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Africa Housing Forum 2022: how it went (Day 3)

The first ever Africa Housing Forum took place from 12 to 14 May in-person and virtually from the Safari Park Hotel in Nairobi and was attended by hundreds of guests coming together to discuss solutions and promote low-cost, affordable housing as a driver of economic growth in the African region. 

After a busy two days of the three-day event, the forum drew to a close with lots of important points to take forward.

Saturday 14 May 2022, AM

In the morning of the forum’s final day, the plenary discussion around ‘Climate change and housing impact Curated’ by World Green Building Council, Africa Region took place. Climate change could push more than 100 million people below the poverty line by 2030 within developing countries. As Africa’s population continues to grow, action must be taken to ensure that the future of urban settlements is resilient and sustainable. 

The discussion saw several industry leaders come together to talk about this important topic:

  • Curated by World Green Building Council, Africa Regional Network, Vere Shaba, Head of Africa Programmes, World Green Building Council 
  • Moderator: Tec Otieno, Chair Kenya Green Building Council Dennis Papa Odenyi Quansah, Kenya, Ghana and Nigeria Lead, EDGE  
  • Market Transformation, International Finance Corporation 
  • Philip Kilonzo, Head of Policy, Advocacy & Communications, Pan  
  • African Climate Justice Alliance 
  • (v) Alicia Regodón Puyalto, Sustainable Housing Expert, Land Housing and Shelter Section, UN-HABITAT 

In this session, the urgency in which we need to act on climate change was raised. We need climate friendly solutions on housing, Africa needs to take a step on mitigation and adoption of climate change,” said Dennis Papa Odenyi Quansah, Kenya, Ghana and Nigeria Lead, EDGE Green Building Market Transformation Program, Climate Business Department and International Finance Corporation (climate finance). 

Speaking on the importance of taking action to create a climate change resilient Africa region, Ted Otieno, Co-Founder, SoziPak, Kenya reiterated Dennis Papa Odenyi Quansah’s statement saying: “We need to think of nature as our neighbour, and treat it with as much respect.”

A second plenary discussion was held on ‘housing vulnerable social economic groups’, and building on this discussion, a breakout session was held focusing on tackling inequalities in access to resilient housing in the region and how policies and urban planning can be used to address these issues. These two sessions were titled: ‘living into national housing policies’ and ‘supporting holistic urban planning and access to land/land value capture mechanisms’.

The breakout session addressed the challenges faced by many different communities in the Africa region, from people with disabilities to those in poverty. The session covered the need to ensure all communities, especially those facing inequalities, are taken into consideration when creating housing solutions. As said by HRM, King Aderemi, Nigeria, Council of Traditional Leaders of Africa, all communities must have access to decent housing if true equity is to be achieved.

The session on ‘supporting holistic urban planning and access to land’ also covered informal housing and the role slums play in the issues surrounding housing and settlements in the Africa region. In certain African countries such as Zambia, well over half or more of the local population live in informal settlements said Nelson Meson Vusa. If we are to ensure that the solutions we are bringing about are positively affecting all communities in the Africa region, then informal settlements must absolutely be considered.

Saturday 14 May 2022, PM

To wrap up the amazing three-day event, a closing ceremony was held with a summary and Vote of Thanks from Margaret Mengo, Director of Operations, Habitat for Humanity International, Africa Area Office. Maurice Makoloo, Africa Area VP, Habitat for Humanity International, and Principal Secretary Charles Hinga, State Department, Housing and Urban Development, Kenya were also present in the closing ceremony to wrap up the event. 

The closing statements repeated and reiterated the need for action and not just words following the Africa Housing Forum and how everyone, from governments to partner organisations, needs to come together to create a resilient future for the Africa region.

As Chris Herink, Vice President, Program Effectiveness, Habitat for Humanity International stated, “We cannot do everything everywhere all the time, and expect to be effective. We must make choices together and plan together.”