Tanzania Daily News (Dar es Salaam)

Tanzania: Mexico Invited in Low Cost Housing Investment

TANZANIA has invited Mexican investors in low cost housing, noting the Central American country's relative strength in the sector. The Minister for Lands, Housing and Human Settlements Development, Professor Anna Tibaijuka, extended the invitation during talks with Mexico's Honorary Consul to Tanzania, Hon Mohamed Reza Saboor when he paid a courtesy call on her in her office in Dar es Salaam on Friday.

"In my former service with the United Nations, I used to work very closely with Mexico's Conference of Mayors for slum upgrading around the world," she said. Prof. Tibaijuka is the immediate former Executive Director of UN Habitat, the global agency for housing.

She also noted that Mexico had worked its way into a middle income country, an experience that would be relevant for developing economies including Tanzania. She was also UN Under-Secretary General and at one time. Mr Saboor said Mexico was keen to share its experience with Tanzania.

The two countries, he said, shared legendary ties developed robustly in the days of the Father of the Nation, Mwalimu Julius Nyerere. Mexico, he said, was also ready to share with Tanzania its expertise and experience in global tourism development, industrialisation and cultural exchanges in order to forge a truly people-centred international human relations between the two countries.

He gave the minister an album of the Kiswahili edition of a ranchera Mexican song, Le Rey (The King) by legendary composer and singer, José Alfredo Jiménez. The song was translated into Kiswahili by a Mexican scholar and part-time musician, Dr Jose Arturo Saavedra Casco and sang by local artiste, Nice Lucas Mkenda, "Mr Nice."

Dr Casco is an expert in Kiswahili and a regular visiting scholar at the University of Dar es Salaam's Kiswahili Institute. The album was released in the city recently. In the song, wholly recorded in Dar es Salaam, Dr Casco introduces it by singing the first stanza in Spanish before it waxes into Kiswahili but in classical Mexican traditional dance.

Tanzania needs about 200,000 housing units annually but demand keeps rising as population also grows. The government has formed the Tanzania Mortgage Refinance Company Limited (TMRC) that extends loans to commercial banks that in turn, lend to retail buyers.

In addition, there are a number of housing micro financing institutions, notable among them Habitat for Humanity that offers housing loans, including carrying out repairs, renovations and completion of stalled construction. State owned National Housing Corporation (NHC) is the biggest player in the country's real estate business.

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