Inadequate Housing Universal Crisis

| May 4, 2015

Minister of Lands and Housing, Mr Prince Maele, says an inadequate and sustainable affordable housing is not a unique problem to Botswana alone.

He said it was not only topical but a priority for most governments across the world and said the demand for adequate housing had been exacerbated by rampant urbanisation brought about by falling rural economies and worsening rainfall patterns that did not sustain rural agricultural practice.

Officially opening a two-day Botswana Housing Corporation (BHC) conference in Gaborone on Wednesday (April 29), Mr Maele said the adequate housing demand that kept escalating was also not helped by challenges faced by the poorer sector of the population, who had no means to even afford low income houses available in the market.

Minister Maele said the Botswana 2011 Population and housing Census Analytical Report clearly indicated that inadequacy of basic shelter was one of the major problems faced by many Batswana today.

Subsequently, he said there were enormous challenges in the housing sector to develop initiatives to address the problems associated with poor living conditions.

Mr Maele said the demand for affordable housing had always been higher than its supply in Botswana and previously this situation was due to inflation in house prices leading to decreased affordability for buyers, especially first time buyers.

The conference themed, “Promoting Sustainable Affordable Housing in Botswana,” attracted participants from Lesotho, Swaziland and Namibia. The minister noted that experiences from other countries would help them to improve the provision of housing in Botswana.

He said in the recent past, recession has also had a negative impact on house prices bringing them down significantly, and later embryonic restricted mortgage lending, which also made access to open housing market even harder, hence the need for adequate and affordable housing remained a challenge which should be tackled collectively by all stakeholders across the societal and economic spectrum.

Mr Maele said with the National Housing Policy of 2000, the government committed itself to addressing housing needs of the population at large and the main goal of the policy was to provide decent and affordable housing for all, with a safe and sanitary environment as well as increasing the number of citizen owned housing.

He said the policy also aimed at facilitating provision of houses in partnership with stakeholders through more government resources channeled to low and middle lower income housing groups and promote housing as an instrument for economic empowerment and poverty alleviation.

The minister said the strategy set by the policy was to create conducive policy environment to facilitate public, private and community participation in the provision of affordable quality housing.

It also aimed at addressing key elements of the housing sector including institutional capacity building, land finance, subsidies, rentals, housing standards, building materials, housing legislation, SHHA and district housing and BHC and the private sector participation.

He said he was convinced that the conference would help them find answers to questions such as, “what is sustainable affordable housing.”

Source : BOPA

Source : Botswana Daily News

Category: General

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