The Economics of African Housing
Ashton, Dr. E.H.
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African housing is really a moral problem. What you do about it depends on your sense of values. And of course your political common sense as well, for you haven’t a hope of building a stable and contented society—which is presumably what every prudent politician wants to do—unless your people are decently and comfortably housed. But if you want to provide adequate facilities, you will need to know what the costs will be and how they can be met. My paper will try to give the answer. 2. The problem of African housing is pretty widespread—and sometimes not so pretty, as when we see the horrible shacks and compounds alongside so many of our roads. But this is part of the rural scene, and will not be dealt with in this paper, although it does exemplify the inherent factors of all African housing, namely, morals and money, whether those concerned care and care sufficiently to take a little trouble and make a little investment in human welfare. This paper will be confined to the urban areas, for it is here that the problem of housing is the most complex, interesting and controversial. 3. In the towns, African housing falls into four categories, namely, housing provided by: (a) Domestic employers; (b) Large employers; (c) Public bodies; (d) Home ownership.