Lafarge Zambia and the Zambia Green Jobs Programme Successfully Launch Sustainable and Affordable Housing Project
On March 27 the first demonstration house of the affordable and sustainable housing project between the Zambia Green Jobs Programme (ZGJP) and Lafarge Zambia was showcased to the media, marking the official launch of the partnership in the presence of representatives from the French Embassy, Finnish Embassy, Government of Zambia, Lafarge and the UN system. The partnership will result in 600 affordable housing units for middle income families in Lusaka and Ndola linking construction MSMEs along the local value-chain and facilitating their access to business development services. In addition, the affordable housing project will create over 3,000 more and better green jobs.
Faced with a housing backlog running into the hundreds of thousands, affordable housing has become a top priority for the Zambian government. The ZGJP-Lafarge Zambia project on sustainable and affordable housing is a response to this challenge, aiming at developing market based-solutions which combine affordability, quality and environmental sustainability. For Lafarge, the sustainable and affordable housing project represents a fundamental shift in doing business, where environmental sustainability and local value-chains are central. This was underlined by Mr. Rigaux, CEO Lafarge Zambia, stating the objective of Lafarge Zambia being "to provide the market in Zambia and surrounding region with affordable housing whilst making it environmentally friendly and doing it in a sustainable way. Our aim is to undertake a pilot project to build 600 green houses, 300 units in Lusaka and another 300 in Ndola."
The UN system in Zambia, through the Zambia Green Jobs Programme, is providing technical assistance to Lafarge Zambia to support the proof of concept for sustainable construction in Zambia, emphasising local value-chains and green building materials and technologies. Amongst others, the ZGJP is conducting sustainability assessments of the demonstration units built as well as transforming the demonstration houses into learning hubs for green skills development, Occupational Safety and Health and green building technologies for the benefit of local contractors.
As underlined in the remarks delivered by ILO representative Mr. Tapera Muzira, Zambia's persistent economic growth, also in the building construction industry, has to lead to job creation and wealth distribution. The Affordable and Sustainable Housing Project alone will create over 3000 green and decent jobs in the Lusaka and Ndola regions.
For the Government of Finland, which provides the financial support to the Zambia Green Jobs Programme, this partnership and innovative approach to private sector development is of great interest. Mr. Mauri Starckmann, representing the Finnish Embassy, emphasised that "When carefully designed, this type of partnership could be transformative in changing the way private companies conduct their business, moving away from 'business as usual' to more 'inclusive and sustainable business' that stretches beyond regular corporate social responsibility" .
Guest of Honour, the Deputy Minister of Local Government and Housing, commended Lafarge Zambia and Zambia Green Jobs Programme for initiating a project utilising alternative construction technology which is environmentally friendly compared to the conventional method. "It is the government policy to promote private sector investment and partnership, particularly in the housing development sector. Therefore I would like to congratulate Lafarge Zambia and the Zambia Green Jobs Programme on their partnering and instigating this affordable and environmentally friendly construction solution, which will help the nation achieve its Vision 2030." He said.
The demonstration house has been built using Expanded Polystyrene System (EPS). This technology allows for an improved thermal insulation which is used to reduce energy consumption related to heating and cooling in the building. The benefit of this technology is apart from its durability, a reduced construction cost of about 7% compared to conventional building technology.
The house is open to the public for viewing for a period of 3 months. A second demo house to be constructed is under design based on the ILO-led ZGJP sustainability assessment of the first for continuous improvement in green construction.