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Enhancing the Right to Housing in Uganda

According to Vision 2040, the government commits that by 2030, it shall: “Ensure access for all to adequate, safe and affordable housing and basic services, and upgrade slums.”

This is in line with Goal 11.1 of the sustainable Development Goals (Agenda 2030) which provides that – “ By 2030, ensure access for all to adequate, safe and affordable housing and basic services and upgrade slums

Uganda has a total shortage of 1.6 million housing units due to overcrowding, sub-standard structures; rapid population growth; high cost of building materials; high interest rates and stringent terms that do not support long-term mortgage financing. To this end, the National Development Plan II gives the Government commitment to:

“mobilize partners to avail cheap sources of finance and where possible provide guarantees to financial institutions to be able to access cheaper offshore short-term borrowing finance for housing and related infrastructure development,”

The current banking structure in Uganda does not support long-term financing that is required for people who want to borrow to own a house. LANDnet believes that the focus should be in providing affordable housing and not low cost housing given the low income levels in Uganda.

Urban development in recent years has also been marred by forced evictions and displacements resulting from development projects. These evictions have led to civil strife and homelessness increasing the growth of slums, homelessness and crime in the urban areas. The right to shelter is a fundamental human right. There is a need for pragmatic thinking about housing and how to solve the crises that result from evictions resulting from development projects. These evictions cause varying impacts on different segments of society, with women and children suffering the brunt of this. Furthermore, people living with HIV/AIDS are highly impacted as the social structures that provide support to them are eroded as a result of the evictions.

Key Intervention areas

Strategic Objective 5: To facilitate dialogue and innovation in connecting capital and the built environment

Key activities

  1. Undertake research and facilitate linkages that would foster attractiveness of affordable real estate in Uganda to global allocators of capital by understanding and explaining the dynamics affecting real estate value in Uganda.
  2. Through the National URBANforum, promote the right to affordable housing.

Strategic Objective 6: Provide legal aid to urban dwellers faced with evictions and displacements

Key activities

  1. Legal aid to those faced with eviction and claims to land and property in the urban areas.

    This will include community education to understand their rights and obligations within the current policy and legal frameworks and on options for tenure security.

  2. Legal aid support specifically geared toward people living with HIV/AIDS in Uganda’s urban areas.

    Legal aid will be preceded by legal education on land rights and tenure as well as land use planning and management. This will enable succession planning and enhancing security of tenure. This will be done in collaboration with the major HIV/AIDS service providing centres and facilities.