Malawi leader lay foundation stone for 7,500 houses: Chinese company to build

President Joyce Banda on Tuesday officially launched a multi-billion Kwacha housing project in the Capital, Lilongwe, with an observation that adequate and decent housing is a catalyst for development and one of the requirements for sustainable livelihoods.

“Adequate and decent shelter is one of the basic needs including food, health, education and employment. It is, therefore, a given fact that lack of adequate housing compromises development and eventually leads to the escalation of many social ills that usually arise from homelessness,” said Banda after laying a ‘Foundation Stone’ for the joint Malawi Housing Corporation and Chinese Henan Gouji Housing Project in Area 49.

She said the construction of the houses will create employment opportunities for many Malawians.  The project will also result in a major facelift of the four cities in the country.

“Government is committed to supporting this project.  As a mother, it is my sincere wish that Malawians must have decent, adequate and affordable accommodation.  I would therefore like to get regular updates as the project progresses,” said Banda.

President Banda laying the foundation stone to commence the construction project

President Banda laying the foundation stone to commence the construction project

The event marked the commencement of a project to construct 7,500 houses by a joint venture company called MHC-Henan Guoji Development Company Limited established by the Malawi Housing Corporation (MHC) and Henan Guoji Development Corporation of China.

The President said at least 84,000 people are on housing waiting list where the industry cannot provide and that the cost of building materials are mostly overpriced retarding the growth of the housing industry.

“The industry’s dependence on use of burnt bricks and river sand is contributing to environmental degradation and causing galleys and valleys in the Cities. I am also aware that the housing industry is facing challenges with modernizing our Deeds Office, enforcement of building standards and quality control in the Cities and towns,” she said.

Banda said the Ministry of Lands and Housing must take a consultative approach in addressing the issues of housing where the Ministry, the City Assembly and other stakeholders including communities to take part in addressing these issues.

According to the President, Government shall also make sure that villages are transformed and that people have access to clean water and other amenities.

“That is why I have established the Mudzi Transformation Trust to make sure that our development is inclusive with shared prosperity.  It is my agenda that even in the rural communities, the people have decent accommodation,” she reiterated.

The President noted that the joint venture agreement between the MHC and Henan is an illustration of the cordial relationship which exists between the Malawi Government and the Government of the People’s Republic of China. She said the decision, which she championed when she was Foreign Minister, to establish diplomatic ties with PRC, was a good one and that it was now bearing tangible fruits.

Chinese Deputy Ambassador to Malawi, Zhang Yuebang, hailed the Joyce Banda administration for the successful economic reforms, whose fruits he said were attracting various foreign direct investments. He also hailed the cordial bilateral relations that exist between Malawi and China, noting the President’s recent visit to Beijing cemented these relations.

Lands and Housing Minister, Henry Dama Phoya emphasized the project follows President Banda’s “passionate desire” to ensure decent housing for Malawians, especially the low-income earners.

On a different note, the Minister thanked the President “on behalf of the retained cabinet and deputy ministers; the newly appointed ministers; and on my own behalf” for being given the chance to serve in cabinet.

“I wish to assure Your Excellency that our Big Thank You will be the unquestionable loyalty and dedication to duty under Your Excellency’s wise and foresighted leadership,” said Phoya.

President Banda reshuffled her cabinet on Monday, retaining most of the former ministers and replacing a few others.

The First Couple enjoying each moment of the event

The First Couple enjoying each moment of the event

Chinese Deputy Ambassador to Malawi, Zhang Yuebang, talks to President Banda at the event

Chinese Deputy Ambassador to Malawi, Zhang Yuebang, talks to President Banda at the event

President Banda joins women in dance in celebration of the newly launched housing project

President Banda joins women in dance in celebration of the newly launched housing project

The President poses with top officials of MHC and Housing Ministry

The President poses with top officials of MHC and Housing Ministry

Part of the crowd that witnessed the event in Area 49

Part of the crowd that witnessed the event in Area 49

Chindime and Samalani dished out their jokes at the event

Chindime and Samalani dished out their jokes at the event

President Banda congratulates MHC CEO Wezi Mkandawire

President Banda congratulates MHC CEO Wezi Mkandawire

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