Building a sustainable mass timber market in East Africa – an interview with Syakaa William

The first series of EIT Climate-KIC podcast How Could We? focuses on land use, sustainable forestry and the dilemma of using trees for timber. 

In this second episode, we interview Syakaa William, a project manager from Dalberg Advisors. Syakaa is based in Tanzania and works on a range of development challenges such as improving food systems, providing access to quality education and employment as well as supporting the circular economy. He works together with EIT Climate-KIC on the Climate Smart Forest Economy Programme in East Africa.

Syakaa talked about why timber is a good construction solution for East Africa, the challenges of building a market in the region, East African timber pioneers and what is being done to equip the next generation of engineers and architects with the skills required for building with mass timber.

Listen to the first episode with Daniel Zimmer, on the dilemma that comes with using wood to substitute fossil-based products, and to the third episode with Tena Petrovic about a Berlin-based project that aims to develop Europe’s first ‘Forest-to-City’ value chain for affordable housing.

Subscribe to the podcast for more upcoming episodes on sustainable forestry and get in touch about your worries and what you’re doing in your community to enact change – email us at

These episodes was produced by Bárbara Mendes-Jorge.