Pan African housing development financier, Shelter Afrique has won the Africa’s Best Real Estate Finance Company Award for the year 2021.
The Award conferred by the London-based Capital Finance International (CFI) is in recognition of the Company’s contribution towards financing affordable housing projects across Africa.
In its submission, the CFI judging panel lauded Shelter Afrique for its efforts to bring to the forefront the affordable housing agenda across Africa and the organization’s determination to source for funding for development of affordable housing in the continent.
“From our independent assessment, Shelter Afrique is a purpose-driven company committed to increasing access to decent affordable low-cost housing in Africa. We hope this Award will encourage the company to do even more as it focuses its efforts towards addressing the continent’s housing crisis,” CFI judges said in a statement.
Shelter Afrique’s Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Andrew Chimphondah welcomed the Award, noting that the company will continue focusing more on the provision of affordable housing as its key priority.
“This Awards is an independent affirmation of our critical role in financing and supporting delivery of large-scale, low-cost housing in Africa. It is humbling to note that this role has been recognized at a global level. It is also a testament that the strategy approved by the board is having the desired impact and that the management and staff are also aligned in the execution of this strategy. There is a lot more to be done, yes, but we believe that such an Award will go a long way in motivating us to have an increased focus on the delivery of low-cost housing, which is our key mandate,” Mr. Chimphondah said.
Shelter Afrique was honored alongside top global brand such as Mercedes-Benz (Best Automotive Branding Europe 2021), Chase (Most Innovative Retail Banking Services United States 2021), Old Mutual Investment Group (Best ESG Responsible Investor Africa 2021), IBM (Best Shareholder Engagement United States 2021), BP Plc (Best ESG Oil & Gas Operator Global 2021), and Amazon (Most Disruptive Retail Operations Global 2020) among others.
“At 56 million housing units deficit in the continent, based on our Centre of Excellence research, and at an estimated construction cost of US$25,000 per unit, the continent needs at least US$3 trillion which presents a huge funding challenge for us. As a company, we have taken a strategic decision to forge meaningful public-private partnerships as a viable option in addressing the current housing shortage,” Mr. Chimphondah said.
He said due to COVID-19 pandemic most countries had redirected their fundings to support the health sector to combat the pandemic, but noted that the Company continues to see renewed confidence from its member States through increased capital contribution, an indication of their dedication to supporting provision of affordable housing.
He also cited volatile forex regimes in most member countries as another major challenge of financing affordable housing projects.
“Most of local currencies are weaker against the major world currencies. Look at the Nigerian Naira – if today it is 500 to the US Dollar, tomorrow, it could be at 700. Such a scenario makes it difficult for those who borrow in hard currencies to be able to pay back because of the foreign exchange exposure risk. That is why we are keen on developing local capital markets by issuing bonds in local currencies so that developers and primary mortgage lenders can have access to debt funding in their local currencies to avoid such exposures,” Mr. Chimphondah concluded.