Public and private sector cooperation for improved housing delivery systems in rural areas - a case study of Ahanta West District

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The problem of inadequate shelter has been and still; continues to be a major source of concern to Governments and households all over the world. Attempts by the public sector (Government) to resolve this problem in Ghana have unfortunately achieved very insignificant degrees of success. The result is that the problem persists in both the urban and rural environments, Individual households have thus been compelled to initiate and implement measures to meet their housing needs. The housing problems of the rural areas of Ghana are however of great concern since past and present attempts at resolving them seem to have yielded minimal impacts. in its bid to provide for its housing needs4 prospective rural dwellers are plagued with problems ranging from lack of a viable and amenable rural housing finance scheme, unavailability and high prices of building materials, to a lack of an effective institutional support machinery. The prevalence of these problems in spite of Government interventions points to the fact that the attempts by the Government were probably not properly implemented, had narrow scopes, or resulted from an improper perception of the rural housing problem. The objective of this study therefore was to study the rural housing delivery process with a view to gaining a clearer and proper understanding of the process and inherent problems encountered by the private developer in meeting his rural housing need, By means of a field survey, interviews with personnel in the District and Government agencies, and a review of relevant literature, the study revealed some important findings with regard to the rural housing sector. Some of these findings included the fact that access to rural housing finance was virtually non-existent, prices of building materials were beyond the reach of the poor, basic infrastructural services such as water and toilets were absent, and the ignorance of the rural dwellers on the need to obtain vital documents like building permits and titles to land before the commencement of construction. It was however realised that these problems could be resolved in order to step up the rate of rural housing delivery. This however necessitated the combined and coordinated efforts of both the public and private sectors. Appropriate roles were therefore assigned the two sectors in this regard. The public sector was assigned roles such as providing an amenable and viable housing finance scheme, promoting the development and use of locally, available building materials, training and upgrading local artisanal skills, and creating awareness on the need for a proper documentation of properties by prospective developers. The private sector on the other hand had to form and operate housing societies, provide volunteers to be trained in construction skills, pay back credits provided, offer communal labour and also obtain appropriate documents before building. The success of these proposed roles however depended on the operationalisation of certain policy requirements. These critical factors were identified as - the establishment of a body within the District Assembly to oversee all issues related to housing delivery, - public education campaign and a high level of public participation and - a high level of political commitment. The implementation of these proposals are expected to contribute greatly towards a speeding up of the rate of rural housing delivery.
A thesis submitted to the department of planning, faculty of environmental and development studies university of science and technology, kumasi, in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of a Master of Science in Development Planning and Management,1993.