The Challenge of Productivity in the Housing Sector of a Developing Country
The Case of Cameroon
Keywords:Housing Sector, Productivity, Cameroon, Frontier Production, Malmquist Index
This paper evaluates productivity in terms of housing delivery levels of the housing sector in Cameroon. The data used is from the Centre for Affordable Housing Finance in Africa (CAHF) and the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development. These data relate to: the number of dwellings delivered during the study period; the amount of hours of work required to produce a housing unit; the unit cost of labour; the cost of producing a housing unit; and the area used to produce a housing unit. The technique of analysis was Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA). The level of productivity is evaluated using the Malmquist index. The results revealed that between 2010 and 2018 the housing sector in Cameroon produced an average of 13,126 houses per year. This production gives an average cost per housing unit of $39,612. The study found a fall in total productivity of factors (labour and capital factors) of the order of 24.5% for the period considered. The fall observed is explained by a decrease in both technical efficiency and technological progress. To increase the productivity of the housing sector in Cameroon two types of measures are possible. Firstly, a better use of resources where particular attention is paid to the factors limiting productivity growth, namely the cost of labour, capital and materials. Secondly, use a skilled workforce and implement incentives for innovation based on the use of local materials and better operational organisation. It is argued that the incorporation of these suggestions would make it possible to increase the productive capacities of housing firms in Cameroon.