Parcelles Assainies


Key dates

1- In 1973, the first project was launched in Camberene, in Dakar, the capital of Senegal.

2- In 1980, the project was extended to Thiès, capital of the region bearing the same name.

3- In 1989, the project was extended to Malika-Keur Massar, in Dakar.

4- In 1992, the project was extended to Kaolack, capital of the region of the same name.

5 – In 1998, a third major project was started up in Dakar, between Keur Massar and Rufisque (23.000 lots planned over 624 hectares. decree 97-1279, declaring state approval for the project, was signed, on 12/11/97


Before the Parcelles Assainies project was created, the majority of informal-sector and low wage earning households could not gain access to land or housing development projects promoted by real estate companies.

Information and Priorities

In Parcelles Assainies department was set up within OHLM, which is now SNHLM, and extension workers were trained locally. Housing for the majority was established as the project’s priority.

Objectives, Strategies and Resource Mobilisation

The objectives were to clean up and install services over extended networks of land so that low-priced building plots could be made available to people earning low or medium wages or working in the informal sector.

An awareness campaign was carried out through the press, and extension workers helped set up savings associations towards the purchase of improved plots.

The savings associations were set up according to neighbourhood proximity(neighbourhood chapters) or professional connections (professional chapters), so that savings could be collected from candidates to raise part of the necessary funds. For the first project, the World Bank provided the lion’s share of resources. For example, in the first project, the World Bank supplied 67% of funds (8 million US dollars), or 1,791,000,000 CFA ($1 US = 550 FCFA),OHLM 25%, or 668,000,000 CFA, and the beneficiaries 8%, or 214,000,000 CFA.

The Ministry of Urban Planning and played Housing played the leading role in designing objectives.

OHLM, now SNHLM, played the leading role in implementing the initiative.


Major problems have included :

Not enough land is made available to the project. In the past, the state was the sole supplier of land. Today, following the transformation of OHLM into a national company, although the state is still the principal supplier of land, the project can also buy and develop private land.

Real estate speculation has also had adverse affects on this project, since low-income families can be tempted to sell their plots. The phenomenon is very complex and far-reaching, affecting even Government land developments and old and new housing programmes.

Most of the plots that fall prey to speculation are located along major throughways, basically commercial areas. By the end of 1997, 1,031 plots of the total 12,732 plots of the Camberene project had been sold by the original beneficiaries to new buyers. This amounts to 8.10%. Measures were taken against speculation. Two of these can be cited here :

a) Sale of the lots is forbidden for 5 years following the date of allocation, so that households have time to develop them.

b) Fees are charged for changing ownership, to discourage second hand clients, who would have to pay the purchase cost to the original beneficiary in addition to fees for changing ownership. The total of both payments is often higher then the purchase price of a lot in town outside of the Improved Plots programme.

Results Achieved

Between 1973 and 1996, the Parcelles Assainies project helped secure 22,861 building plots supplied with basic infrastucture (roads, drinking water, electricity, etc.) and basic services (schools, community clinics) and land reserves set aside for additional facilities, at a rate of nearly 1,000 plots per year. The plots were geographically distributed as follows:

– 12 732 plots in Parcelles Assainies, Camberene, Dakar
– 1 200 plots in Parcelles Assainies, Thies
– 6 844 plots in Parcelles Assainies, Malika-Keur Massa, Dakar
– 1 632 plots in Parcelles Assainies, Kaolack
– 453 plots in Parcelles Assainies, Guentaba, Dakar.

Production could have been much higher had it not been for occasional shortages in available land.

The surface area of 90% of the plots is 150 m2 and the other 10% range between 150 m2 and 300 m2. Plots larger than 150 m2 are intended for households with a monthly income greater than 150,000 CFA, to promote emulation and solidarity on the one hand; and on the other hand, to prevent those with higher incomes, if they are completely excluded, from buying up plots allocated to those less prosperous. In addition to plots for housing and community facilities, shop and workshop areas are created to promote trade, the craft industry, and small businesses. For example, in the first project, nine (9) craft industry zones with an area of 4 ha 79 were created. This contributes to job creation and supplements those jobs created by construction activities.

Qualitatively, it should be noted that the plots are basically attributed to households with low and average incomes (12,000 to 37,000 CFA per month in the beginning of 1973 and less than 150,000 CFA per month in 1997, due to inflation and the standard of service), including many households working in the informal sector that were not considered credit-worthy before the project came into existence.

The project contributes to modernising peri-urban areas and halting the spread of unauthorised neighbourhoods. When households are able to purchase plots in areas already laid on with essential amenities, they do not set up unhealthy, unauthorised neighbourhoods in city suburbs.

The project also helps regulate the real estate market, due to the number of plots placed on the market and their purchasing price. For example, the plots sold in the Malika-Keur Massar project for 620,000 CFA in 1991 had been sold for 800,000 CFA in a neighbouring private housing development project in 1990.

The project also stimulated the development of self-building since it contributed to the assimilation of the idea of progressive savings before purchasing the lot, and by extension, the idea of building one’s home progressively over time. A genuine building industry has emerged, since large number of jobs are required to build housing.

The associative system has further galvanised participants energies and given new hope to the less wealthy who despaired of being able to afford a home in the capital. This main lesson seems to have been shared by all the other social housing initiatives in Dakar.

The principle of buying land and building one’s owns family home over time through a self-building system gave new confidence to low-income households who did not have access to ready-made housing or bank loans.

The people’s commitment to the Parcelles Assainies projects is proof of the project’s success. It currently supervises 195 “sections d’épargne” with more than 20,000 members, who are potential buyers for lots in the third major project in Dakar.


The project’s future is certain. Customers are attributed developed plots after signing contracts with SNHLM, and they pay in monthly instalments. The system ensures recovery of invested funds so that they can be used for new developments. The project has already been extended to four other Communes (Pikine, Dakar, Thies, and Kaolack). Outside funding is no longer needed. The project can finance itself, like the Parcelles Assainies project of Malika-Keur Massar, which was completed using only its own funds.


The associative system and the principle of developing building lots to forestall the development of unauthorised neighbourhoods seem easy to assimilate. After the first project, the initiative was reproduced both in the capital and in two other cities. It will be reproduced in all of Senegal’s regional capitals.