The high availability of building materials and a trained workforce help make construction costs affordable in Cameroon.
Building in Cameroon has many advantages compared to neighboring countries, because there are already on-site production structures for basic inputs such as cement, iron, building or decorative stones, timber frames. There are also quarries of sand and stone in all regions, as well as the land for the manufacture of bricks, cooked or not. To this must be added a well-trained human resource in all the construction trades, from the plumber, to the engineer and the architect.
Any real estate investment is only possible if all the necessary certificates are obtained with a building permit issued by the municipal authority. Obtaining these documents for an average villa can reach FCFA 500,000, by providing evidence of the land ownership of the developer, and plans duly signed by an authorized architect, and in accordance with the master plan of urban development. The services of the architect for an average villa will also be billed at around 500,000 FCFA.
In Yaoundé, a truck weighing 20 tons of sand, the basic input for any construction, costs on average 180,000 FCFA. A price that may vary slightly depending on the season or the variety of sand sought (fine, coarse grains, etc.). The local cement market is mainly supplied by Cimencam, a subsidiary of the French group Lafarge. With its two factories (Douala and Figuil), whose mills produce close to 1.2 million tonnes a year, Cimencam offers a ton of cement at around 100,000 FCFA. A price followed by the imported cement sellers.
Regarding the concrete reinforcing bar, the approved prices vary from one big city to another, and according to the diameter of the desired iron.
Rod 6 1200 1250
Rod 8 2660 2700
Rod 10 4150 4225
Rod 12 5850 5950
Rod 14 8100 8250
Rod 16 8800 9000
Nevertheless, speculators who often organize the shortage, out of the vigilance of the Ministry of Commerce, must be counted on to drive up prices.
In terms of building coverage, aluminum sheet produced locally by Alucam, a subsidiary of the Alcan Group, costs CFAF 3,600 for the 2-meter sheet and CFAF 5,400 for the 3-meter sheet. These prices can double if the developer of the construction is more demanding on the quality (thicker sheet metal) or on the prestige (sheet metal tiles, or earth tiles).
In this wood producing country with varied species, the frame can also be realized at good prices, since 4m of rafters returns to 2000 FCFA on the most expensive markets.
All these materials being produced in Cameroon, their prices remain affordable. These prices mainly concern the cities of Yaounde and Douala. For other localities, the prices charged will be increased by duly justified transport costs. A variation is observed in the marketing of other materials.
Finishes and decorations
Regarding finishes and decorative accessories (tiles, doors and windows, chandeliers, grilles, and other equipment), local production satisfies much of the demand. The presence of thousands of cabinetmakers, who work on the basis of local massive wood, provides a guarantee of sustainability. The smallest must count for FCFA 30,000 for any wooden door, this price can be multiplied by ten for the refined and demanding developer, who will have wood openings selected and worked by the best specialists.
There are also many metal carpenters, who work wrought iron or aluminum, for the installation of grilles entrance or metal openings for the building. The iron gate of an average villa costs about 400,000 FCFA. Ditto for upholsterers and decorators of various segments, often trained in European centers for the most demanding promoters.
If the production of handcrafted marble and stones decorations of facades allows to have the products of great natural quality at very interesting prices, there are also importers on the market.
For luxury finishes, there are now channels to get good prices tiles, chandeliers and accessories of very cheap quality as the market of Dubai or that of Guangzhou in China.
The Local Materials Promotion Mission (MIPROMALO), a government agency, conducts research to reduce construction costs through the use of local materials. Cooked or raw bricks, cut stone, fine ceramics, tiles, wrought quartz, several variants of services and products are offered by Mipromalo and some private operators for the elevation of buildings, finishes and decorations. Buildings using local materials are about 20% cheaper than other buildings, and can be more aesthetic and climate-friendly.
This availability of construction materials is not sufficient to stimulate a strong dynamic in real estate production, as some constraints persist. Specialists mention excessive taxation (the weight of taxes represents almost 40% of the cost of construction); high tariffs on imported materials; and the lack of a low-rate, long-term borrowing policy in banks.