The construction industry in Tanzania contributed an average of 13.6% to Tanzania’s GDP over the last two years representing a whopping USD6billion.
The government of Tanzania has dedicated more than a quarter (25.4%) of its annual national budget to infrastructure development projects. With such high stakes, the construction sector now offers new investment and employment opportunities for Tanzanian youth.
Meet Michael Kimei, the 33 year old young entrepreneur and born again Christian. Mr. Kimei is Owner and Manager of Aggregate Crushing Ltd, a construction company in Tanzania, the epitome of youth self employment.
“I have had passion for business ever since I was a child, and as a God fearing man and a firm believer of the gospel of Jesus Christ, my work is centered around living a God ordained life and putting hard work towards setting up my own business and taking it to golden heights for the glory of God,” says the young entrepreneur.
A graduate of Aston University in Birmingham, United Kingdom, Mr Kimei is the example of what can be achieved through vision, passion and hard work, but most of all, as he describes it, ‘putting God first above all things.’
The Exchange held an exclusive interview with the business icon to get his input on the sector performance, his business operations and his vision of growth in the booming construction sector.
- What inspired you to enter into the construction industry?
I am a very spiritual person and a hard worker too. So I put God first in everything and that’s where my inspiration comes from; through prayers, reading and living God’s word. Secondly, as a born again Christian I believe in hard work to achieve your goals and dreams, for as the bible says in Proverbs 14:23 “all hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.”
The government has put a lot of emphasis on infrastructure development and that has created a lot of business opportunities for the construction sector. Everywhere you look, roads are being constructed, buildings are being built and development is an all-round, never ending project.
As a young Tanzanian, I thank God that he showed me the opportunity to employ myself and to create employment for others too.
2. What services/products do you produce at Aggregate Crushing Ltd?
Our company supplies aggregates stones of different sizes from ¾ inches to ½ inches, supply of building materials, interior design services, contractors, quantitative survey and building engineers.
Just to list our products; Aggregate offers, crushed granite, aggregates (stones), limestone, lime burning (Calcimine) which is used as cement with sand to make mortar and also in agriculture for the purpose of improving soil quality.
Last but not least, we also offer tiles, sanitary-ware and Brassware. God has indeed blessed us and we glorify his holy name.
3. Many people start companies with the single view of making profit, yes business is profit but what is your operating philosophy, your vision and mission. Is profit the end goal or the means to a greater end?
No, no, no, at Aggregate Ltd profit is not the end goal. We work to make a profit but right from our operations philosophy, we work to improve the lives of Tanzanians by providing high quality construction services at the most affordable prices.
We were called to love and serve above all things (1Peter 4:10) and that is our vision! A better Tanzania with people living better lives because they can afford better services. That is a spiritual calling for me, God sent, you can say. And my life’s motto is to glorify God by doing his will, as I always say “Bwana Yesu Asifiwe” (Praise be to God).
4. Tanzania is reported to be enjoying an economic boom in real estate how has this affected your business
This has truly affected us positively just like every other business but for us at Aggregate Ltd. It has also increased our drive to learn and grow our reach and capacity in order to give back to the people by offering affordable construction services that also have good and long lasting quality.
5. Climate change is a major issue, how does your company protect the environment.
God has blessed Tanzania with a very beautiful and rich environment full of minerals and other resources. It is our responsibility to operate and produce safely and with the environment’s safety in mind.
This is a priority for us for we have been appointed by God as stewards over all that he has put under our dominion, that is to take full care and responsibility of all things that surround us and which have been graciously given to us by God.
In addition to this, allow me to further explain that we have an efficient waste management system, we minimize any form of pollution that arises from our activities and support environmental activities in our vicinity like planting trees and repurposing waste water.
6. What waste products arise from your production activities and how do you dispose them?
During the stone crushing process, there is a lot of dust that is produced, this is the main waste material and we reuse this for the production of stone bricks for building materials.
There is also an outflow of safe meteoric water from the quarry site. This we collect in reservoirs and is then used by the surrounding community for agricultural and domestic purposes.
7. Tanzania and East Africa in general is moving towards sustainable businesses and green economies is your company a part of this transition and how?
Indeed! We are on board and it is part of our operating principle to ensure we are environmentally friendly, we conserve and use clean energy. We are also certified by OSHA and NEMC.
8. Youth unemployment is a major issue, what is your advice to the youth?
I believe it is about changing attitude and lifestyle. As a spiritual man who believes in Jesus Christ, my advice to youth is to seek God’s grace and to work diligently. A lifestyle that is guided by God is a fulfilling and prosperous one.
There are many business opportunities but you have to have guidance and the rest will be resolved! And also to keep in mind the bible says in Proverbs 19:21, “Many are the plans of a man’s heart, but the purpose of the Lord will always prevail” so as much as they chase opportunities, they must always put God first and be willing to obey his word, and fully operate faithfully in the path he directs them. God’s word reminds us of this also in Proverbs 16:3-5 “Share your plans with the Lord and you will succeed, in all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight.”
9. Do you do any CSR activities, please give some examples
Yes. As I said, it is part of our philosophy and operating principle to care for our environment and the surrounding community. We do a lot of community work around the areas of our operations including the renovation of a school in Kisopwa, renovation of a church in Kibaha and supply of tractor tires to farmers as well iron sheets for roofing.
However, I want to put emphasis on the fact that we do not take part in CSR activities merely to be recognized by the authorities, but first and above all things, to glorify God. As it is His will for us to love our neighbors as we love ourselves and there is no better way to express Godly love than giving with a joyful heart similarly to how He gave his only son just for us to be saved. But also, he has appointed us as stewards over what He has given us, that is why we must take care of our environment, to support those in need and give to our neighbours.
10. Gender equality is a major global issue, do you have female employees, do you have them in your higher management
At Aggregate Ltd, we are very conscious of gender equality and providing equal working opportunity for all. Out of the 5 management staff, 2 are women. We are for equality, God has made us all equal, fearfully and wonderfully made and created in his glorious image being able to produce and add value by using the skills and gifts he has endowed us with. Glory to God!