14Trees, a joint venture involving CDC Group – the UK government’s development finance institution – and the European building materials multinational LafargeHolcim, is 3D-printing houses and schools in a fraction of the time it would normally take.
Oumar Seydi, IFC Director for Eastern and Southern Africa wrote: “As sub-Saharan Africa becomes more urbanized, the private sector can help governments meet the critical need for housing. The platform will help transform Africa’s housing markets by providing high quality, affordable homes, creating jobs, and demonstrating the viability of the sector to local developers.”
The technology driven company has operations in Malawi and Kenya, and is able to build a 3D-printed house in just 12 hours at a cost of under $10,000. Its building process reduces CO2 emissions by as much as 70% when compared with a typical house-building project. It has also developed an online platform for the African diaspora, encouraging people to invest in a “home back home.”
The 14Trees building projects are one example of public-private cooperation helping to create jobs as well as housing across Africa. The IFC is working with a Chinese multinational construction and engineering company, CITIC Construction, and plans to build 30,000 homes over a five-year period by partnering with local businesses across Africa, and estimates that each housing unit will create five full-time positions, equating to 150,000 new jobs in all.
The company’s first-ever affordable, 3D-printed home was built in Lilongwe, the capital city of Malawi. 14Trees has also recently completed its first 3D-printed school, also in Malawi. Built in a fraction of the time a traditionally built school would take, it opened its doors to students on 21 June, World Economic Forum reports.
Tenbite Ermias, managing director of CDC Africa, said: “The rollout of 14Trees’ world-class, cutting-edge technology is going to have a tremendous developmental impact on Malawi and the wider region. It is a wonderful example of how we are investing in businesses that can support the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.”