BY TATIRA ZWINOIRA
BANCABC Zimbabwe has received a US$11 million line of credit from Kenyan-based real estate and housing financial institution, Shelter Afrique to fund the construction of 2 500 houses for low- to middle-income earners.
BancABC began talks with Shelter Afrique last year.
“We have just signed our final agreement with Shelter Afrique for the extension of an US$11 million facility to contribute to new housing stock in the country.
“We are very excited with this development. Firstly, we believe this is the level of confidence being shown by Shelter Afrique in Zimbabwe at a time when foreign direct investment has not been coming to the country,” BancABC managing director Lance Mambondiani said.
“And, secondly, it’s also a significant development in the contribution of the housing stock.
“We believe that with the US$11 million facility that has been extended by Shelter Afrique, we will be able to contribute about 2 500 housing units in the country.
“We are working with a number of private entities and also government institutions, in particular, the National Housing and Social Amenities ministry in this project.”
He said they were still finalising how potential homeowners would be able to access the facility and whether it would be given in United States dollars or the local currency.
“This is for, largely, people who are on the housing list, and low-cost housing is definitely what we are targeting — low cost, middle-income housing,” Mambondiani said.
“We have already identified pieces of land around Harare, Ruwa, Masvingo, and Bulawayo as well so we want this to be a national project and not necessarily a Harare project.”
The line of credit has been extended at a time when the Housing and Social Amenities ministry has moved to reduce the national housing deficit which has grown significantly in the last few years to around 1,3 million houses. Banks have recently been diversifying into mortgage lending.
“We came into Zimbabwe about 10 years ago, that is the first time we gave a facility here and we are happy to be back and that shows that Zimbabwe is resilient regardless of what is going on on the macroeconomic scene,” Shelter Afrique legal counsel Kuria Njiinu said.
“We are glad to have partnered BancABC and other local banks here and again we want to show our confidence in the market of Zimbabwe and we are here to support them in achieving their goals and objectives. We have partnered with CABS, CBZ Bank and FBC,” Njiinu said.
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