We recognise the pivotal role of housing to the attainment of all the Sustainable Development Goals. The urgency required to achieve these goals are amplified by the recent coronavirus pandemic and endemic threats of poverty and inequality across African cities and regions.


We foreground the following as critical for the achievement of housing and urban development priorities: urban planning policies and processes, applied research and knowledge production, housing and infrastructure design and finance, innovation and technology, construction skills development, civic participation and community engagement.


We acknowledge the core challenges that are central to the attainment of urban transformation in Africa. 

a.         Economic challenges of accessing finance for mortgages, mass housing and urban infrastructure at various scales.

b.         Social challenges of urban poverty, social exclusion, migration, gender discrimination and ethno-religious strife.

c.         Environmental challenges caused by climate change, weak urban planning and management frameworks and anthropogenic activities including burning of fossil fuels and poor waste management practices.

d.         Governance challenges including the conceptualization, operationalisation and implementation of policies, plans and programmes for inclusive economic growth and sustainable development .


We outline the following constraints to the achievements of SDGs in Africa, especially SDG11 - which is a call to make cities and human settlements safe, inclusive, resilient and sustainable.

a)         Urban Vulnerability: The migrant populations, homeless people and urban poor are particularly vulnerable due to land tenure insecurity, lack of access to basic services and the current environmental health threats.

b)         Urban Inequality: Minorities and marginalised populations including ethnic minorities, women, people living with disabilities are unable to reap the full urban dividend due to lack of economic and other opportunities.

c)         Co-production of knowledge: Urban decisions are not fit-for-purpose seeing that in many cases they are not backed by scientific verifiable data and local knowledge and lived experiences of communities and various actors.

d)         Financial frameworks:  access to limited funding in the areas of housing, urban infrastructure, innovation and technology, and where available are not affordable or equitable.


Therefore, we recommend the following as urgent tasks and responsibilities that must be accomplished in the immediate term for the achievement of Housing for all and catalysing a better urban future for African citizens

a.         An end to forced evictions and violent spatial displacements of migrant populations, homeless people and the urban poor.

b.         An urban renewal approach of informal settlements that relies on indigenous knowledge systems and prioritises incremental ‘in situ’ upgrading.

c.         An urban regeneration approach that focuses on local economic development and catalyses opportunities for marginalised groups.

d.        Conceptualising, operationalising, financing and implementation of pragmatic housing programmes based on the principles of inclusion, liveability and  affordability.

e.         Establishment of key science-policy-industry engagement platforms to ensure that sectoral policies are driven by evidence (data) and professional expertise.

f.          Institutionalization of a housing and infrastructure delivery framework to efficiently synchronize data from granular to macro levels provides.

g.         Emphasis on regional development policies and rural development programmes to support national growth and decentralization.

h.         Enhance urban planning and management frameworks through regulatory practices and capacity development .

i.           incentivisation of large-scale production and distribution of affordable housing units by private sector using tax shelters, building licences etc.

j.           Liberalisation of land markets from undue restrictions to access and tenure security.

k.         Strengthening local governance systems through capacity development.

l.           Institution of affordable housing policy frameworks through realistic cooperative and mortgage systems to address systemic deficiencies.

m.       Identification and adaptation of indigenous knowledge systems and local practices for the development of sustainable housing solutions for African cities. .


The identification and adaptation of workable systems and solutions for African cities is critical. A humbler approach to housing for all needs to be grounded, not only in experiences of ordinary people but one that is reoriented to forms of survival, existence and needs of the poor. Realistic government-led programs and support for private sector investments are urgently required for providing and prioritizing improved infrastructure, basic amenities, sustainable housing and putting African cities and human settlements on the pathway of better urban futures in which no one is left behind.

October 5, 2020


Professor Timothy Nubi

Director, ARNUHC




1.        Sustainable cities and African urbanization dynamics

2.        Housing and regeneration

3.        Urban health and liveability

4.        Sustainable urban design and infrastructure

5.        Urban land management and administration

6.        Sustainable construction and construction skill development

7.        Pro-poor development and urban management

8.        Spatial Data Infrastructure



1.        Federal University of Technology, Minna Nigeria

2.        American University of West Africa, The Gambia

3.        Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun, Nigeria

4.        Sierra Leone Urban Research Centre, Njala University, Sierra Leone

5.        Uganda Martyrs University, Uganda

6.        University of Cape Town, Cape Town

7.        University of Ghana, Legon, Ghana

8.        University of Nairobi, Nairobi, Kenya

9.      University of Zambia, Lusaka, Zambia



1.         African Research Universities Alliance (ARUA)

2.         Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN)

3.         FESADEB Communication Limited

4.         Real Estate Developers Association of Nigeria (REDAN)

5.         Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC)

6.         University of Stirling: Home, Housing and Communities Research Group

7.        London School of Economics: International Growth Centre

8.        Heriot Watt University: Institute of Sustainable building and Urban Design

9.        University of Birmingham

10.     University of Sheffield


Post Reply