ARMINDO JOSÉ MUNGUAMBE

Mozambique 2020 | REAL ESTATE & CONSTRUCTION | INTERVIEW

FFH's new strategy for revenue generation targets broader segments of society, enabling it to provide housing solutions without weighing on public coffers.

Armindo José Munguambe

Can you give us an overview of the institution and its mission?
FFH is a government entity that was established in 1996 and given financial, managerial, and patrimonial autonomy to provide a solution to the housing crisis in Mozambique. At the time, there was no institution with enough financial strength to develop the government's ambitious housing programs. We are now approaching our 25th anniversary. In this time, we have provided housing to over 25,000 people. In 2010, we reviewed our terms of responsibilities with the goal of broadening the FFH's competencies in the field of urbanization. We started looking at ways to partner with the private sector and target broader segments of society. Indeed, the issue around housing affects different levels of society and requires different solutions. The rationale behind the shift from catering exclusively to lower classes to including other segments is to generate revenue and eventually reach self-sustainability, so that FFH is able to provide a solution to the poor without weighing on the government's pockets. One project that was born out of this was the ongoing Intaka project, which aims to build 5,000 houses. The project had a few setbacks due to the financial crisis since 2015, though we are on track to deliver the promised result.

What is your biggest project in the pipeline?
We recently launched a new ambitious project to build 35,000 houses, 15,000 of them in the southern provinces, 10,000 in the center, and 10,000 in the north of the country. The goal of this is to tap into the housing demand in the country and provide an affordable solution to the public, thus bridging the inequality gap and promote financial inclusion. For this project, we partnered with China-based CITIC. The idea behind this project is to create new centralities in the different regions of Mozambique, with all the basic necessary infrastructure. These new centralities will transform the preexisting urban areas close to the projects, which are increasingly overcrowded and are unable to respond to the housing and infrastructure demands of the public. Our forecast is to kick off work soon and complete construction within three years. One of the highlights of this project is that buyers will be able to extend the due payment period for up to 30 years. Financial inclusion is our main underlying goal. The project is for everyone, for government employees as well as the private sector. The profile we are targeting is young mid-level technicians, nurses, teachers, civil servants, and so on.

What are the goals for 2020?
In 2019, we gave new shape to our strategy, which is now called Habita Moçambique. Summed up, our goal is to focus on our initial mandate, i.e. to build houses across the whole country, but to find new partnerships and financing modes. We are working on this framework and studying all the different segments. In terms of construction work, we are looking to complete the Intaka project, as well as kick off works for the CITIC project. Our goal for 2020 is to build around 500 houses, 300 for the lower-income groups and 200 for middle-income groups. We also want to revitalize a series of projects we have with our partners, for example the 240 apartments, currently closed, at Vila Olímpica, or the USD33-million investment from India's Axis Bank to finance housing projects in Mozambique.

What are the priorities for president Nyusi's second mandate?
The housing issue is an area that taps into various value chains that concern the whole economy. As head of FFH, there are a number of challenges we want to see the president tackling. We want to see solutions that don't just benefit our sector but the economy as a whole. We need to see massive job creation to boost purchasing power and quality of life. We want to see centralized efforts regarding industrialization, so that Mozambique can stop relying on imported construction material. Another challenge is to expand urbanization plans and find alternative solutions.