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General News of Thursday, 27 September 2018


Ghana gets $5bn UN housing deal

A groundbreaking deal that will activate the housing industry in Ghana has been signed in New York, United States, on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly.

The deal allows the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) to commit $5 billion to construct over 100,000 affordable houses in the country with no financial commitment from the government of Ghana.

The project is being facilitated by two young Ghanaian entrepreneurs, Kwame Blay and Alvin Bekoe.

UNOPS says the 100,000 affordable houses project in Ghana is under a social housing project with innovative financing.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to that effect was signed between Government of Ghana and UNOPS.

A Deputy Minister of Works and Housing, Freda Prempeh, signed the agreement on behalf of Ghana, with the UNOPS Executive Director and UN Under-Secretary-General, Grete Faremo penning for the UN agency.

According to Ms Faremo, the project is under the mandate of the UN General Assembly, and similar projects are being executed in Kenya and other parts of the world.

“It’s a win-win situation,” the UN under Secretary General said.

She explained that UNOPS, as mandated by the General Assembly on infrastructure, procurement and project management, “allows us to work with your government to build these houses.”

The agreement, UNOPS said, is a major “milestone in its commitment to fostering innovative financing for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and will help the Government of Ghana create access to sustainable, affordable and environmentally sound housing for its citizens.

“There is great potential here to improve access to high-quality, sustainable and resilient housing for thousands of people.

“At the same time, this project will work to boost livelihoods and the local economy,” Ms Faremo indicated.

The 100,000 houses are to be constructed using energy-efficient solar rooftops, while the implementation work will involve local materials, equipment and expertise, which will in turn offer returns to local people.

President Akufo-Addo, who is attending the UN General Assembly, was excited with the landmark deal and expressed gratitude to UNOPS for settling on Ghana for the massive housing project, stressing that it will go a long way in bridging the gap in the country’s housing sector.

He indicated that the huge housing deficit in the country is a major issue for his government, expressing joy in narrowing it through the landmark initiative.

“I believe we are all well aware of the challenges Ghana, and most of Africa, face when it comes to the provision of decent, well-planned and organized housing for our citizens. The difficulty in addressing this ongoing challenge has led to a huge housing deficit in our country,” President Akufo-Addo added.

“I believe that with the signing of this project, we shall be ushering into existence a new dawn for Ghana and our citizens,” he added.

President Akufo-Addo assured the UNOPS Team that his government would work hard to make the project come to fruition.

Fulfilling Dream

Ms Prempeh couldn’t hide her joy for the realisation of the project.

“This housing deal is a dream come true, I’ve been following up with UNOPS Office for a long time. One of our mandates is to ensure that we provide affordable houses for the good people of Ghana,” she said, adding “we want to move away from the traditional way of building to incorporating some new technologies into the housing industry.”

As part of the agreement, UNOPS will mobilize resources from its funding partners to support the initiative, which may eventually cost about $5 billion.

The Government of Ghana will identify and allocate land for potential development and help create enabling environment for foreign investors.

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