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Hempcrete is part of an eco-friendly solution to Zimbabwe’s housing shortage

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The Zimbabwean government sees a role for cannabis in construction after securing a $63 million line of credit from an African Green Building Development Fund.

Minister of National Housing and Social Utilities Daniel Garroy said the funding will help the country achieve its goal of increasing 220,000 housing units by 2025, noting that hemp concrete, precast concrete panels, reclaimed steel and iron will be used in the initiative.

Funding comes from Shelter Afrique based in Nairobi, Kenya, an African financial institution that supports the development of the housing and real estate sector in Africa. Zimbabwe is a shareholder in Shelter Afrique, also known as the Habitat and Housing Africa Corporation.

new technologies

“The government has moved from just using brick and mortar strategies to implementing new technologies in housing delivery,” Garowe said. “We have developed some technologies, consulting countries abroad where these technologies have been applied, among them Dubai and South Africa.”

The government has started the process of building a plant for converting green building materials with separate funding from Shelter Africa, according to the minister.

As part of its efforts to mitigate the effects of climate change, Zimbabwe last year increased its commitment to reduce greenhouse gases from 33% to 40%, which means the country will curb emissions to nearly 45 million tons across all sectors of the economy. The government has said that if no action is taken to reduce carbon in the atmosphere, emissions could reach around 75 million tons by 2030.

Finance

Under the Ministry of Housing Tender Program, participating companies bring in their own funding to develop designs they submit for approval. Garowe said the Zimbabwe Procurement Regulatory Authority had approved the bids, and some construction could begin by October.

In the first phase of the project, four developers will be allocated to the district and produce at least 100 housing blocks at a rate of 20 units per month.

“We expect that within 12 months we will have produced 1,200 housing units in each county of 20 units each,” the minister said.

Earlier this year, the Zimbabwean government announced a separate $377 million project to deal with housing shortages by building affordable homes.

Construction costs

The country’s poor find it difficult to build houses because of the high cost of construction in Zimbabwe, which has the region’s highest prices for cement, causing them to live in dwellings made of plastic, mud or mud.

More than 1.5 million Zimbabweans have been on the housing waiting list for homes, many of them for more than a decade. Promises to build homes often come before elections scheduled for next year.

The Shelter Afrique loan facility has been extended to CBZ Bank Limited, Banc ABC, ZB Financial Holdings, FBC Bank Ltd and CABS for home construction.

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