The Centre for Affordable Housing Finance in Africa (CAHF) is the housing finance division of FinMark Trust, a non-profit trust with a mission of ‘making financial markets work for the poor’. 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 expand Africa’s housing markets for all of its residents, 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.
FinMark Trust is a non-profit independent trust, funded primarily by the UKaid from the UK Government, and established in March 2002. FinMark Trust’s purpose is ‘Making financial markets work for the poor, by promoting financial inclusion and regional financial integration’. It does this by conducting 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 research findings. Thus, FinMark Trust plays a catalytic role, driven by its purpose to start processes of change that ultimately lead to the development of inclusive financial systems that can benefit all consumers. An important tool developed by FinMark Trust is FinScope, a national representative survey of individuals’ perceptions and usage of financial services undertaken now in 15 countries in Africa. FinMark Trust’s Trustees are Cas Coovadia (Chair), Prega Ramsamy (CEO), Ethel Matenge-Sebesho, Ishmael Mkhabela, and Esau Nebwe.
Kecia Rust is the coordinator of FinMark Trust’s Centre for Affordable Housing Finance in Africa. 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. Kecia is particularly interested in financial inclusion as it relates to housing finance and the functioning of affordable property markets across Africa. Kecia Rust holds a Masters of Management degree (1998), earned from the Graduate School of Public and Development Management, University of the Witwatersrand. She obtained her Bachelors Degree with Distinction and Honours in International Studies (1990), from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA, where she was a Morehead Scholar.
Olga Koma is a graduate from the University of the Witwatersrand, and is a Researcher with FinMark Trust’s Centre for Affordable Housing Finance in Africa. She has a Bachelor of Science Degree and an honours degree in Urban and Regional Planning. Her honours thesis investigated the use of technology within three urban settings in Johannesburg. Her current interests are urban studies, African cities discourse, economics, housing and, information and telecommunication technologies within cities.
Lorraine Nzimande is a Researcher and Consultant with Finmark Trust’s Centre for Affordable Housing Finance Africa. She has an honours degree in Urban and Regional Planning (town planning) from the University of the Witwatersrand’s School of Architecture and Planning. For her honours degree, she wrote a thesis on the management challenges of informal markets in Johannesburg. She was enrolled in a Housing specialisation in the Town Planning Course and amongst her interests are urban histories, economics and sociology.
Adelaide Steedley is the coordinator of the Affordable Land + Housing Data Centre, within the Centre for Affordable Housing Finance. As coordinator, she is implementing a new web-based dashboard (CityMark) to entice the development of affordable housing in South Africa, using innovative geo-located indicators that will provide a much more detailed understanding of neighborhood markets. Adelaide brings over 20 years of affordable housing and development experience, working with public and private sector partners at the local, regional and national levels across the United States, in ways to entice more efficient development of affordable housing.
Michael Kihato currently coordinates the African Housing Microfinance initiative (AHMFI) for the Center for Affordable Housing Finance in Africa (CAHF). He is also an associate with the South African Cities Network, where he is involved in the land and municipal finance programs. Michael has consulted for over ten years in South Africa as well as the region on a wide range of project types in the development field. His current research interests are the on the financial aspects of development in African urban centres, specifically municipal and infrastructure finance as well as housing finance. Michael is a qualified lawyer and development planner
Allan Simiyu Kundu is providing specialist support to CAHF’s monitoring housing finance sector performance theme. He has worked with two leading commercial banks in Kenya, Standard Chartered and Barclays Bank, before joining the academia as finance and risk management lecture at the Kenya’s Moi University. Currently, Allan is at the University of the Witwatersrand pursuing a PhD in finance with major emphasis on real estate finance and international finance. He has consulted severally with different institutions on African housing markets, data and statistical analysis in Kenya and in South Africa in addition to doing research works focused on real estate markets of Africa.
Miriam M. Maina provides support to the Affordable Land + Housing Data Centre initiative of CAHF. She is a Town Planning student at the University of the Witwatersrand. She graduated with a BA (Urban and Regional Planning) from the University of Nairobi, Kenya and a MSc (Town and Regional Planning) from the University of the Witwatersrand. She has undertaken research on urban informal settlements in Nairobi and Johannesburg, and informal settlement intervention policies in Kenya and South Africa. Her key areas of interest are urban planning and management, spatial policy in developing countries.
Aysha Dawood is a research intern from Rooftops Canada, working with us for six months until December 2013. She has a degree in Urban and Regional Planning, diplomas in Architectural Technology and GIS and Urban Planning and is on her way to a master’s degree in Local Economic Development. Previous to joining CAHF, Aysha worked as a planning consultant in developing and researching affordable housing in Canada. While at CAHF she will undertake a research study entitled “Evidence of housing microfinance in Southern Africa”. Aysha is very excited to have this opportunity to live and work in South Africa while achieving her broader career goals in the affordable housing sector.