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On 17 and 18 February, the African Development Bank (AfDB) and United Nations (UN) Habitat held a regional workshop on housing market dynamics in Africa.

The workshop was held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and brought together international housing experts from a variety of fields, including academia and international housing/finance experts, international development and inter-governmental organisations, development finance institutions and other Habitat agenda partners, namely government, local authorities, the private sector and representatives of civil society who play an active role in affordable housing provision, as well as the HDA and the national Department of Human Settlements (NDHS).

Approximately 50 international delegates converged to discuss four different thematic areas:

  • Financing the demand and supply of housing
  • Unlocking land supply and providing infrastructure
  • Solving the construction cost and productivity conundrum
  • Slum upgrading and housing alternatives for the most poor

This assembly was part of AfDB and UN Habitat’s joint study on housing market dynamics in Africa, and was part of a series of workshops also held in Morocco on 12-13 February and in Senegal on 23-24 February.

The workshop focused on human settlements land interventions, housing finance interventions, informal settlements upgrading interventions and approaches, and construction and project implementation interventions. Based on its experience, the HDA contributed to the themes of the workshop policy discussions, formulation and policy leadership. In turn the sharing, networking and engagement at the workshop provided an opportunity to gain new and/or different ideas for approaching and delivering human settlements based on other countries’ experiences, case studies, and renewed perspective and exposure to the human settlements challenges.

Feedback was gathered from participants on draft background papers being developed to critically assess opportunities and challenges facing Africa’s housing market and develop a final comprehensive report, which will be publicised.

Three of the HDA's staff formed part of a South African delegation, headed by an NDHS ministerial adviser. It was interesting for the HDA delegation to witness how development takes place in other African countries. “Addis Ababa is a city with construction sites everywhere; it’s bustling with development,” said Thando Madonsela (Technical Expert: ISU). Another interesting lesson to Madonsela about the developments was that projects are mass-developed – at, for example, 18 000-67 000 units per project. This allows developers to do bulk purchasing, thus saving on project cost due to the economy of scale. “This ‘mass’ production has also resulted in expansion of various industries such as cement and glass.”