The Sunday Mail
Senior Business Reporter
Zimbabwe is primed for a real estate and construction boom according to pan-African housing financier — Shelter Afrique — a development expected to drive rapid economic growth in the country, chief executive Mr Andrew Chimpondah has said.
Mr Chimpondah said this ahead of a real estate symposium pencilled in for Harare next week.
He said Zimbabwe has over the last few years been experiencing rapid urbanisation and its population had also grown significantly, which augurs well for faster economic growth driven by the two built industries — real estate and construction.
The Government of Zimbabwe said in 2017, ahead of the housing finance institution’s 36th Annual General Meeting in Victoria Falls, that Shelter Afrique had extended to local banks over US$44 million to support low-income housing projects.
“According to our research, Zimbabwe had an urbanisation rate of 0,6 percent in 2017 and a population of 16,53 million. We believe real estate and construction industries in Zimbabwe will be important drivers of economic growth.
“To meet this potential, we need to deepen capacity within the industry,” Mr Chimpondah said.
The World Bank estimates that real estate and construction industries in Zimbabwe have the potential to account for at least 20 percent of the country’s annual Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
This comes as Government plans to construct, under the National Command Housing Delivery Programme, 500 000 units in 10 years to reduce the housing backlog that currently stands at over 1,25 million units.
The plans are in line with Vision 2030, a radical economic transformation programme aimed at turning the country into an Upper Middle Income economy.
Overall, Zimbabwe has an estimated infrastructure backlog of US$30 billion, according to the African Development Bank (AfDB), after years of little investment in the sector.
Between 2009 and 2016, the Government spent a total of only $2 billion on infrastructure projects, the amount analysts say should have been spent on an annual basis.
As such, several private players, among them banks, cooperatives and individuals, are already working on a cross-section of housing and construction projects across Zimbabwe, which adds impetus to the real estate and construction sector.
In light of the potential the real estate and construction sectors presents, Shelter Afrique has organised a masterclass session from December 11-12 2019, where industry players, professionals and policy makers will meet to deepen capacity and knowledge.
The masterclass session Shelter Afrique has slated for Harare follows similar engagements in Morocco, Ghana and Kenya earlier this year and in Zimbabwe the focus is on sharpening the skills and knowledge base for large-scale housing development.
The symposium is themed “Re-evaluating the Zimbabwean Real Estate Industry: Delivering Practical Frameworks for Housing Value Chains”, being offered under Shelter Afrique’s newly created Centre of Excellence.
Key focus areas during the masterclass session will include technical, legal and administrative elements of construction and real estate projects and development.
“Zimbabwe has been an active member of Shelter Afrique. We had our annual general meeting in Victoria Falls in 2017 and our partners in the ministry have always been responsive when we needed them.
“As a Zimbabwean myself, I am especially proud to be engaging with all stakeholders in the built industry to deepen capacity, learn from each other and hopefully chart the way forward for affordable housing (in Zimbabwe),” the Shelter Afrique CEO said.
Shelter Afrique is the only pan-African finance institution that exclusively supports the development of the housing and real estate sector in Africa; meeting the needs of the continent’s rapidly growing urban population.
It is a partnership of 44 African governments, the AfDB and the Africa Reinsurance Company. Shelter Afrique builds strategic partnerships and offers a range of products and real estate-related services to support efficient delivery of affordable and commercial real estate in Africa.
These include project finance, institutional lending, equity investments and joint ventures, trade finance and social housing.