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Shelter Afrique roots for climate-resilient affordable housing

Nairobi-based, pan-African housing development financier Shelter Afrique has implored African governments to adopt climate-resilient housing and create incentives for the production of well-located affordable housing that minimises construction costs, enhances sustainability, and offers better mobility.

Speaking at the session themed ‘Integrated Livable African Cities’ at the Africa Climate Summit hosted by the Government of Kenya in collaboration with the African Union Commission, Shelter Afrique Managing Director (MD), Thierno Habib Hann, said it was imperative to enhance climate adaptation mechanisms in climate-resilient affordable housing to minimise the impact of climate change.

“It is widely acknowledged that climate change will affect the socio-economic development trajectory of Africa; therefore, governments should consider putting in place proper climate-change policies on land use and zoning and providing incentives for developments that are affordable, sustainable, and offer better mobility,” noted Hann.

He further urged governments to offer tax incentives and subsidies to developers who build affordable housing units; reserve public land for affordable housing projects to make it more accessible for developers focusing on affordable housing; facilitate private-public partnerships between the public and private sectors; and develop legislation, tools, and policies to enhance climate-resilient affordable housing and urban development on the continent.

The MD appealed to stakeholders in the housing delivery and built environment to take advantage of the climate-change policies in their jurisdictions to introduce technological innovations that can mitigate the impact of climate change in the built industry.

“For instance, Kenya considers climate change a cross-cutting theme that is being mainstreamed in the medium-term plans of the County Integrated Development Plans (CIDPs), which in turn inform the country’s development blueprint – Vision 2030. Under these plans, the government has mandated that all affordable housing projects be aligned with Global Green Certification requirements,” Hann said.

Recently, he posited, Nigeria promulgated the 2021 Climate Change Act, which is the first standalone climate change legislation in West Africa. “With such developments, it is pertinent for stakeholders to put in more effort to make housing safe and resilient to climate change-related impacts. This, in turn, can help protect lives and livelihoods from disasters and build sustainable communities,” he noted.

The Africa Climate Summit, which was held from September 4–6, 2023, at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC), Nairobi, under the theme “green growth and climate finance”, brought together several African heads of state and government, ministers, and United Nations leaders, including the UN Secretary General, António Guterres, and his predecessor, Ban Ki-moon.

By Michael Omondi

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