Kandifo Institute has signed a memorandum of Understanding with Halzebatz SARL and Shelta Space to promote the Ghana Innovating Housing Project which seeks to address the issue of housing deficit in Ghana.
Speaking to the media during the signing ceremony, Palgrave Boakye Danquah said the high rate of urbanization across the world has led to the increased demand for good and affordable housing. As part of the 17 interlinked global goals or the Sustainable Development Goals designed to be a “blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all”, Goal 11 seeks to make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable and this is why it is necessary for all and sundry to start engaging in innovative housing projects.
‘As a youth- oriented and public policy think tank which advocates in a very practical way, influencing policies that facilitate and sustain conservatism as a guided ideology of preference we believe that through our research, national policy dialogues, private sector development and developing a productive youth, we will shape and nurture the development destiny of Ghana. Kandifo Institute is honoured to launch the Ghana Innovative Housing project’, he stated.
He noted that ‘in mid-2020, the degree of urbanization worldwide was 56% and this has been projected to increase to 70% by 2050. According to the United Nations Statistics, about 1.6 billion people live in substandard housing and 100 million are homeless. In certain parts of the world, housing prices shot up faster than household incomes of most people. The world is facing a housing affordability crisis. Good housing is fundamental to the physical and financial security, healthy communities, economic productivity and the wellbeing of humans but now the housing gap has become huge and keeps growing. Most people now live in informal settlements and lack access to basic amenities’.
According to Mr. BoakyeDanquah,Majority of African countries are facing a housing crisis due to increased urbanization, high population growth, undeveloped financial systems, dysfunctional land markets and increased construction cost.Statistics show that the current population of Ghana in 2021 is 31,732,129 people and this is a 2.12% increase from 2020. He said the provision of affordable land and housing remains a challenge in most countries, especially for African countries. Most analysts say the lack of affordable houses, high costs of urban land and weak tenure security, rising construction costs and prevalence of slums are major challenges facing the continent’s effort to eradicate the housing crisis. Slum populations have continued to grow because social housing cannot keep up with the demand from those at the bottom of the income distribution.
‘The rapid rates of urbanization and the lack of urban planning have resulted in a very large housing deficit. Being able to provide adequate and affordable housing has been a concern throughout the world and not for individuals alone but for governments as well and the Government of Ghana is no exception and this is why Kandifo Institute as a think tank with ready access to over a million young people in Ghana on this day is signing a strategic accord to formulate the first working and affordable housing policy in Ghana where affordable means affordable in reality and not just on paper’, hi indicated .
‘The past and present governments in Ghana through numerous policies and initiatives have made efforts to bridge or balance the gap in housing supply and demand. Various governments of Ghana have tried several efforts in regulating and closing the housing deficit. Some of these efforts include;Reformation of Ghana Rent Act 220 (1963) to make rents affordable and easier for tenants, proposing rent advance payment from six months to one month, of which in reality, landlord’s commands two years advance payment due to high demands of rental units. Real Estate Agency Bill (2020) is set to regulate real estate agency practice, the conduct of real estate agency practitioners, commercial transactions in real estate such as the sale, purchase, rental and leasing. The Ghana Building Code is set to regulate the standards of all construction activities, including those in the residential sector, the government with support from the International Finance Corporation (IFC) is currently undertaking the revision of the national building regulations (LI 1830) that was last updated in 1986.
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These reforms are part of measures put in place to improve competitiveness of doing business in Ghana. Establishment of National Housing and Mortgage Fund (NHMF) in partnership with Ghana Commercial Bank, Republic Bank and Stanbic Bank to deepen access to mortgage and residential housing finance. Through this collaborative scheme, phase one saw the construction and completion of 250 housing units by the end of 2020 with phase two of 200 housing units to be completed at Tema Community 22.
- Similarly, an affordable housing Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) was set up to provide rental homes for public sector workers. The scheme is based on a rent-to-own model where public sector workers can access decent and affordable homes for between 15 to 20 years and pay a residual value to own the property. Lower interest rates of 11.9 to 12.5% are being offered as part of the scheme, compared with the nominal minimum rate of 24% for non-foreign currency or cedi-denominated mortgages.
