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Construction materials import substitution – ceramics

Home 9 Blog 9 Construction materials import substitution – ceramics

Introduction

The construction industry is one of the heavy importers in Malawi. The industry imports construction materials which contribute to scarcity of forex. The plunging value of the Kwacha against major currencies like the United States dollar makes it worse for the industry’s import of, usually, basic materials. As it stands, Malawi imports tiles, and everything in between made from ceramic from China, the Republic of South Africa and Zambia.

The extent with the importation challenge requires paradigm shift at every level including the construction industry. This is why the National Construction Industry Council is exploring import substitutes for construction materials in order to reduce importation and to create jobs locally.

Malawi’s potential

Malawi has great potential to manufacture ceramic ware locally with the likes of Dedza Portery and the promising work of Mr. Pledge Sambo of Area 24. Dedza Portery is a leading ceramic manufacture in Malawi situated at the foot of Dedza Mountain about 87 kilometers south of the Capital City, Lilongwe. Currently Dedza porterly employees in excess of 100 people showing potential to contributing to the social-economic well-being of Malawi is addition to saving on forex while making the same through sales to tourists as well as locals. On his part Mr. Sambo has 2 staff members in his fold pointing to the challenges in securing capital to invest in heavy equipment which can enhance his production as well as push employment figures at his factory higher. Mr. Sambo operates within the Capital, Lilongwe in the densely populated Area 24. The products of both Dedza and Mr. Sambo are a marvel to see proving to any doubters that we have local solutions.

Malawi has the requisite raw materials for production of ceramics including clay, feldspar, silica sand, kaolinite and marble. These natural resources are readily available in Dedza, Mchinji, Ntcheu and Balaka. Perhaps research should reveal more locations with such rare earth resources and quantities, thereof.

Call to action

This short review goes to show that we lack most as a country is the urge to take advantage of these opportunities and make a difference. It is time for the following actions to be undertaken as a matter of urgency:

  •  Investors to join in manufacturing of ceramic products locally
  • Move toward control of importation of ceramic products
  • Mass production of ceramics raw materials

For feedback and expression of intent to join a group of local construction materials manufacturers contact the Training and Research Director, Mrs. Nema Kadaluka through 0999392358 or email nema.matekenya@ncic.mw Alternativel, interested stakeholder can contact the Cooperate Affairs Officer Mr. Lyford Gedion on 0999924426 or email at  lyford.gideon@ncic.mw.

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