The first Africa Housing Forum is currently ongoing. This hybrid event will take place both virtually and in-person at the Safari Park Hotel in Nairobi.
There have been many takeaways from the COVID-19 pandemic. But one of the most important is that it’s vital for citizens to have access to safe, secure, and adequate housing during a global health crisis. Despite barriers, gaps, and exclusions to decent shelter existing before the pandemic, it’s worsened, particularly in Africa.
The Centre for Accordable Housing Finance Africa estimates that less than 15% of the country’s urban population can’t afford to purchase developer-built homes. There are also surrounding mortgage finance systems limiting access to the necessary funding.
The Africa Housing Forum, hosted by Habitat for Humanity International in collaboration with partner organizations and institutions, will provide a setting for housing professionals, stakeholders, and local and central authorities to come together.
The forum will be a venue for collaboration and sharing of ideas, experiences, and lessons on solutions to address housing ecosystem issues in the African region.
Fostering inclusivity and resilience in housing in Africa
The theme for the Africa Housing Forum is fostering inclusivity in housing in Africa. It emphasizes the urgency needed to build adequate, affordable, and inclusive shelters that meet the demand of the region. It’s estimated 238 million people are currently in slums or substandard living conditions.
There is an opportunity to place housing at the center of economic recovery. Inclusive housing strategies can trigger multiple effects, including financial growth. At the same time, it can contribute to safety, security and generate employment opportunities for citizens.
The goals of the Africa Housing Forum
The housing forum aims to promote innovation, share promising ideas, and enable connections and collaboration. The hope is to improve policies and practical solutions that increase access to safe, decent, and affordable housing. For Africa, there are additional objectives aimed at addressing this situation. Some of the most critical include:
Build coalitions that can influence market approaches and policy in favor of affordable and sustainable housing in Africa
Enable the ability to scale low-cost, affordable housing for socio-economic segments in the African region.
Recognize and act on the importance of housing as a driver of inclusive economic growth, resilience, and sustainability in human settlements.
Promote, celebrate and reward innovative and high-impact affordable housing initiatives in the African region
The Africa Housing Innovation Awards
The Innovation Awards will also play a significant role in the event as part of the Africa Housing Forum. It is designed to promote and celebrate innovative housing solutions that can improve access to decent, affordable, and disaster-resilient shelter.
The Awards is divided into three categories.
This category relates to practices that originate from public or public-private partnerships that contribute to the improvement of communities and settlements. These also seek to increase access to affordable housing for disadvantaged citizens.
This category targets public policies across all levels of government. It must help reduce the housing deficit while considering the specific needs of minorities, vulnerable, and marginalized populations.
This category focuses on technology innovations. They can be products or services that provide practical solutions to affordable housing challenges. These innovations must also allow for it to be commercially scaled and replicated to increase community impact.
One winner from each category will win a cash prize of $US5,000.00 and will be receiving additional visibility from Habitat for Humanity and its partners.