FIABCI Nigeria joins $250m urban campaign for affordable housing

Joe Akhigbe, FIABCI Nigeria

Joe Akhigbe, FIABCI Nigeria

The global real estate sector perched on the brink of history recently, when a multi-discipline, networking organization for all professionals – International Real Estate Federation (FIABCI), launched an ambitious property scheme geared towards helping low-income earners realise their long dream of owning a home.

The scheme is coming as part of the Global Housing Foundation (GHF), a non-profit and official Non-Governmental Organisation accredited by the United Nations, devoted to providing affordable housing for the world’s homeless slum dwellers in Eastern Europe, Latin America and Africa.

According to UN reports, the world is undergoing a large wave of urban growth.  Global population will increase to 2.5 billion people within the next 30 years and many of these people will become urban dwellers. The world’s shortage of housing will become more acute in the coming decades and the housing problem will become more concentrated locally because it is expected that, due to massive migrations to urban centers, over 75 per cent of the world population will be living in cities mid-century.

It is estimated that over one billion men, women, and children are living in slums in the developing world. These abhorrent conditions are a personal tragedy for each family that lives in them. They also represent a moral crisis for the rest of humanity—and a threat to the global economy and world security. 34 per cent of the families living in slums are employed.

GHF operates a $250 million ‘micro-mortgage’ financing initiative made possible by Merrill Lynch and the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT) and supported by FIABCI. The programme is designed to provide low cost quality homes by facilitating access to loans to the estimated 350 million slum dwellers who are employed or have a source of income enabling them to repay a long-term GHF micro-mortgage.

Launched in 1999 by the late founder Rene Frank, FIABCI Honorary Deputy President, GHF leverages the expertise and resources of the private real estate industry to meet the challenge of providing affordable housing in inner-city slums. UN-HABITAT’s mission is to promote socially and environmentally sustainable urban development with the goal of providing adequate shelter for all.

Specifically, Nigerian chapter of the federation has announced that it has joined the global body in its new housing scheme. Fiabci Nigeria is aggressively calling on private sector interest to proffer solutions to the problem of affordable housing.

FIABCI launched the World Urban Campaign in Dubai early this year, with the slogan “The City We Need is Affordable”, which focuses on sharing best formulas and practices from around the world. “We hope that it will contribute to increase the supply of moderately-priced housing for rent and for sale for people working and living in cities, ” according to FIABCI International President Danielle Grossenbacher

FIABCI Nigeria representative at the MIPIM conference, Mr. Emeka Eleh, revealed the plan during a panel discussion and sharing experiences of urban policy and housing delivery. Grossenbacher moderated the panel. Other Discussants were Keiji Kamiyama of the Japanese  Ministry of Land Infrastructure and Tourism, Brendan Reily Vice Mayor City of Chicago and Farouk Mahmound  FIABCI India President.



According to the General Secretary, FIABCI Nigeria, Mr. Gbenga Ismail, “private-public partnerships like that of Global Housing Foundation are crucial to addressing and solving these catastrophic, imminent problems.

“FIABCI International and Nigeria will not be building houses, but are seeking to find viable solution that will bring down costs that contribute to completing and delivering houses that will be affordable. We are calling for ideas and solutions through a competition amongst various stakeholders to determine which of these options best gives a viable option.”

FIABCI plans to pinpoint solutions to quickly reduce the current imbalance between the low supply and high demand for housing units; identify beneficial financing formulas which will encourage investors and developers to embrace the campaign and to take an active role in planning the cities of tomorrow equipped with affordable housing – today.

Ismail disclosed that the group will also share experience in new construction methods, materials, design and innovations, which will reduce the time and cost of construction without sacrificing quality; facilitate the sharing of knowledge and experiences in construction methods, technology, materials, design and innovations which will be beneficial to all stakeholders.

Similarly, FIABCI Nigeria intends to publicize smartly planned communities practical for the urban workforce; showcase successful affordable developments with creative new components such as urban farming, work/live environments, etc.Detail best public/private partnership formulas

Up to now, initiatives have been mainly undertaken by governments and urban authorities through subsidies, tax incentives, re-zoning and allocation of extra air-rights. Our objective is to get the private sector involved, and if, as we hope, we are successful in this endeavor, it should be possible to significantly expand activities and projects in this field.

He explained that FIABCI is uniquely positioned to bring together all of the major global stakeholders in the real estate industry to propose solutions to meet the increasing demand for affordable housing within the world’s cities and to encourage the private sector to become involved by expanding activities and projects focused on affordable housing.

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