The head of Burkina Faso-based real estate firm Gestion Expertise Location Promotion Immobilere Alain Zoungrana (GELPAZ) says he has no doubt Liberia will achieve its goal of infrastructural development at a greater level in half a decade.
Alain Zoungrana is currently leading a seven-man delegation to Liberia as guests of the National Housing Authority (NHA).
The two institutions are finalizing discussions on the possibility to pen a deal allowing GELPAZ to invest in Liberia by building 50,000 housing units for mainly low income earners, NHA Director General Duannah Siryon told a joint press conference Tuesday.
In an interview with the Liberia News Agency, Zoungrana said that “Liberia, in the next five years, is going to be a new Liberia, considering the transformation that will take place under the leadership of President George Weah. It will be a new country. It’s a beautiful country that only requires collective efforts to turn it around for the better.”
The Burkinabe tycoon though alluded to that fact that Liberia should have been far ahead in terms of infrastructural gains as one of Africa’s oldest nations, but progress has been steady due to the challenges and previous difficult trend of events it experienced.
“The election of George Weah as President,” he added, “provides more opportunities for the youth to join in building of this great country.”
“I’m hopeful that with time, plus tranquility, peace and unity, Liberia is going to change. Actually, we’re counting on the youth. It’s the young people who will help in rebuilding the country. So, I think everything is going to be alright soon,” he said.
The NHA and GELPAZ are expected to consummate what Mr. Siryon called a ‘public-private partnership’ deal whereby GELPAZ can officially get the green light to invest in Liberia by sub-contracting local construction companies to build decent housing facilities in the sub-divisions of the country to complement the government’s ‘Pro-poor Agenda’.
However, until the talks between the two institutions are concluded, the details and terms of the conversation remain unknown.
But NHA Managing Director Siryon told journalists of the possibility of the government allowing GELPAZ to construct scenic housing, as was displayed in a PowerPoint presentation by the firm’s architect Yao Eric.
The homes would then be given to would-be beneficiaries at low costs and the Government is going to have a share in the proceeds when a deal is done.
Also, the structures are expected to be built on NHA properties in Monrovia and other parts of the country and the government, both officials said, will decide the categories of houses to be built.
At the joint press conference, the GELPAZ boss said that it would be a privilege for his company to get involved into Liberia’s development drive by building homes to contribute to the transformation of the country and its citizens.
“We want to work with Liberia by supporting its goal to provide shelter for the most needy,” the GELPAZ official noted.
“Burkina Faso and Liberia are members of ECOWAS and have been close friends over the years and as such, GELPAZ will work with the government of Liberia to ensure that promises made by President Weah during the election process are fulfilled,” Zoungrana emphasized.
Meanwhile, the NHA managing director lauded the delegation for visiting with Liberia and promised that the government will do due diligence to processes leading to formulating an agreement that meets the necessary standards.
According to Siryon, NHA has deployed data collectors across the country to gather information from ordinary citizens relating to the types of homes they would prefer.
He said the Authority will use the data collected to guide President Weah in his engagement with investors, enabling him to suggest a clear number and types of houses the country would need for its people.
As demonstrated by GELPAZ, they are basically involved in building residential apartments containing bedrooms ranging from one to four, while they also build other categories of homes and mini-cities under special arrangements.
The prospective GELPAZ project, when realized, will surpass the entire housing history of Liberia.
Siryon said since the 1960s, past governments were able to construct only 1,774 housing units, including all of the estates across Montserrado County.
It can be recalled that a delegation of the NHA, led by Managing Director Siryon, had earlier traveled to Burkina Faso to assess the handwork and credentials of GELPAZ as part of doing due diligence before initiating concrete talks with the private investment firm.