Egyptian government builds on its affordable housing promise
Country to receive one million new homes over next five years;
CAIRO, Egypt - February 13, 2013: Egypt's post-revolution government is set to expand a promise to deliver affordable housing to its citizens in an effort to build cities that are both affordable and sustainable, says a visiting global construction expert who is scheduled to meet with government officials this week.
"Egypt's affordable housing challenges are great, but so too is the political will of this new government to bring positive, sustainable change to this country," said Philippe Mauran, Director of Lafarge's Affordable Housing Project.
Lafarge, the world's largest manufacturer of building materials, has an impressive track record of building affordable housing and will form a significant part of the private sector's involvement in the plan to build social housing concept in Egypt,
Mauran's previous experience has involved a running a successful program to secure better access to decent housing for citizens in India - a project that should stand him in good stead to tackle the need for affordable accommodation in Egypt.
"The demographic structure of Egypt is comparable with that of India, as about 30 per cent of the population is currently under 15 years old," revealed Mauran. "It is projected that in 20 years' time when the current young generation has become part of the working-age population, this share of young will have only slightly lowered to 25 per cent, so there is a need to ensure that these families have access to good quality and affordable housing."
Sixty per cent of Egypt's 84 million citizens are under the age of 30 and there are 600,000 new marriages each year, meaning that the population is growing at the rate of almost two per cent a year. It is estimated that to keep up with demand, about 440,000 to 600,000 new housing units will be needed annually between now and 2020, with urban populations in most need. The country's population lives on just 5.5 per cent of its land, with 45 per cent crammed into urban areas. It is estimated that 14 million will be added to the urban population over the period 2005-2020.
Lafarge will be working closely with the Egyptian Housing & Building Research Center (HBRC) during the consultation and construction process to ensure that the latest techniques and developments are effectively utilised throughout.
"The HBRC's aim is to improve the quality of housing in Egypt by ensuring the application of state of the art knowledge, facilities and skills," said Khaled El Dahabi , Chairman of HBRC. "We work under the auspices of the Ministry of Housing to promote the latest building technology, sustainability and environmental awareness.
We were extremely proud to have been the co-creators of the Egyptian Green Building Council in 2009, as this is organisation that exists to maximise environmental care in construction," he added.
The government's investment for housing for 2012/ 2013 is Euro 3.9 billion, which represents an approximate 38 per cent increase from 2011/2012. The funding takes the lion's share of all funds allocated from the state budget, with transport receiving 25 per cent, waste water 16 per cent, drinking water 14 per cent and educational projects 13 per cent. Despite the heavy state investment, the private sector is still the main player in Egypt's housing market, currently contributing 76 per cent of supply.
"The Social Housing Program is an extremely important initiative from the government, but to address the total gap in supply the private sector are going to have to be involved. For residential building investment, the private sector has 81 per cent of the total portfolio," said Mauran.
Lafarge already has a strong presence in Egypt, with its Egyptian site being the second largest cement factory in the world. The organisation is a major employer of Egyptians and is heavily involved in CSR projects, including serving as the country's main road safety sponsor.