RE: “Property developers urged to build with low income earners in mind” (The New Times, March 22).
Affordable housing has been pushed to the country’s consciousness as the housing crisis continues to bite. A recent article on the subject identified 18 projects in Kigali aiming at delivering approximately 14,000 units with prices ranging from 10 million to 500 million francs “affordable” prices.
Looking at the price range raises the question how affordable is affordable. This answer should come from Government/Rwanda Housing Authority which has/should set the affordability standard based on income per year, average number of Rwandan family, income growth etc.. out of a comprehensive study.
As regards to the new building material technology “autoclaved aerated concrete building material” proposed by the company in the article, certainly all innovations are welcome in the market.
However, the above technology (which appears to have been invented and patented in Europe), requires to undergo rigorous Government checks to ensure its effectiveness in the market.
In my view, the key government bodies would be Rwanda Housing Authority for technical related expertise and Rwanda Standards Bureau to give the technology/materials a standards thumbs-up.
The Government’s due diligence would probably look at the manufacturing process and the product produced to ensure it’s safe/durable/effective enough for the construction market.
I hope in order to gain market confidence for their product, the company has engaged/would engage the above bodies to get the necessary government approvals.
As for the Government bodies, it is a subtle dance between encouraging new innovations, creating healthy competition by avoiding monopolistic tendencies, and enabling a good private sector environment through adequate regulation.
This balance is necessary to ensure that we, the consumers, reap long term and sustainable benefits.