100,000 housing units will unleash other funding sources

Executive Director of UNOPS, Grete Faremo

The United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) says the recently-launched affordable housing programme’s success will unleash other, larger, funding sources to help tackle the country’s housing deficit while generating decent returns for investors.

The UNOPS and its partner, Sustainable Housing Solutions (SHS), is providing US$5billion funding for the construction of about 100,000 affordable housing units across the various districts and regional capitals in the country.

Affordable housing is defined as accommodation that is appropriate for working-class households in terms of size, standards and access to services and facilities.

Ghana’s current housing deficit is estimated to be around 2.5 million housing units, and supply requirement is about 200,000 units per annum. Meanwhile, available data indicate that less than 40 percent of this figure is achieved annually – which reiterates the importance of this project.

The five-year duration project is estimated to build 6,500 housing units in Amasaman, and a minimum of 100,000 units across various constituencies districts and regional capitals in the country

The project is to be executed in partnership with Sustainable Housing Solutions (SHS) and the Ministry of Works and Housing, and was launched by Vice-President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia in Amasaman, Accra.

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VicePresident Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, speaking at the project launch, expressed government’s gratitude to UNOPS for committing such a significant amount to help address a very pressing developmental issue in Ghana.

“Shelter, as we are all aware, is the next most important need after food and clothing. Our inability to meet the housing needs of our citizenry in the past has created a huge back-log.

“One of the greatest ongoing needs across our African continent as a whole is the availability of affordable housing for its citizens.

“The UNOPS Sustainable Housing Project seeks to de-risk and structure infrastructure investment projects in an effort to help attract financing from the private sector to national development agendas. Projects selected are subjected to a rigorous and comprehensive due diligence process that will ensure a positive environmental, social and economic impact, with financial returns for private sector investors. Ghana is one of two countries in Africa that made it through the vetting process for this project, and we are grateful to UNOPS,” he said.

Executive Director of UNOPS, Grete Faremo, said the large-scale affordable housing project is innovation-driven and expected to unleash larger sources of funding, as it will create more jobs.

“As part of the project requirement, a world-class factory is under construction at Tema to manufacture the building materials that will be used for the construction works, and this is going to create about 1,000 direct and indirect jobs,” she said.

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Deputy Minister of Works and Housing, Barbara Ayisi Aisha, stated that shelter is a basic human right and the next most important need after food and clothing which allows us to live happy life. But increasing population and urbanisation have made access to homes a difficult challenge in cities of the country.

“In bridging the housing gap, 60 percent of Ghana’s urban population will need some form of government support to be able to afford housing; 35 percent will not be able to afford it even with government support; while only five percent can acquire housing without government support.

This calls for massive support from both government and private sector partnerships to make housing accessible to all,” she said.

She further indicated that government is hoping that its partnership with UNOPS and SHS yields the expected results.

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