Nigeria’s Housing Crisis: Why Abuja International Housing Show is a Must for You

Houses in Nigeria

Are you in the housing, construction and allied industry? Does your company have what it takes to assist Nigeria tackle its worrisome 22 million housing deficit? If your answer is yes, then the forthcoming Abuja International Housing Show (AIHS) billed for July 26 -29, 2021 is for you.

The 15th edition of the annual event is promising several partnership and benefits which discerning brands and organisations like yours can harvest including weekly advert on Housing Programme on AIT, a five million viewership show for three months.

There is always maximum exposure at this premier conference devoted to those involved in the housing and construction industry, an effective way to reinforce your organisation’s brand and build brand awareness amongst a relevant audience, access to a broad network of housing / construction industry stakeholders from state and Federal Government departments and the private sector.

Intending participants at the event will be given enough time to present latest innovations and new products or services to a pertinent audience, and showcase their expertise and capabilities, increased marketing opportunities including visibility on the conference website and associated marketing materials as well as opportunities to present new products and innovative services to over 10,000 traditional attendants.

The show is also providing opportunities to network connect and interact with prospective buyers from both local and international markets, opportunities for organisational exposure to new options of housing finance, opportunities to meet major professionals within the sector such as builders, architects, town planners, quantity surveyors, engineers, real estate developers, home financiers, home interiors etc., in the building environment, opportunities to exchange ideas and proffer solutions to various barriers of housing development, and opportunities to network with Nigeria’s Ruling Class up close and personal.

It does not end there. There is equally a window of opportunities for direct engagement with financiers and potential partners and investors from outside Nigeria, to meet with most states’ government and construction related agencies in Nigeria, to Identify with Nigeria Housing Award and enjoy free weekly advert on Housing Time on Raypower FM radio station for three months, opportunities for strong media exposure with leverage from the organisers and producers of housing programme on AIT and NTA, to make direct sales, direct buying at discounted rates, access to front row experience in the utilisation of mortgage and estate developer services for housing and infrastructure development.

Partners will receive acknowledgment prior to, during and after the conference through conference materials and the website, and enjoy significant contact with delegates during the conference and exhibition.

And, given the huge housing crisis Africa is facing, the 15th edition of Abuja International Housing Show (AIHS) is a compelling necessity for virtually all African countries to converge in Nigeria’s metropolitan city to fashion out how to resolve the crisis.

Unarguably, AIHS is Africa’s largest housing and construction meeting place.  This year’s edition promises to be the largest market where buyers will be meeting sellers to strike best deals the continent could offer.

According to a pan-African housing development financier, Africa needs more than $1.4 trillion funding to effectively address the affordable housing deficit. Majority of African countries are said to be facing a housing crisis as a result of high population growth, increased urbanisation, poor urban planning, dysfunctional land markets, rising construction costs, proliferation of informal settlements, and underdeveloped financial systems.

Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Shelter Afrique, Andrew Chimphondah, said so. The firm’s research showed that the overall shortage of housing in Africa is estimated to be 56 million housing units.

Out of this, he said, more than 90 percent, or 45 million units, are in the affordable housing bracket. “This means that for Africa to fully address the issue of affordable housing shortage, at an average construction cost of $25,000 per unit, the continent requires at least 1.4 trillion dollars excluding the cost of the bulk infrastructure”, Chimphondah said.

He was speaking in Nairobi when Shelter Afrique signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Habitat for Humanity International (HFHI), which will see HFHI assist Shelter Afrique in mobilizing capital for affordable housing.

Chimphondah said that countries with growing housing deficit include Nigeria with a deficit of 22 million housing units, Tanzania and Democratic Republic of Congo with a deficit of three million units, and Kenya, South Africa and Madagascar with a deficit of more than two million or more.

He said with a deficit of over two million housing units, Kenya needs in excess of 50 billion U.S. dollars to adequately address the issue of affordable housing.

“This requires focused political leadership and we are encouraged by the efforts the government of Kenya through the inclusion of affordable housing as a key priority in implementing the Big 4 Agenda on the supply side, and the establishment of the Kenya Mortgage Refinancing Company to improve access to mortgage lending on the demand side”, Chimphondah said.

He observed that the continent will require even more financial resources as individual countries continue to record rapid population growth and higher rate of urbanization.

Chimphondah said the solution lies in a well-coordinated and collaborative effort among all stakeholders, including governments, multilateral institutions, non-profit organisations, and the private sector represented by both established developers and financial institutions, adding, “if we do not intervene, we are going to see the surge in slums and substandard dwellings across Africa.”

At the moment, the reality on the ground tends to indicate that governments have to rethink their policies and work closely with the private sector if they are to secure affordable accommodation for the next generation

Without the doubt, unprecedented urbanisation has led to a serious shortage of affordable housing in cities around the world. In 2014, McKinsey & Company predicted that, if trends continued, as many as 1.6 billion people would live in substandard housing by 2025. African countries are among those currently grappling with this crisis – the continent’s housing deficit has not only been fuelled by urbanisation, but also by the growth of its vast population of young people.

