On Wednesday, Shelter Afrique, a financial institution dedicated to financing housing projects and related infrastructure in Africa, starts a 3-day annual general meeting in Kigali to discuss housing issues on the continent.
Under the theme "Low-income housing financing: meeting the challenges", more than 250 delegates from 44 African countries will attend the meeting to debate policies, solutions and action plans to finance low- and middle-income housing in their countries with emphasis of improving affordability of decent housing.
"It's a great opportunity for us to discuss low-income housing as our people are struggling to get decent houses," said Oumar Diop, investment officer at the Shelter-Afrique. "Now it's time to engage financial institutions, state partners and private sector to provide financial solutions."
The meeting will also review the role that Shelter Afrique, a multilateral institution, should play in facilitating the financing of decent housing and review the performance of the company during 2011 in the realization of this mission in the region.
Infrastrure Minister Albert Nsengiyumva noted that Rwandans expect to draw more lessons from the discussions as the construction sector in the country still faces a lot of constraints, for example when it comes to technological innovations.
The conference is taking place while the housing market in Kigali is very expensive and affordable only for the rich. But the Minister said that a study has been carried out jointly with Kigali City to categorize Rwandans and their purchasing capacity in the housing sector.
"We are sure that a great number of Rwandans do not need very expensive houses, but we need exact statistics to deal with the issue," said the Minister, adding that the findings will be released during the meeting.
In this regard, Nsengiyumva noted that there are projects to develop apartments for people with low incomes. The system would also be applied to the landlords who get compensation to relocate when land is needed by investors to build infrastructure in accordance with the city's master plan.
Established in 1982 with headquarters in Nairobi-Kenya, Shelter-Afrique is a pan-African financial institution dedicated to finance housing projects and related infrastructure in Africa.