Housing is one of the important developmental goals of the Millennium development goals, which aim to reduce the number of one billion people living in slum settlements by half. The rapid urbanisation that has been experienced in cities of the global South has been fuelling the prevalence of homelessness and slum developments in these cities. The cities of the global South hold more than three quarters of the world’s population (Mabogunge 2003). Housing problems in these cities have been shown to include high room occupancy, informal housing developments and poor housing conditions (Brown 2001; Kamete 2001; Potts 2008). The cities of the global South have been grappling with housing provision due to this unprecedented urbanisation and the situation has been very critical for the low-income earners who for long have been left out in the provision of housing (Kamete 1999). In Zimbabwe the provision of housing to low-income earners has been a long standing problem because the housing policy of the country has never fully catered for this group of people (Chigwenya 2019). A. Chigwenya (2019) further argued that housing policy has never taken the housing problem of the urban poor seriously because it took a piecemeal approach to the housing problem, which never took the housing needs of the poor into consideration. The urban poor have therefore been left out in the housing provisioning system. Their planning regulations on alternative housing options that are the main source of housing to the low-income earners in our cities of the global South are very strict (Kamete 1999; Potts 2008; Chirisa 2009).
Ever since the colonial period, the issue of housing for low-income inhabitants has been a gap that has taken long to fill and it seems that low-income people are treated as secondary citizens in our cities. This does not augur well with the dictates of the right to the city, which calls for all city inhabitants to receive services from the city authorities (Lefebvre 1968, 1996; Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute [AHURI] 2015). Most of local authorities do not adopt policies that promote the disadvantaged groups of urban society because of neo-liberal urbanisation policies that have very few benefits for the urban poor. The right to the city, as propounded by H. Lefebvre in 1968, calls for all citizens to be covered by the city provisioning system so that they enjoy their stay in the city. According to him all city inhabitants, including the urban poor and marginalised, have the right to enjoy the city like any other inhabitant of that city. H. Lefebvre (1996) further argued that there are a lot of injustices that take place in cities where urban minorities are not afforded city services in the same way as the affluent despite the fact that the urban poor are fast growing to be the urban majority. In this way they are denied their right to the city. This research examined how financial facilities in the city of Bulawayo are excluding the urban poor in the housing processes. It examined how financial institutions (public, private, and community based) are failing to provide tailor-made financial products in their housing developments, which can be accessed by the urban poor. The research examined how the rights of the urban poor are incorporated in the course of the business practices of these institutions, especially showing how their financial products are promoting inclusivity in the housing sector.
The study was conducted in high-density areas in Cowdray Park in the city of Bulawayo, which is a predominantly low-income housing area. There are many housing schemes in the area that are mainly occupied by the poor of the city of Bulawayo. The area is predominantly composed of community-based housing schemes together with a government scheme that was aimed to address the effects of Operation Restore Order/Murambasvina. This again is a scheme that is predominantly a scheme that is intended to provide housing for low-income residents. Figure 1 shows a map of Bulawayo and its low-income residential areas.
The city of Bulawayo is the second largest city in the country with a population according to Zimstat (2015) that is now estimated to be 715407. However this figure is believed to be a conservative figure because there is a belief that the population of Bulawayo is actually around 1.5 million. There are 164213 households in the city, of which 36% are believed to be extremely poor (Zimstat 2012). The city was also regarded as the industrial hub of the country because it housed the industrial base of the country, however because of the economic meltdown that resulted from the international isolation of the country; this base has been destroyed as the economy suffers from the impact of economic sanctions. The city was accorded municipal status in 1879 by the colonial government of Rhodesia. The colonial statutes were not favourable to the housing needs of the black majority, who were always excluded in the housing provisions of the city (Ngwenya 2017). The city has an economy that is largely informal as the majority of the economically active people are in the informal sector (Tab. 1.).
