DEVELOPMENT TOPICS: Housing and living conditions
Around 90% of people in Africa live in informal housing. Although African governments provide housing to some extent, this can be costly, and does not necessarily lead to the growth of affordable housing.
Instead, most of Africa’s population live in unsafe conditions, with limited access to drinking water, adequate sanitation, and electricity. The housing crisis, partly driven by rapid urbanisation and economic migration, has been worsened by unemployment and poverty. Even before the Covid-19 pandemic, more than 445 million Africans – around 34% of the population – lived below the poverty line. Very few people on the continent can afford formal housing, and banks are strict when it comes to extending mortgages.
Housing drives social inclusion and economic prosperity – people who lack shelter, or who have inadequate housing, are more vulnerable to displacement and violence.
Company support for housing and living conditions
Investing in housing and living conditions can help to ensure the safety and dignity of citizens and safeguard basic needs. It can also improve health outcomes and reduce the spread of infectious diseases, which are difficult to contain in densely populated informal settlements.
Companies can invest by building and maintaining structures, improving water and sanitation hygiene (WASH) in communities, and funding sustainable energy initiatives. Such investments foster the development of economic hubs, which can drive employment and improve quality of life.
Affordable housing is a priority in urban centres as it supports social and economic inclusion.