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Lafarge Africa Plc and Shelter Afrique, a Pan-African housing and development institution, on Monday signed a Memorandum of Understanding to facilitate housing development on a large scale for low income earners in the country.

The agreement, whose implementation will commence with the development of identified sites in Abuja, is for an initial period of four years.

The terms of the MoU indicated that the areas of cooperation between the two organisations would include the provision of assistance to define the best construction technologies for use in affordable housing and microfinance projects as well as supply of cement and concrete products for projects.

According to the Group Chief Executive Officer, Lafarge Africa Plc, Mr. Guillaume Roux, 20 acres of land acquired by the group will be used for the project.

“The vision of Lafarge is to help about two million people around the world to have access to housing. We want to fill the gap of housing deficit in Nigeria,” he said.

He noted that the group started its affordable housing programme tagged: “Ile Irorun,” in October 2013.

“So far, over 6,000 people have been impacted by the scheme through more than 1,000 constructions, with each beneficiary having an average of six members in their families,” Roux said.

The Managing Director, Shelter Afrique, Mr. James Mugerwa, said the organisation, owned by 44 African countries, wished to participate in the affordable housing programme of Nigeria as a key member state.

“We are happy with the agreement. We have done affordable housing in other African countries and will leverage our experience to provide affordable housing here in Nigeria,” he said.

According to Mugerwa, the concept of affordable housing has been used vaguely but under the arrangement, three categories, social, low income and middle income housing will be considered.

“We once again show that we are always keen on building strong partnerships and finding efficient ways to deliver affordable housing, which is a shared vision we have with Lafarge. It also shows our joint commitment to Nigeria, a very important market for affordable housing and a key player in the region,” he said.

Roux said the partnership would drive down the cost of housing for the populace and that the number of housing units to be provided would be decided after due consultation.

“We need to drive cost down; that is why it is important for us to work with key stakeholders that are experienced, hence, our partnership with Shelter Afrique. The idea is to also look for ways to expand the market,” he said.

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