Deputy Finance Minister for Budget Tanneh Brunson says the National Housing Authority (NHA) has initiated several housing projects since the 1960s. Brunson says these programs targeted mostly public servants, employed and or retired.“Since the inception of this administration, the NHA has been remobilized and undertaken additional housing projects to meet some of our critical housing needs.”
She made the disclosure at the launch of the NHA-SUU Upgrading Unit and Innovative Design Competition in Monrovia recently. For the past decade, she notes that Africa has experienced strong economic growth, averaging 5.4 percent, above the global average of 3 percent per year, instilling optimism about the continent’s economic prospects.
However, she says the growth has not been inclusive and has made little impact on poverty. Minister Brunson: “The growth was largely driven by prices of extractive resources, especially aluminum, copper, gold and crude oil.” “In addition, political stability, good economic management policies, and an improved institutional environment have catalyzed the growth process in some countries. In spite of all these economic growth trends, poverty still has a major impact on us.”
She says the state of sanitation is now more imperative, considering the WHO/UNICEF joint monitoring program report for 2017 on the sustainable development goals (SDGs). Cities Alliance, a global partner of UN-Habitat says almost a quarter of Liberians live in the slums of greater Monrovia, and face the challenge of living in poor housing with inadequate water supply and very little sanitation.
With such challenges, Cities Alliance is expected to support local authorities in greater Monrovia to make the city and metropolitan region work for the urban poor, through an enabling national environment citizenship. The country program focusing on Greater Monrovia will run from 2016-2021.
The five-year program will involve in depth consultation, community infrastructure projects, partnership and technical assistance, investments with organized civil society groups, urban local authorities, national Government bodies, international development partners and research training.
The program is initiated at the request of the Monrovia City Corporation and the Liberian Ministry of Internal Affairs, the programmed aims to provide direct service investments, especially for the urban poor and youth living in Monrovia’s informal settlements which supports Liberia’s goal of achieving middle income status by 2030.
Es-Samir Bropleh, Sr., coordinator of the National Housing Authority-Slum Upgrading Unit (NHA-SUU) says Liberia needs 512,000 new dwellings by 2030 to address the country’s housing needs, especially in greater Monrovia. Speaking at the official launch of the NHA-SUU Upgrading Unit and Innovative Design Competition at the NHA office in Monrovia, he explains that 1,974 housing units have been constructed since the establishment of the NHA in 1960.
However, he notes that 70 percent of Monrovia’s population lives in slums under devastating housing conditions, including poorly constructed housing, lack of basic social services, infrastructure, lack of finance and severe overcrowding. Mr. Bropleh continues that the dwelling needs of the country, the NHA-SUU is working with stakeholders to ensure that slum communities in Monrovia are assisted with their needs.
He further stresses the NHA-SUU seeks to create a sustainable enabling environment to enhance both housing and livelihood conditions of slum communities. Prince Wreh, Managing Director of the National Housing Authority (NHA), says his institution is poised to increase support to slum communities to alleviate some of the dwelling situations in Liberia.
Director Wreh discloses that the NHA and partners will shortly start the program, because of the growing need of the society, saying “We are committed to ensuring that our people’s needs are addressed.” Meanwhile, the Booker Washington Institute (BWI) in Kakata, Margibi County was declared first place winner with a grand prize of 100,000LRD followed by the Monrovia Vocational Training Institute (MVTC) in Gardnersville walking away with L$50,000 as second place winner of the NHA-SUU Upgrading Unit and Innovative Design Competition.
-Editing by Jonathan Browne