Bigen supports Mauritian Government in major social housing drive
Established 50 years ago, the Bigen Group has earned a solid reputation as an innovative, solutions-focused infrastructure development Group invested in the future of Africa. With its Head Quarters in South Africa and Mauritius, the Bigen Group has grown its footprint to ten regional offices located across Africa including South Africa, Ghana, Namibia and Botswana, and has been powering social and economic growth by developing sustainable infrastructure in support of African governments achieving its 2030 sustainable development goals.
Bigen has a solid track record of delivering numerous world class projects across every major sector in Africa and is recognised as a market leader in, amongst other areas, the real estate space. The group has been involved with some of the largest integrated urban housing developments undertaken on the African continent to date, the latest being the New Social Living Development (NSLD) project in Mauritius. Although not regarded as a poor country by any means, the low income, middle income and working population in Mauritius face huge challenges in accessing affordable housing units to either buy or rent as not enough houses are being built to meet the existing demand. In spite of the efforts by the Mauritian Government to accelerate housing provision, only 2 357 social housing units were built during a five year period from 2015 – 2020. Considering the fact that the Mauritian National Housing Development Corporation Ltd. (NHDC) and the National Empowerment Fund (NEF) have 18 000 applicants on their waiting list for social housing – with the numbers growing rapidly – it is clear that the demand for housing far outweighs the pace at which houses are made available in Mauritius.
Realising this, the Mauritius Government, in its June 2020 budget speech, pledged to deliver 12,000 social housing units to help resolve the housing problem for poor and middle-class families. They indicated that MUR12 billion (R4.2 billion) will be made available to focus on the development of 12 000 social housing units over the next three years. “It is time for the implementation of bold measures, in order to guarantee equal access to decent housing for all and to tackle inequalities,” said the Minister of Housing and Land Use Planning, Mr Louis Steven Obeegadoo, during the 2020 budget debates. According to him, there is a dysfunctional housing market situation in Mauritius with a lack of affordable state-built apartments and houses for purchase or rent. He reiterated the determination and political will of the government to ensure that the vulnerable ones are given the necessary assistance to benefit from decent housing and highlighted that the 2020-2021 budget reflects an unprecedented financial commitment from the government to act quickly and efficiently to build a large number of social housing within a short deadline.
To give impetus to this initiative, the New Social Living Development Ltd (NSLD) was incorporated as a private company to deliver the objectives on behalf of the government of Mauritius under the auspicious of the Ministry of Housing and Land. The scope of the project, in terms of the published Request for Proposal (RFP), called for a team of professional service providers to assist with the planning, implementation and management of various housing projects across the country, divided into 8 zones. Ideally placed to deliver on the specifications as set out by the RFP, Bigen and its local Mauritian partners – Visio Architects and Benchmark Consulting Engineers – immediately responded to the bid as part of its BVBS Housing Joint Venture.
“We are pleased to have been successful in our bid for zone 3 in the North-Eastern part of the island,” said Steyn van Blerk, Managing Director of Bigen’s Real Estate Directorate. “This project provides us with another opportunity to share our years of expertise in the affordable housing market and to help Mauritius create social and economic stability rooted in the transformation of communities to secure, serviced, functional living environments that enhances quality of life.”
“We are pro-active in our approach and work closely with our partners and clients to fathom, own and solve real estate challenges to the benefit of all stakeholders. All our projects are managed by professionals (project managers, engineers and technologists) with a passion to provide innovative solutions to infrastructure challenges. We incorporate strategic partners in order to deliver not only technical services, but also financial, social, institutional and environmental services as part of our one-stop service offering and to create real value across all stages of the project” van Blerk added.
“Zone 3 comprise 5 land parcels as follows:
|Site Name||Size (ha)||No of units|
Bigen’s involvement in this project will include team lead, project management, civil engineering, cad support and quantity surveying services.