8 June 2011

Rwanda: Housing Authority to Promote Affordable Accommodation

The Rwanda Housing Authority (RHA) has stepped up a campaign to promote affordable housing in the country.

Speaking yesterday at a stakeholders meeting aimed at seeking for solutions to the problem of affordable housing, the Director General of RHA, Esther Mutamba, said her institution would increase the distribution of affordable housing by relaxing restrictions on low-cost housing.

"Although our organisation is young, we are working on strategies to enable Rwandans to afford housing facilities in the country and we are determined to do that," she said.

She observed that unregulated and informal settlements have taken root, especially in a bid to solve the problem of lack of housing facilities and limited access to long-term subsidised credit facilities.

Mutamba mentioned that affordable housing is still prohibitive, especially among those unable to access mortgage loans from banks because of their income levels.

"We are targeting to create 40,000 rentable housing units by 2015 for medium and low income people, most especially those who cannot afford to buy houses," she noted.

She said that they will establish owner-occupier housing units under affordable mortgage schemes guaranteed by both public and private employers.

Opening the forum, Infrastructure Minister, Albert Nsengiyumva, said that his ministry would develop a model that looks into a variety of schemes useful to people incapable of affording expensive houses.

"We want banks to increase their capital and offer housing financing mechanisms to middle and low income earners so that they can access affordable housing," he said.

Nsengiyumva called for strong involvement of all stakeholders in both public and private sectors to promote affordable housing models, approaches and solutions.

Fred Rwihunda from the Social Security Fund of Rwanda, said that affordable housing in Rwanda is a big challenge because most houses are affordable to only one class of people.

"To address the challenges associated with lack of affordable houses, we are targeting all classes of people; high, middle and the low income earners," he noted.

Juvenal Kalema from Rwanda Development Bank (BRD) stated that the bank plans to increase on the mobilization of resources to finance affordable houses that will be accessed by all the classes of people.

"We have land where our bank intends to develop a big project for affordable housing units in form of apartments," he said.

According to Ben Kayumba from Lodestar, a Real Estate company, they are going to introduce a new technology of housing that promotes affordable accommodation in the country.

"As real estate developers we are bringing in affordable houses of 78 square meters that are made up of installation panels. These houses cost approximately US $25,000 (Rwf14m)," he added.

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