Distribution of Economically Active people in Bulawayo
Source: Zimstat 2012
|Employment sector||Percentage [%]|
The city of Bulawayo is driven by a housing policy that aims to provide more than 3000 houses on a yearly basis but it is not clear how many of these will be dedicated to low-income residents. To further complicate the situation, these houses are to be provided by the joint resources of the city of Bulawayo and the private sector. The involvement of the private sector shows that most of the houses will be sold at open market prices and supply bottlenecks mean that the prices will be very high. The city of Bulawayo is witnessing a housing backlog of 110000 and viewing this against a yearly supply of only 3000 housing units means that there is very high competition for those houses that are provided and this is going to increase property prices. To further complicate the situation, policies regarding the provision of housing in the country do not facilitate the provision of housing to low-income occupants. This policy vacuum imposes very harsh conditions on people in the low-income bracket as they are left to compete with everyone in the housing market. The mismatch between supply and demand for housing has led to burgeoning informal settlements in the city of Bulawayo. There are a number of slum settlements in areas such as Killarney, Ngozi Mine, Vundu, Iminyela and Burombo Hostels, where people are living in life-threatening environments. It is estimated that there are over 31 000 people living in slum settlements in and around the city of Bulawayo and these people have no option in sight for better accommodation because the city does not have a social housing policy. However the constitution of Zimbabwe permits national governments and local governments to provide support for the planning, development and management of human settlements and they are allowed to set aside resources to fund housing projects.
The research employed a mixed methods approach to the investigation, where both qualitative and quantitative methodologies were employed. It made use of a questionnaire that was addressed to low-income earners in the city of Bulawayo. These were administered to 100 people in the low-income bracket and these people were earning an average of RTGS 400 dollars (US$60.00) and below per month. These were randomly selected from people in the low-density areas of Bulawayo. This was complimented by in-depth interviews that were done with key informants in the financial service sector and these included managers of financial institutions in the private sector, government, quasi-government and micro-finance organisations. In total there were 15 key informants that were interviewed and these included 7 bank managers, 5 micro finance providers and three public institutions. These were selected on purpose so that the right people with key information were used in the research. Field observations were carried out via transect walks in areas where people in the informal sector were carrying out their developments. Quantitative data was analysed using a computer package called SPSS and qualitative data was analysed qualitatively using thematic constructions.
The housing market in Bulawayo
The housing market in Bulawayo can be viewed in two contrasting environments, the dollarization period (2009–2013)and the post-dollarization period (2013 to date). During the dollarization period the Zimbabwean government adopted a multicurrency system in their economy, where the country was using a basket of currencies that included the US dollar, South African Rand, Botswana Pula and British pound. In all these currencies the US dollar was the most popular currency in the country, hence was used as the pseudo currency. The property sector was very vibrant during this period, characterised by falling void levels, an increase in construction activities, an increase in yields from property, and stability in property values. The value for a core house in the high density areas was pegged at between US$15000.00 and US$17000.00 and a serviced plot of a size ranging from 200 to 300 square metres ranged from US$4000.0 to US$5000.0.
The second phase of the property market was from 2013 to the present during which time the country decided to introduce a local currency into the basket of currencies that was used in the country. The property market responded by refusing the local currency, which saw most properties being pegged in US dollar terms and the local currency was not preferred. This period coincided with a deepening economic crisis that included a cash crisis, an increase in void levels and dwindling yields from property investments. According to Knight Frank (2018) the last quarter of 2018 recorded void levels in commercial properties of up to 23 000 square metres in Harare alone. When such figures obtain in the capital city where economic activities are still very active, the situation can only be very dire in Bulawayo, which is experiencing massive deindustrialisation. The property market became bleaker after the government decided to abolish the use of multiple currencies and adopted the RTGS dollar as the local currency in the middle of 2019. The currency was not supported by the productive sector, which remained depressed. There was therefore a free fall of the local currency against all hard currencies. While it started at par with the US dollar, in less than three months the currency was trading at 1:7 with the US dollar and was continuing to fall. The poor performance of the economy resulted in a high demand for property as investors seek investments that can hedge them against inflation, which is now hovering around 178%. Sellers in many cities, including Bulawayo, continue to ask for payment in hard currency and this has further dampened the property market, which reduced from a growth rate of 56.7% in 2013 to a mere 1.6 % in 2018.
