[Editorial] Developers should use govt goodwill to build affordable housing

New guidelines aimed at streamlining and easing the availability of affordable housing will soon be gazetted.

New guidelines aimed at streamlining and easing the availability of affordable housing will soon be gazetted.

The good news is that developers will see some of the hurdles they have been facing done away with. The most important is the issue of financing, which, when available, is very expensive.

Developers will also not have to foot the whole bill for infrastructure such as roads, water, electricity and other amenities; the government will play its part, and that should bring housing prices down.

A Housing Marketing Study carried out for Kigali proposed that 86 percent of the 340,000 thousand units to be built by 2022 should target low and medium income earners.

This drive will be fueled by the private sector and it is encouraging that the new proposals will see more active participation by the state through incentives and flexible terms for housing sector investors.

But as was pointed out in the study, land is an issue. Not only is it scarce, it is also expensive, sometimes costing as much as 40 percent of the cost of the intended building.

It is not easy to relocate people to pave way for infrastructure projects, which would have been ideal for some old unplanned neighbourhoods in the city. But that needs some serious consideration.

However, even if that was implemented, Rwandans should be encouraged to build upwards, not sprawling mansions that take up precious space.

Otherwise unless Kigali’s boundaries are extended out wards, there is no way the target of having over 300,000 housing units in the next five years will be difficult to achieve.

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