Chinese Garden of Friendship

Pan-African real estate financier Shelter Afrique is seeking partnership with China to end Africa’s housing crisis.

Speaking during the East African Property Investment Summit, Shelter Afrique CEO Andrew Chimphondah said in Nairobi that 44 African governments own 78 percent of Shelter Afrique with category A shares while African Development Bank and African Reinsurance Corporation own 22 percent with category B shares.

“We have introduced new category C shares which we hope to sell to Chinese developmental financial institutions to enable them to take up equity in Shelter Afrique so that they can help us increase our production of affordable houses in Africa,” Chimphondah said on the sidelines of the sixth annual East African Property Investment Summit.

Chimphondah said that the company’s current funding base cannot meet the capacity of housing required to meet Africa’s housing demand. He added that adding that Shelter Afrique is keen to diversify its shareholding structure by cooperating with like- minded institutions in order to expand the annual production of affordable houses in Africa.

He pointed that Chinese funding will be deployed to undertake projects across Africa that have at least 1,000 housing units, in order to bridge the housing shortfall. Africa has a housing shortage of about 100 million units, with major countries having housing deficits including Nigeria contributing 17 million units, Kenya and South Africa three million units each while Ghana having a housing deficit of two million units.

At Africa’s urbanization rate that is four percent annually on average, governments are unable to even cope with the demand for social housing for all low-income urban residents. “As a result, most urban dwellers are forced to live in informal settlements that lack adequate water and sanitation facilities,” he said.

Chimphondah said Shelter Afrique is keen to collaborate with the Chinese in order to access cheap finance so that they build houses through a public private partnership. “The Chinese will bring their expertise in developing innovative ways of construction that will drive down the cost of construction of houses,” he said.

The partnership between Shelter Afrique and China will give the Chinese partners access to over 44 African housing markets in a single deal.

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