Pan-African housing development financier, Shelter Afrique, has urged African governments to prioritize the provision of affordable housing to their citizens as a key step towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Speaking in Nairobi after paying a courtesy call to Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure, Housing and Urban Development James Macharia, the president of Shelter Afrique General Assembly and Cameroon’s Minister of Housing and Urban Development Ms. Célestine Ketcha Courtes said housing is at the heart of Sustainable Development Goals, and that little could be achieved if the housing sector is ignored.

“African governments cannot talk of achieving Sustainable Development Goals without thinking about proper housing for their growing populations,” Ms. Courtes said yesterday.

“And no one must be left behind.

“Leaving no one behind means governments should be able to provide decent housing to the lady selling vegetables at an open air market in Yaoundé, to a taxi-man in Nairobi – basically being able to provide housing to those who cannot walk into a commercial bank and obtain a mortgage. This is what Shelter Afrique is striving to help African governments achieve.”

According to Shelter Afrique research arm, Centre of Excellence, the overall shortage of housing in Africa is estimated to be 56 million housing units. Out of this, more than 90 per cent or 50 million units are in the affordable housing bracket.

Ms Courtes noted that as a response, Cameroon had joined hands with Shelter Afrique to establish a Construction Company that will produce construction materials such as polystyrene block production plant, panel production plant and other associated equipment at affordable cost.

“To reduce the construction cost, Africa needs to go through industrialization and this is the choice we have made in Cameroon when we partnered with Shelter Afrique to establish this factory. Shelter Afrique will then be able to duplicate these projects in other member States,” Courtes said.

She also lauded Member States for their positive responses to calls for recapitalization, which has boosted Shelter Afrique’s capital base and its ability to deliver housing and support urban development across the continent.

Several countries which have ramped up capital subscription in Shelter Afrique in 2021 include Kenya (US$9.3million), Cameroon (US$3.53million), Mali (US$2.06million), Rwanda (US$1.1million), Uganda (US$0.1million), Togo (US$0.58million, Tanzania (US$2.67million), Swaziland (US$0.3million), Ivory Coast (US$0.57million), and DRC (US$2.67million).

In the photo: Shelter Afrique AGM Bureau Chairperson Ms. Célestine Ketcha Courtes who is also Cameroon’s Minister of Housing and Urban Development.