LUSAKA, March 30 A Chinese bank will help
finance the construction of 2,000 homes for Zambian military
personnel who face a critical shortage of housing, president
Edgar Lungu said on Thursday.
The 1.5 bilion kwacha ($157 million) project would be
financed by the Development Bank of Zambia (DBZ) with support
from the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), Lungu
said in a statement.
China has invested heavily in modernising roads and other
infrastructure in Zambia, whose top export is copper.
"My government will not allow our gallant men and women in
uniform to continue living in dilapidated and at times makeshift
structures far below their noble status," Lungu said.
Zambia's has an urban housing shortfall of 1.3 million
properties, projected to reach 3 million by 2025, according to
British charity Habitat for Humanity.
Due to the lack of affordable housing, about 70 percent of
urban dwellers, including soldiers, live in slums with
inadequate access to water and sanitation, Habitat for Humanity
Lungu said soldiers and other defence and security personnel
need to live in designated areas not only for easy mobilisation
but to enhance discipline and improve administration.
($1 = 9.5800 Zambian kwachas)
(Reporting by Chris Mfula; Editing by Ed Stoddard and Keith