Habitat for Humanity Africa is set to host the inaugural Africa Housing Forum that seeks to foster solutions that promote low-cost and affordable housing as a driver of economic growth in Africa.
The forum is part of a global series of regional housing forums organised by Habitat for Humanity in collaboration with partner organisations and will be held between May 12-14, 2022 in Nairobi (hybrid). With the theme Fostering Inclusivity and Resilience in Housing in Africa, it will be the first-ever housing forum organised in the continent by Habitat for Humanity.
As a key milestone before the pivotal UN 9thAfricities Summit, the forum will inform renewed action towards sustainable, affordable housing in Africa.
While welcoming the forum to the country, the Principal Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Mr. Charles Hinga welcomes policy makers and key stakeholders in housing and infrastructure development from the continent to engage under one roof to seek lasting solutions to affordable housing.
“I want to thank Habitat for Humanity Africa for choosing Kenya to be the host of this event. It is noted that it is the first-ever event of its kind in Africa, meaning that Kenya is gaining recognition globally as a leader in innovative solutions that foster affordable and decent housing,” he said.
He added that the Government has prioritised housing to foster inclusivity and economic growth in Kenya under the “Big 4 Agenda”. The Kenya Government has been working with partners to alleviate the housing challenge that the country faces. “Initiatives like the Africa Housing Forum are important for African nations that face similar infrastructure challenges,” added PS Hinga.
The current state of housing in Africa highlights an urgent need for solutions in building and construction that are sustainable and inclusive. The housing deficit in Africa is huge and continues to grow with about 238 million people living in informal settlements. Land tenure also continues to be a challenge especially in the informal settlements
In this regard, Habitat for Humanity Africa Vice President Maurice Makoloo says, “The Africa Housing Forum will be seeking to consolidate solutions to the housing challenges that African countries face. We will focus our discussions on the role of housing in driving the recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic in a more sustainable, climate-change responsiveness and inclusive way that brings together housing sector stakeholders from the continent. We welcome all the industry leaders, stakeholders, government agencies to be part of this important event” said Makoloo.
According to UN Habitat, 50% of sub-Saharan Africa will be living in towns and cities by 2030, primarily due to huge population growth that has been compounded by rural urban migration. This has brought about a huge shortage of housing, in terms of both quantity and quality, contributing to a proliferation of slums and informal dwellings.
Further, the COVID-19 pandemic has shown that access to adequate housing can be a front-line defence against contagious disease. For instance, when ‘Stay home, save lives’ became a global mantra to contain COVID-19, many low-income and vulnerable families already suffering from housing poverty saw their living conditions substantially worsened.
So far, three regional forums have been held, the first being hosted in Latin America and the Caribbean in May 2021. The other two were held in Europe and Asia-Pacific in November and December of 2021, respectively.