220 000 housing units by 2025 target on track Vice President Constantino Chiwenga breaks ground for the construction of the Victoria Falls walk-up flats in the resort town yesterday

Leonard Ncube and Tanyaradzwa Rusike

THE GOVERNMENT is on track to surpass its target to deliver 220 000 housing units by 2025 leveraging on partnerships with the private sector and new technology in the human settlement.

This was said by Vice President Dr Costantino Chiwenga and buttressed by National Housing and Social Amenities Minister Daniel Garwe during groundbreaking ceremony of walk-up housing flats being spearheaded by Government in partnership with Shelter Afrique in Victoria Falls.

Zimbabwe is a shareholder of the pan-African banking institution that exclusively supports the development of affordable housing and real estate sector growth in Africa, who have pledged US$25 million sovereign fund to finance at least 3 000 housing units.

President Mnangagwa launched the Zimbabwe National Human Settlement Policy in September last year and the Ministry of National Housing is operationalising the policy in partnership with the private sector in line with Vision 2030 and National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1).

Delivering affordable and quality settlements in urban and rural areas is one of Government core targets to improve access to affordable and quality housing and social amenities under the economic blueprint.

Zimbabwe has a national housing backlog of around 1,5 million units and targets to deliver 1,2 units by 2030 and part of the vision is to change the face Zimbabwe by building modern houses that are sustainable and environment friendly.

The Victoria Falls walk-up flats will be a model that will be replicated countrywide.

The first phase will have three blocks with three storeys each and each will accommodate six families.

VP Chiwenga said the Second Republic is committed to making sure all Government projects are implemented especially construction and infrastructure, to improve livelihoods of citizens.

“It is my singular honour to address you at this occasion to mark the groundbreaking ceremony for the Victoria Falls walk up flats. This marks yet another milestone in our quest for housing delivery.

“I am reliably informed that the first phase of this flat site that we are launching today has a potential to accommodate 24 families in total.

“Subsequent phases will be implemented in this city and other local authorities in Zimbabwe as we seek to meet the national target of 220 000 housing units by 2025, if not more. I think Honourable Minister (National Housing) we shall surpass your target. The foundation stone has been laid, let the construction start in earnest,” said VP Chiwenga.

He said Zimbabwe is pursuing a densification strategy as pronounced in the Zimbabwe National Human Settlement Policy to preserve land which is a finite resource.

On a lighter note, VP Chiwenga said Government will invest more in high rise buildings since there is no boundary going up, and “maybe to surpass the envisaged Tower of Babel which we have ready in the Bible.”

He said accommodation is important to the people, adding that what is critical to a human being is water, food and shelter and Government will surely provide these.

“We are responsible for the livelihood of our people and we must make sure those three basic needs are provided and they shall be provided. This construction project will go a long way in reducing the ever ballooning housing backlog in Victoria Falls and ultimately in the entire country,” said VP Chiwenga.

He said the project is a clear demonstration of a successful public-private partnership, as unveiling housing finance is critical in the social amenities delivery value chain.

Zimbabwe is one of the four countries, the others being Cameroon, Nigeria and Togo that Shelter Afrique pledged funding to.

Local financial institutions have also shown interest in partnering Government in housing projects.

The country lacks financial resources to respond to the demand of rapid urbanization and housing, in an environment where cost of borrowing is exorbitant.

The VP said partners like Shelter Afrique become handy as an avenue for affordable finance which allows Governments space to provide appropriate safety nets to vulnerable groups

“These PPPs give impetus to the construction of modern block of flats which dovetails with our desire to achieve densification which enables us to accommodate more people per square metre. I therefore call upon the Ministry of National Housing and Social Amenities, City of Victoria Falls and all stakeholders to join forces for the successful implementation of this project.

“Together we can spearhead the provision of sustainable human settlements with requisite basic amenities in line with the aspirations of the African Union Agenda 2063. The foundation stone has been laid, let the construction start in earnest. There is no going back, when we come here we want to see the foundations up. If we say seven months it must be seven months.

“Those who are responsible for roles, must do their roles so that that everything goes as is planned,” said the VP while calling for an all-stakeholder approach in projects delivery to leave a better country for the generations to come.

National Housing Minister Garwe said sustainable human settlements development require huge capital and this cannot be provided by the Government alone.

He said all stakeholders in the housing delivery value chain have to work together in order to provide affordable, modern and sustainable housing and social amenities to citizens,

“We are here to provide shelter, this is the beginning of a shelter provision journey in Victoria Falls. It is evident that the power of partnerships and synergies can go a long way in reducing the housing backlog which currently hovers beyond 1.5 million.

“We have a target of 220 000 housing units by 2025 and 1,2 million housing units by 2030. There are people that are saying it’s not achievable to provide 220 000 housing units inside two years. Honourable VP, let me assure you, we have explored all avenues that we need to provide housing within the given timeframe that you and His Excellency have given us.

“We have now adopted the use of new technology in housing delivery and new technology will ensure housing delivery within the shortest period of time and within the smallest budget of about 50 percent. We are on course and we are confident that we will provide 220 000 housing units by 2025 all in accordance with NDS1,” said Minister Garwe.

He said the site is already connected to water, sewer and electricity while work is underway lay internet cables as Government implements requirements of the national human settlements policy to have on-site-off-site infrastructure and social amenities before super structure is built.

He said this will reduce mushrooming of informal settlements, a problem common across Africa.

All housing properties built now onwards will have security of tenure in the form of tittle deeds.

The Minister said the target is a collective responsibility where Government has a big role to play to create and provide and environment that makes housing delivery make sense, while the private sector brings in technical expertise and financial muscle.

Matabeleland North Provincial Affairs and Devolution Minister Richard Moyo said the projects implemented through the New Dispensation have changed the face of Matabeleland North through improved service delivery and employment creation.

“Today marks an important milestone in the development of the city of Victoria Falls in particular and the province in general through the construction of walk up flats by the Government of Zimbabwe. Indeed the development agenda is leaving no one and no place behind.

“We are pleased as a province to be receiving the housing units pledged by the Ministry of Housing and the envisaged construction of residential flats here in Victoria Falls present another milestone in the development of our province through provision of affordable and durable housing,” he said.

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