TANZANIA joined the global community yesterday to mark the World Habitat Day, which presented stakeholders with a good platform to reflect on the state of human settlements.
The objective of commemorating the day is to remind the world that all have the power and the responsibility to shape the future of their cities and towns.
According to the United Nations, there are more than 1.2 billion people globally without somewhere decent to call a home with a huge number remaining homeless in cities.
Inclusive, affordable and adequate housing is fundamental to transforming cities and communities and making them resilient and to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 11 and all the SDGs.
In Tanzania, the demand for housing and housing loans remains extremely high and is constrained by inadequate supply of affordable housing and high interest rates.
According to a pan-African finance institution, Shelter Afrique, the housing need in Tanzania is estimated to be 3 million units with an annual increase of 200,000 units. The housing deficit in urban Tanzania is estimated to be 1.2 million units, of which 36 per cent are in Dar es Salaam City.
The government has been making significant strides to create an enabling environment in order to attract more investment in the housing sector with the ultimate goal to improve human settlements.
The efforts include the legalisation of informal settlements, increasing and speeding up issuance of title deeds as an important strategy in formalising human settlements. For example, the government has started issuing electronic title deeds where the application and payment are made electronically thus reducing unnecessary delays.
The ongoing investment in the housing sector through the Tanzania Housing Corporation (THC), Watumishi Housing Company (WHC) and the Tanzania Mortgage Refinancing Company Limited (TMRC) are complimenting the government efforts in lessening the housing deficit in the country.
Delivery of decent homes should be seen as part of a wider goal to improve public service delivery and the standard of living for vulnerable people and disadvantaged groups particularly those living in rural areas.
Affordable homes are not only a fundamental human right, but they unlock unimaginable human potential to shape their future, climate resilience, renewable energy and socio-economic justice.
It is therefore important that Tanzanians continue to support government efforts in increasing access to affordable houses as a way to reduce poverty and promote economic growth.