Tuesday, January 17, 2012
By Edmund Mingle
The government yesterday began a major move to find alternatives for the botched STX housing project as it initiated talks with Shelter Afrique to support affordable housing development in the country.
As the largest housing development support organisation in Africa, the government believes partnering with Shelter Afrique will yield immense dividends in its quest to build affordable houses for Ghanaian workers.
In furtherance of this objective, President John Evans Atta Mills yesterday received the executive of Shelter Afrique at the Castle, Osu in Accra to inform him of the organisation’s investment plans for Ghana.
Ghana is the third largest shareholder in Shelter Afrique, with its 8.4 per cent shares, and the pan-African organisation plans to invest about 100million dollars in its initial plan for housing development in Ghana.
According to President Mills, the government’s decision to join the organisation in 2011 was informed by the critical role the organisation was playing in the development of the housing sector on the continent.
He said government remained committed to addressing the housing deficit in Ghana, indicating that more housing units were needed to shelter many Ghanaians.
“Anyone who shows interest in helping to beef up our housing stock is someone we have to sit and talk with,” he said.
He gave the assurance that the government would take the partnership with the 30-year-old organisation very seriously since “there is something positive to come out from it.”
Alhassane Ba, Chief Executive of Shelter Afrique, in his remarks, commended Ghana for joining the organisation, which has 43-member countries.
“From now on, we recognize we have a duty to help Ghana to implement its housing policy,” he said.
As part of its support plan for Ghana, the organisation, which works under the auspices of the African Development Bank, said it plans to operate in Ghana through a-four-pronged approach.
The approach, Mr. Ba said included undertaking a public-private sector partnership and partnership with public finance institutions such as the pensions fund to build affordable houses for workers.
In addition, he said “Shelter Afrique plans to assist private developers build more affordable houses, and also help to improve the availability of financial resources for housing projects.”
“We are ready to cooperate with the government to make a big difference in the housing sector in Ghana,” he stressed.
To demonstrate its commitment to Ghana, the organisation has already granted a loan of 5million dollars to a single private Ghanaian company to undertake a housing project in the country.
Established in 1982, Shelter Afrique operates to mobilise financial and technical resources deployed for funding housing development in Africa.