Appolonia City Groundbreaking Ceremony
Remarks by Ambassador Robert P. Jackson
November 14, 2017 | 10 a.m.
Your Excellency President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo,
Honorable Minister of Works and Housing Samuel Atta Akyea,
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,
Good morning. It is a privilege to join His Excellency the President and the Honorable Minister in this groundbreaking ceremony for Appolonia City’s affordable housing development. In August, the U.S. Embassy hosted a signing ceremony between Rendeavour and Ghana Home Loans to launch this great initiative to provide affordable housing for Ghanaians. It’s good to see some of the same faces here again today.
Governments are ultimately judged by their ability to provide services and create opportunities for their citizens — things like health care, education, a thriving private sector and, our focus today, access to quality, affordable housing. Today, the Government of Ghana sends a clear signal of its commitment to easing the housing crisis. I am pleased that the United States is able to play a role in the solution.
Since 2007, the United States’ Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) has provided $60 million in support to Ghana Home Loans. This funding has helped to make mortgages available to Ghanaian families seeking affordable housing. It’s exciting to see this support extend further through Ghana Home Loans’ partnership with Rendeavour, which matches financing opportunities with affordable housing stock.
This visionary cadre of CEOs — Dominic Adu of Ghana Home Loans, Stephen Jennings of Rendeavour, and Bright Owusu-Amofah of Appolonia — and the Honorable Deputy Minister for Works and Housing, Freda Prempeh,, have come together to make Appolonia City’s affordable housing project a reality.
With Appolonia City carrying out the construction and Ghana Home Loans providing the needed financing, the goal is to see 100 new homes for Ghanaian families completed over the next 18 months.
For many Ghanaians, the dream of owning a home has long seemed unattainable. The gap between the price of a new home and personal income keeps widening. According to the Ghana Real Estate Developers Association, only 5 to 8 percent of Ghanaians can afford a house from their own resources. About 60 percent need some form of financial assistance. The remaining 30-some percent will not own or build a house in their lifetime. Home mortgage products from most financial institutions in Ghana are accessible only to middle-income earners, with monthly incomes of 4,000 cedis or more.
Rendeavour and Appolonia have worked to find an affordable solution to the home financing challenge here in Ghana — a solution that addresses the needs of those consumers who have more limited assets and financial resources. Some experts predict that Ghana’s housing deficit will grow from 1.7 million units to 2.4 million units by 2026. Without a viable mortgage industry, that shortfall will be all but insurmountable. A housing deficit of that magnitude will undermine economic growth.
I applaud President Akufo-Addo and Vice President Bawumia for pledging that the government will do its part — by supporting the development of the home mortgage sector, and by tackling land titling and property registration issues. I am proud that the United States, through OPIC, is able to partner with the Government of Ghana, Ghana Home Loans, and Rendeavour to address the affordable housing challenge.
I want to congratulate Rendeavor for its dedication in making the Appolonia City development a reality. As Ambassador, one of my priorities is to deepen our commercial engagement in ways that benefit both Ghanaians and Americans. This project does just that. It is an investment in Ghana’s future. It positions this area as a social and economic hub, and brings the potential for significant job creation.
We can all look forward to enjoying the fruits of these efforts — the schools, clinics, parks and shops that will populate this development. But even more important are the people and the community they will form.
Mr. President, your support for developing affordable housing will enhance the lives of Ghanaians, giving more of them the pride and security that comes from owning their own home. The United States is proud to partner with you, your government, and these fine companies to make their dreams a reality.
This is another example of our partnership improving the lives of the people of Ghana and of the United States.