April 15, 2009 / 2:08 PM / 9 years ago

Angola to launch fund to build 1 million homes for poor

LUANDA (Reuters) - Angola will launch a special fund in the first half of 2009 to help build one million new homes in four years for the poor and fight a housing crisis the president fears could lead to social unrest.

Deputy Finance Minister Manuel da Cruz Neto was cited by daily Jornal de Angola’s online website as saying on Wednesday the fund would enable low-income families to buy or rent a new home. He did not provide details as to the value of the fund.

A finance minister spokesman declined to comment.

An estimated two-thirds of Angolans live in shanty-towns surrounding the country’s main cities without running water or electricity as the oil-rich nation struggles to pick up the pieces of a 27-year civil war that ended in 2002.

President Jose Eduardo dos Santos has said the housing project -- to be financed by the state and private investors -- would cost $50 billion over a four-year period.

He warned, at a housing conference earlier this week, that if the housing crisis persists it could lead to “outbursts of social discontent.”

The plan to build new homes was a key election pledge made last year by the ruling MPLA party. It won over 80 percent of the votes in the Angola’s first election in 16 years.

Angola rivals Nigeria as Africa’s biggest oil producer.

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