When it comes to infrastructure, Africa is a work in progress. In many African cities, rapid economic growth is now driving frenetic construction (such as in Lagos). Poorly planned urbanisation is leading to the creation of slums, characterised by poor living conditions and little regard for the environment.
Yet thanks to pioneering young designers such as Hermann Kamte, more and more of Africa's new architecture is winning widespread acclaim for its innovation and sustainability, Considering the use of wood in African architecture, Kamte sees a challenging yet burgeoning future.
"Wood is one of the materials which allows us to change our environment and bring an emotional touch to our surroundings," says the architect. "Construction with wood is flexible, sustainable, efficient and adaptable for every climate. And it can result in beautiful buildings."
Given that wood is a fast, light and green construction material, why hasn't wood been used more widely in African contemporary architecture to date?
"I think the biggest challenge is the lack of an industrialisation process," says Kamte. "Right now, for African designers and builders, concrete and bricks are far easier to obtain and a lot cheaper.
"Yet this can change," he continues. "As we raise the profile of timber-based architecture, so demand will grow and wooden building solutions will become cheaper and more accessible. With firms like HKA working hard to create and encourage opportunities in this area, I'd say the future for use of wood in construction is promising."