Two of the longest-standing unanswered questions in housing are: “What does housing contribute to the economies of African countries?” and “How much does it cost to build an affordable house in Africa?” 

Affordable Housing. Image credit:

Affordable Housing. Image credit:

CAHF has recently completed a series of studies that give us clearer answers to these two questions, and many others as well. The studies are ground-breaking in their approaches, venturing into territories where real information is scarce, and data to build that information severely lacking. While we do not claim to have definitively answered these questions, we have come a long way to developing replicable approaches that give us more certainty than ever before. And this, we hope, will be the foundation on which better and more accurate information will grow across the African continent.

To begin, we produced five blogs or articles that consider the role of residential construction and residential rental in Africa’s developing economies, as well as on comparing the costs of producing affordable residential accommodation in fifteen African countries:

  1. What Role does Housing Play in African Economies?
  2. The Story of Housing and the Economy: Decoding the Housing Construction and Housing Rental Value Chains
  3. The Story of Housing and the Economy: Exploring South Africa’s Housing Value Chains
  4. Understanding the Upstream Economic Impacts of South Africa’s Housing Economy
  5. Quantifying South Africa’s Housing Economic Value Chain in 2017

In the first  report of the series, we  describe, quantify and compare the housing economic value chains of South Africa, Rwanda, Kenya and Nigeria. The report analyses the impact that housing construction and housing rental have on developing economies, and which sectors of the national economy are most impacted by these activities. Separate country reports focus exclusively on South Africa, KenyaRwanda , Tanzania and Nigeria.

In South Africa, we went one step further to analyse the impact of government’s subsidised housing programme on the housing construction and housing rental value chains.

A second multi-country report presents the findings of a unique housing cost benchmarking methodology developed by CAHF, analysing housing costs in fifteen African countries. In addition, two dashboards provide an opportunity to view and engage with the data:

  1. Benchmarking Housing Construction Costs in Africa
  2. Down to Brick Level: Benchmarking Housing Construction Costs in Africa

In addition, we will share with you how these studies – one viewing housing from a macro-economic viewpoint, and the other from a micro-economic viewpoint, start to combine to build a better picture of the role of housing in developing economies.Check back for additional reports as we undertake this housing economic value chain analysis in Ghana, Uganda, and Cote d’Ivoire.

About CAHF

The Centre for Affordable Housing Finance in Africa (CAHF) has been operating as an independent think tank in South Africa since May 2014, pursuing its mission of making Africa’s housing finance markets work. CAHF’s work extends across the continent, and it is supported by and collaborates with a range of funders and partners.

CAHF brings information to the market place to enable stakeholders in the public and private sector to make policy and investment decisions in favour of improved access to affordable housing. Our emphasis is on the role that finance plays in realising this, and we champion market intelligence—data, market analytics and research—to stimulate investor interest and to support better policy. We are highly networked and engage with stakeholders at the local, national, regional, continental and global levels to support the realisation of investment towards affordable housing in Africa.