The availability of materials and a trained workforce makes construction affordable in Cameroon.
Building in Cameroon has more advantages compared to neighbouring countries. Cameroon hosts a number of facilities set up for the production of basic products like concrete, iron, stone for construction or decoration and timber for framing and other structures. Sand and stone is also available in all of the regions as well as the materials for the manufacture of bricks, cooked or uncooked. Cameroon is well positioned with an abundance of available materials combined with a well-trained workforce in all construction trades, from plumbers to engineers and architects.
An investment in real estate is only possible on the condition that all necessary certificates are obtained including a building permit issued by the municipal authority. Obtaining these documents for a standard villa can be upwards of 500, 000 FCFA. This is under the provision that evidence of ownership by the land developer is provided as well as plans signed by a licensed architect in accordance with the master plan for urban development. Architectural services for a standard villa can also reach 500, 000 FCFA.
In Yaoundé, a truck carrying 20 tons of sand, the basic material for any construction, costs on average 180, 000 FCFA. This price can vary slightly depending on the season or the variety of sand (fine, coarse, etc). The local cement market is fuelled mainly by Cimencam, a subsidiary of the French group, Lafarge. With its two factories in Douala and Figuil, whose crushers provide approximately 1.2 million tons per year, Cimencam sells a ton of cement for about 100, 000 FCFA. This price is monitored by the sellers of import cement.
The price of concrete iron differs from city to city and with the amount required.
Prices of concrete iron in Douala et Yaoundé:
Type \ Price by City
|Douala (FCFA)||Yaoundé (FCFA)|
These prices must reckon with speculators who often cause shortages, to the distaste of the Ministry of Commerce, in an attempt to increase prices.
Aluminium sheets are often used as the coverage for buildings and are produced locally by Alucam, a subsidiary of Alcan. They cost approximately 3, 600 FCFA for a 2 meter plate and 5, 400 FCFA for 3 meters. The price can double if construction demands higher quality (a thicker sheet) or greater prestige (plate tiles or clay tiles).
Cameroon produces timber from a variety of sources. Often used for the construction of roofs, the price of timber can be very reasonable, with 4m rafters selling for approximately 2000 FCFA on the most expensive of markets.
As all these materials are produced in Cameroon the price remains affordable. These prices relate mainly to the cities of Yaoundé and Douala. For other locations, prices are higher given additional transport costs. This variation is similar to that seen in the prices of other materials.
Finishing and Decorations
Local production satisfies a large part of the market demand for finishing and decorative accessories like tiles, doors, windows, lamps and grids. Thousands of ebony manufacturers, who process the local solid wood provide a guarantee of sustainability. A modest manufacturer receives around 30, 000 FCFA for a wooden door. Any price can be multiplied by ten for a sophisticated and discerning developer, who specialises in selected wood and processes by the best specialists.
There are many carpenters who specialize in processing the metal and wrought iron or aluminium for the installation of gates or metal openings for buildings. The cost of an iron gate for a standard villa is approximately 400, 000 FCFA. This is the same price for the upholsterers and decorators who often trained in European cities are requested for the most demanding of developers.
There is market demand for the importation of marble handicrafts and stone decorations often used for facades given its high natural quality and very attractive prices.
For luxury finishes, there are now channels for providing cheap tiles, lamps and accessories of the same quality as those from Dubai or Guangzhou in China.
The Mission of Promoting Local Materials (MIPROMALO), a government agency, conducts research to reduce the cost of construction by using local materials. Cooked or raw bricks, stone, fine ceramic, tiles, quartz crafts, several other product variants and services are offered by the MIPROMALO and some private operators for the construction of buildings, finishes and decorations. Using local materials can see a 20% saving compared to other building products, and can be more aesthetic and suitable to the climate.
The availability of construction materials is not yet strong enough to trigger a dynamic increase in building as rigidity in the industry still persists. Specialists claim excessive taxation (taxes represent about 40% of the construction costs), increased customs duties on imported materials and the absence of a policy for short or long term bank loans is to blame.