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The social housing market grows

Article - February 13, 2014
The Ministry of Construction, Housing, Sanitation and Urban Development has its hands full with projects, including one that aims to build 60,000 social housing units
Since the election of President Ouattara in 2011, Côte d’Ivoire has enjoyed rapid GDP growth which has allowed basic state services to be revived and the infrastructure of the country to be rebuilt.
One key ministry that has transformed the way the country operates is that of Construction, Housing, Sanitation and Urban Development (MCLAU). As minister, Mamadou Sanogo has been at the forefront of the country’s revival and is now overseeing a huge construction project that will result in 60,000 new social housing units built before the end of Mr Ouattara’s presidency. 
For a country that requires an estimated 400,000 units to deal with current demand, it is the type of project that proves Côte d’Ivoire’s ambitions and the sort that will be vital to ensure its future prospects.
“It is a comprehensive programme that we have started to unfurl,” explains Mr Sanogo. “When we launched the project we put out a call for interest and we had nearly 57,000 applications from Ivoirians.” 
Alongside housing, Mr Sanogo is also overseeing widespread reconstruction of the nation’s public and administrative buildings, and improvements made to the country’s sanitation systems. The works have helped rural communities and investments have also been made to improve water transportation across the country’s major cities, including in its capital Abidjan. 
However, the head of MCLAU admits there is still much to do, including building an effective underground sewerage and water network.
“There’s huge potential for investment in residential real estate in Côte d’Ivoire”

Mamadou Sanogo, Minister of
Construction, Housing, Sanitation
and Urban Development
“Throughout the city of Abidjan, there is only one connector that crosses the city, and there is also a need to install treatment plants for our untreated water,” he explains.
Mr Sanogo is also keen to encourage development by cutting back on red tape and streamlining the various departments under his control that look after planning and construction. 
He is reforming the way land is owned and buildings constructed by attempting to simplify processes and provide access to documents via the web. The plan is to cut the time it takes to formally buy land and erect buildings, and provide more accessibility to the various departments for those living outside of the country’s capital city.
“Centralisation is an obstacle to our attempts to modernise and be competitive,” he says. “So we’re aiming to simplify these procedures and decentralise everything as it should be and that means we need to open offices in each capital of our various regions.”
With such rapid reforms currently in place, it is no surprise that Mr Sanogo is encouraging foreign investment to the country’s construction industries. 
Although French is the country’s main language, most students learn English at school says Mr Sanogo, who adds that the country is also quickly developing its telecom and banking systems.
“This is also a country where the laws on business matters are more open, and where there are fewer constraints,” he adds. “There is a huge potential for investment in residential real estate in Côte d’Ivoire so I’m telling all British businessmen who want to invest in my country, we are open.”