Shelter Afrique urges Africa to seek partnerships in fixing housing shortage

Pan-African housing development financier, Shelter Afrique is calling on leaders and policymakers across Africa to explore broad partnerships in their plan to provide affordable housing to their rising populations.

With partnerships, governments can significantly scale the provision of affordable housing projects, Shelter Afrique notes.

Shelter Afrique Managing Director Thierno-Habib Hann adds that affordable housing occupies a central pillar within the framework of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“Adequate housing is one of the key components of Sustainable Development Goals and achieving housing goals will require collaborative efforts and forging fruitful partnerships among key players in the housing sector,” Mr Hann said.

According to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics, Kenya faces a housing shortage of approximately 8.8 million units.

Overall, Africa is facing a shortage of over 56 million housing units, out of which approximately 90 percent are in the affordable housing space, a survey by Shelter Afrique’s Centre of Excellence says

“The solution to resolving this shortage lies in a well-coordinated and collaborative effort among all stakeholders, including governments, multilateral institutions, non-profit organizations, and the private sector. Collectively, we maintain our commitment to inventive strategies in tackling housing needs,” Mr Hann said.

Read also: Housing plan to drive further pay squeeze

Shelter Afrique’s sentiments come at a time when affordable housing has become a hot political topic in Kenya, threatening fallout among policymakers, economists, and President William Ruto’s new administration.

In the Finance Bill 2023, the policy framework that is set to finance the FY2023/24 budget, the National Treasury has proposed that salaried workers will pay a 3 percent levy on their salaries to fund affordable housing.

In the Bill, employers will be required by law to contribute a similar percentage capped at Kes5,000 per worker in total per month.

The housing plan, which was part of Dr Ruto’s campaign call last year, has run into opposition with sections of Kenyans and lobbies citing a lack of legal framework on the programme as well as inflationary pressures for their inability to shoulder the housing levy burden.

Latest reports from the House Finance and Planning Committee indicate that the President has heeded pressure, slashing the levy to 1.5 percent, which shall be effected in 2024.  

“The Housing Fund contribution has been reduced to 1.5 percent from the proposed 3 percent. Ruto listens,” a tweet from the President United Democratic Alliance (UDA) party noted.

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