Sustainable, affordable housing: 8 African countries that need it most

2019-05-22T09:08:02+00:00May 22nd, 2019|News|

A vast majority of African cities are becoming homes to thousands of people everyday thanks to the rapid urbanisation, population explosion, migration and influx of people into major cities. There’s an unparalleled demand for affordable homes across Africa, particularly in countries such as Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Nigeria, South Africa, Côte d’Ivoire and Uganda.

While there have been local and global investors who have invested in most affordable housing projects, we look at how government bodies facilitate in meeting the requirements through various schemes and policy initiatives that favour low-income groups.

Here are eight countries that experience severe deficit and need due attention regarding the affordable housing scenario in sub-Saharan Africa.

Kenya

The housing deficit in Kenya, comprises almost two million and continues to grow at a rate of about 200 000 units a year. There’s increased proliferation of informal settlements in urban areas with a whopping 61% of the urban population living in slums in overcrowded homes typically with only one room and no adequate ventilation, which proves to be detrimental to their health. The Kenyan government plans to launch a low-cost housing project that will see 30 000 housing units constructed in east of Nairobi by 2020 as part of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s development agenda.

Ghana

Ghana has a housing deficit of 1.7 Million units as of 2018. To address this issue, the ministry of housing in Ghana has proposed an annual delivery of 85 000 homes over the next decade. The government is also working towards facilitating creative finance schemes that improve overall affordability and access to modern communities for all working-class citizens.

The Ghana government, in its 2019 budget, announced GHS1-billion mortgage and housing finance to leverage private capital, which aims to expand access to housing and deepen the local mortgage and construction finance market and help reduce the housing deficit.

Ethiopia

Ethiopia’s economic growth is accompanied by a rapid urbanisation rate that has posed several socio-economic challenges which includes affordable housing. There’s an estimated shortage of at least 1.2 million units in Ethiopia. The government of Ethiopia has addressed the public’s demand for residence and employing various condominium housing schemes that has largely benefited low and middle-income citizens.

Aside of government aided projects, numerous private real estate developers have played a pivotal role in making affordable homes a reality. The private companies have made significant contributions in satisfying the demand of middle- and low-income citizens for apartments and other high-end houses by fully funding the cost of homes and employing different mechanisms, such as microfinance and low interest loans, to transfer properties.

Uganda

A recent survey related to housing by the Uganda Bureau of Statistics reveals that Uganda has a housing deficit of about 1.7 million habitable housing units. It is reported that Kampala alone has a housing deficit of 550 000 units. The primary constraint in the mortgage sector is the lack of more permanent access to long-term funds, which are now made available on an ad hoc basis by international development banks such as the European Investment Bank.

With the emergence of private real estate developers many housing and mortgage sectors are growing quickly and have partnered with commercial banks to offer mortgages to people who cannot afford outright purchases. The Uganda government has also partnered with the private sector taking the onus on itself to improve infrastructure such as water, sewerage, electricity and roads. These combined initiatives have created a boom in the housing sector.

Nigeria

Nigeria as we know is often referred to as the ‘Giant of Africa’ owing to its large population and economy. It is the most populous country in Africa with an estimated housing deficit of 20 million homes. One of the major constraints faced by citizens in Nigeria is the lack of a robust land tenure and financial system.

The government estimates that the housing sector would need at least USD400-billion investment over the next 25 to 30 years to resolve this deficit. The government of Nigeria is seeking innovative ways to attract funding for housing provision through private partnerships with financial institutions. Through raising of long-term housing bonds which would guarantee provision of affordable housing for the public.

Côte d’Ivoire

Côte d’Ivoire aka Ivory Coast is known to be the world’s largest producer and exporter of coffee and palm oil, which once boasted the strongest economy in West Africa. The devastating effects of civil war in 2001 affected the economy leading to poverty and economic struggles. The city of Abidjan alone is estimated to have a housing deficit of 200 000 homes.

The government has since adopted new measures to satisfy consumers, housing developers and financial institutions. The government has planned construction of more than 60 000 housing units including 50 000 in Abidjan alone which has high demand. Alongside the housing plans, the government has also introduced single land title to clarify transactions, reduction of registration costs by 9.6% of the property value, regulate rents and minimise rental guarantees.

Private investors have partnered with the government to improve the health and living conditions of the poor by providing affordable sanitation, water pumps and other basic facilities.

South Africa

South Africa, with a significant backdrop of a well-developed finance sector and property market, suffers a deficit of almost 2.5 million homes. Despite good credit markets, the access to mortgage finance is hugely limited to high-income earners.

The government, however, addresses the affordability challenge by focusing on the supply side, providing houses to low income households as part of a comprehensive subsidised programme in which government is the delivery agent.

Other schemes for affordability include, social rental housing and subsidised housing. The key to unlock housing supply at the lower end of the market is to facilitate and promote resale. Another option that the government plans to employ and considers to be a potential factor is microfinance, which rolls out loans at an affordable repay value.

Rwanda

Rwanda had the world’s fastest urbanisation rate from 2010 to 2015, according to the UN. An estimated 344 000 new homes are needed at Kigali by 2022 to house 70% of residents currently living in informal settlements. The National Informal Urban Settlement Upgrading Strategy broadened the scope of affordable housing policies to include self-construction and home improvement as a solution for low-income residents who are unable to afford even the least expensive units in new housing.

The Government of Rwanda has also undertaken steps to introduce a uniform land tenure regime and provide sustainable land via National Land Use and Development Master Plan (NLUMP).

The affordable housing scenario in most sub-Saharan African regions needs strong strategic solutions to address the situation and optimise it in ways that benefit the consumer.

The Affordable Housing Investment Summit, which is set to take place on 26 and 27 June 2019 in Nairobi, Kenya addresses these issues through various stakeholders including government officials, investors, developers, consultants, architects, suppliers and other delegates who will be present at the event.

For more information on the summit, visit: https://www.ahisummit.com/about-ahis/.