According to a recently released survey report (‘Mapping changes in housing in sub-Saharan Africa from 2000 to 2015’), Africa has made remarkable progress when it comes to housing over the 15-year period.

The research spearheaded by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine reveals that housing had improved across several measures over the 15 years.

Sufficient living area, improved water and sanitation and the durability of construction were found across 23% of houses in 2015, up from 11% in 2000, notes the report.

“The study demonstrates that people are widely investing in their homes – we saw a doubling in the number of people living in an improved house. This parallels the success stories we are seeing in terms of Africa’s development,” says Dr Samir Bhatt, senior author of the report.

But the report published in science journal, Nature, also found a worrying trend that almost half of the urban population – 53 million people across the countries analysed – were living in slum conditions.

The United Nations defines a slum household as one that does not protect against extreme weather, has more than three people to a room, lacks access to safe water and adequate sanitation and has no security of tenure.

The study found the need for adequate housing to be ‘particularly acute’ in Africa, since the continent has the fastest growing population in the world, predicted to rise from 1.2 billion people in 2015 to 2.5 billion people by 2050.

The survey which analysed 31 countries based on state-of-the-art mapping, notes high housing improvement in Botswana, Gabon and Zimbabwe. South Sudan, Ethiopia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo were among countries where progress was less marked.