(Business in Cameroon) - Yesterday October 6, in Yaoundé, the administrative board of housing finance institution Shelter-Afrique approved the creation of a housing corporation in Cameroon. Baptized Industrial Housing Corporation (IHC), the $15 million (XAF8.5 billion) project is a joint venture between Shelter-Afrique (51% stake in IHC) and the state of Cameroon through the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development (49% of the stake).
IHC will produce construction materials such as polystyrene block production plant, panel production plant, and other associated equipment to promote large-scale decent social housing programs across Cameroon. Under Shelter-Afrique’s supervision, IHC will ensure that the products are sold at affordable prices to allow massive acquisitions and boost the development of affordable housing.
Once commissioned, the corporation will be able to build at least 1,500 affordable housing units yearly by cashing in on innovative mechanisms and the use of alternative construction technologies. It would improve the living conditions of over 1,500 households yearly and create direct and indirect jobs for over 2,000 residents.
“We strongly believe that the establishment of Industrial Housing Corporation is the appropriate contribution by Shelter Afrique to address the problems facing the provision of affordable housing in Cameroon through capacity building. We also believe that this concept will be easily replicable in other member countries as we address the problem of housing shortage across the continent,” said Andrew Chimphondah, CEO of Shelter Afrique.
According to the executive, “the Company will be established based on Public and Private Partnership through which the Government of Cameroon will designate a location and provide the relevant land where the factory will be situated, close to the main towns – either in Yaoundé or Duala. The Cameroonian Government will also provide other incentives and off-site infrastructure. Shelter Afrique will provide both financial and consultancy support.”
For Shelter Afrique, this corporation is an appropriate contribution to the affordable housing problems facing Cameroon. According to recent official stats, the country has a deficit of 2.5 million social housing units. For Andrew Chimphondah, this is partly due to a huge shortage of contractors with adequate capacity and logistics. As a result, the construction costs are high, while the constructions are of lower quality and occasional delays are experienced in the delivery of large units.