Urban Housing - Where Things Went Wrong
By Lukong Pius Nyuylime
The fast growing urban population in Cameroon is in dire need of housing as demand largely supersedes supply.
Cameroon's urban statistics are surely an indication of the need to address one of the thorny issues affecting the country; housing. With an annual population growth rate of 2.6 per cent, and an annual urbanisation growth rate of 6.5 per cent, Cameroon is today rated at about 54 per cent urbanised. This state of affairs has incidentally given birth to a looming challenge; in fact, one that is fast becoming an emergency.
There is serious need to provide housing to this growing and urbanising population, almost half of which live in informal dwellings and settlements. In Cameroon, an estimated 53 per cent of households own their own homes, 30 per cent tenants and 11 per cent are accommodated free of charge. It takes a fortune to build a house in Cameroon let alone in the urban areas. The situation is worsened by the escalating cost of building material. The consequences are telling. Many houses shooting up in the major cities of the country are of very low qualities even though a few lucrative ones can be identified in some high class areas.