Republic Of Zambia

United Nations Development Programme Zambia

Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland

The building construction sector as a driver for green jobs creation

One sector with high potential for the creation of green jobs through MSME development in Zambia is the building construction sector. The construction sector played a central role in Zambia’s growth in recent years and presently makes up approximately 21.1 per cent of the economy.

The Economist Intelligence (EIU) has predicted that construction growth will average 12 percent between 2012 and 2014 as a result of planned investments. According to Zambia’s Vision 2030, the total housing unit backlog is about one million and 110,000 dwelling units are required annually to clear the backlog for the next ten years, while to satisfy new demand for houses all over the country, a similar number is required annually to be constructed. A recent industry analysis (ILO, 2012) indicates that Zambia requires 1.3 million new dwellings to achieve vision 2030, that is one house every 2 minutes of each working day for the next 19 years. Moreover, of the total national housing stock, 80 percent could be classified as informal in nature with poor services provided or none at all (Vision 2030).

The building construction sector, especially the residential housing sub-sector in particular, offers excellent potential for broad based wealth and job creation due to its high labour intensity, low entry barriers for semi-skilled and unskilled labour, and high concentration of MSMEs. The sector is furthermore an excellent conduit to facilitate the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions of the built environment, through the promotion of eco-friendly building materials, services, goods or technologies such as energy saving, renewable energy and water conservation.