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Nairobi, 24 Nov 09

UN-HABITAT Executive Director, Mrs. Anna Tibaijuka today launched her book, Building Prosperity: Housing and Economic Development.

The book breaks new ground in economic thinking. Mrs. Tibaijuka says housing provision is so central to social and economic well being that policy makers need to act on this rather than continue to treat the activity as a mere social good.

Using detailed case studies and examples of best practices, the book shows that both the supply and consumption of housing interact closely with economic growth, notably through their impact on employment, income generation, investment and savings.

The book calls for adequate and decent housing to be provided for people around the world, adding that due to its widespread impact in developing skills, decent housing would improve workers health and increase their productivity.

Decent housing would also increase workers capital stock and fixed investments, guarantee incomes and savings, foster inclusiveness and enhance household assets.

“All these outcomes depend on the extent to which policy and institutional distortions which often alienate a bulk of the population are rectified,” says Mrs. Tibaijuka.

In his foreword, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says the recent sub prime lending crisis in the US and the attendant ripple effects at all levels of society show clearly how central housing is to society and the potential it holds for countries at lower levels of development.

“National development plans and policies need to incorporate a broader vision for the housing sector that goes beyond the traditional argument of social need and towards an enhanced contribution of housing to accelerated economic growth,” says Ban Ki-moon.

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