The poor and housing finance in the city of Bulawayo
The poor in the city of Bulawayo include various groups: the informal sector, pensioners and some lowly-paid part time jobs. These are people who were employed in various sectors of the economy and were earning RTGS 400 dollars per month (US$60.00).Table 2 below shows the status of people that were involved in the research. The majority (46%) of them were in low paid formal employment, where they were employed in various sectors of the economy. These included the government, and the private sector. Those in the informal sector (27%) were carrying out various activities that included the manufacturing of building materials such as window frames and anti-burglar bars, the buying and selling of various goods, and the repair of various things. Others were pensioners and the unemployed and they constituted 15 % and 12% respectively.
Economic status of respondents
Source : own study
|Economic status||Percentage [%]|
Their monthly income ranged from RTGS100.00–RTGS600.00. This is the equivalent of US$14–US$86 and this amount fell far below the poverty datum line that is pegged at RTGS1000.00. There are various sources of housing finances that are available in the city of Bulawayo and these include self-help schemes where stakeholders group together and make monthly contributions towards a housing fund. Their contributions differ from one group to another and also depend on the availability of external funders. Most of them were contributing between RTGS10.00–RTGS15.00 monthly (US$1.43–US$2.4). These contributions are to fund procurement of building materials such as bricks, river sand, pit sand, window and door frames and roofing materials. In cases where they were supported by external organisations such as non-governmental organisations they were contributing RTGS1.00 (US$0.14) per month and then depending on the availability of funds that the non-governmental organisation will then add to the pool fund for the construction of houses. The majority of people in the informal sector belong to such schemes. They have created a savings scheme that is aimed at raising funds for housing. Such mandatory savings can play a very critical role in financing housing for the urban poor (Cheng & Dang 2014). However the scheme has been making very little progress towards housing the poor because the funds are very small. They can hardly collect enough to build a decent house for their members. For those that are supported by non-governmental organisations, the flow of funds is very erratic and not enough to construct a house. For example they claimed that so far they have only received one tranche of US$14000 and this is not enough to construct the barest minimum size type of house. A basic house now costs between US$16000–US$26000. They have since received only one tranche of such funds and they keep on hoping that another disbursement will soon arrive but it is taking too long for another tranche to arrive. It is now more than10 years since they received that first tranche of money and nothing has been added to it up to the present. Such schemes are said to have been a success in other countries such as Malawi, but in Zimbabwe very little has been achieved (Zimbabwe Homeless People Federation 2014). The building materials that they bought with the money raised and the donations are just in a heap on the construction site and they risk being vandalised if they continue to stay there.
