Blog: Tunisia

May 6, 2013 by Michael Kihato | 6 Comments

At the heart of the Arab spring was a lack of affordable housing, a bold statement I read in a magazine article, which went on to say that:  the shortage of affordable homes is one of the underlying causes of the social unrest and the resulting political turmoil that has spread across the MENA region during the Arab Spring of 2011. I was initially quite skeptical and thought as many would, this was simplification of a much more complex problem. Further, common sense dictates that it is more about poverty and a lack of jobs. If you have money, you…

May 3, 2013 by Michael Kihato | 2 Comments

Housing delivery requires that a number of systems work; finance, land and infrastructure. Housing microfinance works even when many of these systems do not work well. For example, certain segments of the population build and improve housing circumstances incrementally, because of the high cost of housing and lack of affordable finance. HMF is tailored to match this staged build process, financed by these relatively small and less predictable incomes streams. Another example is that many people reside on land that may not have clear land title. HMF has the ability to work with various shades of tenure security, many that…

January 24, 2013 by Michael Kihato | 2 Comments

Housing microfinance has often ridden on the wave of microfinance lending. General microfinance is a valuable brand that has provided the possibility for commercially viable enterprise to help the poorest of the poor. The industry even has its own Nobel Prize winner, not too bad given it started formal lending only in the late 70’s and early 80s. Naturally therefore HMF can share in the limelight of the industry its shares a name with. In fact, today, the reliance by HMF on established institutions and practices of microfinance is without doubt. HMF has been traditionally defined as a subset of…

January 8, 2013 by Michael Kihato | 22 Comments

A perennial and vexing question posed to all HMF practitioners is how to scale up delivery. The need for HMF is frustratingly obvious given the major housing challenge (crisis?) in many developing countries including in Africa. Demand is seemingly endless given our urbanisation rates and the current housing shortfall. The underlying rationale whether making money or poverty alleviation means everyone wins. But even with these seemingly good ingredients, to many it fails to grow beyond at best some exceptional practices in a few regions of the world where there is the rare dedicated HMF lender. In fact more likely when…

December 6, 2012 | 19 Comments

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…

November 28, 2012 by Michael Kihato | 1 Comment

I was referred recently to a series of exchanges between two people well versed in issues of housing for the poor. The subject of discussion was whether housing microfinance (HMF) is truly a solution for the bottom of pyramid housing problems facing many of our countries. The exchange happened some time last year, but the issues raised by both are as pertinent as ever. This is especially so for housing practitioners who battle with question of what is a true scaleable solution to housing the poor. Both sides of debate made valid points. On the one hand is the argument…

November 13, 2012 by Michael Kihato | 1 Comment

It does look like we are reaching the other end of the proverbial full circle in terms of housing policy and thinking in Africa. There is a very familiar ring to the current debate around providing serviced plots of land to people to self build. A sample of housing development thinking is very instructive. Initially, the pre-independence period in African countries was shaped by a strong, post-second World War belief in the state’s interventionist powers, and its ability to drive economic development. For example the housing landscape right across the continent, emphasised the pivotal role to be played by state…

November 2, 2012 by Michael Kihato | No Comments

About two years ago the Center for Affordable Housing Finance commissioned a scoping study on the demand for housing microfinance (HMF) in Africa. Very much a journey of discovery, the process had the benefit of exposing the various strands of literature around housing microfinance at that time. The literature dealing with HMF in Africa was scant, although perhaps understandable, given that this was still very much a novel concept for financing housing development. The HMF environment was defined by a small number of ground-breaking pieces of work.  Frank Daphnis and Bruce Ferguson’s book in 2004 Housing Microfinance: A guide to…

July 10, 2012 by Rob McGaffin | 6 Comments

Rob McGaffin attended the Wharton Business School International Housing Finance Programme (IHFP) in Philadelphia from the 4 – 15 June 2012.  A similar course that is more tailored to the African context is to be run in Cape Town from the 1 – 6 October 2012.  The course is called the Housing Finance Programme for Sub-Saharan Africa and is being jointly presented by the Wharton Business School, the Centre for Affordable Housing Finance and the University for Cape Town.  More information about the programme can be found at this link.  In this blog, Rob sets out three of the key…

January 27, 2012 | No Comments

A report recently issued by Invest AD explores institutional investor intentions in Africa to 2016.  The report, written by the Economist’s Intelligence Unit, notes the shifting perceptions regarding investment in Africa and highlights promising signs, both politically and economically.  The report summarises findings from a global online survey of 158 institutional investors, during August and September 2011.  Respondents range from insurance and pension funds through to private banks, wealth managers, hedge funds and mutual funds.  About half of respondents have up to US$499m under management, while another 22% have at least US$10 billion under management.  The survey findings were tested…