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Housing Crisis

Pan-African financier mulls partnership with China to handle Africa’s housing crisis

Pan-African real estate finance institution Shelter Afrique is seeking to partner with China in order to end Africa’s housing crisis, an official said on Wednesday.

Andrew Chimphondah, CEO of Shelter Afrique, told Xinhua in Nairobi that 44 African governments own 78 percent of Shelter Afrique with category A shares while African Development Bank and African Reinsurance Corporation own 22 percent with category B shares.

“We have introduced a new category C shares which we hope to sell to Chinese developmental financial institutions to enable them to take up equity in Shelter Afrique so that they can help us increase our production of affordable houses in Africa,” Chimphondah said on the sidelines of the sixth annual East African Property Investment Summit.

Chimphondah said that its current funding base is not sufficient to develop sufficient houses to meet Africa’s housing demand, adding that his organization is keen to diversify its shareholding by cooperating with like- minded institutions in order to expand the annual production of affordable houses in Africa.

Chimphondah noted that Chinese funding will be deployed to undertake projects across Africa that have at least 1,000 housing units, in order to bridge the housing shortfall.

He noted that Africa has a housing shortage of about 100 million units, with major countries having housing deficits including Nigeria contributing 17 million units, Kenya and South Africa three million units each while Ghana having a housing deficit of two million units.

Chimphondah observed that on average, the rate of Africa’s urbanization is four percent annually and this has made governments unable to provide social houses fast enough to cater for all low income urban residents.

“As a result, most urban dwellers are forced to live in informal settlements that lack adequate water and sanitation facilities,” he said.

Shelter Afrique is keen to collaborate with the Chinese in order to access cheap finance so that they build houses through a public private partnership.

“The Chinese will bring their expertise in developing innovative ways of construction that will drive down the cost of construction of houses,” he said.

Chimphondah observed that by working with shelter Afrique, Chinese partners will have access to over 44 African nations at once.

Source: Xinhua

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