Government plans to scale up housing developments countrywide Minister Daniel Garwe

Leonard Ncube, [email protected]

GOVERNMENT is weighing the adoption of a basket of financing models including tapping into international credit lines and Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) to scale up the development of housing projects countrywide, a Cabinet minister has said.

Delivering affordable and quality housing in both urban and rural areas is one of the core targets set under the National Development Strategy (NDS1), which builds momentum towards Vision 2030.

Under this drive, a cumulative 220 000 housing units must be developed for both rural and urban areas by 2025, and 1,2 million units by 2030 in an effort to reduce the national housing backlog of about 1,5 million.

This has to be achieved through leveraging partnerships with the private sector, harnessing new building technologies, as well as partnership with Shelter Afrique, a Pan-African banking institution that exclusively supports the development of affordable housing and real estate sector growth in Africa.

Shelter Afrique has already pledged US$25 million sovereign fund to finance at least 3 000 housing units countrywide and groundbreaking for a pilot project of walk-up housing flats in Victoria Falls.

Several projects being spearheaded by the Government and private sector are at various stages of completion countrywide as efforts continue to push development of affordable housing to all citizens.

Responding to questions in Parliament, Minister of National Housing and Social Amenities, Daniel Garwe, said Government was pursuing a number of models including implementing the Shelter Afrique scheme.

Legislators had wanted to know if Government through Treasury was exploring any alternative housing funding models.

“Our response is that the ministry is working with the Ministry of Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion together with Infrastructure and Development Bank of Zimbabwe to access international lines of credit,” said the minister.

“Currently, we are crafting project proposals as the basis upon which we are going to draw down the US$25 million that has been presented to Government by Shelter Afrique, a Pan African Bank based in Kenya. “Furthermore, we are exploring Public-Private Partnership models with international and domestic investors to provide social housing to Zimbabweans. “Currently, the project proposals have been prepared and some have been submitted to the Zimbabwe Investment Development Agency and others are at different levels of conclusion,” said Minister Garwe.

He said his ministry has also sent requests for proposals where it advertised to the market to attract local developers to partner the Government on housing delivery on an engineering, procurement, construction and financial basis.

Minister Garwe said the Zimbabwe National Human Settlement Policy has liberalised housing delivery by allowing private sector participating among other players such as banks, financial institutions, civic society, pension funds and individuals.

Government is also seized with the issue of tittle deeds countrywide with an inter-ministerial committee in place, and a pilot project has been rolled out in Epworth waiting to be spread in phases across the country.

The Ministry of National Housing, Ministry of Local Government and Public Works and Environmental Management Authority and other partner organisations envisage to conduct a disaster risk mapping at the planning stage of every new settlement with the attendant mitigatory measures.

Meanwhile, Minister Garwe has said the Government through its various disaster reaction teams was ready to provide shelter in times of emergency after disaster with projects underway in Dzivarasekwa and Binga for families affected by floods.

More than 56 million people in the African continent are in need of housing and many live in shacks, according to the Shelter Afrique research arm, Centre of Excellence.

Africa needs a paradigm shift and political will to come up with deliberate polices that prioritise housing as a human right and ensure socio-political stability in the continent to housing provision especially for rural populations. – @ncubeleon .

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