SPECIAL REPORT: How NHC plans to transform Tanzania’s cities
- As rate of rural-urban migration keeps on rising, cities like Dar es Salaam and Arusha get increasingly choked. Projects by some experts show that by 2050, there will be more people living in urban centres than in rural areas. This means plans need to be put in place to ensure the cities are efficient. Current projects being designed and implemented by the National Housing Corporation offer a long-term solution to the challenge. The entity has now taken a step further – planning and constructing satellite cities.
Dar es Salaam. Prospects for a middle income earner in Tanzania to own a house slightly over a decade ago were very slim. But today the story is different. Many in that category, especially those in urban centres, can now afford to own a house, thanks to initiatives engineered by a number of institutions, particularly the National Housing Corporation (NHC).
Among key factors in this development is the NHC new drive towards providing Tanzanians with an opportunity to own a house. Banks have also joined the fray and they now team up with NHC and other institutions to provide mortgage arrangements for potential home and/or apartment owners.
Moreover, NHC has taken a step further in this initiative. It now enters into joint ventures with investors in establishing well-planned satellite cities. This could, in the long term, offer a solution to the often overcrowded and overburdened city and town centres. A number of projects are already in the cards and once they are completed they will definitely change the look of cities like Dar es Salaam and Arusha.
“We are determined and have managed to show Tanzanians that owning a house is no longer a big deal like in the past. But now we want to move from that and show how a city can be planned to improve its efficiency,” says NHC director general Nehemia Mchechu when addressing a stakeholders’ conference in Dar es Salaam recently.
Mr Mchechu dismisses critics who argue that satellite city projects is a non starter noting that even when NHC started to advocate house building projects, some people viewed the proposal as impossible.
“We have favourable conditions in the country to enable such projects to be implemented successfully. Generally, macroeconomic fundamentals have remained stable over time to enable such projects to be carried out successfully,” he says.
But NHC has not revolutionalised and simplified processes to enable Tanzanians own a house. It is now spearheading a number of projects which aim at transforming a number of Tanzania’s towns and cities.
Mr Mchechu says development of satellite cities would ensure that current problems, which many people experience in congested urban centres, are minimised if not eliminated altogether.
He told a stakeholders’ session in Dubai recently that there is a conducive atmosphere for developers and service providers to participate in such projects. At the macro level, it is evident that inflation has been brought under control, it is now trending on the single digit and the government has announced its plans to keep it under 6 per cent.
The country’s economy is also doing fine – growing at the rate of between 6 and 7 per cent annually. But what is most important is the readiness by the country leadership to embrace investment as one of its major initiatives to drive the economy. In short, NHC satellite city projects have taken advantage of improving economic, social and political situations, to ease and improve lives of Tanzanians.
Addressing a Dar es Salaam session, Mr Mchechu noted that parts of Africa are becoming costly in terms of renting a house or an apartment. He noted for instance that rents in certain cities can match or exceed Manhattan’s.
He said NHC is ready to be part of a team which will turn around this situation by spearheading construction of houses which many people can afford.
“The biggest challenge of all is the infrastructure deficit, investment that needs to go into infrastructure, estimated at somewhere around $100 billion a year, for the next 20 to 30 years,” he said.
Released plans show that NHC plans to develop at least four satellite cities; two in Dar es Salaam and two in Arusha. The sites are Salama Creek (Dar es Salaam) Kawe (Dar es Salaam), Safari City and Usa River in Arusha and already investors from Dubai have shown interest.
About 96 housing companies from Dubai participated together with others from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sweden, South Korea and India during the United Aran Emirates (UAE) investors’ forum organised by NHC and graced by the Vice President, Dr Mohammed Gharib Bilal.
This project is important because it provides solutions to many problems currently associated with the Dar es Salaam Central Business District (CBD). The project aims at providing peace of mind by creating a centre at which one would be able to easily and simply access all the services and goods he needs.
The satellite city has most of the credentials which serve as real estate drivers. It is located near the port and the commercial hub of Dar es Salaam. Plans to have all important infrastructure makes it more ideal. Salama Creek will also address the shortfall in planned housing settlements because it will be well-planned and take into consideration all amenities that people need in their proximity.
The project seeks to address all the challenges associated with urban planning while at the same time seeking to exploit opportunities which the project area offers. In addition to individual apartments, offices and other amenities, the area would also accommodate high rise buildings which would ensure that as many people are accommodated in a small area and do away with the problem which sprawling cities bring.
Of course all the properties have been well planned coming up with complex organic structures which offers modern integrated infrastructure needed for complete lifestyle offering. Its proximity to the CBD would ensure that people get what they can’t find at the suite easily. The new Kigamboni bridge will ensure connecting point for those who want to access CBD easily.
The project takes into consideration the inclusive urban planning process as it projects urban land use needs, among other things. Under this, it provides for selective protection of open spaces, securing rights of way for arterial grids as well as projecting demand for public transit.
In case of services such as water, the nearby Kimbijii well drilling project is considered as the main water supply source for the future. Dawasco is currently carrying out this project and upon its completion it would ensure Salama Creek of constant water supply.
But, as a backup and in order to make sure that needs are met, there are bore hole trial sites identified on site according to the hydrological survey outcome.
There will be adequate water storage and reticulation designs with fire hydrant and civil defence systems taken aboard.
There is an existing power way-leave and transmission lines on site which assures of power supply. There is the nearby Kurasini stepped-down power (33 KV) station with possibilities of underground reticulation.
But, there is also provision for a modern infrastructure component for the liquefied natural gas (LNG) network. This gas will be distributed through piped and metered systems for domestic use.
There will be on-site waste water treatment which will apply advanced treatment approaches (aerobic). The treated water will be recycled for rough use, using sustainability principles.
Investment partnership strategy
According to NHC, they have already prepared ‘ready to go investment packages’ – to stimulate developers and investors for sites with pre-approved development guidelines and infrastructure.
“Built on NHC’s proven track record as dominant real estate player in Tanzania, we believe that investors and developers will not be wasting their money in this project,” stresses Mr Mchechu.
What is being done in Kigamboni where Salama Creek project is located will also be replicated in Kawe where an ultra-modern satellite city project is also on the cards. You will note that these projects are situated in opposite ends of Dar es Salaam. This will ensure that the relief from the problems and challenges associated with CBD is provided on both ends.
Similarly, Safari City as well as Usa River projects, strategically located between Arusha City and growing Moshi town, will seek to provide alternative services for these two bustling urban centres.
According to the plans, these two projects would also assure tourists of a quick and easy gateway to tourism attractions. Besides, the projects are designed in such a way that dwellers would also be able to see the Africa’s tallest mountain, Kilimanjaro, as well as Mount Meru, right from the windows of their rooms.
With full outdoor and indoor sporting grounds as well as other recreational facilities, these two projects will provide complete services which any city in the world can offer.