The other factor that is crippling this scheme is that the stakeholders in the savings scheme are very poor and unemployed so that they cannot raise their contributions to produce a financially viable housing scheme. Their contributions cannot supplement the donations they are getting from the supporting non-governmental organisations. For the more than 10 years that they have been in existence they have been contributing just RTGS1.00. This figure was adopted long ago when the country was using a multi-currency system and right now the country has adopted their own currency (RTGS) but they are still paying RTGS1.00. This figure has since been eroded by the galloping inflation that the country is currently experiencing. Ten years ago a US$1.00 monthly contribution could raise money that could allow them to buy 10 bags of cement from their 50 members because then a bag of cement cost US$5.00. At present RTGS1.00 per month is worth US$0.14 and cannot buy anything because a bag of cement is now ranging from RTGS75.00 to RTGS105.00. This means that their contributions total of RTGS50.00 will not buy even a bag of cement. This therefore means that housing is going to remain a pipe dream for these people because their schemes are not financially viable. Financing low-income housing is therefore a big problem in the city of Bulawayo and across the nation because they are not accessing housing finance that could help them to build their houses. Financial products for the low-income bracket are always very difficult to come by and people on low-incomes mostly rely on informal sources of finance such as their own savings, remittances from friends and relatives and informal loans (Stein & Castillo 2005). They further argued that traditional financial institutions need to be innovative so that they can serve the low-income sector in terms of coming up with financial products that suit low-income earners, for example by lending to low-income earners at subsidised rates so that they make the cost of finances affordable to those on low-incomes. In Central America (Costa Rica, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Guatemala) such products have been very successful. Such informal schemes have been complemented by their own savings and labour and this has been a success in terms of providing housing finance for those on low-incomes (Stein & Castillo 2005). When financial schemes are tailor made for low-income people, they are very successful because the urban poor have proved to be better at paying back their loan than people in the middle income range (Ferguson 1999).
The other source of finance that is available in the city of Bulawayo is the banking sector. These financial institutions have facilities that allow the general public to borrow money for various activities. They are offering short-term loans with a maximum three-year repayment period. The maximum that an individual can borrow is RTGS20000.00 (US$2858.00). Their repayment rates are very high averaging RTGS450.00 per month (US$64.30)and this is way out of reach of most of the people in the low-income bracket whose gross income is ranging from as low as RTGS100.00–RTGS600.00 (US$14.30–US$85.70). They therefore do not qualify because of their income levels. These banks demand someone with a monthly income of RTGS1000.00 (US$142.87) in order for them to access such facilities. The banks are also charging exorbitant interest rates that place the cost of such facilities way-out of reach of low-income earners. These interest rates were previously ranging from 25–35% and now they have been increased to 50%. This further drives the financial facilities out of reach of the majority of low-income earners. The other stringent condition that these banks have put on their financial facilities is that people who are to access their financial facilities must be account holders, preferably with the offering bank. Such a condition has effectively ruled out most of the people on low-incomes because most of them do not have an account with any bank because they are unemployed, self-employed or pensioners. Other financial institutions such as building societies demand that people open savings accounts, where they can deposit their money over a period of time to build up a fund for their housing. They usually access a loan when they have managed to save a minimum of a quarter of their mortgage. Such facilities are still very difficult for those with a low-income to access because their financial status can hardly allow them to save something. Most of them are living a hand-to-mouth existence because of their meagre financial resources. For those that are employed in low-paid jobs they hardly have anything to save in their banks because of the high cost of living so their accounts are always in the red and this disqualifies them from accessing such financial facilities. Most of the banks are asking for collateral security from those people that are looking for their finance, which is a condition that excludes most of the people on low-incomes. The collateral security is in the form of a house, plot, or pension scheme. All these conditions exclude the poor from accessing housing finance hence they remain unprovided for. Banks usually do not have financial facilities that are tailored to the urban poor because they regard them as high risk loan defaulters (Stein & Castillo 2005; Pillay & Naude 2006). To further complicate the housing financing problem is the fact that the housing sector has been commoditised and this has denied the urban poor the right to enjoy the right to decent housing (Rolnik 2013). He further argued that the urban poor have a high risk of loan default thus most of the financial institutions are not willing to extend financial support to them. In most cases banks are involved in malpractices such favouritism as they usually prefer to deal with stakeholders they have established relationships with and others call for a down payment of up to 10% of the required amount (AHURI 2015).
