Housing finance experts’ Kampala declaration on affordable housing

 

With Africa cities facing a critical and growing need for affordable housing, mortgage finance operators in the continent have committed to promoting and accelerating delivery of affordable housing, engaging the housing value chain for growth in each of the countries.

Currently, about 40 per cent of the continent’s one billion people live in cities and towns; and it is estimated that in the next few years, some African cities will be home to as much as 85 percent of their country’s population.

By 2030 it is estimated that the middle class in Sub-Saharan Africa will more than triple, to an estimated 107 million people. Housing delivery rates across the continent, however, are insufficient to meet this growing demand, and the housing that is delivered is unaffordable to the vast majority. As a result, the majority of Africa’s urban population continues to live in inadequate housing.

In a declaration by the African Union for Housing Finance (AUHF), after their meeting in Kampala, Uganda involving members from the public and private sectors from 24 countries, they urged governments at the national, state or provincial, and local sphere to actively support the vision for adequate and affordable housing for all.

They agreed that governments should assist in the development of specific policies that explicitly focus on affordable housing, and outline government’s role in its support as well as ensure access to land, secure title, and security and trust in our land markets.

AUHF also advised governments to enhance access to long term finance through measures that crowd in private investment for affordable housing, which might involve pension reform, or macroeconomic interventions reduce government reliance on corporate bonds and bills issuance as a revenue source, thereby improving the investment attractiveness of housing.

Similarly, they want an enabling incremental housing delivery processes for which municipal planning approvals are readily available and finance is easily accessed as well as a sector wide approach to subsidisation, that engages with the full housing ecosystem and identifies where the public and private sectors should best target their efforts.

Among other demands are an expedited delivery of regulatory approvals all along the housing value chain, ensuring improved efficiencies in terms of time and cost, for the regularization and titling of land, and the development of affordable housing.

 

The mortgage operators are also seeking the development and implementation of taxation regimes that incentivise investment in affordable housing, whether through the provision of tax relief for specific market segments, or other measure.

They urged the governments to promote affordable rental as a viable housing strategy to be delivered by a diversity of suppliers, including both large scale developers and landlords, as well as households themselves and transparent access to information relating to the housing delivery and property market.

AUHF is keen to engage with respective governments at the national and local level on both macro and micro economic issues, including interest rates, tax and monetary policy, and housing and land policy as it influences the growth and performance of housing markets.

While committing to the growth and development of affordable housing across our continent, they reiterated their commitment to the clauses contained in the New Urban Agenda, specifically:

“We commit ourselves to promoting the role of affordable and sustainable housing and housing finance, including social habitat production, in economic development, and the contribution of the sector to stimulating productivity in other economic sectors, recognizing that housing enhances capital formation, income, employment generation and savings and can contribute to driving sustainable and inclusive economic transformation at the national, subnational and local levels.

“We will support the development of appropriate and affordable housing finance products and encourage the participation of a diverse range of multilateral financial institutions, regional development banks and development finance institutions, cooperation agencies, private-sector lenders and investors, cooperatives, moneylenders and micro finance banks to invest in affordable and incremental housing in all its forms.”

AUHF is a member-based association of mortgage banks, building societies, housing corporations and other organisations involved in the mobilisation of funds for shelter and housing on the African continent. It enable members to respond to the challenges and opportunities within the contexts of their businesses, supporting better engagement between the public and the private sectors.

By Chinedum Uwaegbulam

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