About 400 blocks of flats will be constructed countrywide, starting this year, with Government facilitating the projects as the Second Republic steps up efforts to deliver modern housing to the people.
The bulk of the high-rise apartments will be built in rural areas.
The scheme will start with a pilot project in Mtawatawa, Mashonaland East Province, which will be replicated in all the eight rural provinces.
Skyscrapers are part of the more than 10 000 housing units set to be delivered this year through synergies between Government and the private sector.
Africa’s leading housing financier, Shelter Afrique, is one of the biggest partners Government has enlisted for the construction boom, after it provided US$25 million to Zimbabwe, with prospects for more funding.
In an interview with the state owned Sunday Mail, National Housing and Social Amenities Permanent Secretary Engineer Joy Makumbe said Government is implementing its policy where all new housing projects should have a provision of 40 percent of buildings going up.
“The ministry is targeting to directly develop about 386 flats units this year and upwards of 2 000 stands. The Government is mainly a facilitator in the housing development sector,” said Eng Makumbe.
“As a ministry, we understand that land is a finite resource, and that all land is not for housing only but also for other activities such as agriculture. Therefore, the Zimbabwe National Human Settlement Policy stipulates that layout plans for human settlements have to dedicate 40 percent to densification, that is, high-rise flats and cluster homes.”
She said Government has been able to attract foreign direct investment to speed up delivery of modern housing.
“In 2022, a local institution managed to access US$11 million from Shelter Afrique.
“Shelter Afrique has provided a US$25 million Sovereign Loan Fund to the Government of Zimbabwe for its housing projects. To date, there are pending loan applications by various financial institutions in excess of US$50 million that are being considered by Shelter Afrique,” said Eng Makumbe.
On smart cities, Eng Makumbe said her ministry was wrapping up some matters with other ministries to ensure the projects were implemented.
“Presently, the ministry is finalising issues to do with land for smart cities with the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works; the
Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development; and AFC bank.
“The ministry is negotiating with potential financiers — in collaboration with the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development; the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works; the Chirundu Local Board and other stakeholders — about Chirundu Smart City,” she said.
Housing delivery is one of the 14 national priority areas under the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS 1).
Eng Makumbe said Government is walking the talk in addressing the national housing backlog.
“The NDS 1 articulates that the Government has a target to provide 220 000 housing units by the year 2025. As of December 2022, we had 156 000 housing units delivered,” she said.
One of the challenges besetting the housing sector has been informal settlements, but Eng Makumbe said Government had created a conducive environment for housing development by providing policy direction and regulatory frameworks to address this concern.
“We have managed to contain or, rather, deprive further invasion of informal settlements, specifically in wetlands and dysfunctional settlements. We have taken a step in addressing challenges of dysfunctional settlements through regularisation, as is the case with Gimboki in Mutare,” she said.
Speaking at the launch of the Fontaine Ridge Housing Project in Harare last Wednesday, President Mnangagwa said, as part of implementing Vision 2030, the Second Republic is “collaborating with key stakeholders to make the country’s human settlements resilient and sustainable to improve the people’s quality of life”. —-Sunday Mail