LOCAL Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister Saviour Kasukuwere has assumed chairmanship of pan-African housing finance institution, Shelter Afrique, which could help Zimbabwe access more housing credit.
Minister Kasukuwere took over the helm of Shelter Afrique, a partnership of 44 African governments, African Development Bank and Africa Reinsurance Company, last week during the annual general meeting of the pan-African grouping held in the Victoria Falls.
Shelter Afrique is the only pan-African finance institution that exclusively supports the development of the housing and real estate sector on the continent.
Minister Kasukuwere’s appointment comes as the Government is aggressively pursuing various initiatives, including partnerships with the private sector, to provide housing for millions, with the national housing backlog currently at 1,25 million.
Shelter Afrique’s investment in Zimbabwe’s housing sector currently stands at $44 million.
Speaking at the 2017 AGM, Minister Kasukuwere said robust housing delivery and technical backstopping called for a full buy-in by all stakeholders, given the merit in leveraging resources and skills from across the continent.
This comes as the Government has been offering a variety of incentives to property developers that are actively involved in efforts to close the national housing deficit.
Minister Kasukuwere said the Government prioritised housing given that the state of housing in any society reflected the quality of life the citizens of that country enjoyed.
“Zimbabwe, like any other developing country lacks the financial resources to respond to the rapid urbanisation. Where such funds are available, the cost of borrowing is too exorbitant.
“Housing finance remains a critical challenge bedeviling housing delivery in most African countries including Zimbabwe. As a nation, we have been working tirelessly to put roofs over our heads,” Minister Kasukuwere told delegates.
“To buttress efforts, we came up with a housing delivery programme called National Housing Delivery Programme under the country’s economic plan-the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (ZimAsset),” he said.
“Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) offer possible solutions, but these should be accompanied by appropriate safety nets to guard against the vulnerable groups in our society.
“Appropriate partnership models should be packaged and well-regulated through equitable memoranda of agreement, which strikes a balance between return on investment of private cooperating partners and social obligations to protect the poor,” he said.
Minister Kasukuwere said true to the spirit of the AGM, the grouping resolved to implement the New Urban Agenda, a key instrument for national, sub-national, local Governments and other stakeholders to achieve sustainable urban development.
NUA is the policy document guiding the United Nations on Human Habitat and Settlement, which member states unanimously adopted during the conference on housing and sustainable urban development (habitat III) in Quito, Ecuador in October 2016.
“We undertake to implement NUA to end poverty in all its forms, prompting equally shared opportunities and benefits that urbanisation can offer, and enable all inhabitants to lead decent, dignified and rewarding lives in order to realise their full human potential,” Minister Kasukuwere said. More-so, there is a close correlation between housing development and economic development, that is, when the housing sector performs all other downstream industries tend to grow,” he said.