Zim to host mega housing summit

11 Oct, 2020 - 00:10 0 Views
Zim to host mega housing summit Minister Daniel Garwe

The Sunday Mail

Kuda Bwititi

Deputy News Editor

Zimbabwe has been elected to host Africa’s largest housing summit, the Shelter Afrique Annual General Meeting (AGM) in 2022, while it has started serving as second vice chair of the Pan African financial institution’s AGM bureau, marking fresh milestones in the Zimbabwe is Open for Business policy.

In 2022, Zimbabwe is expected to take over the chairmanship of the Shelter Afrique AGM bureau, placing the country as an influential player in housing development on the continent.

Furthermore, Shelter Afrique has pledged to construct a multi-million-dollar complex for its regional headquarters in Harare, and wants the mega structure to be complete by 2022, to coincide with the hosting of the summit. So eager is Shelter Afrique to begin construction of the headquarters that the process of finding the land has started in earnest.

While Shelter Afrique has already committed US$55 million to fund social housing projects in Zimbabwe, the latest developments position the country to receive more lines of credit that come with favourable repayment terms from Africa’s topmost housing financier.

In an interview with The Sunday Mail, National Housing and Social Amenities Minister Daniel Garwe, who was elected Shelter Afrique AGM bureau’s second vice chair a few weeks ago, said Zimbabwe was now strategically positioned in influencing decisions on delivering affordable housing on the continent.

“His Excellency’s mantra that Zimbabwe is Open for Business has just reached another high point, as Shelter Afrique has listened to the call and has come on board in a big way.

“The bank has expressed an interest to build their regional headquarters in Harare, which they want to officially open in 2022. Furthermore, they have requested Zimbabwe to host their 2022 AGM, and this will coincide with the official opening of their headquarters.

“We have been elected second vice chair of the Shelter Afrique AGM bureau so that we automatically assume the chairmanship of the bureau in 2022.”

Shelter-Afrique is a pan African housing finance and development institution established by African Governments to address the need for sustainable housing delivery system and related infrastructure projects in Africa. Shareholders include 44 African countries, the African Development Bank, and the African Re-Insurance Corporation.

Minister Garwe said the vote of confidence by Shelter Afrique will accelerate Zimbabwe’s quest to provide housing for low income earners.

“Shelter Afrique is significant in that it provides affordable financing. One of the challenges that we have been having in our housing programmes is the cost of money. The money has not been accessible from international financial institutions. But now, they (Shelter Afrique) are coming with funds whose interest rates are so low. This is good for our bankers and also good for the homeowners.”

Minister Garwe said Zimbabwe’s rise to the top echelons of Shelter Afrique’s structures were earned after it cleared its debts to the institution.

“With the guidance and leadership of His Excellency the President, we cleared our arrears. We were actually in the red zone but after we cleared our debts, our credit rating has moved to the upper green zone. This has unlocked a lot of value for Zimbabwe.

“I am happy to announce that as we speak right now, Zimbabwe and Namibia are the only countries in the 44 cluster of countries that are paid up. This means we are the best destination for investment from Shelter Afrique in terms of funding for social housing.”

Minister Garwe said by being in Shelter Afrique’s leadership body, Zimbabwe will also have other benefits like direct access to shareholders.

He said a number of financial institutions have started accessing the US$55 million from Afreximbank, a development that will boost the construction industry, grow the economy and create jobs.

Minister Garwe was elected vice chair of Shelter Afrique’s AGM bureau a few weeks ago, at a virtual summit that also saw Kenya’s Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Housing James Wainaina Macharia elected as chair, while Cameroon’s Minister of Housing and Urban Development – Celestine Ketcha Courtes is first vice chair as her country will host the summit in 2021.

Shelter-Afrique is a pan African housing finance and development institution established by African Governments to address the need for sustainable housing delivery system and related infrastructure projects in Africa. Shareholders include 44 African countries, the African Development Bank, and the African Re-Insurance Corporation.

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