As part of its objectives of finding new ways of doing business by serving the low income segment of the society, and making an impact on housing for two million people by 2020 at the world level, Lafarge Africa says it will enable access to decent and affordable housing for 300,000 people in Nigeria by 2020.
Guillaume Roux, Lafarge Group MD/CEO, who gave this assurance at the just concluded Abuja Housing Show 2015, stressed that the company was committed to housing for low income earners and has demonstrated this commitment through its programme called ‘Affordable Housing’.
The Abuja Housing Show is an annual event organized by FESADEB Communication Limited and, according to Festus Adebayo, FESADEB’s MD/CEO, it is the largest home expo in Nigeria that gathers together housing industry professionals, building materials manufacturers, scholars and students all over the world to discuss housing issues.
This year’s edition which was well attended by notable stakeholders in the housing industry including Yemi Osinbajo, the Vice President of Nigeria, had as theme, ‘Affordable Housing Delivery: Financing, Building Technology and Land Issues in Nigeria’.
Roux disclosed to stakeholders at the Show that their approach to affordable housing was built on a unique and comprehensive housing solutions which aimed to answer the needs of the low income people wherever they lived– from the narrow streets of the informal settlements of India and Brazil, to the rural areas of Malawi and to the fast growing peri-urban areas of Nigeria.
“In Abuja, we are working on a development of 500 houses in partnership with the Federal Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development. We are working directly with urban designers and contractors to help them use the best technology to improve the speed and quality of construction of low income housing.
“We are also involved in the project management of the development to ensure transparency for all funds. The delivery of the units will also be closely linked to the involvement of one or several national mortgage institutions”, he pointed out.
Roux added that, in Kano, they were working on the development of 504 housing units sponsored by the Emir of Kano and using a prefabricated solution enabling a record fast execution, noting that the solutions enabled up to 30 percent savings on construction costs.
“Our challenge now is to accelerate the deployment of our affordable housing programme and move from hundreds of families impacted in a month to thousands of families in all corners of Nigeria”, he said, pointing out that, for that to happen, the company needed to find strong local partners, particularly NGOs and microfinance banks.
Earlier in his address at the event, Adebayo had highlighted the challenges limiting efforts at growing the housing sector, emphasizing the need for stakeholders to continue discussions and knowledge sharing on innovative ways to deal with housing issues.
“The theme of this year’s show was chosen based on the need to get the new administration in Nigeria to prioritize housing sector in its agenda. Therefore, our expectation is that government would make use of the proceedings from this event to move the housing sector forward,” he hoped.