May 2024 Newsletter | The CAHF Insider: Marking a Decade of Impact

CAHF is 10!

Ten years ago this week, on the 14th of May 2014, CAHF was formally registered as a Not-for-Profit Organisation by the South African Registrar of Companies, CIPC.  With four directors and three members of staff, we started in a garden cottage in suburban Johannesburg, very grateful for funding from FSDAfrica and the National Housing Finance Corporation in South Africa.  Today, now with five directors (three of whom joined since we started), 12 full-time members of staff (three of whom are based in Kenya and Senegal), 3 interns, and one temporary staff member, we have built up a library of over 2,355 documents on our website, a mailing list of 1,870 professionals from around the world, an active network of 274 stakeholders – some of whom are members of the African Union for Housing Finance (for which we are the Secretariat).  In ten years, we have seen significant developments in Africa’s affordable housing sector, and we are looking forward to the next twenty to continue driving our mission of making Africa’s housing finance markets work – with special attention to access to housing finance for the low-income bracket.

So, what have we been doing over the past ten years?

  • Our flagship project, the Yearbook of Housing Finance in Africa, is being published for the 15th time this year – it is five years older than CAHF itself, and has become emblematic of the breadth of CAHF’s activities on the continent.
  • Our work into housing economic value chains has now been done in over 10 countries, and has demonstrated the value of digging deep into the supply chains and financing mechanisms that enable or constrain affordable housing, to understand the impact of that activity on economic growth and job creation.
  • CAHF’s Citymark programme has fundamentally changed the way that policy makers, lenders and developers look at residential property market performance for low income households in South Africa. Cities are now actively using the data to plan investment and manage growth and lenders are using it to target new product development as they extend mortgage lending to lower income earners.
  • Our Data Agenda for Africa has brought housing-relevant data into policy development and investment decision-making.  Our dashboards highlight the breadth and limitations of available data, and establish the basis for a lobbying agenda which we’ve pursued in Kenya and Nigeria specifically.  The Open Access Initiative grew out of this work, and is engaging the data assets of the private sector in support of a more conducive environment for investment decision making.
  • As the Secretariat for the African Union for Housing Finance we’ve grown that body’s membership and increased participation in its annual conference so that the AUHF event is truly the premier affordable housing event for the continent, attended by high ranking professionals globally.
  • We’ve written case studies, and working papers; we’ve explored rental markets and household-level investment in housing; we’ve convened webinars and seminars and have brought stakeholders together to foster collaboration; we’ve worked with the public and the private sectors, in multiple countries across the continent; we’ve championed non-mortgage housing finance and the development of financial products that reach low-income, often informally employed people; we’ve worked with over a hundred separate consultants, promoting investment into affordable housing research; we’ve raised the profile of the African affordable housing market, as a knowable context and an investable opportunity; and we’ve prioritised the affordable housing sector as a key and central target of governments seeking to improve their overall standing and economic prospects.
  • We’ve extended our work into Francophone Africa and have slowly been developing a library of research and a track record of conversations in the region, all of which will culminate in a conference we are hosting in Abidjan this year.
  • And we’ve put all of this together into a single, online course that we offer for free, sharing our overall theory of change and the principles that drive our practice, so that others may replicate world over.

We need to say this over and over again: THANK YOU!  Thank you to our funders and partners, to the AUHF and its Board, to our collaborators, our consultants, our friends and our families – to all of you – thank you for joining us on this journey as we work towards making affordable housing markets function effectively across Africa.

view cahf newsletter | May 2024

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