Building Affordable, Sustainable Homes: Broad Cove Ecohomes Liberia
Challenge Liberia’s capital city of Monrovia has an estimated population of more than one million people, but an infrastructure that was built to accommodate fewer than half that number.
Solution: OPIC provided a $1.9 million loan and $816,000 in expropriation and political violence insurance to support a Broad Cove Ecohomes Liberia project to build 80 middle-income homes.
Impact: In addition to building badly needed housing, the projects will create local jobs and community facilities and will incorporate many sustainable practices and building materials.
Affordable housing virtually nonexistent
Liberia’s capital city of Monrovia has an estimated population of more than one million people, but an infrastructure that was built to accommodate fewer than half that number. There has been no development of a significant scale in 20 years, and over that time, the existing stock of housing has deteriorated. Landlords often charge exorbitant rates for unhealthy slums.
In 2007, the Liberian National Housing Authority (NHA) invited Broad Cove Partners to submit a proposal to develop affordable housing. Broad Cove, a Boston company that builds housing in frontier markets, often in Africa, eventually reached an agreement to develop a 300-acre parcel of land with 1,200 single-family homes on the main highway between Monrovia and Roberts International Airport outside of the city.
OPIC loan supports first-phase of 1,200-home project
In 2009, OPIC agreed to provide a $1.9 million loan to Broad Cove Ecohomes, Liberia to support the first phase of that project, consisting of about 80 basic homes, at prices ranging from $25,000 to $30,000. OPIC’s loan will account for 65.5 percent of the initial project investment and the remainder will be financed by U.S. investor equity.
The Broad Cove project is expected to create about 29 permanent jobs by the fifth year and many of these employees will receive formal training. It is also expected to help stimulate some private-sector businesses since the bulk of the project funds will be used to purchase goods and services.
The homes are being built with renewable and locally-sourced materials such as bamboo, clay tiles, sustainably harvested timber, and bricks made from compressed earth and cement which will keep the houses naturally cool. The project also incorporates solar power systems and is exploring the possibility of using recycled rainwater.
This project was profiled in 2012