In many African cultures, storytelling is an important tradition that has been passed down through generations. Stories are highly effective as they help people understand things in meaningful and relevant ways. In the case of Shelter-Afrique, the story is a visionary tale of determination, perseverance, and collaboration through tireless efforts and unwavering commitment of a group of African leaders who recognized a common goal of addressing the housing crisis that had been afflicting their people.
In 1982, these leaders established Shelter-Afrique (The Company for Housing and Habitat in Africa), an organization that would eventually become one of the most critical players in development finance across the continent. At the time, many African countries were experiencing rapid urbanization and population growth, which put enormous pressure on the already limited housing stock. In addition, poverty and inadequate access to finance had made it challenging for many Africans to own or rent decent housing.
The establishment of Shelter-Afrique was a bold step towards addressing these challenges and promoting sustainable urban development in Africa. As an international organization with 44 member countries, Shelter-Afrique has played a critical role in addressing the housing deficit and promoting inclusive economic growth in Africa. The founding leaders rallied support from governments, financial institutions, and international organizations overcoming challenges and obstacles in the process, but never losing sight of their goal: to create a world-class institution that would transform the housing landscape in Africa.
Indeed, Shelter-Afrique laid the groundwork for an all-encompassing and sustainable urban development on the continent. The organization supports projects that are socially, economically, and environmentally sustainable, including those that incorporate renewable energy technologies.
One of the countries that have benefited significantly from Shelter-Afrique’s work is Kenya. Like many other African countries, Kenya has been grappling with a severe housing shortage for its growing population, and Shelter-Afrique has been instrumental in helping to bridge this gap. The organization has supported numerous projects in Kenya, including the development of affordable housing units and the provision of financing to developers.
Shelter-Afrique’s work in Kenya has not been limited to financing development projects. The organization has also provided technical assistance and capacity building support to local stakeholders, including governments, developers, and other players in the housing sector. This has helped to enhance the local capacity to plan, implement, and manage sustainable housing projects.
Today, Shelter-Afrique has disbursed a significant amount of funding to support affordable housing projects across the continent. It has supported the construction of over 25,505 housing units across Africa and supplied 127,525 households with shelter. It has created 100,000 direct and indirect employment opportunities in the process, stimulated economic growth, and improved the quality of life for countless individuals and families.
But the story of Shelter-Afrique is far from over. There is still much work to be done, as millions of Africans continue to struggle with inadequate housing. The institution is committed to expanding its reach, to partnering with governments and other stakeholders, and to exploring new and innovative ways to address the housing deficit in Africa.
In the end, the story of Shelter-Afrique is a testament to the power of African leadership and African solutions, and it is a call to action for all of us to join hands and build a brighter future for Africa and its people.
Learn more about Shelter-Afrique’s work in our latest article CM Property Digest Issue 15 | February 2023