Growing African Cities Face Housing Challenge and Opportunity

With 60 - 70% of urban African households living in slums, Report calls for new approach to housing, lending and land policies

Africa faces a major housing crisis due to rapid urbanization and a growing slum population. New, targeted approaches to affordable housing are necessary if countries want to take advantage of the demographic shift to make cities inclusive, spur economic growth and expand job opportunities, according to a new report by the World Bank Group.

The report, Stocktaking of the Housing Sector in Sub-Saharan Africa, projects that Africa could have as many as 1.2 billion urban dwellers by 2050 and 4.5 million new residents in informal settlements each year, most of whom cannot afford basic formal housing or access mortgage loans.

"Adequate quality housing is critically important for economic growth and social inclusion," said Mamta Murthi, the World Bank Group's Acting Vice President for Africa. "Governments will need to join hands with the private sector to facilitate investments in housing by expanding access to and improving the quality of existing stock, while at the same time making it easier for people to access land and housing finance."