Barriers to access low-income housing finance : case of self-help housing agency in Gabarone, Botswana

Bolebano, Keneilwe Agnes (2014-12)

Thesis (MDF)--Stellenbosch University, 2014.


ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Housing, specifically for low-income households in Botswana, has been observed to be one of the housing challenges encountered in the housing sector in Botswana. A number of this population group in the Gaborone area still live in very poor housing conditions, while some are renting in townships where few housing units are of proper quality. The availability of government schemes such as SHHA, which provides housing finance to low and middle-income groups, does not make the significant impact required to alleviate this. As few make use of the scheme, questions have been raised as to whether there are any constraints that hinder low and middle-income households in the use of the scheme, as well as the extent of the impact made by the scheme in delivering affordable housing in Gaborone. The objective of this paper is therefore to examine the SHHA housing finance scheme and further, to assess its effectiveness in housing delivery to low-income urban households. In order to ensure that the findings are reliable, the study examined the plot applications patterns in the SHHA area in Gaborone, the number of funds applications, and the amount disbursed, as well as the status of the SHHA housing projects. All the information is relevant to the past 5 years for SHHA applications, and 10 years for plot application. Commercial financial institutions financially exclude the low-income households, hence their need to access their own housing finance specific to their financial ability. In examining the SHHA scheme, the findings indicate that the main challenge lies in the land allocation, without which one does not have access to SHHA housing finance. There is a huge backlog for land allocation and the lack of plot ownership (due to a shortage of serviced land) means that low-income individuals are not able to effectively use the scheme, and this in turn hinders urban expansion in Gaborone and surrounding areas. Furthermore, there is less availability of housing finance programmes specific to the low-income population in Botswana. The government alone cannot afford to supply funding without a partnership with other private housing developers. The limited number of SHHA loans is making a small change, but is not effective enough to end poor shelters in Gaborone city. To conclude the study, it is recommended that improvement in land and housing policies is the only way to improve conditions. The policies should focus on the target group, and be specific about the partnership between the government and private developers and companies in order to attract them into housing development which will result in a slum-free Gaborone. The legal framework, and the land and housing policies, as well as the Housing Act should directly address private sector participation in housing development for both land use planning and housing.

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