Kairoi, South Africa: The city is currently in the middle of a massive residential steel boom that is expected to cost the government $8 billion to $9 billion, according to the local Chamber of Commerce.
This comes despite a government plan to sell the steel industry to private firms and the building sector has been hit hard by the economic downturn.
The boom has been particularly bad for the elderly and poor, and has left thousands homeless in the last year alone.
According to the Chamber of Trade and Industry (CTI), the city’s residential steel sector has dropped from about 25,000 units in 2005 to around 6,000 in 2020, with only about 4,000 of these being built.
The government has been forced to sell off some of the existing homes, including those belonging to senior citizens and the disabled.
It is now attempting to build a new, more affordable residential steel industry in the city, which is expected at some point in the future.
According the CTI, there are about 12,000 residential steel workers in the country, most of whom are in Kairoyas old industrial heartlands of Kigali, Gaborone and Durban.
It will be a big challenge for the government to build these new homes, but the Chamber believes that the government has the right approach in the long run.
“There is a lot of steel around in Kigalia, Gbora, and Durbar,” says CTTI’s general secretary, David Koko.
“We have steel workers all over the country.
The problem is the government hasn’t made any progress in the past few years in getting the industry to the level where it can build new homes.
This is where the government needs to invest in the sector.”
There are also many small and medium-sized enterprises that are struggling to get their steel to market.
“They are all struggling,” says Koko, “because there are only so many factories and they all depend on steel.
That means they are getting more and more money from the government, which means they can’t spend that on new buildings.”
The Chamber of trade and industry has warned that the state of the economy in Kampala is a major reason for the downturn.
“The Kampalas economy has been in recession for almost a decade,” says the Chamber’s executive director, Michael Mwangi.
“It is a serious issue.
It means that the private sector, which depends on steel for its livelihood, is not investing in the industries they have to invest.”
The local government has also been hit by a sharp drop in industrial activity, with the Chamber stating that industrial output dropped from an average of about 7,000 to about 3,000 new jobs per day in the period between 2009 and 2020.
“I have been calling the local government for more than a year to get them to build new buildings,” says Mwangie.
“That is what they want.
We will fight hard, we will not let them take this.
We want to see Kampas industrial economy revive.”
The government is planning to build the new steel industry, however, with a new round of industrial investment expected to come from the state’s largest private investor, KG Steel.
The KG company will be able to provide up to $2 billion in capital, and KG will invest up to 30 percent of its total annual investment in the project.
In addition to KG, other investors in the Kampaballare steel industry include Tata Steel, a subsidiary of the Indian conglomerate, Tata Group, and the United Steelworkers union.
While Kampalo’s steel industry is still struggling to find a new home, the Chamber is hopeful that the country’s future will be brighter in the near future.
“My view is that we will see an improvement in Kilibas economic future,” Mwangia says.
“In the next five to 10 years, there will be more jobs in the steel sector, more jobs with a better standard of living.”