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Thursday, September 21, 2023

Climate change: Shelter Afrique roots for green buildings

Pan African housing development financier, Shelter Afrique, has implored stakeholders in the built environment sector to put more emphasis on addressing climate change, describing it as “one of the most pressing challenges of our era.”

Thierno-Habib Hann
Shelter Afrique’s Managing Director & CEO, Mr. Thierno-Habib Hann

Speaking at the Zambia EDGE Discovery Workshop organised by Shelter Afrique Centre of Excellence (CoE) in partnership with IFC EDGE and the Ministry of Infrastructure, Housing, and Urban Development, Zambia, the Shelter Afrique Managing Director, Thierno Habib Hann, said the company shares the goal of fostering sustainable and responsible housing practices for a more resilient future.

“In a world where climate change is reshaping landscapes and altering lives, our collective efforts hold the power to forge a more sustainable path forward. The adverse impacts of climate change on our societies, economies, and environment are undeniable. Today, we stand united to explore innovative solutions, particularly in the realm of green and sustainable housing, that can mitigate these challenges and promote resilience. As a company and in line with our 2023-2027 corporate strategy, we are dedicated to constructing housing units that showcase resource efficiency and sustainability,” Mr. Hann said.

Through its Centre of Excellence, Shelter Afrique collaborates with IFC to deliver EDGE Discovery Workshops to developers and other stakeholders in the housing industry across Africa, to accelerate the development of resource-efficient affordable housing.

In his opening remarks, Zambia’s Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Infrastructure, Housing, and Urban Development, Prof. Albert Malama, lauded Shelter Afrique for hosting the EDGE workshop in Zambia and for taking a leading role in championing green building across the continent.

“Climate change is already having major impacts on the built environment across the continent and globally. It’s therefore critical that stakeholders in the built environment in Zambia work together to promote green building practices and foster sustainability in the housing and built environment industry. As a government, we’ll work closely with Shelter Afrique and other stakeholders towards achieving this goal,” Prof. Malama said.

The Programme Lead for IFC EDGE Green Building Market Transformation Programme for Kenya, Ghana, and Nigeria, Mr. Dennis Quansah, who facilitated the training, urged African governments to provide incentives for green building projects.

“To speed up the transition, governments can provide tax incentives, expedited permitting, bonus density, grants & loans, technical assistance, proper legislation, and public campaigns,” Mr. Quansah said.

To achieve EDGE certification, the housing units will have to demonstrate resource efficiency of at least 20 percent in energy, water, and embodied energy in materials.

“We view EDGE as a mark of value that will shape and grow demand for our sustainable housing communities in Africa. In addition, living in an EDGE-certified home benefits the homeowner and their family through significant savings in utility costs,” Mr. Hann said.

Shelter Afrique is a Pan African housing finance and development institution established by African Governments to address the need for a sustainable housing delivery system and related infrastructure projects in Africa.

The institution provides financial solutions and related services to support the supply and demand side of the affordable housing value chain. It also provides advisory and project management services for large-scale affordable housing projects.

It’s currently owned by 44 African countries, the African Development Bank (AfDB), and the African Reinsurance Corporation (Africa-Re).

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