The Government of Cabo Verde proclaimed 2009 the “Year of Housing” and endorsed measures and strategies to promote social housing throughout the country, seeking to lay the conditions for the gradual fulfilment of one of the constitutional determinations claimed by the population: the right to decent housing. The Casa para Todos (“House for All”) programme was thus developed that year, considering that the country had a quantitative housing deficit of about 40,000 units. However, a need existed to formally structure the programme through housing public policy that could institutionalize instruments required to promote and make feasible both the construction of new houses (8,500 units) and the rehabilitation of pre-existing precarious housing (about 16,000 units).
Towards a Solution
Supported by the Brazilian Cooperation Agency (ABC), the Support to Cabo Verde’s Housing Development project was a South-South knowledge-transfer initiative implemented by Caixa Econômica Federal (CAIXA, a Brazilian state-owned financial services company), Brazil’s Ministry of Cities, Cabo Verde’s Ministry of Environment, Housing and Spatial Planning and Cabo Verde’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The project facilitated the structuring of the Casa para Todos programme through the consolidation of the instruments and procedures required for its implementation. Project activities included technical visits to initiatives carried out by the Brazilian congenerous housing programme Minha Casa, Minha Vida (“My House, My Life”), the training of a team from the Cabo Verdean ministry in charge of housing, technical advice and the joint elaboration of support tools and guidelines for the development of housing projects for low-income populations.
The project trained Cabo Verdean professionals in analysis of unproven income. It provided technical advice to the ministry in charge of housing in several areas, notably:
- consolidation of a methodology for calculating the housing deficit and assessing the inadequacy of houses;
- formulation of guidelines for the integration of municipalities into the National Social Housing System;
- elaboration of the Casa para Todos programme’s manuals;
- calculation of the distribution of subsidies under the programme and the structuring of a guarantee fund;
- formulation of a methodology for implementation of the urban-policy instruments, in urban-planning, legal and tax domains;
- structuring of a national programme to support sustainable land regularization; and
- structuring of multipurpose territorial cadastres.
Ensuring the project’s sustainability, the outputs jointly elaborated by CAIXA and the Cabo Verdean ministry in charge of housing, comprised the following documents and instruments necessary for implementation:
- bidder and engineering-analysis manuals;
- a social-work manual (elaboration included the training of about 100 local agents);
- a manual on operational procedures for contracting;
- a technical-analysis report on the adequacy of the structure of Cabo Verde’s single cadastre (a registry system that enables the identification of low-income families that will benefit from the programme);
- electronic selection of social-housing beneficiaries through the single cadastre;
- a financial model for ensuring the sustainability of the programme;
- a financial-calculation spreadsheet compatible with the local context;
- a handbook of technological innovations; and
- a spreadsheet aggregating parameters for the analysis of tenders for contracting construction firms.
Thanks to the results of this cooperation initiative, the Government of Cabo Verde was able to launch international tenders to build in a first stage 1,700 new housing units. The Support to Cabo Verde’s Housing Development project is featured among the good practices disseminated by UN-Habitat’s Best Practices and Local Leadership Programme.