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Economy - Development | Society

Social housing financed in Tunisia

afrol News, 22 July - The African Development Bank (ADB) has approved a loan of 80 million euros in the form of a line of credit in favour of the Banque de l'Habitat (Mortgage Bank) of Tunisia to help the Bank finance the development of social and low-cost housing in the country, ADB reported today.

This second line of credit to Banque de l'Habitat "will make it possible to increase the proportion of banking system resources allocated to the financing of social and low-cost type housing," ADB says in a press release today. ADB is provisionally located in Tunis while the security situation in Abidjan (Côte d'Ivoire) remains fragile.

According to the bank, the new credit would "help to build the capacity of the mortgage bank to finance the construction and purchase of housing by low and middle-income households, as well as the parcelling out and development of land for construction of social housing."

The sector goal of the line of credit was said to contribute to the attainment of the investment and growth objectives assigned by the government to the housing sector covering the period 2002-2006, which aims at increasing the share of investment in housing to 4.5 percent of average GDP per year.

At the level of the financial sector, the line of credit also was said to "have a positive impact." By contributing to an increase in the supply of social and low-cost housing, the line of credit would offer incentives to save for low-income households.

- It will improve their chances of access to property ownership and, as a result, stimulate their savings efforts, thus making it possible to strengthen financial intermediation and increase the contribution of banks to the attainment of the growth objectives of the economy, ADB said.

In addition, the line of credit was to be used to build up Banque de l'Habitat's long-term resources, improve its resource mobilisation capacity and build its institutional management capacity.

Specifically, the line of credit was to be used to purchase low-cost housing. "It will enable 3,091 households to finance their first house on the maturity of housing savings plans," ADB states. "It will involve the building of 1,219 social and low-cost houses by public and private property developers as well as the parcelling out, development and servicing of 19.2 ha of land for the construction of social and low-cost housing."

The beneficiaries of the line of credit thus were to be licensed public and private developers with subprojects for the construction of social and low-cost housing, as well as for the parcelling out and equipping of land earmarked for the development of this type of housing; and the holders of Banque de l'Habitat housing savings accounts whose contracts have reached maturity during the project implementation period, who wish to purchase their first homes, and whose incomes do not exceed five times the Minimum Interprofessional Guaranteed Wage (SMIG).

In 2002, Banque de l'Habitat also was awarded an ADB line of credit of 28.5 million euros. In the year since the signing of the loan in March 2002, commitments had attained 80 percent of the resources, and disbursements stand at 17.25 million euros, i.e. a disbursement rate of approximately 70 percent.

The African Development Bank has provided Tunisian banks with 35 lines of credit. All these lines of credit have been exclusively earmarked for the industry and tourism sectors or the agricultural sector.

- They have played a determining role in Tunisia's development through the growth of the industrial and tourism sectors, the expansion of exports, the emergence and consolidation of SMEs, job creation and poverty reduction, according to an ADB assessment of its own credits.

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