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Low-cost Housing: Where Are We With The Projects?

The government embarked on the construction of low-cost housing units in different localities in the country under various programmes amongst which is the construction of 10,000 low-cost housing.

The housing equation in Cameroon is difficult to solve. Owning a house requires quite a fortune let alone in the urban areas. This situation is compounded with elevated cost of building a house worsened with the skyrocketing prices of building materials. It is against this backdrop that the government waded in with the 10,000 Low-housing programme in a bid to reduce the gap in terms of lodging needs and the growing urban population. The project that started in 2012 with the construction of 660 housing units in Olembe, Yaounde and another 660 apartments in Mbanga-Bakoko in Douala is already executed at 100 per cent. The Olembe site was officially received on April 25, 2017 by the Minister of Housing and Urban Development. Some 1675 apartments were already available for grabs against over 2,000 applications that were received by the special onestop- shop created in the Ministry in 2014 to commercialise low-cost housing. So far, some 800 housing units have been sold. The construction of the 660 low-cost housing units in Olembe constituted the second phase of the 10,000 low-cost housing programme and 50,000 constructible plots following the laying of the foundation stone by the Prime Minister in 2009 for the construction of 1,300 housing units in Olembe which was part of the first phase of the construction of 2,500 housing units for Yaounde and Douala. The 660 low-housing at Olembe constructed by the Chinese firm constitute some 33 storey buildings occupying 12 hectares of land. The area nicknamed “cite Chinois” has also been embellished with paved access roads, a primary school, health centre, commercial centre and other recreational sites. The Presidential Guard is one of the clients that acquired some 60 apartments at the site. An apartment is sold between FCFA 19,587,750 to FCFA 22, 314,250. The completion of the 660 lowcost housing units in Yaounde and Douala marked an important step in the whole gamut of the government low-housing programme. However, at reception basic facilities that goes with such housing projects like the provision of water and electricity were yet to be connected to the site. Sources say the site is yet to be inhabited by the buyers. For other projects in the lowcost housing programmes such as the construction of 1500 housing units in Limbe, Bafoussam, Bamenda and Sangmelima with 50 apartments each are also ready but yet to be received and sold to Cameroonians. Meanwhile, the construction of 800 low-cost housing in eight regional capitals within the framework of the Three-year Emergency Plan is still on course with less than 50 per cent global realisation. Prime Minister, Head of Government, Philemon Yang, has instructed the acceleration of work on the various sites as well as the drawing up of a marketing strategy for the low-cost housing. Government’s housing programme is triggered by the fast growing population of the country. Statistics from the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development indicate that housing deficit in Cameroon ranges between 300,000 to 450,000. In March 2017, the government signed a convention with the Italian Agency and other partners for the construction of another lot of 1,000 of the 10,000 lowcost housing programme in Mbankomo, in the outskirt of Yaounde. Early this year, public hearings were held in view of the environmental impact assessment of the project that also aims at developing the area into an industrial zone.

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