A move by participants in the African housing market to make crucial data accessible to developers, financiers, and the general public will have its first positive impact in Kenya.
Data on the cost of building, the duration of time it takes to finish a project, and particular issues that arise in the housing sector will be made available to the public across the continent through the Open Access Initiative, Kenya serving as the test site for the initiative.
The initiative is being led by The Center for Affordable Housing Finance in Africa (CAHF), Financial Sector Deepening (FSD) Africa Investments, Financial Sector Deepening (FSD) Kenya, Reall and International Housing Solutions(IHS). In conjunction with these market facilitators, The Affordable Housing Investment Alliance (AHIA), was established and will in turn drive the Open Access Initiative.
This data is expected to inform investors in affordable housing about the profitable units, underserved locations, and best practices for navigating challenges and returns on investments. Investors should ultimately also be able to save time and money thanks to this information provided.
The initiative comes a few months after the Africa Union for Housing Finance (AHF) and the Centre for Affordable Housing Finance (CAHF) highlighted in a report the lack of reliable data that should inform sector investors, making Investment in the industry costly and risky.
The goal of this program is to create a central repository where affordable housing specialists, developers, lenders and investors, can share information and delivery experiences. With Kenya as the pioneer, this repository will develop into a complete database of all investments in affordable housing in Africa.
The Open Access Initiative is also meant to create a solution to problems such as limited data in composition and associated costs, clarity of the process followed when development was being put up (including steps, time and costs) the blockages that arise, impact on affordability, details relating to people, target market and their affordability.
In addition, the data does not include other financial pressures, housing needs, the performance of the investment, whether it is a worthwhile venture or not and how improvements can be done. According to the initiative strategy, when money is spent in a project, it should have two goals: provide the immediate development output (housing units), and assist the development of the wider market.
Outputs will be created at many levels; some will be aimed at the general public, other development finance institutions (DFIs), and participating developers. AHIA will create a wide range of outputs, including project fact sheets, investment fact sheets, action briefs, case studies, and a data dashboard, to maximize the use of the information at hand.
Additionally, given the output’s clear focus on delivery risks and the identification of niche market opportunities made possible by this effort, it will also highlight the activities of market players involved in affordable housing, demonstrating their focused attention on both opportunities and risks and encouraging greater investment in the affordable housing sector.
The alliance therefore states, that the Open Access Initiative emphasizes that industry players should compete on how information is used to optimize resources rather than how to access information.
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