UN-HABITAT’s Executive Director, Mrs. Anna Tibaijuka, on Thursday launched a new book she has written at a ceremony in the Swedish capital. Entitled “Building Prosperity” it argues why it is good to invest in housing for the poor.
She told Swedish and international dignitaries and housing experts gathered at a signing ceremony that there was now clear, empirical evidence showing the multifaceted ways in which housing impacts on the process of economic growth.
“The new work demonstrates the multi-dimensional aspects of housing investment highlighting the social, economic and institutional and policy factors that make the issue urgent and central in our time,” she said.
This book is conceived as a catalyst to raise awareness about the central role of housing in economic development. It argues that housing investment contributes directly and indirectly, through backward and forward linkages in the economy, to national economic growth and, to a large extent, to national capital stock.
It also seeks to promote housing as a major sector of focus within the field of economics. While economic training pays considerable attention to the role of agriculture and industry in economic development, housing and urban infrastructure are usually forgotten.
Consequently economic planners do not include this important sector in strategic policy framework papers and development plans. In turn, the sector does not get a fair share in the allocation of public budget for development, on the grounds that it is a consumption and not a productive sector. Yet investment in housing, as well as an efficient handling of housing supply, development and access, generates a high multiplier effect to the wider macroeconomic and social system. Ultimately, we argue that attempts at building long-term prosperity must include housing as a major contributor to national wealth creation efforts.
Furthermore, Mrs. Tibaijuka writes that it will be impossible to achieve the Millennium Development Goals without paying adequate attention to the provision of housing and related infrastructure. Read the reviews.