Micro-financial institutions are also involved in housing finance, where they are advancing funds to loan seekers. They usually operate parallel to formal financial institutions but they are more expensive than ordinary banks. Their interest rates are twice as high as those offered in the normal banking institutions. They usually do not place restrictions on the amount but are very strict on the repayment period, which ranges from one to three months. Their facilities are usually offered on a stop order system hence they demand someone who is formally employed and most preferably civil servants. This qualification therefore disqualifies the majority of the low-income earners, who are unemployed, pensioners or the informal sector, from accessing such facilities. However micro finance financial products have the potential to support housing, especially on an incremental building process (Ferguson 1999). He further argued that what prohibits low-income earner from accessing such finance facilities is the affordability problem associated with micro-finance funds. This applies as their interest rates are way above the rates obtaining on the market and this makes it difficult for people in the low-income bracket to service such loans. However Asian experience of the provision of micro finance shows that they have been very successful since financial institutions have managed to craft financial products that have suited the poor and these poor have then been able to access loans for housing.
The housing schemes in Bulawayo and their impacts on right to the city and inclusivity
‘Right to the city’ is a call for all city inhabitants to have access to city services regardless of economic status, gender and ethnicity. According to H. Lefebvre (1968), who is the founding theorist on right to the city, every city inhabitant has an inalienable right to enjoy urban life and he called for all city inhabitants to appropriate city space. According to him appropriation of city space allows city inhabitants to access and use city space so that they can enjoy urban life. He further argued that the cities of today are so diverse that they cater for a wide spectrum of city inhabitants. In South Africa the government and the city of Cape Town made efforts to include the informal settlers around the Cape Town International Airport by building flats for them in 2010 (Huchzermeyer 2011). According to M. Huchzermeyer (2011) the ‘right to the city’ is a call for city authorities to recognise the diversity of all the city’s inhabitants and give them the services that allow them to enjoy urban life. D. Harvey (2003, 2008, 2012) added that the cities of today are very restrictive as far as the treatment of marginalised people is concerned. They only offer services to a small portion of urban society and this always comprises the affluent groups in the city. This is against the dictates of the right to the city, which calls on all the city inhabitants to have a say in city development issues and also to benefit equally from services offered by the city.
Housing is a critical service that forms the critical pillar of human rights. Provision of housing is therefore a right that every citizen should enjoy in a city. In Bulawayo the right to housing is critically curtailed by a lack of financial resources that will help the urban poor to access it. In the city of Bulawayo, the housing schemes fall far too short to help the urban poor. They are associated with stringent conditions that disqualify low-income earners from accessing them. There are no financial facilities that are properly tailored to low-income earners. For example the financial institutions demand collateral not normally available to low-income earners. All forms of collateral such as houses and life assurance schemes are not available to those on a low-income. This therefore means that people in the low-income bracket are perpetually left out as regards housing provision. They are denied the right to access housing and their right to the city. The right to the city means that every citizen has the right to access city services regardless of their financial status. Cities need to cater for every city inhabitant. There is a need to create financial facilities for people in the low-income bracket so that they can access housing. Failure to do so means that the poor are continuously left out of the city’s housing provisioning system. According to the UN-Habitat (2005, 2010), cities of the 21st century have become so diverse that it is no longer thinkable to do business as usual but one has to think outside the box to see how best we can address pressing urban issues that have been brought about due to urbanisation-related poverty. Cities need to move away from the capitalist logic of just thinking of the commercial component of urban issues to adopt more collaborative and inclusive ways of involving all the city’s inhabitants in the city’s provisioning systems (Lefebvre 1996; Beall 2000; Harvey 2008; Boer & de Vries 2009; Huchzermeyer 2011; Harvey 2012). In Bulawayo the poor are finding it difficult to access funding for housing and they are found living in very hostile conditions such as living in houses with an occupancy rate of more than 12 people per housing unit (Brown 2001). This problem has been coupled with the rapid urbanisation process that is being experienced by Zimbabwean cities, which have been recording rates as high as 10% p.a. (Gumbo 2010). The low-income earners in the city of Bulawayo are mainly concentrated in the Cowdray Park high density areas. This area mostly houses civil servants and people in the informal sector. This place has a total of 110 thousand people of which 70 000 were victims of Operation Restore Order (Murambabsvina) (Gumbo 2010). J. Beall (2000) further argued that the urban poor are often regarded as an aberration and an underclass hence are not accorded the right services by the city authorities. The urban poor are a reality of the cities of today, which then calls for proactive ways of dealing with these issues. The traditional ways of treating urban issues are no longer giving the best results because they leave a lot of urban citizens out of the city’s provisioning system, hence denying them their right to the city.
