What is the East Africa Institute of Architects all about?

It is a professional association that is over 100 years old. It was formed before Independence when the colonialists treated East Africa as one. Previously membership was individual, but it was reconstituted to have membership by country. Currently we have four members, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi.

Why have we not heard much about the association?

The association ended with the collapse of the first East African Community, then we revived it gradually.

Who qualifies to be a member?

Countries in East Africa qualify. Somalia, Sudan, and Ethiopia can also join. The association’s constitution says a new applicant first gets observer status for one to three years, and they do not have voting rights but can participate in the association’s activities. The applicant then applies for membership and is sponsored by a member country. Membership fee is $2,000, with an annual subscription fee of $2,000.

What are the association’s contributions to the laws governing the building industry?

We spearheaded the Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA), which allows labour mobility across the region so that an architect’s credentials are recognised in all the member countries that have signed the MRA. This means they do not need to be apply for fresh registration in Rwanda, Burundi and Uganda. However, we have very few applicants offering their services across borders.

What is your view of the numerous housing developments and shopping malls coming up in the region?

I think we have an oversupply, which however I only see lasting for a short time, as the region’s economies are growing rapidly.

Also, a lot of money in our real estate sector is what we call patient money because it is not borrowed from a bank. Therefore, the investors are not in a hurry to get back their money. Generally, we also have more cash buyers than loan buyers.

What is your view on the entry of Nigeria’s Dangote Cement into Tanzania, Kenya and Ethiopia and the impact of the decision by the East African Council of Ministers to reduce duty on cement imports from non-E