Foreign investors keen on housing sector: Minister

Foreign investors, mainly from South Africa and China, are keen to invest in the potentially lucrative local housing sector in a move expected to help Government achieve its target of 200 000 new houses by 2023, a Cabinet minister has said.

National Housing and Social Amenities Minister Daniel Garwe said his ministry had received enquiries from over 50 local and international investors.

This is a major boost for the country as access to modern housing is one of the key goals of President Mnangagwa’s vision to transform the country into an upper middle income economy by 2030.

Speaking here yesterday during a stakeholders’ meeting on national housing delivery in line with Vision 2030, Minister Garwe expressed satisfaction with investor enthusiasm to fund the local real estate sector.

A record over 50 local and international investors had approached Government with the intention of investing in the local real estate sector.

“We have international companies mainly from South Africa and China together with pan-African banks, local financial institutions and pension funds that are keen to invest in real estate locally and we are calling upon local authorities with land and open spaces around the country for housing to come forward.”

“The initial projection by Government was to produce 470 000 new houses by 2023, but we revised that figure down to 200 000 because resources had to be diverted to cater for emergencies and disasters such as Cyclone Idai in Manicaland, drought and floods in Binga,” said Minister Garwe.

Government, through his ministry was working flat out to totally eradicate the national housing backlog standing at two million by 2030, with effective demand for housing standing at 1.5 million.

He said Government wanted to sanitise illegal settlements that have sprouted in most cities and towns over the past few years and also produce more houses in line with Vision 2030.

“The key word should be modernity when we are talking about building of new houses, we want modern houses to be built that are also consistent with the threat posed by climate change,” he said.

“We need land and open spaces, investors are there and we are prepared to link up local authorities in towns and cities with them. We can’t have illegal and unplanned settlements appearing all over in our urban settlements that is why we have diseases that we never had before such as dysentery and typhoid. We need to go back to the old Zimbabwean culture of people with a high work ethic and standards.”

He cautioned local authorities against parcelling land to land barons and other people who lack capacity to develop it.

He said his ministry was also currently engaging the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development to ease accommodation woes at State universities countrywide.

Minister Garwe said they were courting investors to invest in affordable and decent on-campus accommodation.

In her address at the same meeting, his deputy Yeukai Simbanegavi challenged local authorities to identify land for housing in their localities and engage her ministry for link up with potential investors.

She said it should not be business as usual anymore as the nation strives to meet Vision 2030 target.

Deputy Minister Simbanegavi said some towns and cities facing land shortages should even consider building high-rise buildings and flats to ease housing challenges.–

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