NAIROBI, Sept. 29 (Xinhua) -- Pan-African housing development financier, Shelter Afrique said Tuesday it has signed an agreement with two Chinese construction firms to scale up the development of large-scale affordable housing projects in Kenya and across Africa.
The company said the MoU which it signed with the two Chinese firms, Amberton International Holdings and Sichuan Huashi Enterprises Corporation East Africa Limited is expected to boost its mandate of providing decent and affordable housing in Africa.
Andrew Chimphondah, CEO of Shelter Afrique said his company will work closely with Amberton International Holdings as a co-developer for specific large-scale, low-cost housing projects in Africa, which will be constructed by Sichuan Huashi Enterprises Corporation East Africa Limited.
"This strategic partnership with Amberton and Huashi will be key in expanding our projects across the continent as we draw from the experiences of the two companies," Chimphondah said in a statement issued in Nairobi.
Experts say the property market in East Africa is responding to demand that has been created by an expanding middle class who has the disposable income and ability to service their mortgages.
However, affordable housing for a majority of Africa's population remains a challenge.
The housing shortage is a major social challenge especially in the major urban centers in Africa, blamed on the high costs of land, building materials, and lack of innovative financing methods.
The rising demand for housing in Nairobi and other major cities has exerted pressure on neighboring towns where housing supply is hindered by the unavailability of serviced land.
Chimphondah who inked the deal with Amberton International Holdings director Nancy Yu, and Sichuan Huashi Enterprises Corporation East Africa Limited MD Cao Zheng, said the partnership with the two Chinese firms will deepen Shelter Afrique's impact on Africa's affordable housing value chain in terms of supply.
He said the company is in the process of securing a few projects in Kenya with the military, the Kenya Police and the Civil Service which is set to kick off this year.
"These take-off projects will be aligned with Kenya government affordable housing plan under the Big 4 Agenda, which seeks to develop 500,000 housing units by 2022," Chimphondah said.
The official said the majority of African countries were already facing a housing crisis with the overall housing shortage estimated at 56 million housing units across the continent.
Out of this, Chimphondah said, more than 90 percent are in the affordable housing bracket. Enditem