Hundreds of Financiers and Developers gather online for Africa’s premier Affordable housing Conference

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This year’s AUHF Virtual conference & AGM will provide a platform for Africa’s affordable housing leaders to reconnect and meet with international stakeholders

The 36th annual African Union for Housing Finance (AUHF) (www.AUHF.co.za) Virtual Conference & AGM (www.AUHFconference.com | 02-06 November 2020) will connect hundreds of senior African and international investors, financiers and developers online under the theme, “Investing in the SDGs: Finding a market opportunity in affordable housing, says its organiser and host Kecia Rust, of the AUHF Secretariat and the Centre for Affordable Housing Finance in Africa.

Rust adds that, “As Africa drives its housing agenda forward, the AUHF Virtual Conference 2020 will provide an agenda for debate that promotes market growth and opportunities in green development, infrastructure building, services, job and inclusive economic growth and the publication and sharing of critical data by industry experts.”

According to this year’s lead sponsor, the African Development Bank (AfDB), the conference is a strategic platform for designing innovative financing schemes to resolve Africa’s housing challenges, says the AfDB’s Chief Capital Markets Officer – Financial Sector Development Department, Ahmed Attout.

Commenting that the conference will help to “Share the AfDB experience, identify new business opportunities in the housing sector that match the Bank’s Ten-year Strategy and its High 5s Priority Agenda which is chiefly to ‘Improve the quality of life for the people of Africa’ and ‘Industrialize Africa.’

One of the critical issues facing Africa’s housing finance ecosystem is the capability to bring together key market players, policy makers, financiers and institutional investors to share their views and brainstorm on possible solutions to address market challenges. Thus, the value of the conference according to Attout, who was speaking ahead of this year’s conference, is that it helps to unify the sector and creates a unique platform for different players from across the value chain to address challenges and access opportunities.

“With affordable housing becoming one of the most pressing social needs and future opportunities in Africa for economic development, Africa needs a multiplicity of innovative solutions. The sheer scale of demand and opportunity calls for developing alternative solutions designed to improve greater access to more capital in Africa,” says Attout.

A perspective, which Rust shares, as she says, “This year’s virtual gathering enables us to include more sessions. We have more than 70 speakers from across Africa and internationally, which makes this year’s virtual conference truly global in scope and African in execution with unparalleled insights and nuances across the housing value chain.”

Market Solutions

As Attout comments, the scale of the challenge in AFDB’s Regional Member Countries necessitates the “need for MDBs and other financiers to pool resources to tackle the affordable housing challenges through the introduction of new asset classes that depend on innovations and capital market solutions.” These developments have included the promotion of long-term local currency funding using alternative capital markets solutions, and innovation has become an integral part of the AfDB strategies.

Developing New Finance Infrastructure

As Attout explains, “The AFDB has been leading initiatives tailored to mobilize long-term finance for housing development in Africa, crowd in pension funds, and assist private and public sector institutions in identifying, financing and implementing affordable housing finance schemes and related infrastructure.”

Some of the most notable interventions by the AFDB have been in the development of mortgage financing products for affordable housing, and it has “directly intervened in several African markets including in Zambia, Kenya, as well strengthening other regional players”. 

According to Attout, “Each intervention has assisted in lengthening tenors of mortgage financing as well as improving the stock of affordable housing available for eventual securitization and capital markets (re)financing. Securitization of housing assets is a process, usually taking up to 3-5 years after the creation of the original mortgage and for attracting private sector investors into the eventually securitized mortgage assets.”

The timing of this year’s conference is particularly fortuitous and impactful for the sector says Attout.

“The upcoming AUHF Virtual Conference is timely and deemed to be an excellent opportunity to share our experiences and to foster collaboration among all parties involved in the development of an affordable housing finance market in Africa. We are excited to showcase our experience in facilitating investments in affordable housing at the event, and actively lend our views to change the perception of risks and present affordable housing as a profitable and secured asset class for investment.”

2020 Housing Finance in Africa Yearbook

As Rust says, “This year’s AUHF Virtual conference & AGM will provide a platform for Africa’s affordable housing leaders to reconnect and meet with international stakeholders who are pursuing opportunities in Africa, as well as the publication of critical industry data and insights.”

As she adds, “This year, we will be the launching the 2020 Housing Finance in Africa Yearbook on 02 November.” Now in its 11th edition, the yearbook is targeted at housing finance practitioners, investors, developers, researchers and government officials, which will provide up-to-date review of practice and developments in housing finance and delivery in Africa, reflecting the dynamic change and growth evident in the market of each country over the past year. With concise profiles for each African country, the Yearbook is published in both French and English, and is available online at: www.HousingFinanceAfrica.org.