Modular Assembly System a possible answer to housing crisis
One of the major investments confirmed at the recently ended Invest in Namibia conference is a housing scheme in Okahandja that will focus on constructing different housing models for the local market. The project, which was proposed by German company, Polycare, is confident to construct at least 10 000 houses annually, to reduce the country’s housing backlog which is estimated at more than 100 000 units. The largest backlog of housing is in the lowest income sectors of the market.
“The company says that it could construct up to 56 houses per day or as many as 16 800 houses per year. With these figures the goal of building 40 000 houses during the next four years is achievable,” said Wolfgang Tiefensee, Minister of Economy, Science and Digital Society of the Federal German Free State of Thuringen, who promised Polycare during the Invest in Namibia conference.
The project, which is hoped to commence by mid-2017, is expected to include a factory to produce building materials as well as a school of excellence to provide local youth with the skills necessary for the construction industry.
The Polycare solution, with its Modular Assembly System (MAS), is one of a number of alternative building solutions for Namibia’s housing crisis. Polycare’s MAS relies on super strong polymer concrete, based on an unsettled polyester resin rather than cement and water. This resin can be made from materials not usually suitable for construction. This project is expected to create about 500 jobs which are inclusive of locals and non-Namibians.
“This is Lego for grown-ups and the good news is that we can produce these Lego bricks in Namibia, with Namibian sand. It is made up of 87 percent sand, 13 resin and can be made on site. Curing time is 20 minutes. So today you have a pile of sand and tomorrow you have a pile of Legos and everyone can build their own house,” said Gerhard Dust from Polycare.
Overall the participants at the just-ended Invest in Namibia international conference described the event as a huge success and an ideal platform for business ventures. The two-day conference was organised by the Ministry of Industrialisation, Trade and SME Development, under the theme ‘Promoting investment for inclusive growth and industrialisation’.
During the conference two letters of intent were signed, one of which was for the Polycare project and the other was with Turkey to strengthen the Namibia Investment Centre as an institution, through capacity building interventions.
A memorandum of understanding was also signed between the Otavi Municipality and Korean promoters, with a focus on the production of steel. Items that were not signed at the conclusion of the conference include Namcor and their promoters Vitol oil; and APR energy
Several investment projects were also worked on before the conference, and included a manufacturing plant being relocated from South Africa, a company called Monitoris (focusing on research and professional services), the World Bank Youth group (focusing on electricity generation) and MUSA capital (focussing on agro processing).
• This article first appeared in New Era Weekend.