Africa Cover

Addressing Africa’s Housing Finance Chain

Christian Agossa
Stefan Nalletamby

 

Over 200 Delegates,et al, to Converge in Abidjan

 Story: Mohammed Abu,Accra

 More than 200 delegates and stakeholders are to converge at the Ivorian commercial capital of Abidjan on Tuesday,October 23rd, for the 34th African Union for Housing Finance (AUHF) conference and Annual General Meeting.

Held under the  theme,”Building Africa’s Housing Financing Chain”,the three-day event  will draw leading figures from Africa in one of the primary economies of the continent’s fastest growing economic regions – the West Africa Monetary Union (UEMOA)

Some of the confirmed regional speakers include Mr Christian Agossa, Directeur Général at Caisse Régionale de Refinancement Hypothécaire de l’UEMOA, Mr. Stefan Nallemtaby, Director Financial Sector Development Department African Development Bank, the Chief Executive of the Federal Bank of Nigeria Arc. Ahmed Musa Dangiwa, Kehinde Ogundimu, acting chief executive officer of the Nigerian Mortgage Refinancing Company

The  Conference 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.

It also would provide  a strategic platform for the continent’s affordable housing financing thought leaders to deliberate on issues relating to how to build a more robust housing finance value chain.

Some of the key partners for this year’s event include ,the Centre for Affordable Housing Finance in Africa (CAHF), the African Development Bank (AfDB), and Caisse Regional de Refinacement Hypethecaire (CRRH).

While the conference will provide stakeholders with an opportunity to examine the unique regional context, the 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.

These were contained in a press release issued  by the African Union of Affordable Housing Finance (AUHF) in Abidjan on october 2, ahead of the event..

Providing affordable housing opportunities to Africa’s rapidly urbanizing population,the release noted, 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,it further noted, 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

In the light of the foregoing,the conference’s focal points is Building UEMOA’s housing finance sector and  mortgage lending is going to be a key issue, with  the  Director General of the UEMOA mortgage refinance institution, the Caisse Regionale de Refinnacement Hypothécaire de l’UEMOA Christian Agossa billed to  deliver a keynote address on this key focus area.

According to Mr. Agossamortgage 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 promise to be a significant driver of economic activity, says one of the key stakeholders of this year’s summit, the executive director for the Centre for Affordable Housing Finance’s (CAHF) Kecia Rust.

Rust further intimates, “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.  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.”

Mr. Nalletamby of the African Development bank on his part ,stated, “We will have a robust discussion on the affordable housing value chain and Abidjan, as one of Africa’s high growth economies is the perfect host city for this conference and AGM”.

The release also captures  CAHF analyses on the most affordable homes which are being built on the continent and citing   Nigeria,where  Millard Fuller has developed a starter house for a total cost of $7,500.

“If this were available,the release noted, for purchase with a mortgage across the continent, the potential effective demand would translate to about 52 million houses.

“A simple “back of the envelope” calculation suggests that this could generate $400 Billion in economic activity just with the construction of the housing units and related infrastructure and provide more than 1.3 million jobs in the construction sector alone.

“The opportunity for African countries in supporting the growth and development of their affordable housing industries is immense and transformative”.

Investors and policy makers ,the release observed ,are getting interested with such developments 

Development Finance Institutions, as well as international and local investors all working towards maximising the impact investment potential that the numbers suggest.are also to given  a platform for the growing number of affordable housing stakeholders to accelerate their conversation.