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IFC, AFD partner Lafarge to finance affordable homes scheme

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Lafarge WAPCOIn its bid to provide affordable houses for Nigerians, International Finance Corporation (IFC) and Agence Francaise de development (AFD)have partnered with Lafarge Africa on provision of affordable houses for Nigerians.

At a housing micro finance academy held in Lagos recently, Chief Executive Officer, Aggregate and Concrete, Lafarge Africa Plc, Loren Zanin said: “The challenge of providing access to housing for low-income earners has special importance to Lafarge. We see this not only as a challenge of our times, but also as an opportunity which is fully aligned and central to our strategic objectives.

“Providing access to financing to low income families is obviously not enough. We discovered that a major problem for the low income home owners was the lack of knowledge on how to design and build a house properly. This is why we provide housing microloans borrowers with free technical assistance to help them throughout the construction project, from the preparation of the drawings, to the optimization of the bill of quantities, to the supervision of their job site.

“In line with this, we have built a 14-member team of construction technical assistants intervening everywhere the programme exists. The end result is a significant improvement in the quality and safety of the construction”.

On her part, the Country Manager of IFC, Eme Essien Lore said: “Available statistics shows Nigeria has a housing deficit of about 17 million units and to meet up, the housing sector has to produce over 700,000 units of housing every year. Unfortunately, in Nigeria today, the formal sector is only churning out about 1,000 units a year.

“So, we need 700,000 units but the formal sector is only building 1,000 units per year. The most prolific developers in Nigeria can only churn out about 400 units a year; contrast that with developers in Latin America and East Asia who are able to build 5,000 – 10,000 units a year. So we have a real problem in Nigeria when it comes to trying to address the housing challenge.

“The partnership we have with LafargeHolcim has the objective to provide housing finance product offerings with the provision of technical assistance for construction and construction materials, I really like the term, housing microfinance, and I hope it becomes a household term in the banking community in Nigeria.

“This partnership will enable market players to provide consumers with the financial tools that they need given their particular
circumstance.

Most importantly, this enables us to target the informal market. Most of the statistics we’ve been talking about are focused on the formal market. This initiative will help us address the opportunity in the informal housing market. This cooperation is an important element of IFC’s strategy for finance and I’m personally excited about it because it will have a direct impact on people’s lives”.

On his part, the Country Manager of AFD, Olivier Delefosse noted that AFD is committed to financing affordable housing in Nigeria, adding that AFD will provide technical assistance for Nigerians that want to
build their house.



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