Kenya is among the 25 countries that signed a joint declaration seeking to enhance mechanisms for the mass production of decent and affordable housing in the continent to achieve social and economic development.
The ‘Yaoundé Declaration’ was issued at the 40th Annual General Assembly of Shelter Afrique held in Yaoundé Cameroon from 21 to 24 June 2021, where African Ministers and Heads of Delegation of Ministries in charge of Housing and Urban Development, African Finance Ministers, the Directors and Management of Shelter Afrique, and representatives of international, regional and national institutions, the private sector and civil society, resolved to address the challenges that have hindered the efforts to provide decent and affordable housing in Africa.
Kenya was represented by Transport, Infrastructure and Housing and Roads Cabinet Secretary James Macharia – who is the immediate former Chairman of Shelter Afrique AGM Bureau.
In reference to the declaration, Shelter Afrique Group Managing Director and CEO Andrew Chimphondah lauded the participants for making the ‘bold-step’ adding that the Yaoundé Declaration had turned a new page in Africa’s quest for housing-for-all.
“According to a research by Shelter Afrique’s Centre of Excellence (CoE) the overall shortage of housing in Africa is estimated at 56 million housing units. Out of this, more than 90 per cent are in affordable housing bracket. The solution to resolving this shortage lies in a well-coordinated and collaborative effort among all stakeholders, including governments, multilateral institutions, non-profit organizations, and the private sector. I’m happy that the Yaoundé Declaration has highlighted some of these challenges and all stakeholders, including governments, are willing to address the shortage as a matter of urgency,” Mr. Chimphondah said.
Other member countries in attendance who passed the resolution adopting the declaration include Algeria, Benin, Burundi, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, The Gambia, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Lesotho, Mali, Morocco, Namibia, Nigeria, Togo, Senegal, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
Most African countries are currently facing a housing crisis driven by high population growth, increased urbanization, poor urban planning, dysfunctional land markets, rising construction costs, proliferation of informal settlements, and underdeveloped financial systems.
The declaration addresses in details the issues of leadership and governance, policies and legislation, coordination, land systems, finance and taxation, capacity building, and adoption of new building technologies.
“Effective policy and legislations is a critical in addressing all these challenges as this will tackle issues around quality control in the delivery of decent and affordable housing, provision of housing to the vulnerable groups, land tenure system, adoption of construction technologies, and even financing. That is why we settled on Four Decades of Housing Policies in Africa as the theme for our 40th Annual General Assembly as we look forward to the next 40 years of affordable housing,” Mr. Chimphondah said.
To ensure the implementation of the resolutions contained in the declaration, the delegates appointed six-member team headed by Shelter Afrique Head of Legal Services Ms. Houda Boudlali and UN Habitat Regional Advisor Dr. Claude Albert Meutchehe Ngomsi as facilitators.
The duo will be assisted by Shelter Afrique Head of Policy, Research and Partnership Dr. Muhammad Gambo and Shelter Afrique Regional Business Manager Edmond Adjikpe as rapporteurs, and Shelter Afrique Ag. Company Secretary Natasha Koli, and Shelter Afrique Head of Communication & External Affairs Babatunde Oyateru as members.
Each member State will be required to designate an interlocutor to report the implementation of the recommendations to the members of the monitoring group who will report on the status of implementation of the resolutions at the next session of the 41st General Assembly of Shelter Afrique in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe.