Mass Timber: A game-changer in urban development

CPS Africa's Chief Executive Sebastian Dietzold speaks during the expo

Timber has emerged as a viable solution to the pressing challenges of rapid urbanization and escalating carbon emissions worldwide.

At the Dar Construction & Building Leaders Summit 2023, Sebastian Dietzold, CEO of CPS Africa, highlighted the transformative potential of timber in the construction industry.

In his presentation on "Wood in Sustainable Developments," Dietzold emphasized that Africa is undergoing urbanization at an unprecedented pace, giving rise to a surge in demand for affordable housing. He stressed the need for a shift in building technology and materials to meet scalability, affordability, and quality standards.

"By 2100, African cities like Lagos, Dar es Salaam, and Kinshasa are projected to surpass 60 million inhabitants," Dietzold said. "Africa already has a backlog of over 50 million residential units. To meet this growing demand, we need to change the way we build."

CPS Africa is currently producing 300 to 400 housing units in Zanzibar, a fraction of the region's needs. However, Dietzold envisions over 70,000 affordable and aesthetically appealing houses in Dar es Salaam alone, constructed from sustainable materials.

Dietzold also underscored the urgency of addressing the construction industry's significant contribution to global greenhouse gas emissions. He advocated for a sustainable approach, emphasizing the role of trees in mitigating carbon emissions and combating climate change.

"Tanzania has approximately 260,000 hectares of sustainably managed forest and 52 percent forest cover," Dietzold said.

 "This presents immense potential for timber production. By dedicating 10 percent of these forests to sustainable forestry, we can yield 42 million cubic meters of sawn timber annually, a resource that could meet global demands."

In addition to its environmental benefits, timber construction also offers efficiency and quality advantages. For instance, timber buildings can be constructed more quickly and at a lower cost than traditional concrete structures.

CPS Africa is actively engaging with the government to actualize its vision of constructing 10,000 homes annually in Tanzania, with plans to launch a 5,000-unit project in Dar es Salaam, all crafted with timber.

Dietzold's insights and vision offer a glimmer of hope for Tanzania and other African countries grappling with the challenges of urbanization and climate change. By embracing mass timber construction, we can build a more sustainable and equitable future for all.