Zimbabwe has cleared its US$2.2 million arrears with the Pan-African financial institution, Shelter Afrique, and pledged to work together with other member countries in developing sustainable housing solutions in line with the new urban agenda action plan.

The country, which has to date received US$44 million in investments from the Pan-African housing finance institution, cleared part of its obligations during the ongoing 36th annual general meeting (AGM) of the organisation.

In a speech read on his behalf by the Minister of State for Matabeleland North Province, Cde Cain Mathema during the official opening ceremony of Shelter Afrique’s AGM, Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko challenged the 44 members of the institution to develop sustainable housing solutions and deal with the emerging housing challenges brought about by urbanisation.

“As one of Shelter Afrique’s shareholders, the government of Zimbabwe, is committed to honour its obligations in order to further unlock additional funds for housing development. Zimbabwe has prioritised the delivery of housing and is on course to provide 125 000 housing units by 2018 under the national blueprint, ZIMASSET,” he said.

Incoming Shelter Afrique AGM Chairperson, who is Zimbabwe’s Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing, Cde Saviour Kasukuwere said given the funding gap in housing delivery, there is need for member countries to consider public private partnerships (PPPs) in responding the wave of rapid urbanisation.

On 21st October 2016, African governments signed up for the new urban agenda in Quito, Ecuador, a non-binding agenda for making cities safe, sustainable and resilient.

The new urban agenda sets global standards for sustainable urban development during a period in which the world is experiencing the most rapid urbanisation in history.