|Journal of the Network of African Countries on Local Building Materials and Technologies - Volume 4, Number 1 (HABITAT, 1996, 42 p.)|
As part of their preparations for Habitat II, 30 African States met in Bamako, Mali from 28 to 29 May 1996 at the 15th Annual General Meeting of the Company for Habitat and Housing in Africa (Shelter-Afrique) to consider, inter alia, the status of human settlements and housing in Africa and to develop housing investment strategies for the next five years. The countries were represented at Habitat II in Istanbul by their national delegations as well as a high-level delegation from Shelter-Afrique. The company is jointly owned by 37 African Governments, the African Development Bank, African Reinsurance Corporation and Commonwealth Development Corporation.
Over the last 10 years, shelter-Afrique has co-financed shelter and related projects in a number of countries including Kenya, the Gambia, Uganda, Zambia, Senegal, Guinea, Cameroon. Gabon, Congo, and Nigeria. These projects, which are financed through loans, are targeted at low-income and middle-income households and have helped thousands of African families not only to build or purchase their own homes but also to gain access to essential services such as water, sanitation, schools and health centers. Previously homeless and landless families in cities as far away as Kampala or Conakry have, through Shelter-Afrique's efforts, managed to become property-owners and gain a foothold in the formal economy.
By working in collaboration with national governments, local communities, local authorities and the private sector it was possible to make significant improvements in the living conditions of the families concerned.
Over the next five years, shelter-Afrique expects to invest over US $100 million in various projects in the urban sector. This initiative is designed to attract additional private-sector and international resources so as to achieve a significant impact on post-Istanbul efforts.
From its headquarters in Nairobi, the company oversees the design and implementation of project pipeline of some 60 projects. It takes great care to ensure that local professionals, suppliers and contractors are actively involved in all stages of project development, so as to build local capacity and also extend project benefits as widely as possible. Training has in the past been provided for African professionals in a variety of skills ranging from management to mortgage administration. In fact, the need for competent housing finance professionals is so great that existing training facilities in Africa cannot cope with the demand.
In his statement to the Habitat II Plenary, the Managing Director, recalled the company's active participation and contribution in the preparatory process of Habitat II and stressed the company's commitment to the post-Istanbul implementation process. shelter-Afrique had maintained close consultation with African Governments at the preparatory meetings held in Nairobi, Dakar, Kampala, Brazzaville and Johannesburg. The Managing Director also called upon all African countries which were not yet members to join shelter-Afrique at the earliest opportunity.
The Company realizes that expansion of shelter development and delivery in Africa is hampered not only by the scarcity of financial resources but also by the absence of vital information on socio-economic conditions as well as the availability of land, infrastructure and services. To that end. it has, jointly with the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), sponsored the preparation of a Continental Shelter Atlas for Africa and a Regional Report on the State of Human Settlements in Africa. The atlas provides member states with key data and indicators on shelter and related socio-economic conditions. It will assist all actors in the public and private sectors as well as voluntary and women's groups to focus their efforts towards improving human settlements in Africa and make adequate shelter available for all.
Note: Text has been taken from a press release produced in Istanbul