With 11.3 percent of the world’s urban population and over a quarter of the world’s fastest-growing cities, Africa is undergoing a massive urban transition. By 2050, urban population is projected to reach 1.2 billion compounded by migration from rural areas in search of economic opportunities arising from agglomeration. This includes a youth cohort under the age of 25 making up 60 percent of the population, which points to sustained demand for housing into the future. With current trends in African urbanisation, the population of its cities will make up between half to two-thirds of the total population by 2030.
Shortages in affordable housing across all African nations are developing into a crisis, currently estimated at 50.5 million dwellings, which will only increase if the issue is not addressed. This has also resulted in the development of slums on the fringes of many urban areas.
According to the Slum Almanac 2015 2016 (UN-HABITAT), more than half of the urban population in African countries live in slums which are characterised by problems such as: lack of access to uncontaminated water, absence of adequate, hygienic sanitation facilities, lack of sufficient living space, lack of durable, weather resistant housing and absence of security of tenure.
Most houses in urban areas are constructed incrementally as finance and materials become available. The rental market varies significantly between countries. In some, it is well established but in most it is rudimentary and many rental dwellings do not meet the United Nations Human Rights definition of “adequate housing”.