Mr Momodou Kolley made this revelation recently at a symposium which brought together stakeholders in the housing industry, amongst them policy-makers, government agencies, investment funds, financial institutions, private developers, project managers, and architect.
Held at SaHel Plaza along on Kairaba Avenue, the event on housing development was organised by SaHel Invest Management International.
In his keynote address, Minister Kolley added that the 50,000 housing units needed by 2015 is in line with the Millennium Development Goals, MDGs.
He explained: “The drive towards the realisation of this target has begun through the Participatory Slum Upgrading Project, PSUP, in collaboration with the United Nations Human Settlements Program (UN Habitat), which will be carried out in Banjul, Kanifing municipality, and Brikama. The Gambia is in the second phase of PSUP which entails action planning and program formulation. It is hoped that the private sector particularly real estate developers will be given the opportunity to participate in this programme by providing standardised houses for low income earners.”
He continued: “My ministry intends to revive the housing unit of the Department of Physical Planning and Housing. The draft housing policy of 1989 will be reviewed and validated with a view to operationalising it. The use of affordable and appropriate building materials and technology will be enhanced and capacitised through collaboration with stakeholders, including the private sector. Equally, the appropriate building technology unit of the Department of Community Development will be revived and promoted through partnership. This will be done in order to promote the use of available local building materials considering the high and uncontrollable price on imported building materials like cement, iron rods, to mention a few.”
Also speaking, Dr Wally Ndow, the former UN deputy secretary and director general of UN Habitat, the chief guest of honour, said: “Today’s meeting will perhaps constitute one of the landmarks of the national effort to deal with housing facility, shelter for all in an organising 21st century. Because the next century, whether we are aware of it or not, is going to be urban century. We are today witnessing perhaps what can be done for the greatest migration in human history. Populations are moving in spite of all efforts to stem that tide from an essentially rural area to an urban settlement.”
The CEO of SaHel Invest, Abdoulie Touray, said: “In the Vision 2020, it is clearly stated that the private sector is the engine of growth. Then, we should not always be waiting for government to tell us where to go. What is paradoxical in the Gambian context is that we have our beautiful beaches, very pristine beautiful beaches and it is a shame that we are losing our beaches to housing construction. Well, all of you have technology that supervises for ordinary legal physical monitoring. Now what the UN has done is to cater for housing and the environment and MDG goal number one talks about food security and eradicating poverty. And if you want to give human beings dignity, you give them a house.”
By Ousman Bojang]]>