Urbanization is one of the biggest challenges of the 21st century. Over the next decade, cities will change substantially as population growth is anticipated to occur almost exclusively in urban areas. By 2050, 70% of the world's population will be living in towns and cities, compared with just over 50% today, resulting in two billion more city-dwellers.
Development at this unprecedented scale will be a major challenge for the whole construction industry, including in Egypt where 45% of the population is living in urban environments. Over the period 2005 - 2020, 14 million will be added to the urban population in the country at a rate of almost 1 million per year.
"We want to play our part in the improvement of towns and cities, helping people to access better quality housing at a cost they can afford, with a lesser impact on nature, thanks to innovative products and solutions to support our customer needs," commented Erdogan Pekenc, CEO of Lafarge Egypt.
With a population of 90 million and growing, Egypt has one of the largest domestic markets in the region. Alongside its partners, Lafarge will be a major contributor towards developing enhanced urban environments with a unique range of products, services and construction systems in a number of key areas. These include more housing in cities, promoting housing for all and in particular affordable housing, and more connected cities by supporting the development of all infrastructures - roads, airports, stations, bridges, tunnels.
Sixty percent of Egypt's 90 million citizens are under the age of 30, and there are 600,000 new marriages each year. The population is growing at the rate of almost two percent a year - with the urban population expanding at over three percent. It is estimated that to keep up with demand, about 440,000 to 600,000 new housing units will be needed annually between now and 2020.
Mr. Pekenc added: "Our commitment towards Building better cities encompasses our overall ambition. Although our work in this area isn't new, we believe that by explicitly stating our purpose, we will be in a stronger position to work even more closely with our customers and stakeholders to the benefit of the living environments that surround us all."
Innovation is at the heart of Lafarge's strategy. The Group dedicates more than €100 million to R&D every year and benefits from a unique research center in France with 250 employees of over a dozen nationalities with 70 PhDs in total. Three Construction Development Labs have been launched in the last two years (in France, China and India) with plans for another 10 to be established by 2015 to help promote local innovation and assist in the local adaptation of innovative solutions.
Thanks to its innovative products and services encompassing all its businesses - Cement, Aggregates and Concrete - Lafarge Egypt operates in the closest proximity to its markets and offers solutions that contribute to meeting the many challenges posed by the urbanization of the planet.
Lafarge has a very strong presence in Egypt, where it currently operates the second largest cement plant in the world with a production capacity of 10 million tonnes per year, in addition to its leading activities in aggregates, concrete and bags, with more than 3000 Egyptians on staff.
NOTES TO EDITORS
A world leader in building materials, Lafarge employs 65,000 people in 64 countries, and posted sales of €15.8 billion in 2012. As a top-ranking player in its Cement, Aggregates and Concrete businesses, it contributes to the construction of cities around the world, through its innovative solutions providing them with more housing and making them more compact, more durable, more beautiful, and better connected.With the world's leading building materials research facility, Lafarge places innovation at the heart of its priorities in order to contribute to more sustainable construction and to better serve architectural creativity.
Since 2010, the Lafarge Group has been part of the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index, the first global sustainability benchmark in recognition of its sustainable development actions. More information is available on Lafarge's website: www.lafarge.com