The financial institutions and local authorities need to craft new financial services that will suit the urban poor because the cities of today are not only for the affluent and the urbanisation of poverty is a reality of cities especially in the global South. Failure to create financial services for the urban poor is like saying we have cities without the urban poor. They can craft products that will allow the poor to access small amounts of finance that will allow them to build their houses in an incremental fashion. The urban poor, according M. Huchzermeyer (2011), are often treated as second-class citizens that do not deserve urban services, and hence they are usually ripped up and plastered over in a system called the aestheticisation of poverty. The diverse nature of cities requires them to provide a variety of services in order to serve the totality of the urban population. In this way cities will become more inclusive and their development thrust will be more pro-poor and sustainable (Gerometta, Haussermann & Lango 2005; Simone 2005; Huchzermeyer 2011). A. Simone (2005) further argued that people have ever changing needs and these needs need to be provided for by the city because cities are arenas for the facilitation of social cohesion and natural belonging. They should also act as arenas for achieving mutable aspirations in varying degrees of realisation. This therefore means that cities need to have facilities that cater for a variety of city individuals not only in a single way, but rather in changing ways because people’s needs change all the time. The situation that obtains with Bulawayo’s financial services, where there are only financial facilities for the affluent and wealthy groups in the city, is no longer thinkable in contemporary cities. The financial institutions need to provide financial facilities for the full range of city inhabitants in order to create conditions that promote the lives of the majority of them. According to T. Parnell & J. Robinson (2012), contemporary cities are failing to recognise the diversity of cities; hence most of their services are not beneficial to the urban poor. They further argued that their services actually militate against building a positive livelihood for the urban poor.
Marginalised groups in cities have the right to lay a claim to the things that they require from the city and access to resources that will enable them to achieve these claims (Mustafa & Leitte 2002; Simone 2005). D. Mustafa & G. Leitte (2002) added that these claims should allow these urban poor a proper life. The right to the city, according to D. Mustafa & G. Leitte (2002), includes, among other things, the right to claim resources that will allow people to meet their basic needs and interests. Housing is a basic right, therefore in order to be properly resourced so that every citizen can access it, the government and the private sector have to finance access to housing especially for those on low-incomes. The situation that obtains in the city of Bulawayo, where financial institutions are creating conditions that exclude the urban poor from accessing housing, is therefore a contravention of the urban poor’s right to the city and access to basic needs. Demands such as collateral security, a savings account, and a certain set minimum balance therefore deny the urban poor their right to basic needs and their right to the city. The right to the city is the right to urban life where the needs of even the marginalised and the alienated are met, (Lefebvre 1968, 1996; Marcuse 2009). Financial products that are crafted to allow the poor to access housing, such as allowing them to access small loans, can allow them to develop their properties incrementally. However in Bulawayo such facilities are critically unavailable to the urban poor, that is, they are not provided by the city council, the government or the private sector. Cities need to devise services that will benefit all the citizens so that they discharge equity, justice and democracy (Harvey 2008; Marcuse 2009; Harvey 2012). The right to the city is not just accepting what has been offered by the city, but is also a demand for things leading to the development of a city that accord with the desires of every inhabitant in the city (Harvey 2003). The right to the city calls for a demand for services that will see the provision of services that are demand based, and this can only be achieved through institutional reforms which will result in development priorities based on pre-determined priorities (UN-Habitat 2005).