- The 2015 National Housing Policy continues to provide direction for housing development in the country with emphasis on the private sector involvement in affordable housing finance and delivery.
- Land Use and Spatial Planning Act 925 (2016) streamlines local land use and planning. The Act revises and consolidates the laws on land use and spatial planning. It stipulates the framework within which spatial planning at the national, regional and district levels takes place. The Act elevated the Town and Country Department into the Land Use and Spatial Planning Authority with an objective to provide for the sustainable development of land and human settlements.
- The new Land Bill (2019) was established to complement the Land Use and Spatial Planning Act in order to provide a comprehensive legal regime for the land sector and support decentralised land service delivery to bring about enhanced accessibility and secured tenure.
Since the institution of the Ghana Affordable Housing Projects in 2005, various units of housing are under construction and at different stages of completion. A couple of these projects are the;
- The AsokoreMampong affordable housing project
- The Amasaman Affordable Housing project
- Shai Hills Affordable Housing Project
- Gbetsile Affordable Housing Project
- The Appolonia Affordable Housing project
- Saglemi Affordable Housing Project
- Borteyman Affordable Housing Project
- Kpone Affordable Housing Project
And others and all the listed above are pegged above GHS 80,000.00. Undoubtedly, these affordable housing projects are not priced to suit the average Ghanaian for instance someone living in Chorkor or Russia Road or the University Graduate who is starting life and this gaffe must be addressed in order to solve Ghana’s housing deficit.
As part of Ghana’s vision by the time the country will be celebrating its centenary, Ghana by 2057 aims at building a resilient, service-oriented, industrialised and globally competitive economy, sustainable and well-planned communities with safely managed water and sanitation services and an adequately maintained first-class infrastructure that is resilient, sustainable, accessible and inclusive. Ghana @ 100 documents which was drafted by the National Planning Development Commission seeks to have a fully developed and well-maintained world-class infrastructure that ensures an affordable and accessible transportation system, with particular attention to the disabled, children and the aged.
Today, Kandifo Institute together with Halzebatz SARL and Shelter Space seeks to address the dire need of housing units in Ghana because of the existing mass shortages of homes. Populations keep expanding and housing happens to be one of the key essential elements to economic growth and development. This project will provide rock- bottom priced modular- housing in Ghana and this is an incoming reality in Ghana where affordable housing really means affordable. Having stated some existing housing projects above, Kandifo Institute provides policy directives for the Ghana Innovative Housing Project which targets low income earners or the average Ghanaian and provides an alternative housing system and this alternative utilizes local materials such as wood which we can all admit Ghana has in abundance. The project uses very simple and innovative housing practices in building and this is a job opportunity for the average Ghanaian. Beyond these, the project will also spearhead the campaign to reform the various housing policies in the country. Seeks to implement extensive alternative, relatively affordable and environmentally friendly housing projects in addressing housing deficits in Ghana and across Africa.
Statement by Zuhur Ahmed Mohayideen, Chief Operating Officer for Shelta Space
Affordable housing programs in the urban cities of Ghana over the years have still not been so accessible to the otherwise intended low to middle income families for varying reasons.
Thus, the housing deficit continues to be around 2 million with an average annual housing need of about 133,000 influenced by an average urban growth rate of 3% per annum between 2000-2030.
With these projections, urban population in the country is expected to increase by 65% by 2030 which will further exacerbate the demand for housing in the country.
With such figures the total housing deficit is expected to exceed 4.2 million by 2030; it goes without saying, that for such alarming figures, proactive measures are but prudent to stem the potential housing catastrophe that looms in our cities.
one cannot over emphasize enough the need for decent housing for each and every Ghanaian as it is but a basic social need yet still, eludes tens of thousands of well deserving Ghanaians.
it is on this note that Shelta space and Halzebatz after months of consultation with the policy think tank Kandifo institute birthed the GIHP; a much more wholistic and carefully crafted innovative programme that seeks to ameliorate the housing deficit in our country by providing alternative ways of building powered by technology mostly known as modular housing or otherwise pre fabs.