The Centre for Affordable Housing Finance in Africa originated as a division of the FinMark Trust, a non-profit trust with a mission of ‘making financial markets work for the poor’. In May 2014, CAHF was established as a not-for-profit company in terms of South African company law, independent from the FinMark Trust. The vision of CAHF is an enabled affordable housing finance system in countries throughout Africa, where governments, business, and advocates work together to provide a wide range of housing options accessible to all. CAHF’s mission is to make Africa’s housing finance markets work, with special attention on access to housing finance for the poor. We pursue this mission through the dissemination of research and market intelligence, supporting cross-sector collaborations and a market-based approach. The overall goal of our work is to see an increase of investment in affordable housing and housing finance throughout Africa: more players and better products, with a specific focus on the poor.
Our work covers four main areas: (1) understanding the housing asset, (2) monitoring housing sector performance, (3) exploring innovation in housing finance, and (4) supporting housing finance market development. Valuing innovation, evidence-based decision-making, collaborative networks, and local expertise, we focus on promoting the opportunities to be found in under-served housing markets across Africa, with a specific focus on the SADC region. As part of this approach, CAHF regularly undertakes and commissions research; develops market intelligence on country and regional housing markets; hosts forums, strategy discussions, and workshops; and participates in local and international conferences and debates on housing finance. The Centre also provides strategic and secretarial support to the African Union for Housing Finance, and is a founding member and driver of the African Housing Microfinance Initiative.
Since its formation, the CAHF has come to be known as the most comprehensive and up to date source of information on housing finance in Africa. Its research and other material is regularly used by investors, lenders, pension funds, and other financiers; legal practitioners, researchers and academics; policy makers and other housing finance practitioners to scope and pursue the opportunities for extending access to housing finance across Africa. As a thought leader in the sector, CAHF is a respected advocate for financial inclusion in housing finance in Africa. Our work is available on our website: www.housingfinanceafrica.org. We also host a Facebook page, a LinkedIn page and tweet regularly (@keciarust).
Kecia Rust is the Director and founder of the Centre for Affordable Housing Finance in Africa (CAHF). She is a housing policy specialist and has worked with both public and private sector practitioners in promoting access to affordable housing and housing finance in Southern Africa for the past 20 years. She was the Housing Finance Coordinator at the FinMark Trust from 2003-2014, during which time she established CAHF, and was appointed as the Secretariat for the African Union for Housing Finance – a role that CAHF continues to play. Over the span of her career, Kecia has consulted and undertaken research in affordable housing finance, residential property assets and property markets, rental and social housing, and the creation of sustainable human settlements, among other issues. Kecia participated in the Wharton School’s International Housing Finance Programme, in Philadelphia, USA, in 2007. She holds a Masters of Management degree (1998), earned from the Graduate School of Public and Development Management, University of the Witwatersrand.
Adelaide Steedley is the director of CityMark, within the Centre for Affordable Housing Finance. Originally from Atlanta, USA, Adelaide has spent her entire career in the community development field. For most of that time, she has worked for US-based national non-profit mission-driven organisations that assist community-based organisations to expand the availability of affordable housing for low income families in communities across the country. Her responsibilities have ranged from overseeing construction and development, to underwriting the city of Boston’s public investment in large scale multi-family housing developments, to managing the allocation of funding to city-wide and regional affordable housing initiatives in a wide variety of social, political and economic contexts. She has also supported the development and implementation of public private investment instruments to facilitate capital investment in housing with banks, insurance companies, foundations and local partners. Adelaide has a master’s degree in city planning from the Georgia Institute of Technology, and in 2008 became a life fellow of the Emerging Leaders Program, a joint fellowship of Duke University and the University of Cape Town’s Graduate School of Business.
Sireena Ramparsad is a research specialist for the Centre for Affordable Housing Finance. She holds a Bachelor of Social Science degree specialising in Housing and is currently completing her Master’s degree in Town and Regional Planning at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. She has also completed the 2014 Housing Finance Course for Sub-Saharan Africa at the University of Cape Town Graduate Business School in collaboration with the University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School of Business. Her background in both housing and town and regional planning has broadened her expertise within the development and built environment field. Sireena has gained extensive experience as a Development Economist, lead researcher and strategic planner across a multitude of projects focussing on spatial economic development which includes property market assessments and local/regional area planning. Sireena is currently registered as a candidate planner with the South African Council for Planners (SACPLAN) as well as the South African Planning Institute.
