Vice President Guy Scott has bemoaned the high interest rates on mortgages in Zambia.
Dr. Scott said the prohibitive interest rates have led to very little investment in housing units.
The Vice President, who was speaking when he opened the African ministerial conference on housing and urban development (AMCHUD) southern African sub regional conference in Lusaka today, said government was looking at ways of finding a solution to the challenge of high interest rates.
Dr. Scott disclosed the slow pace of investment in housing has resulted in the country having a housing deficit of 1.3 million housing units.
He said rentals in the country are extremely high because the supply does not correspond with the demand for housing units.
And speaking earlier, Local Government and Housing Minister Emerine Kabanshi said government was in the process of formulating a national urban policy and reviewing the 1996 national housing policy.
Ms. Kabanshi said the AMCHUD conference will afford Zambia an opportunity to learn best practices from other countries and adopt them in developing the national housing and national urban policies.
She said sustainable and adequate human settlements remain a serious challenge to Zambia due to the high rate of urbanisation and lack of innovative legislative frameworks and financing models.
The minister said she was happy that AMCHUD was working with the United Nations (UN) through UN-Habitat to promote and achieve sustainable and adequate shelter for all.
At the same occasion, Lusaka Deputy Mayor Mulenga Sata said most local authorities in Africa have not performed well in providing decent housing because of financial constraints which restrict councils from investing in human settlements.
Mr. Sata said financing for human settlement has been a huge challenge for local authorities due to failed policies, bad governance and unresponsive financial institutions among other reasons.
He said in order to get over financial challenges, government was exploring ways of acquiring a US$500 million municipal bond for the Lusaka City Council.
He said the proposed municipal bond was intended for the construction of 3,500 housing units in Lusaka.
The AMCHUD conference is being held under the theme ‘Case Studies in Financing Human Settlements in Africa: Appropriate Legislative Frameworks and Innovations in Implementation’.