Minister for Works and Housing, Francis Asenso-Boakye, has emphasized the need for African countries to increase their investment in the housing sector as a means of driving economic growth on the continent.
Speaking at a Ministerial Roundtable during the 42nd Annual General Meeting of Shelter Afrique in Abuja, Nigeria, on Tuesday, May 9, 2023, the Minister pointed out that the housing sector has significant potential to help Africa emerge from the current global economic slowdown, provided that leaders prioritize and refocus resources on housing development.
“Housing can serve as a powerful tool for economic alleviation, especially in Africa, where there is an increasing demand for affordable housing. Investing in housing development can create more job opportunities, boost local economies, and promote economic growth”, he added.
The Minister also called on African governments to make more funding available to housing development through their respective Ministries of Finance, and to source long-term financing, as is done in Europe and other advanced economies, to provide affordable housing that meets the needs and financial capacity of citizens.
Nigerian Finance Minister, Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed, responded by revealing that the Ministry of Works and Housing in Nigeria receives the second-highest budgetary allocation, after the defence ministry.
This, she said, was an indication of the government’s prioritization of the housing sector, and she urged her fellow Finance Ministers on the continent to follow suit.
Mr. Asenso-Boakye also supported the call by the Housing Minister for Nigeria, Babatunde Raji Fashola, for Africa to adopt credible data in housing and use it for decision making.
He cited Ghana’s 2021 Population and Housing Census, which revealed that about 12 per cent of houses in the country are currently unoccupied, as the prices of these homes are above the means of low- to middle-income earners, and called for a change in this narrative.