In Algeria a United Nations housing expert today called on the Algerian Government to democratize its housing policies, the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) reported. This is a clear notification that open markets in the housing sector in Algeria are due to manifest some activity in 2012.

In Angola at least 88 percent of the Angolan households live in inadequate houses, among them 79 percent are of the urban areas comparing to rural zones. The Angolan government, a US backed dictatorship that has lasted nearly forty years, has engaged in a number of projects to house the military, the bureaucrats and the party faithful through the process of "housing raffles". Ministers do make site visits and make impressive statements.

The State claims to have built 249,544 houses in the last four years; an average of 62,500 houses/year. The current urgent demand for social housing is estimated by the Angolan Government at double that figure - 250,000 more units are required and these should be completed in five years if the current pace is maintained or improved. There is no way of knowing if these figures are correct or not since the independent press is heavily censored in Angola and most news items are generated by the Angolan government. Political activists claim that these numbers refer only to the Party members and do not include the other 18 Million people in the country, who live on less than US$2.00/day on average.

Currently the Angolan government stands accused by the Human Rights Watch organisation of syphoning off more than US$32 Billion from the State coffers between 2007 and 2010.

Angola remains a hostile environment for international investors and operators that are not connected to the inner sanctum of the State and its handlers.

There were no housing news from Benin. Botswana, a country not known for the shortage of housing due to its small population, last registered a news item in November 2009 when it announced a new housing scheme.

Burkina Faso and Burundi did not register housing activity on the news wires.

Cameroon was optimistically active in the last two years following the first item in August 2009 titled "African Woman Builds Her Own House" - a video of a peasant woman building a solid mud brick home at speed. The private sector is active in the housing "market" as evidenced by "Operation 7,000 Houses".

Cape Verde is a case where no news is probably bad news. The last item registered from Cape Verde was the following on 7 November 2008; "Clandestine Housing Squeezes Cities - Illegal housing precariously built on the volcanic archipelago of Cape Verde threatens to increase erosion, land disputes, disease, flooding, and crime, according to the government and its NGO partners who are trying to contain the damage of clandestine urban sprawl. "

Chad is an interesting case. The one and only item registered on the system at the time of writing is from 7 June 2010; "A Nigerian company, Exhimab Integrated Link Limited, has been awarded a contract to construct 50,000 housing units in Chad at a cost of $1.2billion. " This is how the Nigerians saw it; "A Nigerian company, Exhimab Integrated Link Limited, whose N26billion Staff Housing contract was revoked by the outgoing Clerk of the National Assembly, Mr. Oluyemi Ogunyomi , for allegedly defaulting in time of delivery, has landed a $1.2 billion housing contract in Chad Republic". Nothing more has been heard about the deal since then. Chad is the 7th poorest country in the world with 80% of the population living below the poverty line.

No news from the Congos. Or Cote d'Ivoire.

Egypt sprung into life for the first time ever following the Revolution of 2011. Prime Minister Essam Sharaf said that the government seeks to apply the social dimension as it is one of the goals of the revolution, achieve democracy, build a sound economy, encourage investment and to respect the signed agreements. "He pointed out that there is an integrated social program undertaken by the government includes a program for social housing. This program includes the building of one million housing units by self-funding without any loads on the state's budget."

Egypt is falling into step with the exploitation of housing markets for Western companies channelled through the usual suspects, the Arab League. "Prime Minister Kamal Ganzouri received on Thursday 29/12/2011 six Arab housing ministers to review the outcome of an Arab League ministerial housing council meeting which wrapped up in Cairo Thursday and ways to coordinate Arab housing strategies and unify building codes".

After a total absence of news in 2010 Eritrea produced a modest stream of housing news in 2011 indicating a resurgence in activity. Ethiopia made a brief appearance in 2011 to announce that housing for government officials was under construction.

On the 19th June 2011Gambia announced that a housing project would begin "soon". January 2012 brought a flurry of press releases relating to a Canadian investment in Gambian housing.

Ghana woke up from a housing news slumber in 2011 with a new focus on "affordable housing". The news of British investment soon followed; "At the culmination of a recent three day Conference for Housing Excellence held in Accra and organized by Consultants and the Chartered institute of Housing from the U.K, the U.N Habitat sponsored SUF project in Ashaiman was adjudged the best social innovative Housing project for the urban poor and low income people". Keep an eye on the Ghana housing sector. Interesting activity is expected.

Kenya is very active in every aspect of the housing sector. Not all the activity is good!  Much is said about the upgrading of slums but the current solution appears to be demolitions without consequence. Some have called the Kenyan spate of demolitions a "crime against humanity". The Nairobi slums remain a cause for Kenyan concern. The Kenyan residential market showed positive signs of activity throughout 2011 with "experts claiming that house prices have remained unaffected by the poor state of the economy". An interesting aspect of the Kenyan housing and residential sectors is a bank driven push for the marketing of mortgage bonds, which appears to be gaining ground slowly. Also of interest are the urbanisation news from Kenya.

Lesotho produced no housing news.

Liberia made a lot of noise about low cost housing in 2009 but has been all but silent since, with the exception of the government's announcement that it itends to build housing estates in 15 counties.

Libya! Until the NATO invasion of 2011 everyone in Libya had a house. There was no housing problem, no housing shortage. During the invasion entire cities and suburbs were obliterated by mindless bombing: there will be shortages of every description for a long time - including housing.

