Africa in a Global Context’, Sizwe Nxedlana, chief economist at First National Bank, stated that the economic growth figures for the second quarter of the year confirmed that the South African economy was very weak, growing by just 1.3%. ‘These are tough times not only for South Africa but for other emerging market countries, commodity exporters and anyone linked to China’s manufacturing supply chain.’

Infrastructure delivery lagging in Africa

On the topic of ‘Infrastructure Delivery: Implications for the Building Industry’, chairperson of the Construction

Industries Development Board, Lindelwa Myataza, said, ‘There is a strong correlation between economic growth and infrastructure. However, infrastructure inxAfrica is lagging behind.’xThe reasons for this include inadequate funding of infrastructure for both new builds and maintenance, and an inhibited regulatory  nvironment with political, legal technical, environmental and social issues. There are additional problems, such as IT-related risks, poor stakeholder consultation and involvement, as well as corruption and social discontent. She also highlighted the phenomenon of inequitable patterns of infrastructure development that results in only some benefitting while the majority of people do not. Myataza went on to state, ‘A number of Africa’s cities have been identified as some of the fastest growing in the world. Rapid urbanisation and migration provide opportunities to spur growth and increase demand for urban infrastructure and related services. Within this there are opportunities for industrialisation, skills development and poverty reduction, particularly because cities are where egalitarian forms of equitable development can be initiated, sustained and developed. Cities also offer platforms for the private sector to participate as they offer opportunities for stakeholder engagement and participation.’ Kevin Odendaal, PPC executive: corporate strategy and communication, echoed Myataza’s sentiments in his presentation entitled, ‘Sustainability – Time to Take a Long-Term View’. ‘In 2014, the IMF estimated that six of the 10 fastest growing economies were in Africa and that by 2017 that number will have increased. However, looking at a country’s GDP is not all that should be considered when deciding where to invest. A report from the Rand Merchant Bank (RMB), entitled: ‘Where To Do Business in Africa Report’ takes a much broader view of what is happening Africa and looks at elements such as the size of the economy, political risk and social stability. With Africa having the fastest urbanisation rate in the world, this is crucial for the construction industry. It is going to be up to us to build sustainable cities. However, what we have to consider is that the solutions are not necessarily going to be what we have seen coming out of the current developed world. Let’s find sustainable African solutions for Africa’s challenges.’

Master Builders Association of South Africa

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Issue 16

Issue 16

November 2015

This article was featured on page 37 of
To Build Magazine Issue 16.

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