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 Increase investment in housing to drive economic growth – Works and Housing Minister

The Minister of Works and Hous­ing, Mr Francis Asenso-Boakye, has emphasised the need for African countries to increase their invest­ment in the housing sector as a means of driving economic growth on the continent.

According to him, the housing sector could potentially help Africa emerge from the current global economic slowdown, provided that leaders prioritise and refocus resources on housing development.

He was speaking at a Ministerial Roundtable during the 42nd Annual General Meeting of Shelter Afrique held at Abuja, Nigeria on Tuesday.

Shelter Afrique, established in 1982, is a pan-African housing and development finance institu­tion with a mandate to mobilise resources and invest in the housing sector across Africa.

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The organisation provides financing for a wide range of housing and urban development projects and offers technical assis­tance to governments and other stakeholders in the housing sector to support the development of policies and regulations.

Shelter Afrique works close­ly with African governments, multilateral organisations, private sector actors, and civil society to promote the development of the housing sector and improve living conditions across the continent.

“Housing can serve as a power­ful tool for economic alleviation, especially in Africa, where there is an increasing demand for afford­able housing. Investing in housing development can create more job opportunities, boost local econ­omies, and promote economic growth,” Mr Asenso-Boakye added.

He called on African govern­ments to make more funding available to housing development through their respective Ministries of Finance, and to source long-term financing, as done in Europe and other advanced economies, to provide affordable housing that meets the needs and financial capacity of citizens.

Mr Asenso-Boakye also sup­ported the call by the Minister of Housing for Nigeria, Babatunde Raji Fashola, for Africa to adopt credible data in housing and use it for decision making.

He cited Ghana’s 2021 Popula­tion and Housing Census, which revealed that about 12 per cent of houses in the country were currently unoccupied, as the prices of those homes were above the means of low- to middle-income earners, and called for a change in that narrative.

The Minister of Finance of Nigeria, Ms Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed, said the Ministry of Works and Housing in Nigeria re­ceived the second-highest budget­ary allocation, after the Ministry of Defence.

That, she said, was an indication of the government’s prioritisation of the housing sector, and urged her fellow Ministers of Finance on the continent to follow suit.

BY TIMES REPORTER

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