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Is Eritrea On The Verge of A Construction Boom?

Modern houses in Asmara, Eritrea

Is Eritrea On The Verge of A Construction Boom?

During an interview with state media on Sunday, Presisdent Isaias Afwerki said:

"The pilot housing project in Asmara is a precursor of a comprehensive urban and rural national housing scheme for the years to come."

In other words, the 1,680 modern homes and shops under construction in Asmara are just the tip of the iceberg. This is encouraging because Eritreans have been complaining (rightfully so) for many years about housing shortages in urban areas, particularly in Asmara. But these projects are not just about meeting housing demands; there are numerous economic benefits that comes from investing in the construction industry.

Residential construction alone can kick-start Eritrea's economy and become the driving force behind it for years to come. There is a strong desire to build houses among Eritreans, and if these demands are met, it will create thousands of jobs in the short term, grow the economy for decades to come and put the country on a fast-track to modernization.

China is a great example of what a residential construction boom can do to an economy. Since the reform period of the 1980s, China's construction industry has been a driving force behind the nation's rapid economic growth and modernization. After nearly three decades, construction activity in China continues to boom, with the industry's output currently representing 24% (USD 1.4 trillion) of China's GDP.

Not only will the construction growth help modernize Eritrea and expand the economy but there will be political benefits for the government, too. With more people from the diaspora investing on new properties in the country, they will, naturally, do everything they can to protect their investment(s) and become more active in supporting the country and government.

To fully capitalize on this industry, the government should consider being more flexible about the 2% recovery and development tax. Instead of making the 2% tax a prerequisite to build or buy property for Eritreans in the diaspora, the state should give potential home buyers more options. For example, if they don't want to pay the tax, then they have to agree they will not receive free social services that the government provides. Another option would be to have them on a payment plan that is tailored to their incomes and expenses. At any rate, having a rigid position isn't in anyone's interest.

Although the project will be the largest infrastructure development in Eritrea since the Italian occupation, there isn't any reason to doubt it won't be completed. After all, the country has all the prerequisites needed to complete such a monumental project. It has the Gedem Cement Factory; the massive demand from the diaspora and within the country; and the financial capacity to invest hundreds of millions of dollars on its construction industry annually. But above all, it has the leadership in place to get the job done.

Render of 200 sqm modern houses, each featuring 1 living room, 4 bedrooms, 4  bathrooms, and
 1 kitchen that will be on sale for  €113,006 (US$150,184 ) - Sembel district of Asmara
Villas worth €113,006 (US$150,184 ) are being constructed in the Sembel district of Asmara

Render of some of the apartment buildings under construction in Asmara

Replicas of the residential buildings to be built in Massawa

China's Construction Industry's Output 

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Is Eritrea On The Verge of A Construction Boom? Reviewed by Admin on 7:28 AM Rating: 5


  1. Here is a link to how the US deals with people who have to pay back taxes.

  2. Thanks Merhawie!

  3. Dear Berhane,
    I´m also one from those who apply to have the possibility to have the first ever owned house in the programe 2013, our embasy in Rome and the Housing bank in Asmara been clear saying me that for 95% i couldn´t have chance to get one of the 1680, i understand would be for the delay they had in past not been able to accomplish in time what promised to other citzens, as in your case. I do a premise that i payed also 25% advance of what asked, but above all you know i believe there are no cheats nor betrayals, i think it been a matter of priority that led the government to other sectors, and luckyly now get back to housing.


    Manuele kab Roma

  4. Berhane, no Eritreans paid more than $15k for the housing project in 2001, so where is your US$40k figure coming from? Secondly, even if you did pay that much ( I think you didn't), are allowed to use the same deposit fund to buy the housing that are being built in Asmara.

  5. At Berhane
    You saw what currently happens. Eritrea had but not the host Wiles possibilities before. Until now everything begins, thanks to the gold mine. A new era for eritrea. Like you said Action speak Luder than words. Eritrea is coming baby, Believe that.

  6. I think a good approach would be the mandatory payment of 2 % for the last 5 years on the time of application and- payment plan or lower the percentage to 1% or abandon it all together for the rest. The idea of paying 2% for a person who lived 20 or so years abroad would be daunting. As it is explained in the article getting people back home is more important for the country than the money they pay.

  7. {\rtf1\ansi\ansicpg1252
    {\fonttbl\f0\fnil\fcharset0 HelveticaNeue;}

    \f0\fs28 \cf2 \cb3 \expnd0\expndtw0\kerning0
    \outl0\strokewidth0 \strokec2 @conerned_eritrean Our only accept euro and dollars because they are in need of currency not because these house are only for the diaspora }

  8. If you give a break to people who have payed a penny for different reasons or waiting for a change, how would you respond to people who have been paying the 2% duty responsibly...I think that would be setting a bad precedent for the future law. Madote, this would be a good discussion topic. I hope to hear more ideas or solutions.

