Africa Cover

Major Ivorian Social Housing efforts unveiled

Songon Social Housing Project(Photo-Courtesy Dreamtimes)

….As AUHF Confab-AGM ends in Abidjan

Report: Mohammed ABU

The 34th Annual conference and general meeting,2018 edition  of the Africa Union for Housing Finance(AUHF) recently ended successfully in the Ivorian commercial capital of Abidjan,with a field trip to the government’s social housing project at Songon.

Located ,about 30 km outside the capital,the Sorgon housing project promises to be one of West Africa’s most ambitious government social housing interventions and showcase.

The 437 hectares land acquired by the Ivorian government, is divided into 29 portions among  29 developers with government supporting with roads construction ,water and sanitation, to take off that cost component  that could have been passed onto the end users.

Mr.A.Koalla Celstin,National Director for Housing,Ivory Coast,  responded  to questions at ORI Songon,the site of Oribat one out of the 29 developers .Conference delegates and participants some of who were also potential investors ,quizzed him on the issue of guarantee for  demand with respect to  the houses being constructed  under the project .

Mr.Celstin in his response said, there was a government institution in charge of affordable housing to gather information and produce data on those who needed the houses ahead of construction. Against  this backdrop he noted,the houses being constructed are already being subscribed to.He further disclosed that , Oribat had  already sold out 526 completed housing units.

Mr.Celstin said the houses were categorised into affordable,economy and luxury type deliverables . A  2-3 bedroom(35-65 sqm) he said,went  for CFA 5-10 million(USD10,000.00-20,000.00),while the economy 60-75 sqm also goes for CFA10-15 million(USD20,000.00-30,000.00).

Mr.Celstin further disclosed  that the payment terms were either by cash or any other terms as amicably agreed  between the developer and end user.

In his welcome address earlier  during the opening day of the conference,Mr.Oscar Mgaya,Chairman of the African Union for Housing Finance(AUHF) noted,that the key issue before them was also the theme,”Building African Housing Finance chain” and hoped the participants would have a lot to contribute while urging them to shares view and make their voices heard and engage in debate.

“Coming together in Cote d’Ivoire we have a unique opportunity to orchestrate a common voice and articulate with confidence together  what we feel is necessary to build African housing finance chain. And then as many of us leave this city,the AUHF will work to ensure the common voice is shared throughout various channels in support of policy and regulatory reform that better enables our work .This is the reason that the AUHF persist in organising the conference each year at about this time in a different country to stimulate debate” .

There were 43 speakers drawn  from within Africa and beyond with multiple sessions featuring,  Pension funds along the housing chain,Capital looking for opportunities in affordable housing ,,Looking for projects:Investor experience in Housing in Africa,The role of the state and local government in setting finance frameworks,Managing risk,among others.

From experiences that were shared by the housing sector players from  other African countries ,the issue of land tenure and multiple ownership of one land property turned out to be a common challenge that constitutes a stumbling block to investments across the continent .

Samson Moraba,CEO of National Housing Finance Corporation SOC Ltd,speaking during the conference urged African governments to create the enabling environments through appropriate policy  measures and reforms

Christian N.D.Agossa,Managing Director Caisse Regionale De Refinancement Hypothecire(CRRH) speaking on the second day of the event,disclosed that his outfit was to release billions of CFA to local banks in his area of jurisdiction for on-lending to their customers relating to the social housing sector.This he noted, was intended to  take off  the cost element in imported  foreign capital .

The event was co-hosted with members of AUHF and International Finance corporation(IFC),CRRH,African Development Bank(AfDB) and making finance Work for Africa.

Corporate sponsors included,Maison Belier,Hanisa Group (construction),Business Concept,BICICI,Ciment Belier,egis,Batiplus,TISA,SGBCI,BATIM.CI, among others.