Malawi. Mali. Mauritius.  Nothing ...

Morocco: one item of news in four years; on the 1st of October 2011 the King launched a housing project. In Mozambique one housing project has taken off in Matola.

Namibia is a hive of activity. There is a lot going on here - not all of it good. Most items are about the absence of an adequate housing supply and the backlog on delivery which is blamed on slow land acquisition. Namibia is a large, mostly desert, country with a small population and a stabilised political system and a solid investment and financial structure. With 49% of Namibians living in poverty the expectation is that good, positive developments could begin to happen in Namibia in 2012  to alleviate the problem. The residential market appears sturdy with house prices reported to have "shot up" halfway through 2011 - the unavailability of developed land is cited as the cause for the rise in value.

There we no housing news from Niger.

Nigeria... There is no shortage of housing related news from Nigeria.  On the 1st of February 2012 the Daily Trust (Abuja) reported that "new housing projects across the country are thought to have reduced Nigeria's housing deficit, estimated at 16 million, but officials are uncertain how much the deficit has reduced." Keep track of Nigerian housing developments here. Surprisingly little is written about Nigerian slums.  Of great concern is the propensity for Nigerian buildings to fail and collapse - frequently killing many people. Evictions and demolitions in Nigeria are regularly reported. Nigeria is currently the target of Western backed destabilisation and political control - analysts believe that things will get a lot worse before they get better.

Rwanda produced a long stream of housing news in 2011, most news items being very positive. Watch Rwanda.

Zip from Senegal. Nothing interesting from Sierra Leone between 2008 and 2012. Zero from Somalia.

South Africa has a highly developed housing sector. Whilst the shortages remain acute a great number of housing units have been built over the last four years.

South Sudan and Swaziland did not produce housing related news on our channels. Tanzania was a mildly busy place in the 2011 housing sector. In a provincial sort of way. Tunisia nothing. Uganda is a steady producer of housing news with a broad view of the sector. Zambian Housing had a very busy 2011 - Lusaka has great potential and Zambia remains a favoured investment destination. (A well kept secret!)

Housing in Zimbabwe is chaotic and corrupt - like everything else about that dysfunctional Queen's colony. The capital city, Harare, is in a shambles as the latest typhoid outbreak testifies. Harare is clearly heading towards a Luanda Scenario outcome: Hell on Earth.

In conclusion, with the possible exception of South Africa, all African countries appear to be falling behind with the provision of affordable housing stock for low income earners. Western and Eastern companies alike view this sector with equal amounts of optimism and caution.

Currently the only countries which appear to be actively engaging the housing debate (and frequently the construction as well) are South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda and Ghana.  (The editors selected the following countries as the least likely to develop in this market sector; Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Angola, Cape Verde and the Congos.)

With unabated urbanisation, neglected rural development, municipal retardation, service delivery failure as well as broad spectrum corruption the simple matter of providing every African with shelter will remain a complex problem that should be urgently addressed by responsible governments, resolved by professional consultants and constructed by able builders.

Compiled from AA Editor submissions by W.J. Price (Lagos) : 3 February 2012


One of the many things that the Architect Africa News Network(tm) does is aggregate Africa's built environment news streams on a real time basis. It does not do this so that it can rebroadcast the individual items of news but rather to archive and then analyse the sum total of the information in order to identify TRENDS; past present and future.

Architect Africa is a data analysis network. Analysis of data is a process of inspecting, cleaning, transforming, and modelling data with the goal of highlighting useful information, suggesting conclusions, and supporting decision making. Data analysis has multiple facets and approaches, encompassing diverse techniques under a variety of names, in different business, science, and social science domains.

The AA Network focuses specifically on the African Built Environment. Everything (and anything!) related to Africa's development and built environment  activity that is published on the Internet (in English!) is sought out by AA Network agents and connected to the AA Aggregator when it is found to produce useful data. The captured data is filtered through two integrity processes; one human driven and one fully automated. The latter is powered by the Open Calais semantic analysis system. The former is powered by AA Online Editors, who are all architects in Africa.

The information produced by the AA News Network is not scientific nor is it academic. It is purely a functional analysis of a particular sample of published data which may or may not be actual or accurate - as the sources are frequently politicised news organs with fixed agendas. It is simply intended to be a business tool designed to assist decision makers in the built environment professions and industries associated with the continent of Africa. For example, housing in Africa is by far the most popular topic associated with the African built environment between 2008 and 2012. Does this mean that Housing is the most active and profitable construction sector currently in Africa? Possibly, but not necessarily; it could be that the debate on the lack of housing in Africa dominates the subject through the socio economic upheaval of the moment. What it does say at first glance is that Housing is a very important and active sector of the construction industry.  This series of reports summarises the findings generated by AA Editors tasked with analysing the twenty most active topics registered on the AA information channel network.

The most active information channels recorded between 2008-2011 were;

1. Housing
2. Construction
3. Demolitions
4. Building Failures
5. Roads
6. Urbanisation
7. Evictions
8. Building Materials
9. Water Resources
10. Stadiums
11. Energy
12. Development
13. Airports
14. Corruption
15. Public Works
16. Slums
17. Transport
18. Dams
19. Residential
20. Urban Transport