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Cameroon's SIC plans to build 3,000 housing units in 3 years

Cameroon's SIC plans to build 3,000 housing units in 3 years
  • Comments   -   Tuesday, 23 January 2024 03:29

(Business in Cameroon) - Cameroon's State Real Estate Company (SIC) unveils plans to build 3,000 housing units between 2024 and 2026. The Managing Director, Ahmadou Sardaouna, made the plan public in a recent interview with L'Action, the ruling party's official journal.

The extensive housing program kicks off this January with the construction of 291 units in the "Green City" of Yaoundé, Central Region. The plan includes 432 housing units in Maroua (Far North Region), 538 in Garoua (North Region), and 276 in Sangmélima (South Region). The rehabilitation of existing housing estates, with a 60% depreciation rate, is also on the agenda, targeting Kotto (Douala), Palmiers (Douala), Buéa, Garoua, and Maroua.

While Sardaouna is cautious about revealing the financial mobilization mechanisms, acknowledging their critical role, he emphasizes the need to avoid past challenges faced by the company due to financial constraints. Notably, a previous project, partnering with Cimencam (Lafarge Holcim Maroc Afrique), the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development, and the Mission for the Promotion of Local Materials (Mipromalo), involving the construction of 2,000 low-cost housing, was cancelled due to financial limitations.

The average cost of a housing unit also raises questions, with the CFA453 billion investment translating to an average cost of CFA151 million per unit. To amortize this investment over 50 years, the monthly rent would need to exceed CFA250,000. This challenges the notion of truly affordable social housing, considering the current financial landscape.

Despite financial uncertainties, SIC's proposed projects aim to strengthen its large-scale housing construction program, which includes an ongoing partnership with the Italian company Pizarotti to build 10,000 social homes. This comes after a prolonged period of inactivity, contributing to the country's estimated housing deficit of about 2.5 million units.

Established in 1952 to promote social housing in Cameroon, SIC has constructed just over 11,000 homes to date, with only half remaining in its housing portfolio. The other half has been sold to individuals through lease-purchase arrangements.

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