Natural resources-obsessed China is not only after Africa’s oil and gas, timber, farmland, and many more, it has also set its sights on Africa’s housing.
The Chinese government has recently launched major projects to rescue Africa’s housing – an ailing sector badly neglected in the past 50 years which now needs an urgent lifeline to survive.
China government-controlled China-Africa Development Fund (CADFund), which has four offices in Africa – Johannesburg, Accra, Addis-Ababa and Lusaka – is currently financing and overseeing a couple of housing projects in countries such as Sierra Leone, Zambia (in partnership with Zambia Development Authority), Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Egypt (Suez) and Nigeria (Lekki Free Trade Zone project, 3000 hectares).
In Mozambique, CADFund, though its Real Property Projects, has invested US$880 million for a first phase project of 10 000 affordable units, which includes a school, shopping centre and a hospital.
These figures were disclosed at the recent housing conference hosted in Mauritius by the African Union for Housing Finance (AUHF).
Africa’s housing is in deep trouble and with its population skyrocketing out of control and more than 60 000 babies being born every year, the dark continent badly needs houses, – real houses to put a roof on its people’s head.
With China’s total investments in Africa now totalling more than US$200 billion and sometimes generating controversy, critics of China’s ‘friendship’ with Africa may be tempted to be convinced that CADFund’s money will make a huge difference in African people’s lives, even if some of the Chinese-built houses are said to be sub-standard.