The practices that are found in financial institutions in the city of Bulawayo are very exclusive because they do not include all the city’s inhabitants in their provisioning system. The conditions mentioned above only benefit the economically well-off groups in the city, but as for the urban poor there is nothing. They only have facilities for the wealthy and propertied groups of urban society and such practices are exclusionary. An inclusive city allows everyone to be included in the city’s spatial realm, (Chirisa & Dumba 2011; Jerome 2016). K. Jerome (2016) added that the totality of the urban populations should be reflected in urban spaces so that they are able to keep their image in the city. The demands of the finance institutions in the city of Bulawayo are denying the poor access to housing and in this way the image of the poor is deleted in the city. Most of these practices are usually based on stereotypes and mental constructs which are divisive and exclusionary and this does not augur well for the dictates of an inclusive city. An inclusive city allows the full diversity of the city to enjoy their right to the city. S. S. Fainstein (2005) added that cities that are inclusive allow diverse claims of life that usher in dignified and secure lives in the city to all social groups. The situation where the poor are always found in life-threatening environments characterised by poor housing and lack of critical services is not right for the right to the city and an inclusive city (Beall 2000; Devas 2001; Ramanathan 2006). J. Beall (2000) further argued that the urban poor are a very critical contributor to inclusive cities hence they need to be included in the planning and service delivery of the city. Their inclusion will go a long way in affording the poor their citizenship.
The right to the city is a call for urban services to extend to every city inhabitant. This right is inalienable and is therefore for everybody. The provision of housing is therefore a critical factor in affording city inhabitants their right to the city and it is also an indicator of how city services are distributed throughout the whole city. Provision of housing cannot be achieved without supporting financial services and it is these services that are lacking in Bulawayo. The financial services that are available to the urban poor are not for them because they do not include the conditions of the poor. The poor in the city of Bulawayo cannot afford the conditions that are set by financial institutions, which deny them the right to access housing. This therefore further denies them their ‘right to the city’. The urban poor therefore, in terms of housing provision in the city of Bulawayo, are disenfranchised of their right to the city and this reflects badly on the inclusivity of the city. The city does not have financial products that cater for the diverse population of the city because the urban poor are not included in their financial services. There is a need to craft financial products that mainstream the urban poor in their financial provision. For example the financial institutions can come up with small loan schemes that will allow the urban poor to access small loans that will allow them to carry out their developments incrementally e.g. an amount to buy a plot, or an amount to develop to floor slab level, or window level). They can also group the beneficiaries into groups so that they can borrow money from the bank, these groups will be the guarantors of the loan borrowed. Other schemes, such as giving incentives to the private sector to loan funds to low-income borrowers, can also be helpful, but in this case the government can act as guarantor. This will allow individuals to access money for property development. When these products are available this will allow the urban poor to build their own houses and this will show how these financial provisions include the majority of the city’s inhabitants. The cities of today have developed to be so diverse and financially innovative that all the city inhabitants are included in the financial provisions. Schemes have to be produced that suit the urban poor by creating financial products that are typically for the poor. They can work in collaboration with the government to see how these financial products can be produced as partnerships with government if the government can act as a guarantor for loans that are advanced to the urban poor. In this way financial services can be accessible to all the city’s inhabitants and this will go a long way to giving the urban poor their right to the city because they allow them access to a very important service in the city. Housing is a basic right and allowing the entire city’s inhabitants access to it will go a long way in advancing the right to the city to previously marginalised groups of our urban societies. The cities of today require thinking outside the box because traditional ways of doing things are no longer able to solve urban problems. Urban problems have been further complicated by the urbanisation of poverty, which has seen an unprecedented mushrooming of the livelihoods of the poor. These livelihoods are to be catered for by the city authorities because leaving them out of their provisioning systems will mean denying them their right to the city, and this is not good for an inclusive city. This is also not sustainable because urban sustainability makes sure that the marginalised groups of society are included in the provisioning systems of the city.
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