  9. What about the houses built in Sembel that doesn't have electricity and running water? Didnt the government promised us if we buy the land and build houses the water line and electrical line would be provided by government? Last time I went to Eritrea most people are using generators to get electricity . As I said before the country is run by incompetent individuals.

  10. Theres no such thing as water or electricity in Eritrea :(

    Eritrea Electricity Access: 32%
    Ethiopia Electricity Access: 17%

    Eritrea Access to Potable Water: 85%
    Ethiopia Access to Potable Water: 48%

  11. Don't forget though I live in the US, and I plan to buy a house in asmera, but my brother who fought for his country will live in it not me, and that is true with 99% of interessted house buyers in the diaspora. so this is a good start if true will benefit everybody in Eritrea directly or indirectly.
    the problem is though, HGDEF is becoming just talking, but not action. so sad.

  12. Don't try to bring bloody Ethiopia in this debate We are
    Eritreans talking Eritrean matters this is ridiculous for you Ethiopia is a scape goat who cares about Ethiopia !

  13. The 2% tax for diaspora must be abolished instead the government should creat a healthy environment for Eritrean diaspora to invest their money in their home land and should put in place regulations that protect Eritrean investors from the corrupted officials but before doing this the back bone of all regulations is the CONSTITUTION.
    Is the government ready to be under the Rule of Low??????

  14. Good point brother. Rule of law is the way to go. Supporters of the regime (not the Eritrean) are individuals and groups I don't understand. Stand up for your moral values and challenge the government. One individual and group reshuffled around leading the country is not healthy. We need new generation leaders.

    By the way who is our Vice President. I honestly don't know.

  15. concerned eritrea & habte , the eritrean people our troops & the government ,( as foot & shoes) together thier working hard day & night . you know as an eritrean, what they are doing , on development , irrigetion infrastructure , dams exetra . & there is also no peace no war between ethiopia & eritrea put in your concideration , all this unusuall condition , beside this what i want to correct you , u said HGDEF! HGDEF! say ( peoples for democracy & justice ) .

  16. Have you been to Eritrea lately? Did you walk on the streets of Asmara?
    If you did , you would be ashamed that we have the most incompetent government in Eritrea. Our streets are deteriorated, building looks like they would crumble anytime, pot hole on every road, no sanitation, the whole city is dirty, polluted, no electricity, no running water.... I don't even know where to start and where to finish. I believe the only capital city with no mayor is Asmara. Bro! Did you see cinema Capitol , the cinema we were proud of its beauty? Did you see cinema impero? Did you see comboni( barka), did you see keyh bahri secondary school, did you see Asmara University....... What is their condition??? The whole city looks like zoo. Now you are telling me this administration with full of people who even doesn't know how to use toilet paper bring a change in our beloved country?? It would be more realistic to expect honey from an elephant than to expect change in HIGIDEFS Eritrea.

  17. those who are giving a bad name which is based on lie ,first u are self jailed because you peeled from the eritrean people , second you will be on jail at the end of the day .

  18. Mr Sador,

    How do you know what every Eritrean has paid?

    Don't talk what you don't know. Only Mr.Aferwerki knows for sure what i paid.

    You want me to use the same deposit to get house with less than half the planned square footage?

    Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.

  19. It may have many priorities but don't promise individuals certain things and take our money and then don't deliver anything.

    The worst is embassy individuals can't give proper response.

    How dare anyone tell me to be patient! Its been 11 years!!

    What is a reasonable timeline for me to expect?

  20. There are a lot who pretend to be eritreans but are ethiopians. what u gonna do about that+

  21. To be honest, virtually 90%of the diaspora are waiting. Some have waited since the 90s, some since 2002..some bought bonds around 2007. I am also waiting. The government have been criticized time and time again. But when it comes to ensuring stability I support them and so does the rest. But maybe if more technocrats were sitting in the housing sector Instead of former veterans, would we see any meaningful change.

  22. I always agree with you.
    Thank you for your information

  23. I am gals Madote started talking about 2%, this payment has caused more problems than benefits to eritrea and I believe more headache to the government. It is wise for the government to innitiate discussions and consult the diaspora on this issue and i believe, it is easier to compensate the people who paid the 2% instead of chasing dollars in paper that could not matterialise even 2%!!1

  24. I think there are many Eritreans who are doing more than the payment of 2%. This payment is minimal and it must be paid, and all those who paid 2% should be given priority. During the war with woyane and after, the payment of 2% and other contributions from diasporas supported to solve the shortages of hard currency in Eritrea.
    Why were few Eritreans trying to abolish the payment of 2% at that critical time and now?????

