COMMENT: Government underlines thrust to provide affordable accommodation

The Chronicle

The Government yesterday broke the ground for a US$11million low-cost housing development project in Bulawayo.

Shelter Afrique, a pan-African institution to drive investment in real estate development and BancABC are involved in the project. The former is providing the primary financing while the latter is the implementing agency.

This is part of a wider Shelter Afrique investment totalling US$25 million to build 5 000 low cost homes in Harare, Bulawayo, Gweru, Mutare and Masvingo.

Money – Image taken from Pixabay

Other participating financial institutions are National Building Society which was allocated US$4 million and the Urban Development Corporation (UDCorp) that is managing US$10 million.

The facility is for onward lending for mortgage origination supporting house construction, home extension and home improvement, funding housing projects for potential developers and financing small-scale commercial projects such as small shopping malls.

The project should assist greatly in contributing to the Government’s thrust of making available affordable housing for all. It will also assist local authorities that have, for decades, struggled to make available enough land at affordable prices for building of residential properties.

The Minister of Housing and Social Amenities, Daniel Garwe, unveiled about 90 fully serviced stands at Hopelyn Housing Estate next to Mahatshula suburb.

Cde Daniel Garwe

“The Government of Zimbabwe, through my ministry, is a shareholder in Shelter Afrique,” he said. “Shelter Afrique is a Pan-African finance institution that exclusively supports the development of the housing and real estate sector in Africa. Zimbabwe has been a beneficiary of funding from Shelter Afrique over the years through the ministry and private sector players such as BancABC. As Government, we encourage other banks in Zimbabwe to emulate what BancABC is doing in housing delivery.”

The national urban housing backlog is estimated at 1,5million and according to the National Development Strategy 1, the Government targets to build 220 000 units by 2025.

It is clear that the backlog is huge and growing as demand for housing can never be static.

Shelter Afrique

This therefore calls for greater Government involvement in not only providing the land for such development to take place, but also in terms of creating an environment that is conducive for private investment to flow in.

Alone, the Government cannot deliver houses for all those who need them. Yes, it has land almost everywhere, but servicing that land is not cheap. Building the houses is also not cheap. That is why we commend the model that is behind the Shelter Afrique-BancABC partnership.

Now that the launch has been conducted, BancABC, as the implementing partner, must work hard to ensure that the servicing of properties at Hopelyn advances rapidly for people to begin handing in their applications and to ultimately secure homes at the development. Other implementing partners – NBS and UDCorp have to move in the same manner as well.


But Shelter Afrique is not the only institution that must provide funding for housing development. We call on others to complement what the entity is doing.

Local financial institutions must heed that call as well through availing mortgages to prospective home owners. Local authorities must do the same too. All these initiatives brought together, can assist in the national drive to build 220 000 housing units by 2025.

Article Source: The Chronicle

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