Christian Agossa, Director General of the CRRH-WAEMU

After expressing regret that African states are not adequately funding housing, Pr. Albert Zeufack, chief economist for the World Bank Group's for Africa region, recommends that the states devote more funding to housing.

"Financing housing is simply a matter of economic sense. That is why the United Nations has identified housing as one of the goals of sustainable development (SDG11) where all countries have committed to ensuring by 2030, people's access to adequate housing and affordable housing with basic services", recalls Prof. Zeufack speaking on Monday at a panel organized by the regional office of mortgage refinancing fund (CRRH) of WAEMU.

With 60% of the inhabitants of cities still living in slums, Zeufack believes that African states do not finance housing sufficiently and that housing support policies still have a lot of work to do.

Four reasons to finance housing

Albert Zeufack gave the housing ministers of the member states of WAEMU four reasons to convince their minister in charge of finances or plan or even their president that financing housing is imperative.

The first is that housing is at the heart of the structural transformation of countries.

"We cannot reach the emergence we are talking about when our cities are 60% slums.We can not create the long-awaited jobs if our cities are not effective and the fact that the housing is not adequate makes our cities and our citizens ineffective, so it is important to invest in housing especially because the population is galloping in our countries, "explains the professor.

In his second argument, he tried to prove to ministers of finance that supporting housing policies is in their interest.

"If you finance housing, you will increase your capacity to raise resources, that is, to tax real estate in the cities.This is a latent resource.When developing a city, the value of land the built houses are gaining value and can be taxed, so it is in your interest because it will bring in more taxes later", the expert says.

Thirdly, he points out that housing helps to develop the financial sector of banks. "Companies that finance housing, reinsurance, leasing and so on, all these investments in real estate help deepen the financial sector in the countries and help mobilize domestic savings and investment turn into long-term savings to finance our investments", he insists.

The fourth reason according to Albert Zeufack is that housing is part of the social contract. He points out that in many countries, including Asian countries, homeownership makes people more citizens.

"Acceding to housing makes people more responsible. You will not set fire to an area where you have your home, but more importantly, decent housing has a decent effect on the education of children",  he shows.

Financing housing impacts employment and production

With several examples, Professor Zeufack also discussed the impact of housing finance on employment and production. "In terms of the impact on employment, we found that any expenditure of $ 10,000 from the World Bank on housing allows to create in Colombia and India, respectively 5 and 9 jobs".

Regarding the impact on production, he put forward studies that prove that the construction sector has a multiplier effect upstream and downstream.

"That is to say that for 1fr CFA that we invest in real estate, in housing, we can harvest 2fr in terms of total production. I think it is a very important impact and that naturally deserves to be reinforced", he says.

For all these reasons, the chief economist for the Africa region of the World Bank Group believes that African countries should continue to invest in housing.

"At the CRRH-WAEMU, this is a subject that we are following with great attention since 7 years, we were able to disburse 200 billion CFA to the project of 35 commercial banks in the 08 countries of the Union. €162 billion mobilized on the regional financial market through 08 bonds over 10 to 15 years, and 38 billion concessional resources for the promotion of affordable housing, homes under 15 million CFA, on facilities of the World Bank and KFW ", recalls Christian Agossa, Director General of the CRRH-WAEMU very concerned with the best way to strengthen the interventions of his institution for the financing of housing, particularly low-income households and / or irregular.

What is the Togolese government doing?

The minister of the city, urban planning, housing and sanitation, Koko Ayeva highlighted the various actions implemented by the Togolese state to meet this challenge.

"The government has in addition to the national policy of housing and urban development, initiated the feasibility study for the creation of an urban land equipment structure, started the restructuring and rehabilitation of the construction and housing center and adopted the land code.In this momentum, planned housing initiatives are encouraged and sometimes conducted by the public authorities.It is worth mentioning the pilot project of construction of housing at affordable costs referred to as Mokpokpo project at adidogome" , quotes Minister Koko Ayeva.

She also listed some initiatives of private promoters such as la cité de Ange of Lome, the Wellcity project, and the project of renaissance residence of the National Social Security Fund of Togo (CNSS).

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