Despite the problems facing the housing market, there is cause for optimism. Over the past decade, numerous developments have better equipped us to tackle this shortage: the rise of the sharing economy, for example, offers new solutions to the lack of affordable housing, while social media has empowered young people to voice their discontentment at being priced out of the market.

 Global warming, meanwhile, is driving the adoption of eco-friendly construction methods. Developments like this are set to have a significant impact on the industry and may even come to define the next decade of housing in Africa. For that to happen, though, the continent’s policymakers will have to be bolder and much more dynamic.

Housing policies in Africa are a hangover from the post-colonial era. Many of the major initiatives carried out on the continent were instigated by newly independent African nations and focused on mass housing – particularly for civil servants, who were usually the greatest contributors to the labour force and, therefore, the largest pool of voters. These policies reflected the conventional wisdom of the time, which suggested governments alone could stimulate demand and generate enough supply for housing.

Today, there is a constant battle between public sector intervention and private sector capacity. The right approach, as with most things, lies somewhere in the middle: public-private partnerships. The private sector neither has the will nor the incentive to take on affordable housing alone, and this is where the government must intervene. Governments, on the other hand, often lack the technical capacity or the systems to deliver affordable housing – areas in which the private sector excels.

Fortunately, there are signs that government policy in Africa is starting to catch up with this reality. The Big Four Action Plan – Kenya’s guiding social and economic development policy – has launched an ambitious affordable housing programme, bringing together both the private and public sectors. Equally, Morocco’s social housing programme has reported tremendous success, making it a key reference point for future study, while newly enacted tenant protection laws in Nigeria seem to be making good progress.

 Unfortunately, governments have been slow to enact innovative policies unless forced to by crisis or dramatic change. Consequently, the push for more affordable housing will most likely have to come from elsewhere.

Housing has always been deeply political, but with the rise of technology – and its ability to coalesce people around a single idea – we can expect to see more social movements emerge in the coming years. It has already had a significant impact in the UK, with The Economist reporting that those who lived in areas with stagnant housing prices were more likely to vote ‘leave’ in the 2016 EU membership referendum.

Another trend starting to impact the housing sector is the emergence of the sharing economy. Platforms like Uber and Airbnb have demonstrated how technology can help us commoditise unused assets. There has been much talk of employing the rental model in Africa, and there is some merit to this idea: given the continent’s steep mortgage prices, it is more than likely that rental housing will remain a feature of the market.

However, we may soon see some advancement in flexible living arrangements. In fact, shared spaces in which tenancy and ownership are not necessarily fixed-term are already beginning to take shape. The next decade will reveal just how sustainable this model is.

 Already, the impact of human activity on our environment is becoming difficult to ignore – we’re seeing more heat waves, flooding and uncontainable wildfires than ever before. These severe weather conditions have a direct impact on housing and how we develop infrastructure. While the housing industry has often toyed with the idea of using alternative building materials, the effect of climate change may force it – and government bodies – to accelerate the adoption of green innovations into building strategies.

It’s not just global warming we need to factor into our construction methods, though. The Ebola crisis that ravaged West Africa between 2013 and 2016 – and continues to rage through the Democratic Republic of the Congo – can also be viewed as a failure of housing policy. One of the reasons the contagion spread as quickly as it did is because of the density of housing in informal settlements. In the age of global epidemics, we will be compelled to consider how construction interplays with the environment beyond just the materials we use.

Policymakers’ challenge
Policymakers’ main challenge over the next decade will be crafting a policy that not only addresses the aforementioned concerns, but also passes easily across African states. There have already been some positive steps in this direction. For example, the African Union Specialised Technical Committee on Public Service, Local Government, Urban Development and Decentralisation is pushing for a model law – an overarching legal and policy framework that all countries can adapt their national strategies to. This is informed by the recent conceptualisation of affordable housing as a human right.

Advocacy in the next decade is expected to be highly influential in pushing affordable housing to the top of the agenda. However, external forces – such as global warming, youth dissatisfaction, global crises and epidemics – may ultimately force African governments to reprioritise housing. The next 10 years will transform affordable housing in Africa. Admittedly, there is still much uncertainty – many things need to happen in order to drive change.

Nonetheless, there are actions we can take today: investors, for instance, would do well to finance projects that benefit Africa’s youth, be it the construction of student housing, multipurpose buildings or rental homes. After all, Africa’s youth is its greatest resource – the best way to ensure a positive future is to invest in it.

However, the 14th edition was held virtually because of travel restrictions due to COVID-19 pandemic. It was the first virtual edition of the annual event.

Unarguably, AIHS is Africa’s biggest housing and construction expo, a unique market that brings together all real estate stakeholders to discuss and display sector trends. Its organisers are offering stakeholders in the building and construction industry, an additional medium for networking, meeting visitors who have a buying capability – face to face and sealing deals.

Over the years, AIHS has been able to generate not only high quality audiences and sale leads for exhibitors but also great bargains for attendees.

Industry players say in a buyer’s market, there is a larger supply of homes for sale than there are buyers for them, and overall conditions favour the homebuyer. 1 While listings will stay on the show throughout its four days duration, conditions would be created for sellers to hammer price reductions as there will be lots of listings to choose from as well as new emerging home construction.

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