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“Innovative” social housing plans to raise quality of life

Article - July 27, 2011
The construction sector, one of the main drivers of the country’s economic expansion, is getting a further boost with the government’s drive to create more social housing
President Juan Manuel Santos has announced various different plans to spur economic growth and improve the standard of living of his countrymen. None are more important than the housing program, which will provide the poorest Colombians with what they need most, homes and work.

“This is an ambitious project not only socially, but also economically, as the figures show that construction is the most dynamic sector in employment generation,” says Beatriz Uribe, Minister of Housing, Environment and Territorial Development.

The government housing initiative goals are to build quality social housing, develop the water supply, sanitation, drainage and energy infrastructure that accompanies new home construction, make government land management more efficient and build up the management capacity of the construction sector.

Construction is currently one of the main drivers of economic expansion in Colombia, and the forecast by the Colombian Chamber of Commerce for Construction, or Camacol, is for growth of 4% in the sector this year. The government’s investment in the housing sector is an important factor.
“Social interest housing is gaining great importance in the market,” says Martha Pinto de Hart, former president of Camacol. “The impetus that the government is giving to the ‘locomotive’ of housing shows a positive outlook for these projects.”

The government is encouraging private-sector involvement in the construction program, which will build four to six macro projects in cities around the country. The initiative recently gained the important support of the World Bank, which approved a $40 million loan to help finance it.

The World Bank’s regional director, Gloria Grandolini, praised the “innovative” plan and pledged to continue to support housing programs to improve living conditions for those in need.