Addressing the House Shortage in Africa
Housing the New Africa: Challenges and Opportunities for the Future JAMES J MUGERWA, By Managing Director, Shelter Afrique
FThe New Africa
ifty years into independence for most countries on the continent and it is very discernible, there is a new Africa. From newspaper stands to the news banners on major international news network, there seems to be the same compelling narrative, Africa is rising. Gone are the years of conflict, strife and hunger, the continent has moved forward and is finding innovative solutions to deal with their problems; a clear example of that is mobile phone technology is being used to assess and halt the spread of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.
With the new Africa comes the new African; the African who is more informed, who understands and uses technology, the African who has many more choices and options, the African who isn’t limited to Africa and the African who is more interested in self-sufficiency and livelihood than conflict and foreign aid. The challenge for the future will be providing services and a conducive environment for this new Africa; key among these will be shelter.
Not so few suces stories
Stories of success and growth are becoming more commonplace on the continent, in every sub-region there are clear instances that can be singled out for commendation, instances like Rwanda that has turned from its painful history to an economy that has grown at an average of nearly 8 percent over the four years. Rwanda also happens to be the location of our ambitious pilot project Rugarama; a sustainable integrated community development in association with the City of Kigali and the Development Bank of Rwanda; the objective of which is to develop a high density housing estate with over 2700 units for middle- income to lower income earners.
Ivory Coast is another fine example of how the continent is turning a new corner, once mired in a contentious electoral process, the country has returned to stability and is steady on its way to recovery with many forecasts projecting stronger than expected results from the West African nation. We successfully floated a bond for the FCFA region in the first quarter in Ivory Coast which was oversubscribed by 163 percent and we expect that Ivory Coast will unlock even more opportunities in the New Year.
Many more examples and case studies exist of how countries on the continent are improving and growing; certainly there are positive signs and indicators from more countries like Nigeria, Kenya, Botswana and Ghana to mention a few. Beyond that however Africa is becoming more self-reliant, in a study conducted by Ernst & Young it was revealed that Intra-African investment is gaining momentum. African investors nearly tripled their share of FDI projects over the last decade, from 8 percent in 2003 to 22.8 percent in 2013.
We are also witnessing the rise of the middle class on the continent which many see as the driver of growth and investment on the continent; sustaining growth on the continent may mean finding products and services that cater to expanding middle-class. We at Shelter Afrique can certainly attest that demand for housing product remains the most apparent from the middle-class and below.
With a prosperous Africa and an expanding middle class, a population boom and rapid urbanisation are also expected. It is
James J Mugerwa Shelter Afrique, MD