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HDA CEO Taffy Adler was invited to speak at the annual general meeting (AGM) of Shelter Afrique (www.shelterafrique.org) in Chad earlier in the month.

Shelter Afrique is apan-African finance institution that exclusively supports the development of the housing and real estate sector in Africa. The theme of this year’s AGM was “Strategies for Delivering Mass Housing Programmes in Africa: Practical Approaches”, and Taffy was one of three speakers, the other two being from Tanzania and the Ivory Coast.

Taffy spoke about South African experiences based on the Brickfields Social Housing Programme, the largest social housing project in the country, and the N2 Gateway, which is the largest housing project in South Africa.

The conference took place in the Chadian capital Ndjamena, a very poor city but one that is “amazingly vibrant”, with very full and busy markets. “Despite apparent poverty, there seems to be a vigorous informal economy,” he says. Among the 400 delegates who attended were the President of Chad, ministers from various African countries, as well as senior government officials, private developers and financial institutions.

“There was interest in the mass housing programmes in South Africa, and it’s clear that our programmes are among the largest being carried out in Africa,” Taffy observes. “A number of speakers indicated an interest in coming to see how we manage both finance and construction programmes of this magnitude.”