Scott addresses Pan-African conference

Vice President Guy Scott - R

Vice President, Guy Scott, says Zambia is seeking to create opportunities for young Zambians to access affordable mortgages in a move designed to reduce the housing deficit in the country.

In his keynote address at the Oxford University- African Society Pan- African Conference 2013 in the United Kingdom, Dr Scott said lack of access to affordable loans for decent homes has led to many young people entering the labour market to live in sub-standard accommodation for which they pay rents perpetually.

This is contained in a statement released to ZANIS in Lusaka today by the Secretary for Press at the Zambian High Commission in the United Kingdom, Amos Chanda.

The Vice President further noted that the high interest rates banks charged on home loans hindered people’s access to affordable housing.

He observed that the interest rates charged on home loans in Britain compared to Zambia are almost eligible and, therefore, people are able to get home loans even before they complete their postgraduate studies.

Dr Scott, however, said government is targeting to bring mortgage interest rates to an average of five per cent in order to make as many young Zambians as possible to afford homes when they graduate from school.

He said at national level, Zambia has restricted some loans it inherited from the previous administration to longer term arrangements and invested them in infrastructural development.

Dr Scott also assured investors that Zambia’s political stability provides the necessary confidence that business looks for when investing in any country.

The Pan- African Conference was organised by Oxford University under the theme “Towards a 21st Century African Renaissance”.

Vice President Scott and his wife, Charlotte Scott, participated as panellists during a session on infrastructure, urbanisation and economic growth.

Others in attendance were his Majesty King Letsie III of Lesotho, senior diplomats, business leaders and academics assembled from a cross section of areas related to the theme of the conference.

Meanwhile, the Vice President has told BBC Focus on Africa’s Joseph Onyango in a special interview earlier that unemployment was one of Zambia’s most immediate challenges the PF government was working hard to address.

Dr Scott said government is working hard to diversify the economy at a fast rate, adding that government is also creating jobs though there is a huge gap that has to be filled as only half a million people were in formal employment at the time the PF came into power.

He said government had put in changes that sought to create more incentives for investors creating employment rather those simply seeking to extract the country’s resources without due regard to sustainable development.

Dr Scott further noted that there are no violations in Zambia warranting international intervention because the country is functional democracy where the rule of law, respect for property rights and a free political space were guaranteed in the constitution.