Uganda hosted the 33rd African Union for Housing Finance Conference from 17-19 October 2017. Facilitated by Terwilliger Center for Innovation and Shelter, Habitat for Humanity International and co-hosted by both the African Union for Housing Finance Conference (AUHF) and Housing Finance Bank Uganda.
The conference attracted representatives from 25 African countries to deliberate on ways for bettering housing across the continent.
The African Union for Housing Finance (AUHF) was established as a member-based body of housing lenders in 1984. Today, the organisation comprises 61 members from 17 countries across the continent. Members include commercial and mortgage banks, building societies, microfinance banks/institutions, housing development corporations, and other institutions involved in the mobilisation of funds for shelter and housing
The theme for the Kampala meet was, “Engaging the Housing Value Chain for Growth”.
According to the AUHF, “with the fastest rate of urbanisation globally, and a growing middle class, Africa’s demand for affordable housing is increasing at a rapid rate. Governments and the private sector each have an excellent opportunity to gear this interest in support of their growth and investment targets, while also meeting the housing needs of their growing urban populations.”
The organisers said the Kampala conference sought to underscore the importance of the various elements of the housing value chain. “Housing is all about the value chain. The process of delivering and managing a home – from land assembly through to infrastructure provision, house construction, the sales and transfer process, and then ongoing maintenance and improvements – is interdependent drawing on multiple sectors in the economy and departments in government. Any weaknesses along the chain affect the performance of the entire chain: it is as strong as its weakest link.”
Focusing on the key links in the chain, the conference brought together financiers, developers, professionals and policy makers to deliberate on the challenges, explore opportunities, and share experiences from different countries on the continent.
Opening the conference, Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni, who was chief guest said that the increase in population in Uganda and on the content presented a new housing challenge that must be addressed in order to turn it into a growth opportunity.
Museveni underscored the pressure proliferation of unplanned human settlements and poor land tenure systems are placing on land, which he said is affecting the housing sector and must be addressed.
According to the UN Habitat, Africa is urbanizing at a rate of 3.5 percent per annum. It is estimated that by 2050, Uganda will be among the most urbanized countries in Africa hence calling for good housing plans to address the challenge.