Namibia’s housing demand continues to outstrip supply and it is estimated that the country’s housing backlog shortage is hovering above the 110 000 units mark for both low to middle-income groups. This is according to figures provided by the Namibia Housing Enterprise.
With the middle-income segment being serviced by private property developers and formal banking institutions, owning a home remains a distant dream for many low to medium-income groups.
However, the government continues to place housing delivery at the core of its development agenda, with the State-driven policy aimed to increase land supply and incentivise the private sector to invest in housing. Partners such as Mobile Telecommunications Limited (MTC) and Huawei Telecommunications Namibia (Huawei), have long agreed that the solution to the housing crisis in Namibia should not only be left at the doorstep of the State, but through a collective effort of all stakeholders, particularly that of corporate Namibia.
Since 2018, MTC and Huawei have partnered with Standard Bank Namibia through their “Buy a Brick Initiative” with a monetary donation of N$10 million to support the efforts of housing through the Shack Dwellers Federation of Namibia (SDFN) to build decent shelters for its members.
SDFN is a network of housing saving schemes with a membership of more than 20 000 countrywide. The organisation aims to improve living conditions of low-income people living in shacks, rented rooms and those without any accommodation.
As part of those efforts MTC handed over 17 brand-new houses to the community of the Kalkveld settlement in Otjozondjupa region on Monday. This handover was preceded by 20 houses in Grootfontein, 10 houses in Okakarara, and 15 yet to be constructed in Okahandja, all in Otjozondjupa region. In the Ohangwena region, 22 houses were completed, with 30 houses earmarked for construction in Okongo by end of January 2021.
In Oshana region, 25 houses were completed in Oshakati, and 25 in Ondangwa, whilst in Zambezi region 30 houses were built in Kongola. In Kavango West 25 houses were completed at Rupara and a further eight houses in Kahenge. Aranos and Stampriet in the Hardap region had 8 and 21 houses constructed respectively, while Omusati region also had eight houses completed.
The construction cost per unit ranged between N$30 000 and N$36 000. According to Tim Ekandjo, chief human capital and corporate affairs officer at MTC: “The lack of decent housing continues to be one of the most contentious issues in Namibia, which requires deliberate, consistent and unified efforts to address it.”
Ekandjo further said that while adhering to consistency in fighting the issue of housing, they successfully hosted the MTC Knockout Project last month with the focus to address homelessness.
“With this project, MTC in partnership with other corporates, and together with the support of the public, managed to raise an amount of over one million dollars, which will also be used towards lessening the homelessness status in the country. It is only through partnership that we will realise a meaningful improvement in restoring the dignity of our fellow countrymen by providing decent shelter for a better living standard,” he explained.