They are meeting in Yaounde as part of government efforts to get stakeholders to construct descent houses.
Over 100 real estate developers are meeting in Yaounde under the guidance of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development, MINDHU, to seek ways of overcoming sector challenges to the crisis of descent housing in Cameroon with a deficit evaluated at 120,000 annually. In seven years, only 1,200 housing units have been constructed and 14, 500 plots of land prepared by the over 40 active real estate developers of the 123 that the country counts, figures from the ministry reveal.
The not-so-satisfactory picture is blamed on limited access to financing, difficulty in acquiring land, understanding the tax system and the legal framework, the Secretary General in the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development, Ahamdou Sandaouna, stated, while chairing a two-day workshop that opened in Yaounde yesterday, December 13, 2016, to upgrade skills. He said the non-mastery of taxation complexities, the weak organisation of developers as well as technical and managerial loopholes should be checked, as government counts on the private sector to offer descent lodging to 22 million Cameroonians.
Government alone cannot offer descent housing to Cameroonians, with MINDHU officials saying property development is juicy and requires private investors to seize existing opportunities. The Director of Social Housing, MINDHU, Gerard Mandengue, stated: “We just need to train and put order into our real estate sector so they can deliver the goods.” He said in some countries, private real estate developers produce about 80 per cent of social housing.
The situation is lamentable in Cameroon, he revealed. Land experts are educating participants on how best to acquire land, one of the fundamental blockages. Access to financing is handled by banks while the government bench is schooling the developers on existing legal framework. The putting in place of a housing bank and a law on social housing are some of government’s concerns.