Housing Finance in Central Africa

Overview

This profile is also available in French here.

To download a pdf version of the 2019 Central Africa regional profile, click here.

The Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa (CEMAC) comprises six countries, Cameroon, Central African Republic (CAR), Chad, Republic of Congo, Gabon and Equatorial Guinea. The community constitutes a single market to promote sub-regional integration through a monetary and economic union. The main constraints facing CEMAC countries are in areas of land ownership and property registration, access to serviced land, construction and development, and the availability of finance and access to credit.

The formal financial system across the CEMAC countries is not well developed with access to finance hampered by weak credit infrastructure. The most common form of credit being borrowing from friends and family. The mortgage finance market is very small and comprises 20 mortgage providers who are mostly government-controlled banks and a few large commercial banks. The Development Bank of Central African States (BDEAC) has approved financing of integration projects that include microfinance and social housing amounting to XAF126 billion ($213 million) for Cameroon, Congo, Gabon, and Equatorial Guinea.

Housing affordability is a major challenge across all CEMAC countries with the majority of populations involved in the informal sector through subsistence agriculture and small to minor scale trading. The majority cannot afford to fund their homes by using the existing banking instruments. The microfinance sector represents an opportunity for the region to enhance financial inclusion. There are more than 825 Microfinance Institutions in the region serving almost 1.8 million members and CEMAC countries have jointly developed a strategy for regulating the MFI sector in the six countries.

Housing units have been delivered through incremental self-construction, government agencies and private developers. Although CEMAC countries are working with international partners to increase housing supply, the number of new housing units entering the market do not meet the demands of the increasingly urbanised population. There is an opportunity for CEMAC member states to improve data collection and dissemination on housing related indicators with the recent adoption of IMF’s Enhanced General Data Dissemination System.


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