RE: “All districts to construct model urban community settlements” (The New Times, August 27).
Excellent initiative by the Government of Rwanda – to make affordable housing a super priority. I believe Rwanda Housing Authority (RHA) is up to something, especially when they are also bringing in private sector into play. That will bring both capital and sustainability in the process.
Worldwide, the investment in a home is the biggest investment a household/family would make and it is also a source of building patient capital/wealth. So, RHA needs to carry out a big campaign to woo the private sector into investing in affordable housing.
Some ways to do it: private sector proposes/secures land for project and necessary zoning; RHA (and development partners) provide seed funding for bankable feasibility studies—developers can reimburse the study funds once estates have been built and sold; RHA provides access roads, electricity and water for the estate (with minimum 10 units), estates must be minimum two or three stories buildings with apartments/condominiums.
All the new housing units must have minimum levels of climate friendly initiatives: recycling waste water, harvesting rainwater, a common area/park with trees and playground for football, basketball/volleyball, solar water heaters, integrated cooking gas hooked up network, etc.
RHA should also mobilise the pension fund (Rwanda Social Security Fund) and local banks to join in this effort. If this is done, the Government would have put in about Rwf30 billion and private sector would bring the rest (60 billion); we would then have in place 100,000 affordable new homes by 2030.