South Africa mulls Women Construction Bank concept

11 August 2014

South Africa is considering building a Women Construction Bank to help focus on financing cooperatives led by women, including construction companies involved in community infrastructure and settlements projects.

According to the South African Human Settlement Minister Lindiwe Sisulu, the bank would be dedicated to bridging finance and loans to women for building materials and vehicles.

Sisulu also noted that the Women Construction Bank will gain assistance from the National Urban Reconstruction and Housing Agency, formed after the merger of the Rural Housing Loan Fund and National Housing Finance Cooperation. These are development finance institutions within the Department of Human Settlements.

The two companies merged after the Department of Human Settlements made a commitment of US $3.28bn – 30% of the US $14.06bn budget set aside for Human settlement projects to be used for women-owned enterprises in the next five years.

There would also be a support branch for Women in construction to support cooperatives led by women and companies that want to have access to the allocation given to women. A Woman in Construction Support Branch, led by a deputy director-general, would be established to support women-led cooperatives and companies to access this allocation.
Construction sector companies which had partnerships with the government were advised to award 30% of their contract work to women. The government plans to have 1.5 million houses built in five years.

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