Affordable housing dream achievable in Ghana; MD of African Building Partners optimistic

The Borteyman ‘affordable’ housing project is now priced beyond the reach of the ordinary man

Presently, the country’s housing deficit is estimated at about 2.1 million per annum according to the Ghana Real Estates Developers Association (GREDA).

This deficit is basically houses for those in the lower to middle-income brackets.
Much as many governments have resolved to deal with the deficit, it continues to widen as more and more people are unable to afford even the most basic housing.

Affordable housing projects
There are many housing projects scattered across the country. These include the Kpone, Borteman housing projects, the Sangleme housing projects and many others in the various parts of the country. These projects are at various stages of completion.

Unfortunately, a chunk of these projects have not been occupied for varied reasons including serious controversies, chief of which is political and in other instances, corruption.
Many have been turned into abodes for squatters and reptiles, while humans who badly need them have none to lay their heads.

Making affordable housing achievable

Consistently, there has been doubt about how this issue of ‘affordable’ can be achieved but to no avail.

Government over the last two decades continues to fail to make housing affordable. Hard as they try, those for whom the projects are targeted cant afford it.
But according to the Managing Director of African Building Partners, Mr Eric Gene, the government’s quest to provide affordable housing targeted at the vulnerable and those in the very low-income bracket in the country is an achievable dream that must be pursued.

“Among other considerations, the government can first and foremost make electricity, roads and water accessible in developing communities since these have some effect on high cost of development ”, he said.

Mr Gené, whose construction company built the maternity ward of the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital in record time, said in many other countries such as South Africa among others, low-cost housing has been provided for the vulnerable and low-income earners and that was made possible because the government created the environment to impact the cost of housing as part of its social intervention programme.

ABP in construction

Mr Gené said ABP industries, a subsidiary of Africa Building Partners, meets the challenge for local manufacturing. According to him, his company has released three building materials that can do the trick.

He holds the view that it is a deliberate, yet a conscious effort the company has put in place to reduce the cost of construction for its clients, controlling quality and costs, whilst providing employment for the local people.

He further explained that the move helped to cut the cost of importing building materials, cost of waiting for imported items and the cost of capital to building projects and lastly the unstable rate of foreign exchange.

Mr Gené said these factors were among the major and direct contributors to the high cost of building in the country, but they are avoidable.

He stated that the company often certified its projects with Edge (“Excellence in Design for Greater Efficiencies” an innovation of IFC / World Bank. This means ABP Construction and Industries are on the global lens and are noted to develop structures that are innovative, faster, easier, more affordable than traditional buildings, environmentally friendly (Climate conscious), energy-saving (use of natural resources) spacious and give value for money.

Mr Gené said there was an existing yet exclusive relationship between MiTek and ABP Industries.

“MiTek is a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway which is the fifth largest company in the world. Its major investor is Warren Buffet.

MiTek, on the other hand, is a global company focused on providing integrated software, services, engineered products and automated solutions for the building industry worldwide.

Innovating and expanding into aspects of global building, MiTek empowers customers to improve the way they design and build”.

According to Mr Gené, “we currently import 60 per cent of our building materials and manufacture the remaining 40 per cent.

However, we are working towards a zero per cent importation as soon as possible.

For our partnership with MiTek, we believe it is a game-changer in the building and manufacturing industry in Ghana and Africa because we plan to move into other African countries.”

Source: Graphic Online

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