How does opportunity look like? In the construction industry, opportunities rarely show up – and when they do, they are dressed in overalls. This week presents many opportunities for any Kenyan who would like to tap into the international network of construction equipment and material manufacturers and distributors. This is thanks to The Big 5 Construct East Africa 2016, an event organized by dmg Events Middle East Asia & Africa and backed with the National Construction Authority (NCA).

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Mr. Andy White addressing the audience at the opening of the National Construction Week

On Wednesday, the Principal Secretary, Ministry of Transport, Infrastructure, Housing and Urban Development, Arch. Aidah N. Munano, inaugurated Kenya’s first National Construction Week. The event at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre marked the official opening of Kenya’s central meeting place for global manufacturers to network and do business in Kenya and the broader East African region. This event runs parallel to the second edition of NCA’s Annual Construction Research Conference and Exhibition (ACoRCE 2016).

There are over 150 Kenyan and international companies drawn from 20 countries present at this year’s Big 5 Construct East Africa event. They are showcasing thousands of innovative and never seen before products and solutions for the built environment.

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According to Andy White, the Senior VP at dmg Events, most of the companies exhibiting at this event have come to East Africa for the first time. They are looking to do one of two things: First, to meet a local distributor who will represent their company in the region – and second – to test the market with a view of setting up a business to sell directly to the regional market. In case you feel like you missed this bus of opportunity, the organizers are planning to host more The Big 5 Construct East Africa events in the future.

“I am truly happy to have come to The Big 5 Construct East Africa today: there are so many construction products being exhibited here and I am learning a lot from foreign companies that are attending the event. I praise the organisers for bringing all these manufacturers to Nairobi, as this is a unique opportunity for construction industry professionals in Kenya to learn and exchange innovative ideas” – Joseph Oduor, one of the visitors to the event

The exhibitors have taken part in the event as they believe that the East African economies are thriving and provide them with an opportunity in the form of a ready market for their products. According to RAK Ceramics’ Fellaris Wambui, the growth of the regional economy provides great opportunities to anyone in the construction sector.

Visitors attending The Big 5 Construct East Africa 2016

Visitors attending The Big 5 Construct East Africa 2016

So far, exhibitors such as Katie Steen of UK’s Balneum have received a positive reception from the visitors. She acknowledged that even though the East African market is generally price-conscious when it comes to buying construction products, there is an opportunity for manufacturers to provide “high-quality products but at a price that is more affordable than what is in the market.”

The Big 5 Construct East Africa runs until Friday, the 4th of November. In case you have missed the first two days, be there on Friday from 10 am to 6 pm, after all, it is free to attend and also offers over 15 continuing professional development (CPD) certified workshops delivered by industry experts sharing cutting-edge insights on industry hot topics.

Patrick Gedeon, the event manager, firmly believes that The Big 5 Construct East Africa event will open a new chapter in construction in the Kenya and in the East African region. While exhibitors are looking to create new business relationships, professionals have the opportunity to access over 15 continuing professional development (CPD) courses that are offered by building and construction experts.

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A Workshop Session at the Big 5 Construct East Africa 2016

If you are interested in attending the CPD sessions this Friday from 11.20 am, the theme will be “Sustainability in Construction”. Some of the presenters include Elizabeth Wangechi Chege who will talk about and explore the sustainable development goals in Africa. Later, Nickson Otieno, the Coordinator of Green Building Standards and Certification at Green Africa Foundation, will make a presentation titled “The GreenMark: A National Green Building Standards and Certification System”.

Jotun Paints, JCB, Caterpillar, Volvo, Bauer, Aluminco, ACM, RAK Ceramics, Jumbo Chem, Laticrete Middle East, Superlon Worldwide, Gutmann and MASA are just a few of the exhibitors that are presenting the latest and most innovative construction products to the visitors of The Big 5 Construct East Africa 2016. Should you need a break after touring the exhibitor stands, the world-famous JCB’s Dancing Diggers will provide entertainment with their synchronized diggers dancing to music across all three days of the event, at 11:30 am, 1:30pm, 3:30pm and 5:30 pm.

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The organizers believe that this event has “featured more international exhibitors than any other event in the East African region. Some  governments -Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Italy, Germany, Greece, Iran, and China – have funded pavilions where you will be able to find respective exhibitors under one roof. There are also exhibitors from Australia, Austria, Denmark, Egypt, France, India, Jordan, Korea, Malaysia, Netherlands, Oman, United Arab Emirates (UAE), United Kingdom and the United States of America.”