BY NDUMBE BELL GASTON
After the national celebration of World Habitat Day which culminated in a prize award ceremony of the cleanest city in the nation, presided over by the Minister of Housing and Urban Development, Celestine Ketcha Courtes in Douala last October 5, a document procured from the Littoral Delegation of the Ministry has outlined a number of recommendations towards efficient housing in the country.
According to the report, stakeholders and participants amounting to about 1.200, drawn from professional associations, mayors, technical and financial partners in Cameroon and abroad such as ONG-Habitat and Shelter Afrique, researchers, civil society groups, administrators and the like, took part in drafting a road map that, when implemented, will realise “a real and efficient housing programme as well as cleanest cities activities”.
It was decided that because the resources are very limited, there should be a combined effort in ideas and resource-sharing which will enable everyone in the nation to optimise the management skills and improve the ability of the value chain to promote housing by précising the responsibilities of all actors in the sector.
Real estate stakeholders were told not to ask for financing all the time but try to cooperate with researchers, innovate and industrialise using cheaper local materials for constructing low cost quality housing for those in urban and rural settlements.
It was decided that the workforce of the construction sector should be made more professional and regulated because it is observed that this group is responsible for the construction of 95% of buildings in Cameroon.
In order to improve the quality and sustainability of tenement buildings away from risky areas, the workforce should be more professional.
The Minister estimated that in Cameroon, according to findings of the national statistics institute, the search for decent lodging in 2016 stood at 1, 743, 428 and today the need has risen to over 2 million. According to her, the state has adopted a new political will to ensure that the multiplicity of decent lodging with better hygienic and environmental conditions be realised by actors in both the public and private sector to create sustainable self-sufficiency based on sanitary lessons. The new innovation is said to be a new trend by the State to give construction concerns a boost when celebrating World Habitat Day.
Minister Ketcha Courtes was, however, disappointed that out of 230 private housing contingents registered by MINHDU, only around 40 are known to be active, from nine regions such as the East, South-West, North-West, Centre, West, South, Adamawa, Littoral and Far North, having just 1,200 lodgings or so in their credit.
This poor result is said to have motivated the Ministry to create and install a platform for private construction concerns to facilitate exchange of views and ideas to promote the sector.