  25. Its good you mentioned the option to make installment payment ( plan payment ) . I was talking to our consular affairs office last month about this and makes a lot of sense.

  26. How much did we hear from this "MAD DOG" (Tesfom) bi deki Asmera.

  27. You have different scale of priority in mind, that don´t match unfortunatly to AWARE GOVERNANCE and to what Eritrea needed in the past decade, I mention just one point to let you understand that I rather stay with the side of the Government. You mention about:
    1) Restoration of cinema Capitol or other buildings, (it´s true that they are degraded, but not priore in terms of strategy to be maintained)
    2) You state about Pollution (FALSE) by the way what you mean by pollution? Do you know that in the sub-saharian countries, included many other countries out of that, the only two countries to ban FESTAL BAGS are Rwanda since 2001, Eritrea 1994?

    My consideration:
    1) wey neti mengisti zegebere entegebere ketetselemmo alama alleka,
    2) wey ka a ket tenten kelleka, Heseb

    selam Manuele kab Roma

    Note: iti Abi neger intay iyu, if your opponent made a good job, recognize it. Nay beslet meleket iyu

  28. Ayeeee "zeben wibe ziaweres.................

  29. Yes it does! My buddy Merhawi gave me the idea after the topic came up three weeks ago.

  30. Do you know our capital city doesn't have a mayor?

  31. Dreaming while awake is equivalent to insanity.Sleep if you want to dream....

  32. THANK YOU, SADOR for mentioned the false information about Berhanes $40 figure, it can not be true, because the highest was $ we all know that he is not telling the truth. But hatred of the eritrean government and eritrean people

  33. 1st it is good to know who is your enemy & your friend by a country level . there fore united state is not concider like our enemy , because the bigest problem of usa is it's policy & this is for every body who don't accepts it's interest & the policy . 2nd woyane or ethiopia is the real enemy, who is sat on our territory . the 3rd one is mote, which is zero . he is not( enemy call him menene !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ).

  34. They need Eritrean architects and urban planners. As an architect, my concern is they will build things without site analysis, zoning and ignoring the revival of our ancient classical / architectural heritage of Damot, Adulis, Kohaito, Metera etc... and let's just hope they don't build without taking archeological surveying into account, as they have failed to do in the past, destroying an ancient temple in the outskirts of Asmara, that pre dates the Pyramids.

  35. Just came back from Asmera. Don't take me wrong folks, I'm diehard and hot blooded Eritrean, yet I wept for the city. How can anyone simply neglect those Unesco recognized Art-Deco buildings to simply deteriorate? Their Architectural importance and elegance is what makes this little village called Asmera worthy of civic status. However, instead of listening and collaborating with expat architects and planners, they decided to bastardize the city's aesthetics together with Gedem Construction and missfit Chines/Korean designers. What a pity.

  36. The discussions showed that you all are protecting your interests "Mendek" while people from Karora to Berasole, from Zagir to Maimine -Xerona, from Hagaz to Gulij are paying 30-50 Nakfa for one kilo "komidere". Ayee seteiti Pepsi "teameteley kibilexelka" iyu natkum neger.

  37. Let me ask you Merhawie ,Cane Libero and others. Do you know that the
    government already sold for almost 6000-7000 individuals land for 3500-13500
    USA Dollars in 2003. The government gave people chance to build their own house
    or let the government build for them. Do you know that some people paid the 25% of the money
    beforehand ? Do you know that the government allocated the land of each
    individual ? Do you know that no single house has not been built since? Do you
    know that the money you paid is still with the government without any guarantee
    of asking the money back if you want. Do you know some people were at the age
    of 50-60 at that time and now 60-70 and when can they live in the house they
    want to live? Do you know that again the government is selling 1600 houses and apartment and asking for new
    people to be registered and asking the people of 2003 to register again in this
    plan. How can 1600 houses and apartment can be built in a country where there
    is no cement , electricity and other building materials..where do you get the
    man power to build it? Why the government is asking thousands new people to registrar
    when the old one has not implemented yet? Why do you pay the money before you
    are not even sure to get the house? How can you built 1600 when 6000-7000
    already waiting for 11 years? Please be honest to yourself before you try to
    fool others. .you fool me once shame on you , fool me twice shame on me. I can
    bet with anyone that the pictures are all from the internet and I will not be
    realized by this government.


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