Stakeholders in the housing sector are exploring ways of improving affordability of housing units in an attempt to address the biting housing shortage in Africa.
Speaking at the close of the 37th Annual General Meeting and conference of African Union for Housing Finance(“AUHF”) held in Kigali, Rwanda from the 2nd to 4th November under the theme “New Frontiers for Affordable Housing”, the Chairman of the AUHF and Shelter Afrique CEO, Mr. Andrew Chimphondah noted that one of the key learnings from the conference was that developing housing units with a selling price of USD10,000 or below is highly possible.
“This year’s AUHF annual conference has provided a very critical platform for global learning, sharing insights, networking, and highlighting trends in the fast-growing affordable housing sector in Africa. Some of the key trends covered in this year’s conference include innovations in underwriting for informal incomes; opportunities to be found in property technology; new and innovative funding approaches; green and climate resilient housing; developing local capital markets, improving the efficiency and performance of the Housing Value Chain across the African continent and more importantly, increasing efforts to deliver exceptionally affordable homes at a selling price of less than $10,000,” Mr. Chimphondah said.
“In a post-Covid environment where everyone’s resources are constrained, we need to do more with so much less. What this means is that we need to improve the efficiencies of our housing sector and the processes it involves so that we can drastically reduce the construction cost and improve affordability,” Mr. Chimphondah added.
The conference which attracted more than 550 attendees from around the world was presided over by Rwanda’s Minister of Infrastructure, Amb. Claver Gatete, who shared Rwanda’s ambitious affordable housing agenda.
“The new housing innovations have and continue to enable Rwanda to upgrade slums without the need to relocate the beneficiaries, The Government of Rwanda has also introduced various housing incentives such as the 100% infrastructure subsidies for low-cost high quality housing developments whose selling prices should not exceed US$35,000.00,” Amb. Gatete said.
From innovation and technology across the housing system, the conference was also used by leading institutions such as Shelter Afrique, UN-Habitat, the African Development Bank, iLima Foundry, the Centre for Affordable Housing (CAHF), Reall and others to announce groundbreaking initiatives and developments that are likely to fast track sustainable affordable housing solutions across the continent.
“The conference also provided a platform for global leaders to share best practice; and for local developers to get access to ideas, technology and pan African and international contacts. Our hope is that these new ideas will speed up the development of the affordable housing sector across the continent,” said Centre for Affordable Housing Finance Executive Director Kecia Rust, who also serves at the AUHF’s Secretariat.
At the conference, members issued the Kigali Declaration for Affordable Housing in Africa, expressing their commitment to working together in leveraging their diverse capacities, charting new frontiers in the delivery of affordable housing across the continent and in individual countries.
“The Declaration sets out key commitments for the AUHF and its members, and urges governments, development finance institutions and support organisations, and other players across Africa’s affordable housing sector to work together in pursuit of these goals,” Mr. Chimphondah concluded.