The National Housing Forum was held on Tuesday the 27th of June 2017 at the InterContinental Hotel in Phnom Penh under the honor of Senior Minister Chea Sophara. The forum was organized by the non-profit, international NGO Habitat for Humanity Cambodia, alongside various other participants representing many financial institutions and NGOs. The purpose of this forum was to find solutions to the need of shelters among the low and middle income people in Cambodia since there is unaffordable housing for many of them.
In the remarkable opening speech of H.E Chea Sophara, he mentioned that “Our prediction for Cambodia’s economic development in 2017 is that we will see a 7% growth. Real estate and housing construction will play a core role among the four economic pillars of Cambodia. There was about 5,580 million USD invested in housing construction in 2016. Within the first 5 months in 2017, there was about 4,362 million USD that has been invested, which is a 20% increase in comparison to the same time in 2016. It has provided jobs to about 200,000 people a day.” There were other ministers present from the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction, individuals in top managerial roles from financial institutions that provide social housing loans, and NGOs that contributed speeches, solutions, strategies, and answers to the questions that participants had at the forum.
There was an attention grabbing presentation from Mrs. Chun Sothany, the CEO of First Finance regarding micro mortgages to low and middle-income individuals in Cambodia, as she said: “Micro mortgage is too small for Bank to service but it may be too big for typical MFIs. Moreover with their short term tenor, it is a challenge for low and middle income people for their monthly payment capacity. In addition to the size of the loan, bank may also perceive this group as higher risk due to un-recorded incomes, type of collateral and other required documents.” She added that “The average monthly income of First Finance’s client range between USD300 – USD700, which 18% earn less than $6 per day and 38% earn less than $12 per day. In average our loan size about $10,000 with loan term 10 years.”
The participants were amazed at how much of an impact the ministers had made with support from the NGOs and financial institutions in improving the development of Cambodia. The forum was successful in bringing people together as one and continuing to help and provide sustainable housing to the poor who are in need of safety, indignity, happiness, and the growth of family under a proper roof.