Ghana signs landmark affordable housing initiative

President Akufo-Addo, Deputy Works and Housing Minister Freda Prempeh, and the UN officials
President Akufo-Addo, Deputy Works and Housing Minister Freda Prempeh, and the UN officials

The United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) and the Government of Ghana have signed a Memorandum of Understanding for a 100,000 units affordable homes through a social impact investment initiative.

The MOU is a major milestone in UNOPS commitment to fostering innovative financing for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and will help the Government of Ghana open access to sustainable, affordable and environmentally sound housing for its citizens.

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"There is great potential here to improve access to high-quality, sustainable and resilient housing for thousands of people," said UNOPS Executive Director Grete Faremo. "At the same time, this project will work to boost livelihoods and the local economy," she added.

The 100,000 houses are to be constructed using energy-efficient solar rooftops, while the implementation work will include local materials, equipment and expertise, which will in turn bear returns for local people.

"I believe we are all well aware of the challenges Ghana, and most of Africa, faces when it comes to the provision of decent, well-planned and organized housing for our citizens. The difficulty in addressing this on-going challenge has led to a huge housing deficit in our country," said President Nana Akufo-Addo.

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"I believe that with the signing of this project agreement, we shall be ushering into existence a new dawn for Ghana and our citizens.", he added

"This housing deal is a dream come true, I've been following up with UNOPS office for a long time. One of our mandates is to ensure that we provide affordable houses for the good people of Ghana" said Deputy Works and Housing Minister, Freda Prempeh. "We want to move away from the traditional way of building - to incorporating some new technologies into the housing industry.", she added.

As part of this agreement, UNOPS will seek to mobilize resources from its funding partners to support this initiative which may eventually cost up to $5 billion. The Government of Ghana will identify and allocate land for potential developments, and help create enabling environment for foreign direct investment.

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President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, thanked UNOPS for the initiative, stating that the huge housing deficit in Ghana was of grave concern, adding that a country like Ghana with a housing deficit of over one million, was unacceptable, and any initiative seeking to reduce the deficit was welcome.

The President assured UNOPS that his government will do everything possible to support the initiative for it to come to fruition.

UNOPS Social Impact Investment Initiative (S3i) seeks to de-risk and structure infrastructure investment projects in an effort to help attract financing from the private sector. Projects selected are subjected to a rigorous and comprehensive due diligence process that will ensure a positive environmental, social and economic impact, with above-market-rates financial returns.

"By reducing the investment risk of development activities, we help bring about new partnerships between the private and public sectors," said Ms. Faremo. "The knock-on effect means unlocking new opportunities and resources for local communities, which helps drive progress towards the SDGs," she added.