Samuel Suttner is a research specialist for the Centre for Affordable Housing Finance in Africa. He is interested in local government and urban governance, housing and land markets, and, more broadly, understanding how cities are assembled and maintained. He has been awarded a South African National Presidency grant to conduct research on innovative responses to urban pressures, interned at an urban design firm, consulted for an urban planner, and tutored and lectured political studies. He holds a Bachelor of Commerce in Politics, Philosophy and Economics and a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Development Studies, both from the University of the Witwatersrand, as well as a Master of Science in Urban Studies from University College London.
Kgomotso Tolamo is a research specialist for the Centre for Affordable Housing Finance. Her primary training is in architecture; she has worked for a private architectural practice were she gained several years experience in the design and construction of affordable housing. She is fully conversant in construction contract law, standards and regulations related to the design and construction of affordable housing and the practical application of housing policies. She has also managed the design and development of an extensive range of multi-million rand projects in both the public and private sector. She brings to the organisation vast experience in the implementation and management of several integrated human settlements initiatives throughout South Africa. Apart from the housing finance research work at CAHF, her current key areas of activity include property sourcing and securing, due diligence and feasibility assessment, project conceptualising and scoping, project financial structuring and modelling, stakeholder and institutional management, implementation modelling and other related activities. Kgomotso’s growing area of expertise is in the reconciliation of relevant policy, programmes and legislature into human settlements conceptualising, implementation and delivery processes. She is also currently pursuing a master’s degree in architecture with a focus on housing and urban planning policies and the impact thereof on the urban poor. Essentially her main area of interest is the development, restoration and reformation of human settlement environments in the developing nation context.
CAHF is grateful to its funders and partners for their support.
FSD Africa is a £35 million financial sector development programme, or ‘FSD,’ created in 2012 and based in Nairobi. It is funded by the UK Government’s Department for International Development (DFID). FSD Africa aims to reduce poverty across sub-Saharan Africa by building financial markets that are efficient, robust and inclusive. FSD Africa is a market facilitator or catalyst. It applies a combination of resources, expertise and research to address financial market failures and deliver a lasting impact. FSD Africa has a mandate to work across sub-Saharan Africa on issues that relate to both ‘financial inclusion’ and ‘finance for growth.’ FSD Africa is also a regional platform. It fosters collaboration, best practice transfer, economies of scale and coherence between development agencies, donors, financial institutions, practitioners and government entities with a role in financial market development in sub-Saharan Africa. In particular, FSD Africa provides strategic and operational support to the FSD Network.
The National Housing Finance Corporation (NHFC) is one of several Development Finance Institutions (DFIs) created by the South African Government to sustainably improve on the socio-economic challenges of the country. The developmental financial focus of the NHFC is specifically about finding workable models on affordable housing finance for the low- and middle-income target market.The NHFC was established in 1996, by the then National Department of Housing (NDoH), to offer housing finance, project facilitation and technical assistance to private and public entities ensuring availability of housing stock for the target market. As a means of sustaining its funding programs, the NHFC searches for better ways to mobilise finance for affordable housing from sources outside the state in partnership with the broadest range of organisations. The NHFC, in the affordable housing finance market sector, adopts a role of financier, facilitator and innovator, to ensure viable housing finance solutions; growth of sustainable human settlements; and mobilisation of relevant partnerships, through enhanced insights and knowledge gained.
FinMark Trust, an independent trust based in Johannesburg, South Africa, was established in 2002, and is funded primarily by UKaid from the Department for International Development (DFID) through its Southern Africa office. FinMark Trust’s purpose is ‘making financial markets work for the poor, by promoting financial inclusion and regional financial integration’ as well as institutional and organisational development, in order to increase access to financial services for the un-served and undeserved. FinMark Trust commissions research to identify the systemic constraints that prevent financial markets from reaching out to these consumers and by advocating for change on the basis of the research findings.
The African Union for Housing Finance (AUHF) is an association of forty mortgage banks, building societies, housing corporations and other entities involved in the mobilisation of finances for the development of shelter and housing on the African continent. The AUHF is a non-governmental association and has its presence in sixteen countries across Africa.