Muwowo Seeks Urgent Action on Rising Costs of Land, Materials

July 4, 2022
rising costs of land

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

An appeal has been made to governments across the globe to urgently do something about the rising costs of land and building materials in order not to deny citizens affordable houses.

This plea was made by the acting Managing Director and Chief Finance Officer of Shelter Afrique, Mr Kingsley Muwowo, at the 11th World Urban Forum held in Katowice, Poland from June 26-30, 2022, with the theme Transforming Our Cities for a Better Urban Future.

Mr Muwowo, while speaking on Delivering Affordable Housing Across Continents, lamented that the aforementioned factors could derail efforts to speed up the development of affordable housing across the globe.

“From market studies, the cost of land should constitute between 10 per cent and 15 per cent of the total cost of a housing unit for it to be affordable, but this isn’t the case in many countries,” he said.

Commenting further, he said, “In Kenya, for instance, the cost of land makes up between 40 per cent and 60 per cent of the total cost of a housing unit, like the case with Nairobi which is the most expensive in the entire continent of Africa.”

“How do you deliver affordable housing when you’ve got the most expensive land?” he queried, pointing out that “if we don’t address the issues around land, we will not be able to effectively tackle the issue of affordable housing.”

Mr Muwowo also decried the rising construction cost – which he blamed on old building codes, punitive tax regimes, and the high cost of financing such projects in various countries.

He added that the Russian – Ukraine war had also resulted in the sharp increase in prices of critical construction materials. Russia is considered the fourth-largest steel exporter globally, serving over 150 countries and territories.

“In the built environment, the conflict has exacerbated and exposed the dangers of overreliance on importing building materials. Prices of building materials have increased and continue to do so, a burden that the homeowners will ultimately share,” Mr Muwowo said.

The price of steel in Kenya, for instance, has significantly shot up over the past few months.

The prices of steel bars and nails have risen by between 80 per cent to 90 per cent and 13 per cent to 43 per cent, respectively, in the past few months in the country.

Additionally, the conflict has resulted in a shortage of coal, which is a crucial source of energy in cement production through clinker manufacturing resulting in price hikes.

Speaking at the same event, European Investment Bank Vice President Prof. Teresa Czerwińska said the rising cost of housing in many cities across the world was a major concern for the bank.

“We have managed to make education and healthcare relatively cheap and accessible by putting in place proper policy interventions. Housing is a fundamental human right and we can apply a similar framework in ensuring housing remains affordable and available,” Prof.  Czerwińska said.

The World Urban Forum (WUF) is a global event on sustainable urbanization convened every two years by the United Nations Human Settlement Programme (UN-Habitat).

It was established in 2001 by the United Nations to examine rapid urbanization and its impact on communities, cities, economies, climate change and policies. The first WUF was held in Nairobi, Kenya in 2002 and has been held around the world ever since.

Modupe Gbadeyanka

Modupe Gbadeyanka is a fast-rising journalist with Business Post Nigeria. Her passion for journalism is amazing. She is willing to learn more with a view to becoming one of the best pen-pushers in Nigeria. Her role models are the duo of CNN's Richard Quest and Christiane Amanpour.

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