The Lucrative Business of Importing Building and Construction Materials in East Africa

Housing remains a basic requirement, and as development picks up in East Africa, demand for building and construction supplies is giving the import industry a much-needed boost.

A vast range of building materials, from cement and roofing materials to pipes, door frames, metal items, glass, paint, and plumbing materials, is being sourced from overseas industries to fuel these construction operations.

Retailing and delivering construction goods to home builders and contractors has proven to be a lucrative profession for innovative traders and small firms.

"Demand for building and construction materials is increasing across East Africa because of a fast-growing population, economic growth, and a ready market. "

This article is about the gainful opportunities in the importation of quality materials used to construct infrastructure, residential, and commercial buildings in East Africa.


Tanzania is a developing country where the building industry has grown in recent years.

Residential and commercial structures, transportation infrastructure (roads, trains, bridges), and other civil works are all included.

Tanzania's real estate and transportation sectors have undergone enhancements and upgrades, and this proves that the market for building and construction supplies is truly lucrative.


The current government introduced Kenya’s vision 2030, and it aims at achieving the key four agendas of food security, affordable universal healthcare, cheap housing, and increased manufacturing.

Currently, the market is ripe for building and construction materials as Kenya remains the leading east African country with the most development projects.

The real estate, energy, and power sectors account for most of these initiatives. Kenya is going through a rapid expansion, with the government actively investing in the construction sector to upgrade road networks and provide new housing for residents.

The demand for specialized building materials is growing, and Kenya imports over 90% of its building and construction materials whilst sourcing the remaining 10% locally.


Uganda's transportation and accommodation needs are still significant, and there is a need to keep up with the rising demand.

Commercial/residential construction is growing, with roughly 300,000 units needed each year.

Transport infrastructure is essential for Uganda's increasing industry and service providers.

Because there is limited domestic manufacture of building materials in Uganda, importing them is a successful business.

South Sudan

Building and construction supplies are in high demand throughout the Republic of South Sudan.

Construction materials are in high demand because of expanding infrastructures, projects, and business facilities.

South Sudan currently imports most building materials, despite its significant supplies of limestone, sand, and other key raw building materials. This is a valuable business that will continue to grow in the future years.


Burundi manufactures limestone, peat, sand, and gravel for residential use and construction materials.

Importing building supplies has an enormous market, with Saudi Arabia, Belgium, China, India, Kenya, and Uganda as key import partners.


The building industry in Rwanda is developing, resulting in a strong demand for construction materials, most of which are manufactured outside the country.

Private investors have made significant investments in construction enterprises that create various building materials. However, certain locally created goods are more expensive than imported goods, which encourages importation.

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