KNAUF Gypsum, which is one of the leading firms in the world in gypsum making, is planning to invest more than 15 million US dollars in Tanzania in the next few years.
Speaking in Dar es Salaam this week, the firm’s Managing Director for East Africa, Zachopoulos Georgios, said that so far they have invested close to 10 million US dollars into their operations and expect to reach 15m US dollars in the next few years.
KNAUF Gypsum started its operation in Tanzania nearly three years ago employing directly more than 150 in which 99 per cent are locals. “KNAUF is operating in more than 200 countries around the world but Tanzania is the first in Sub- Saharan Africa.
We picked Tanzania because of its strategic position in the Great Lakes Region where it has the potential to be door into African hinterland," he said. He said Tanzania was also an attractive investment destination due to peace and tranquillity and its rapid growing population which will expand the consumer base.
“The country is peaceful and has a huge number of people which is projected to grow even more in the next few years. KNAUF is here to stay for a long time and we expect to be one of the country’s strategic investor very soon,” he said.
According to him most of the raw material is acquired locally and that they mine their own gypsum stone in the South of Tanzania. He said their gypsum products are according to their customer’s taste but said initially, for the East African region, they have earmarked gypsum boards of 9 and 12 mm regular board and 12.5mm for moister resistance and fire resistance system to match the requirements.
According to the MD, they have technology which can replace wood usage in gypsum installation with metal section (metal profile) and the same is produced in Tanzania with the state of art modern facility at Mkuranga of sizes 50mm, 64mm, 75mm and 100mm to construct dry wall to match the customer requirement, furring channel, main channel, GI angle and other accessories for ceiling work.
Other products they are planning for the region are gypsum powder for joint filling and skimming with new improvement Geo Plaster to reach even the low cost housing with an affordable pricing to the user, gypsum Screws with high strength of various sizes 25, 35, 45 and 55mm length and gypsum tape for board to board joint reinforcement.
He said they are also keen in giving back to the community and one of the ways they have done this is though training local construction technicians so they are able to produce the right standards of work required.
“All of them get non accredited certificates that are recognized in most of the countries within construction sector, to ensure competitive advantages for the trainees when they opt overseas employment. The MD urged the government to continue improving the business environment to all investors.
“We are not asking for favours but just a conducive environment which we can operate,” he said, adding that currently they export eight per cent and planning to grow between 20 to 30 per cent in the next few years KNAUF is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of modern insulation materials, dry lining systems, plasters and accessories, thermal insulation composite systems, paints, floor screed, floor systems, and construction equipment and tools.
KNAUF Tanzania is owned by KNAUF Group, a German multinational, familyowned company known for drywall gypsum boards. It operates 150 production facilities and sales organisations in over 60 countries, 26,000 employees worldwide, and sales of 6.27 billion Euro (in 2013)