A globally attended event designed to accelerate access to affordable housing across Africa, the 2021 African Union Housing Forum (AUHF) Conference is taking place in Kigali, Rwanda, today until 4 November.

The meeting will provide a platform for both in-person and virtual attendees to network, and an opportunity to showcase opportunities to regional and international leaders invested in growing the affordable housing sector.

“With over 60 speakers, 100 in-person attendees from 15 countries and over 500 virtual delegates from 200 companies, the event has grown in size and impact, especially during the Covid pandemic period. This has highlighted the need for safe, decent, well located and green affordable low-cost housing,” says the AUHF’s Chairman and CEO of Shelter Afrique, Andrew Chimphondah.

“As the global economy emerges from the Covid-19 pandemic, this year’s theme, ‘A New Frontier in Affordable Housing in Africa’, provides Rwanda with an opportunity to be at the centre of Africa’s urbanisation and housing drive,” Mr.  Chimphondah added.

Adding that hosting the annual gathering in Kigali in 2021 provides a unique occasion for the membership to get together and highlight the progress made by Rwanda in the fast moving sector.

“The AUHF is delighted to bring its 37th annual conference and Annual General Meeting to the beautiful city of Kigali. We are encouraged by the Government of Rwanda’s focus on affordable housing, as framed in Vision 2050,” says Chimphondah.

Chimphondah stated that the AUHF is encouraged by the Rwandan National Strategy for Transformation aimed at accelerating sustainable urbanisation from 18.4% to 35% by 2024 as a key driving factor for economic growth.

For Chimphondah and the AUHF, the conference provides a platform for the delivery of solutions in a world that has been transformed by the Covid pandemic.

As he explains, the impact of the pandemic on the resources of the state, private sector and most importantly the households have been both dramatic and severe.

Despite this Chimphondah, the AUHF and its sponsors are optimistic that the crisis has provided a platform and opportunity for the sector to break new ground across the entire housing value chain.

“This calls for new innovative approaches to both the demand and supply sides and the introduction of new value adding products and services.  This year’s conference seeks to showcase innovations that are well understood under the theme of ‘A new frontier in Affordable Housing in Africa’.

“I am proud that during this auspicious conference, the presentations will be delivered by our valued members, whom are notable trend setters and pathbreakers in their own markets,” said Chimphondah.

One of these leading and international trendsetters speaking at this year’s annual conference is Mr Olu Olanrewaju, director of Altair International limited, a leading affordable housing consultancy.

According to him, the annual event is the leading event for the sector as it connects lenders, policy makers, investors, developers, PropTech providers and other advocates of affordable housing value chains.

According to him, the AUHF conference offers the team at Altair International the opportunity to meet and network with policy makers and practitioners involved in the delivery of affordable housing in Africa, to share insights and discuss new initiatives to address the continent’s housing crisis.

For Olanrewaju, the value created by the conference is instrumental from not only forging new relationships, but also in assisting the sector to leapfrog over its challenges at a technical, funding and policy level.

“In the past policy announcements from conference guest speakers, presentation of new research findings, ideas from best practice discussions have all in different areas driven the implementation of new solutions to tackle Africa’s affordable housing crisis,” said Olanrewaju.

The founder of TAF Africa Global who has launched the largest low-cost housing Micro-City in The Gambia called TAF City, Sir Mustapha Njie and his team will be sharing their experiences in delivering their vision of a million houses in 20 years.

In the photo: : Rwandan Minister of Infrastructure Hon. Claver Gatete with UHF’s Chairman and CEO of Shelter Afrique, Andrew Chimphondah.