AUHF Moves to Develop Continent’s Real Estate Sector by Setting the Stage for Affordable Housing in Africa

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The African Union for Housing Finance (AUHF), an industry body that promotes the development of effective housing finance markets, has reaffirmed its commitment towards the delivery of affordable housing across the continent.

In light of these developments, AUHF will hold its 34th conference and Annual General Meeting for the first time in Abidjan, Cote D’Ivoire between the 23rd and the 25th of October, 2018.

The event will be held under the theme ‘Building Africa’s Housing Financing Chain’ and will be unpacked by the leading figures from Africa in one of the primary economies of the continent’s fastest growing economic regions; the West Africa Monetary Union (UEMOA).

While the conference will provide stakeholders with an opportunity to examine the unique regional context, the three-day conference and AGM is pan-African in focus with more than 61-member institutions and several key partners from across the continent coming together to address the challenges and opportunities in Africa’s housing finance chain.

The Conference, which will bring together over 200 delegates from across Africa, will explore the key links in the housing financing chain: the finance instruments that support each link in the housing delivery chain, and the funding instruments that make these possible.

This year’s partners include: The Centre for Affordable Housing Finance in Africa (CAHF), the African Development Bank (AfDB), and Caisse Regional de Refinacement Hypethecaire (CRRH).

The event comes at a time when providing affordable housing opportunities to Africa’s rapidly urbanising population is a major policy driver for African governments and an opportunity for both local and international investors and developers. Recent estimates by the World Bank suggest that more than 1 billion people will live in African cities by 2040, more than double the current urban population on the continent.

The capacity of Africa’s cities to respond to this challenge, and to turn the demand for affordable housing into an opportunity for stimulating local economic growth and development, is critically dependent on an efficient flow of finance.

As the conference takes place in a leading regional economy, Cote D’Ivoire, and hub for the West Africa Monetary Union (UEMOA), one of the three-day conference’s focal points is Building UEMOA’s housing finance sector.

Mortgage lending is a key issue, and Director General of the UEMOA mortgage refinance institution, the Caisse Regionale de Refinnacement Hypothécaire de l’UEMOA Christian Agossa will deliver a keynote address on this key focus area.

According to Mr. Agossa, mortgage lending products need to be well-targeted to the demand side; however, adjustments to product design, including mechanisms to underwrite informal incomes, savings-linked and micro-mortgage products, and pension-backed lending will expand the potential market for mortgage lending dramatically in affordable housing.

The affordable housing challenge promises to be a significant driver of economic activity, said Executive Director for the Centre for Affordable Housing Finance’s (CAHF) Kecia Rust, who is one of the key stakeholders of this year’s summit.

Nigeria, Uganda, Côte d’Ivoire, Rwanda, South Africa, and others have all expressed a commitment to affordable housing in the past year.

“Governments have a critical role to play in land assembly and the awarding of development rights that support affordability; infrastructure investment must accommodate the expected densities and should ultimately be funded over a longer time frame than the housing itself,” Rust explained.

“The capacity of developers to deliver truly affordable housing at scale is another issue that will require policy support and private sector construction financing.  And then there is the question of end user financing, the cost of capital, and the trust lenders have in the underlying security. These are all policy and regulatory issues on which the government will need to focus – beyond simply visioning a magic number,” said Rust.


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