Financier urges partnerships to achieve affordable housing

Shelter Afrique Managing Director Thierno-Habib Hann, [File, Standard]

Pan-African housing development financier Shelter Afrique has urged African governments to prioritise partnerships in their quests to provide affordable housing.

Shelter Afrique Managing Director Thierno-Habib Hann said housing occupies a central position within the framework of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Mr Hann said the establishment of sustainable partnerships assumes paramount importance in effecting substantial and meaningful advancements in the sphere of affordable housing provision.

"Adequate housing is one of the key components of SDGs and achieving housing goals will require collaborative efforts and forging fruitful partnerships among key players in the housing sector," he said.

Research by Shelter Afrique's Centre of Excellence (CoE) has revealed that the overall shortage of housing in Africa is estimated at over 56 million housing units, out of which, more than 90 percent are in the affordable housing bracket.

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

Hann spoke on the sidelines of the United Nations Habitat Assembly held last week in Nairobi, where he also held talks with the Uganda delegation led by Housing Minister Namuganza Persis Princess to establish a solid foundation for partnership.

He also held bilateral talks with the Niger delegation led by Maizoumbou Laoual Amadou, Niger's Minister of Town Planning and Housing, on future cooperation on sustainable urban development.

Hann also interacted with the Zimbabwe delegation, led by National Housing and Social Amenities Minister Daniel Garwe to discuss collaborative opportunities with the delegates at the event.

As the governance body of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), the UN Habitat Assembly is the highest global decision-making body on sustainable urbanization and human settlements, which convenes every four years.

This year's event was themed A sustainable urban future through inclusive and effective multilateralism: achieving the Sustainable Development Goals in times of global crises.

"The thematic debates and discussions during the Assembly, which included universal Access to affordable housing, Urban climate action, urban crises recovery, localisation of the SDGs, and prosperity and local finance, are aligned with our overall strategy as an organisation," said Hann.

UN-Habitat Executive Director Madame Maimunah Sharif urged Kenya to tap homegrown solutions to plug the affordable housing deficit.

''Adequate and affordable housing is not only a human right, but it is also the engine for local economic development as it allows for local job creation. It is also a solution to climate change,'' she stated.