By Mike Omuodo | Media Fast
Nairobi – Shelter Afrique a Pan-African housing development financier, has urged African governments to prioritize provision of affordable housing to their citizens as a key step towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The President of Shelter Afrique General Assembly and Cameroon’s Minister of Housing and Urban Development Ms. Célestine Ketcha Courtes said that African governments cannot talk of achieving Sustainable Development Goals without thinking about proper housing for their growing populations.
Speaking in Nairobi after paying a courtesy call to Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure, Housing and Urban Development James Macharia, Ms. Courtes stressed that housing is at the heart of Sustainable Development Goals, adding that little could be achieved if the housing sector is ignored.
“African governments cannot talk of achieving Sustainable Development Goals without thinking about proper housing for their growing populations,” Ms. Courtes said, adding that no one should be left behind.
“Leaving no one behind means governments should be able to provide decent housing to the lady selling vegetables at an open air market in Yaoundé, to a taxi-man in Nairobi – basically being able to provide housing to those who cannot walk into a commercial bank and obtain a mortgage. This is what Shelter Afrique is striving to help African governments achieve.”
According to Shelter Afrique research arm, Centre of Excellence, the overall shortage of housing in Africa is estimated to be 56 million housing units. Out of this, more than 90 per cent or 50 million units are in the affordable housing bracket.
Ms. Courtes noted that as a response, Cameroon had joined hands with Shelter Afrique to establish a Construction Company that will produce construction materials such as polystyrene block production plant, panel production plan and other associated equipment at an affordable cost.
“To reduce the construction cost, Africa needs to go through industrialization and this is the choice we have made in Cameroon when we partnered with Shelter Afrique to establish this factory. Shelter Afrique will then be able to duplicate these projects in other member States,” Ms. Courtes said.
Ms. Courtes said the endorsement of the Yaoundé Declarations adopted at Shelter Afrique 40th General Assembly held in Yaoundé – Cameroon, by various stakeholders was a positive step. The Declaration seeks to enhance mechanisms for the mass production of decent and affordable housing in the continent to achieve social and economic development.
“Member countries responded well to the Declarations with 25 members endorsing it at the onset – more Member States continue to endorse it. We believe it’s the silver bullet that we need to address the housing crisis across the continent,” she said.
She also lauded Member States for their positive responses to calls for recapitalization, which she says, has boosted Shelter Afrique’s capital base and its ability to deliver housing and support urban development across the continent.
Several countries have ramped up capital subscription in Shelter Afrique in 2021 including Kenya (US$9.3million), Cameroon (US$3.53million), Mali (US$2.06million), Rwanda (US$1.1million), Uganda (US$0.1million), Togo (US$0.58million, Tanzania (US$2.67million), Swaziland (US$0.3million), Ivory Coast (US$0.57million), and DRC (US$2.67million).
About Shelter Afrique
Shelter-Afrique is a pan African housing finance and development institution established by African governments to address the need for a sustainable housing delivery system and related infrastructure projects in Africa.
Shareholders include 44 African countries, the African Development Bank, and the African Re-Insurance Corporation. The company’s mandate is to provide financing by way of debt, quasi-equity and equity to both public and private institutions for housing and urban infrastructure projects in its member countries.
Shelter Afrique builds strategic partnerships and offers a host of products and related services to support the efficient delivery of affordable housing and commercial real estate. These include project finance, institutional lending, equity investments & joint ventures, trade finance, and social housing.
It also offers practical advice and technical assistance to a wide range of industry stakeholders.