Last year, a group of colleagues working in housing finance came together to consider how the housing microfinance sector might be promoted in Africa. The meeting followed a series of consultation sessions held in nine countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, where local practitioners highlighted the key housing issues they were facing and considered what sorts of support might assist them in addressing the challenges. Out of this meeting, we formed AHMFI, the African Housing Microfinance Initiative (AHMFI). Still in its infancy, AHMFI is a collaboration between FinMark Trust’sCentre for Affordable Housing Finance in Africa (CAHF), Rooftops Canada, Habitat for Humanity International, the Swedish Cooperative Centre, Homeless International, and Development Workshopin Angola. Our goal is to grow and support the housing microfinance sector in Africa, so that it contributes towards better access to effective and affordable housing finance. The partners working together in AHMFI also want to establish a mechanism for more effective coordination of their activities, whether at the country, regional or global level. Key objectives for AHMFI include the following:
- To collate and share information, and to commission research, to develop a body of knowledge for housing micro finance (HMF) practice in Africa;
- To strengthen the capacity of HMF practitioners in Africa through technical assistance and training, improving technical performance of HMFIs;
- To provide a networking function for the HMF sector in Africa, creating a directory of services available, enabling linkages between HMF practitioners and promoting peer learning;
- To coordinate and harmonise member activities and to prevent unnecessary duplication; and
- To be grounded in practice and to continually refine and update from field experience.
In the coming months, we will be developing the format of this newsletter. We welcome your input on its structure and approach. Included in each monthly edition, we will set out recent developments in the sector, provide links to new research, writing, and published materials. Some of you who know the CAHF website may have already drawn relevant information: Michael Kihato has recently written three blogs; outlining recent literature on HMF, one on the resurgence of thinking on sites and services; and the most recent one on whether HMF is truly a solution to Bottom of Pyramid housing challenges.
We have a few announcements to make:
Habitat for Humanity International has launched a housing microfinance technical advisory service toolkit. Habitat’s toolkit aims to strengthen institutions involved or interested in housing microfinance services through: developing housing microfinance products and services on product development, housing support services, planning of pilot project and funding.
We are about to release a report on the State of Housing Microfinance in Africa. This follows a 2009 report already available on the website and titled ‘Scoping the Demand for Housing Microfinance in Africa: Status, Opportunities and Challenges’ We’ll let you know when that report is ready – very soon.
More about AHMFI
Rooftops Canada, the Centre for Affordable Housing Finance in Africa (a division of the FinMark Trust), and Habitat for Humanity International have been partners in the development of a sub-Saharan housing microfinance sector since 2008. Following two housing microfinance workshops, held in Dar es Salaam and Nairobi, a key outcome raised by participants has been how to build on the momentum of these and ensure that a strong housing microfinance sector emerges to support good housing outcomes for the vast unserved population of the region. A consultation process carried out between September 2011 and February 2012 was discussed at a partners’ workshop in Johannesburg in April 2012 (partners at the workshop were Rooftops Canada, the CAHF, Habitat for Humanity International, Homeless International, the Swedish Cooperative Centre and Development Workshop), and the ideas for a regional initiative were formed. This newsletter is one part of that exercise. For more information, please contact Olga Koma at email@example.com.