Owning a decent house is still an unattainable goal for many African households. The continent with about one billion people and 54 countries have a common challenge in the aspect of shortage of affordable and decent houses for millions of its inhabitants.
The continent is reported to have 57 million housing deficits. Out of this number, Nigeria accounts for over 20 million; Kenya has a housing gap of approximately 2 million homes, while more than 12million people in Egypt live in informal buildings.
The situation might even get worse considering the population growth projections. By 2050, the population of the continent will have doubled, meaning that the region will have added 3.5million people per month. The sheer numbers alone illustrate the challenges of housing provision. And given that Africa already has the youngest population in the world, countries within the region are in for a prolonged period of demand for housing.
Another, and perhaps more salient, factor is the high level of urbanisation — something that has put an immense amount of pressure on existing infrastructure and housing stock. Lagos is a case in point. The city continues to grow in population density and urbanization. The city currently stands as the 14th largest urban area in the world.
Stakeholders overtime have identified the lack of affordable housing finance, high costs of urban land and weak tenure security, rising construction costs, and prevalence of slums as major challenges to housing provision.
Nonetheless, the situation is beginning to change through the intervention of a pan African housing finance development institution ‘ Shelter Afrique.’
Shelter-Afrique is established by African governments to address the need for sustainable housing delivery system and related infrastructure projects in Africa. Shareholders include 44 African countries, the African Development Bank, and the African Re-Insurance Corporation. The company’s mandate is to provide financing by way of debt, quasi-equity and equity to both public and private institutions for housing and urban infrastructure projects in its member countries.
The company came into existence against the background of the acute housing shortages prevalent in most African countries and the urgent need for African governments therefore to pool resources to tackle the problems.
Operational activities commenced in 1985 and since then Shelter Afrique has developed a robust portfolio of projects and activities, acquired substantial operational experience and established itself as a credible housing finance institution.
Over the years, Shelter Afrique has been applauded for its role in facilitating development of housing mostly in the middle income households and at the same time promoting the use of locally available materials with modern technology to make construction affordable.
Shelter Afrique has a number of initiatives geared towards enhancing housing affordability in Africa. They currently have investments in mortgage refinance companies including NMRC, Kenya Mortgage Refinance Company, CRRH – UEMOA Togo. They also have a Pan African slum eradication programs like the slum upgrading program in Uganda and many more. The finance institution headquartered in Nairobi, has completed 17,572 housing projects in member countries, while the cumulative loan approval of the organisation in 2019 was $1.174bn.
Shelter Afrique has an existing partnership with a number of local institutions in Nigeria. In 2019, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed with Nigeria’s biggest social housing fund, Family Homes Funds to enhance the delivery of affordable housing for Nigerians. The finance institution, says other partnerships with the Abuja International Housing Show, Nigeria Mortgage Refinance Company and local developers will help reduce the huge housing deficit in Nigeria.
Speaking recently in Abuja at a stakeholders’ meeting on affordable housing delivery organized by the Federal ministry of Works and Housing , Shelter Afrique’s Managing Director, Mr. Andrew Chimphondah said the finance institution`s approval for the development of housing projects in the country has risen to $181m (N55.6bn at the official exchange rate of N307 to one dollar). He also announced the institution’s planned investment of up to N650.9bn in Nigeria. He explained that Shelter Afrique is collaborating with the NMRC through an intervention and support programme with Nigerian banks through a line of credit already approved to enable more Nigerians have access to mortgage loans that will lead to home ownership.
Nigeria is the second largest sovereign shareholder of the institution with 10.71 per cent stake.
Shelter Afrique, according to him, is supporting micro finance Institutions to enable Nigerians access mortgage loans to build their own houses.
It was in recognition of all these efforts that Shelter Afrique was awarded the Pan-Africa Award of Affordable Housing Promoter of the Year at the 2019 Nigeria Housing Awards (NHA) in Abuja. The prestigious award is in recognition of the organisation’s contribution to the provision of affordable housing and reduction of slum dwelling in many African countries.
Shelter Afrique since its establishment 36 –year ago has continue to be at the forefront of reducing housing deficits on the continent through the various partnership and collaborative efforts it is currently pursuing.
Get real time update about this post categories directly on your device, subscribe now.