14 December 2012

Algeria: Nation Tackles Housing Crisis

Algiers — The Algerian government adopted a new strategy to meet the high level of demand for housing.

As part of its promise to build 1.2 million new homes by 2014, Algeria is partnering with international consortiums to speed up the process and improve quality.

During workshops held on December 2nd in Tipaza, roughly a dozen American housing companies said they were willing to create joint venture companies to implement public housing projects in Algeria on the basis of "local requirements".

"The American delegation made up of three consortia came to Algeria to form partnerships with Algerian operators to implement part of the public housing programme according to local requirements and standards," US-Algeria Business Council chief Smail Chikhoune said.

"Our system is capable of constructing large buildings in very short timeframes and we also guarantee long-term maintenance," Ticon consortium representative Kurt Anderson said. "In addition, 15% of the profits made from the projects will be invested in humanitarian projects within the country."

According to figures from the housing ministry, nearly 38.2 billion euros were allocated to the 2010-2014 plan to build new homes. The national capacity to build homes currently stands at 80,000 units per year, which is insufficient.

This is why the government is looking to foreign companies for help, provided that they guarantee swift and high-quality construction.

Projects will be launched in the housing sector to build nearly 800,000 new homes in order to "meet the high level of demand", the ministry stated.

This scheme will entail the construction of 450,000 public-sector rental properties, 230,000 rent-to-own properties and 120,000 publicly subsidised properties.

During the first six months of 2013, the government will restart Housing Development and Improvement Agency (AADL) programmes aimed at building 150,000 rent-to-own properties, the minister added. This is the type of housing in which the middle class is showing the most interest.

On November 5th, the Algerian government signed a framework agreement on the creation of mixed Algerian-Spanish companies to build some 50,000 new homes in Algeria. A similar agreement was signed with Portugal. Other countries, including Italy and France, have also expressed interest.

Housing ministry Secretary-General Ali Boulares told Magharebia that besides improved construction quality, his department also wants to see better integration into the national construction sector of small and medium-sized enterprises and to create jobs for young people in particular.

The ministry also announced a number of measures to ensure that homes are allocated fairly, so that no one will be able to benefit from the housing programme more than once.

"All applications for housing will be checked against a national database in accordance with the principle that each citizen has the right to receive assistance from the state just once", said Housing Minister Abdelmadjid Tebboune.

He also pointed out that no one who has already received social, subsidised, rural or other housing will be able to request an AADL or other property.

People are ager to see the project in action.

"I hope that these plans will fulfil our dream of becoming homeowners," Mahmoud M'hamsadji told Magharebia.

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