Pan-African housing development financier Shelter Afrique is concerned that Africa continues to face a major housing crisis thanks to a high population growth, increased urbanization and low supply of affordable housing.
In Kenya for instance, the housing deficit stands at 2 million and continues to grow at a rate of about 200,000 units a year.
Ghana on the other hand has a housing deficit of 2 million units while Uganda is facing an annual deficit of 1.6 million housing units, Tanzania has a deficit of 3 million housing units, as South Africa struggles with 3 million housing units and Nigeria 17 million housing units
“The situation is compounded by lack of affordable housing finance, high cost of urban land and weak tenure security, rising construction costs, and rapid growth in slums,”says Shelter Afrique Chairman Daniel Nghidinua.
In a bid to tackle the housing crisis in Ghana, the government has inaugurated a National Housing Committee on Affordable Housing to address the challenge.
But the massive housing shortage stems from neglect by successive governments says Felix Ograh, Managing Director at Yorke Properties.
“Governments over the years have not paid close attention to addressing the challenge. Some of the huge projects that governments have initiated have only remained on paper,” explains Mr Ograh.
To tackle the current housing crisis it would require that individual countries build close to 200,000 units.
“Majority of African countries cannot afford to build such a huge number of houses. And this is where private investment becomes important,” advises Mr Ograh.
“Government are required to put in place the right environment to allow private investment. A proper land policy for instance can play a huge role in attracting private developers. Bottom line, it will need a huge political will to tackle a housing crisis in Africa.”
In a recent report, the UN-Habitat blamed the huge housing deficits in Africa to poor response of governments to the issue, ignorance by governments on the housing issue, land delivery systems, urban planning and poor organization of construction sectors in most African countries.
For Mr. Nghidinua, the housing crisis presents an opportunity for investment and job creation.
“We believe this challenge represents an opportunity for coordinated actions and investments by various governments, private sector players, and communities across the continent. Through smart partnerships we want to focus on the lower end of the affordable housing market chain to be able to address this housing crisis,” he said.