Cover Image
close this bookThe Courier N 160 - Nov - Dec 1996 - Dossier Habitat - Country reports: Fiji , Tonga (EC Courier, 1996, 96 p.)
close this folderCTA Bulletin
View the documentCTA and the promotion of rural development through book distribution
View the documentThe Courier’s mailbag
View the documentBibliography
Open this folder and view contentsNews round - up

The Courier’s mailbag

Earthen architecture

I read your article on 'Earthen Architecture', published by the CTA Bulletin in the September-October 1996 issue of The Courier (n° 159) with a great deal of interest.

The article presents such traditional products as rammed earth and adobe which have been used by man since time immemorial as witnessed by constructions and monuments to be found in the countries cited by the authors of the article, as well as industrial products such as the compressed earth block (CEB), which have provoked much interest in many parts of the world.

The authors also demonstrate that the use of the compressed earth block has a distinct advantage in that it valorises local raw materials, encourages the setting up of local enterprises and creates employment.

In this regard, I would particularly wish to inform you that the Centre for the Development of Industry (CDI) has, for the last ten years, been working on the industrial development of the CEB sector through support to ACP promoters at various levels:

- diagnostic studies of projects and setting-up of production units;
- search for EU technical partners who have economically advantageous technologies and are ready to transfer their know-how;
- training of enterprise personnel in CEB production and in the utilisation of this product;
- support in the manufacturing of brick presses such as is currently the case in Nigeria.

Some 100 small and mediumsized enterprises and non-governmental organisations in ACP countries involved in the CEB sector have benefited from direct CDI assistance. This assistance has, notably, led to the improved technical and economic performance of these enterprises.

Beyond support to projects, the CDI in collaboration with CRATerre actively participates in the industrial promotion of this technology. The Centre recently disseminated 2000 copies of a technical guide entitled 'CEB: Production Equipment' throughout the ACP countries. An exhibition on the compressed earth block and its application took place during the Industrial Mining Forum held in Lusaka, Zambia, in December 1994. Similar exhibitions were held during the Matconstruct Forum (Libreville, Gabon, October 1995) and at the Industrial Partnership event (Bordeaux, France, February 1995).

The standardisation of the compressed earth block is a prerequisite for the development of this sector. The Centre therefore organised a workshop on this topic in Yaounde in 1996 as a follow-up to the Matconstruct Forum. This seminar brought together some 40 ACP and EU participants to discuss the 'CEB: Standardisation' guide currently being prepared by CRATerre for publication in December 1996.

The main objective of the guide is to encourage ACP promoters to manufacture products in conformity with accepted norms and thus facilitate CEB integration in the industrial construction market.

Efforts made by the CDI, in collaboration with CRATerre, to develop the CEB sector deserve to be better known. We would therefore look forward to an opportunity to present the Centre's activities in this sector in a future issue of me Courier.

Surendra Sharma, Director, Centre for the Development of Industry,
Brussels, Belgium.

Map insets

Thank-you for your informative magazine. I wish you all the best in your endeavours to improve me Courier further. May I suggest that in the Country Report profiles, you include an inset map of the region highlighting the country in question for those readers who may not be familiar with the area.

Andrew Frederick Meya, Kampala, Uganda.

A number of readers have raised this point with us since we have rearranged the cover pages and transferred the ACP and Europe 'regional' maps to the inside back cover. In future, we will endeavour to ensure that there is a cross-reference to this page in the Country Report profile.