ST. JOHN’S, Antigua and Barbuda – 28th January, 2021……The Government of Antigua and Barbuda, the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) and Sustainable Housing Solution (SHS) have announced a programme aimed to ease demand for housing across Antigua and Barbuda and small islands in the Caribbean.
Prime Minister the Hon. Gaston Browne in Parliament today announced that UNOPS and its partners will construct 10,000 affordable homes across the Caribbean, with at least 3,000 of them in Antigua and Barbuda.
The project aims to generate more than $30 million of initial private investment, with the gross development value of the homes being at least $500 million.
Part of UNOPS Sustainable Infrastructure Impact Investment (S3I) initiative – a programme that aims to provide investors with opportunities to generate financial returns, while ensuring their contributions are making a positive social, environmental and economic impact on human development. One of its goals is to de-risk and attract private investment to development projects around the world. So far, through this programme, UNOPS has committed close to $60 million towards projects with a total gross development value exceeding $45 billion.
UNOPS is partnering with the government of Antigua and Barbuda and the private sector to launch an innovative affordable housing programme which will create jobs and opportunities for local communities. Over a ten-year period, UNOPS and Sustainable Housing Solutions (SHS) will utilize construction technology that promotes sustainability, resilience, disease control and use of renewable energy to develop 10,000 affordable homes.
“The UNOPS vision to expand its development programme to the islands of the Caribbean, is perfectly aligned with the region’s vision for economic, social, and cultural prosperity, driven by knowledge, excellence, innovation, and productivity. This ais a welcomed project that will increase the nation’s affordable housing stock and complement the large-scale housing initiatives undertaken by the Government thus far. Affordable housing will not only satisfy an extremely high demand for quality, durable homes but will also improve the living standards for many across the region,” PM Browne stated.
As part of a broader programme to construct and distribute low-cost and resilient housing materials across the Caribbean, these homes will deploy energy efficient solar panels, waste to energy technology and mosquito repellent coating. In total, the agreement aims to develop at least 3,000 homes in Antigua and Barbuda and 7,000 homes in neighboring Small Island Developing States.
“This is an important project for Antigua and Barbuda and the Caribbean. Building houses that are sustainable and affordable will allow more people to own their own quality homes and will help stimulate the local economy in the process. This project will bring new jobs, offering workers opportunities to develop their skills and learn new trades,” said Prime Minister Browne.
UNOPS S31 Chief Executive, Mr. Vitaly Vanshelboim said that: “S3I is delighted to make yet another tangible contribution to the country’s strategic development priorities. Following our successful collaboration with HE Prime Minister’s Government in the field of innovation and technology, we will now embark on rolling out an even more ambitious initiative aimed at meeting one of the crucial SDG goals in the domain of affordable housing, and enabling both high-quality resilient construction and provision of sustainable mortgage financing.”
Prime Minister Browne has committed to support this project amongst other leaders of the sub-region. A sea transport service will also be set up to ensure building materials can reach islands where homes are constructed. The project will also include steps to help the government in supporting its employees to get on the housing ladder, through a payroll deduction model.
SHS Chairman, Dr. Allen Zimbler said: “SHS Holdings is honoured to announce an agreement with the Government of Antigua and Barbuda and our valued partners at UNOPS to build at least 3,000 sustainable and affordable housing units in the country and another 7,000 units in the region. Our local factory will make use of local materials wherever possible, employing local labour and developing local skills, creating a significant number of jobs in the utilisation of our proven technologies to construct robust, environmentally-friendly sustainable housing. We believe that it is the right of all people to live in safety and dignity. Home ownership is the cornerstone to the creation of stable and productive communities. It is our privilege to participate in a noble and worthwhile initiative of this kind”.