The Regional Report is one of a four-part series on Stocktaking of the Housing Sector in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) that includes in-depth country case studies for Nigeria, Ethiopia, and Cameroon. As a stocktaking exercise, this report intends to take critical step towards understanding the SSA housing sector through a descriptive approach illuminating the current state-of-affairs of housing markets and policies and identifying overall key trends in the region.
Most elements of the housing sector in Sub-Saharan Africa are dominated by informality. For the majority of urban residents, housing construction, finance and ownership function largely through informal channels. While urbanization in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) is increasing, per-capita incomes in cities are among the lowest in any region. Due to this, the rate of investment in the formal built environment (both private property and public infrastructure) lags behind the rate of population and economic growth. Currently this lag is self-reinforcing – lack of investment yields lack of supply and lack of data, which inhibits investment. Sound policy interventions will focus on improving the functionality of both supply-side and demand-side value chains in both the formal and informal arenas, and driving improvements in institutional capacity both in government and within the capital markets that touch housing.