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Africa Housing Forum 2022: how it went (Day 2)

We need to involve the community heavily when we are starting projects that are based on them, in this case, housing,” stated Jose Amaral Fernando, Melhoria Project during one of the discussions in the second day of the first-ever Africa Housing Forum. 

Working together to tackle some of the biggest facing housing in the Africa region, here’s a breakdown of how the second day of the three-day event went.

Friday 13 May 2022

To kick off the second day of the forum, pitches for the Innovation Awards took place covering the three categories: Shelter Tech, Best Practices and Public Policies.

Representatives for the 12 shortlisted candidates for each category took part in a pitch to highlight their respective innovative projects. Following the pitch event, voting took place where jury scores and audience votes at the event determined the winner in each category. 

Shortlisted candidates were: 

Shelter Tech – Anix Building System, Green Building by ECOACT TANZANIA from Tanzania, Cassava Concrete for Low-Cost Housing Delivery and Nyumba Mkononi

Best Practices – Franchise Model and affordable sustainable housing organisation by Earth Enable, Inc from Rwanda, Climate smart tech, planning & housing observatory by Civic Forum on Housing and Habitat Zambia, Ikemeleng Temporary Residential Units by South African Housing and Infrastructure Fund, The Transaction Support Centre by 71point4 Consulting/ The Centre for Affordable Housing 

Public Policies – Melhoria Project by Fundo para o Fomento de Habitação, Fundo Público, Lesotho National Housing Policy by Ministry of Local Government and Chieftainship, Housing for all Egyptians by the Social Housing and Mortgage Finance Fund, and Mukuru Special Planning Area Program by Muungano wa Wanavijiji, Akiba Mashinani Trust from Kenya

The third plenary discussion of the forum took place and this time, we looked at the topic ‘Responding to Africa’s growing housing demand pressures

The housing deficit is a massive challenge in African countries where demand for affordable, adequate housing is far outstripping supply, resulting in half of the population living in sub-standard conditions. We were joined by speakers: 

  • Moderator: Dereje Adugna, HFHI Ethiopia National Director
  • Jaime Oyo, EU
  • Wilson Mugami, Architectural Association of Kenya, President
  • Peter Mayavi, Managing Director, International Housing Solutions
  • Council of Traditional Leaders of Africa

The discussion explored the hard-hitting areas of the Africa region and the challenge we are currently facing that need immediate action. Speaking on the current situation in Kenya, it was evident how there is a large shortage in affordable housing for many. In fact, “Kenya has a house deficit of about 2 million houses. Only 2% of the constructed houses target low-income earners,” according to Naphtali Nyabuto, Nyumba Mkononi.

This was followed up by Rali Mampeule, CEO of SAHIF who spoke on South Africa’s situation, stating that “Approximately 12 million South Africans live in poverty.” It became evident from this discussion how housing is disproportionately impacting those living in poverty and how attention must be given to these communities if we are to ensure access for all.

Following the plenary discussions, breakout sessions were held to encourage conversation and active discussion on topics centred around housing in Africa under track 3: leveraging multi sector collaboration to achieve affordable housing.

A plenary discussion titled ‘responding to Africa’s growing housing demand pressures’ took place as well as breakout sessions covering:

  • Governance mechanisms for resilient future cities (data + decision making) 
  • Leveraging Africa’s informal economy
  • Financing women for housing
  • Leveraging Inclusive Partnership to deliver Affordable Housing at Scale

 In these sessions, there was a strong focus on problem-solving and coming up with actionable solutions to tackle these key issues under track 3: leveraging multi sector collaboration to achieve affordable housing.

In the break out session on Governance Mechanisms, the need of governance mechanisms in order to create a resilient future for African cities was an important message. “Affordable housing is quite resource and capital intensive and requires partnerships across the board,” said Beatrice Gichohi, Country Lead Kenya, Challenge fund for youth employment. Her statement hammers home the fact that in order for affordable housing to thrive, partnerships must be fostered across different expertise and industries.

A second breakout session was held covering the topics below under track 4: building sustainable cities and communities (SDG 11):

  • Addressing health challenges in urban built environments – Housing as a first defence against infectious diseases 
  • Land regularization experiences 
  • Empowering women through land and housing rights
  • Building and repurposing climate-resilient housing for the most vulnerable 

A key statement in this track was the need to drive inclusivity not only in access to housing, but also in coming up with solutions to address housing issues in Africa. As said by Jane Muigai Kamphuis, Founder/ Director Toolkit iSkills, “We cannot talk about housing skills without an inclusive approach to young women.

Finally, to wrap up the day, the exciting Innovation Awards Ceremony took place. The awards sought to promote and celebrate innovative approaches to improve housing conditions for low-income households at scale and covered the categories: Shelter Tech, Best Practices and Public Policies. 

There are many issues surrounding housing in the Africa region and effective ideas must be brought to life in order to solve them. This is why the Innovation Awards was so important to the first-ever Africa Housing Forum. As said by Gayatri Datar from EarthEnable Inc.

One of the big issues with affordable housing is how there are so many problems that need solving before things can get better.

After receiving a strong number of entries, there were 12 finalists in total and 1 winner for each category. We were proud to announce the following winners for their amazing entries and projects.

  • Shelter Tech – Green Building by ECOACT TANZANIA from Tanzania
  • Best Practices – Franchise Model and affordable sustainable housing organisation by Earth Enable, Inc from Rwanda
  • Public Policies – Mukuru Special Planning Area Program by Muungano wa Wanavijiji, Akiba Mashinani Trust from Kenya

Winners received USD 5,000 to further their initiative and an all expenses paid travel and accommodation to the World Urban Forum in Katowice, Poland.

Congratulations and well done all!