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Creating homes for Africa's poor

By Chen Meiling | China Daily | Updated: 2017-11-13 07:55

Creating homes for Africa's poor

Lindwe Sisulu, minister of human settlements, cuts the ribbon for the sample house built by CMIG Drawin, at Ekurhuleni in Gauteng province, South Africa.[Photo provided to China Daily]

China Mingsheng Drawin Tech to use South Africa experience in B&R markets next

China Mingsheng Drawin Technology Group Ltd, a Hong Kong-based investment holding company and a high-tech manufacturing enterprise, launched its first housing project in Gauteng province of South Africa last month.

The $2.6 billion overseas project, which is expected to be completed over the next ten years, marks yet another milestone for the subsidiary of China Minsheng Investment Group.

The latest venture is aimed at meeting demand for accommodation brought by development and urbanization in South Africa.

For long, CMIG Drawin's focus has been on businesses like property investment and prefabricated construction engineering.

It is known for building technology parks in Guangdong, Zhejiang and Hunan provinces in China. Its own subsidiaries operate and manage assets like properties.

Founded in 2014, CMIG Drawin now focuses on the whole industrial chain of prefabricated buildings, and boasts 1,300 patents in the field.

It plans to help build 18,000 houses in 10 years for immigrant poor population in John Dube New City project under construction in Gauteng, South Africa's richest province, as they lack sufficient living spaces and a safe living environment.

The project includes public rental apartments, commercial residential buildings and supporting facilities, including schools, hospitals and shopping malls with a total area of 497 hectares.

Creating homes for Africa's poor

Local residents pose in front of the sample house built by CMIG Drawin.[Photo provided to China Daily]

Lindiwe Sisulu, minister of human settlements, government of South Africa, said improving housing supply in poor regions is one of the top priorities of the central government.

According to a World Bank report, 472 million people live in urban areas across the African continent. Their number is expected to reach 1 billion by 2040.

The report said about 100,000 people migrate to Johannesburg, capital of Gauteng, every year, many of whom live in slums where poor living conditions and high crime rates are common.

"We needed to build houses with good quality as quickly as possible to help more children move in to spacious new houses and receive better education," Sisulu said.

David Makhura, governor of Gauteng province, said the project will bring changes to both the residential districts and spatial planning, which will help promote modernization and reindustrialization of the region.

Gauteng still needs another 1 million residential buildings, the World Bank report said.

The local government has put forward a plan to build 31 new cities. The John Dube program is the biggest and earliest of them with an estimated investment of 17 billion yuan ($2.6 billion).

Instead of bringing in construction workers from other countries, the project expects to hire 95 percent of the total staff locally, which translates to about 1,000 new jobs.

CMIG Drawin is also contributing new prefabricated buildings whose parts can be produced at local industrial parks and assembled in a day.

Besides, people can move into such houses in three days after completing interior decoration, according to Yin Jun, president of CMIG Drawin.

This not only helps shorten the construction period but makes it easier to train local workers with relatively low requirement for technical level, he said.

A 40-square-meter model house built within three days by the company has been put on display at Ekurhuleni in Gauteng. It contains two bedrooms, one washroom and one living room.

A local woman, Rebecca, said she was eager to move in to such a house. Her family of four live in a room no bigger than 10 square meters now. They cannot afford to buy a new one because she is the only breadearner.

Yin said he expects the company to land similar projects in overseas markets, including Southeast Asia and the Middle East, where several countries are involved in the Belt and Road Initiative.

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