Home Markets And TrendsMarchés Africains Jean Claude Yanava : « The growth rate of the slum population in Africa stands at 4.5% annually »

Jean Claude Yanava : « The growth rate of the slum population in Africa stands at 4.5% annually »

The civil engineer and urban planner, Jean Claude Yanava visits the challenges linked to the unexpected increase in real estate investment.

by Madeleine Maxime Kana

Published: Last Updated on
The growth rate of the slum population in Africa stands at 4.5% annually
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What strategies should Africa adopt to maintain or increase the level of real estate investment, especially rental property?

It is obvious that Covid-19 will not ease the development of the real estate sector in the world and most especially in Sub-Saharan African countries. To increase the numbers, Africa must show its capacity to fight against Covid-19, its low mortality rate and certainly its climate which is not conducive to eradicate the disease. What is obvious is that Africa has better resisted the consequences of this disease.

As an expert in real estate project management in Africa, what could account for the positive projections on the rate of real estate investment in Africa?

In 40 years, a third of the world’s population will live in shanty towns (UNDP, 2021). The rapid population growth coupled with a high rate of rural exodus has led to a very high increase in slum areas and the building of houses not governed by town planning (BELAADI Brahim, 2021, P.43).

The magnitude of the situation in the world and in third world countries in particular (under developed and developing) is worrying.

In 2008, close to a billion persons lived in slum areas and the situation will be aggravated. According to forecasts from international organisations (UN HABITAT and World Bank), Africa will have 2 billion people by 2030. More serious is the fact that every year 70 million slum dwellers are born or settled in these areas.

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This growth in absolute figures is doubling despite the decline in the percentage of slum areas compared to the urban population. It dropped from 47% to 37% between 1990 and 2005. But we should not be fooled. This is caused by the fact that the growth of towns in Africa, South and South East Asia and South America is still very high.

For example, the annual growth rate in Abidjan or Kinshasa stands at 10% (Seminars backed by workshops ARC 7 and ARC 8, P/8). In fact, developing countries are experiencing today the first phase of their industrialisation and are encountering the same problems Europe encountered a century ago.

What makes the problem more complicated is because the population is growing the same time as industrialisation. In Africa, the growth rate of the slum population is 4.5% annually.

For example, 28.7% of the population in South Africa live in slums, in Madagascar, 72% of the urban population live in slum areas making 4 million people.  61.9% of the Nigerian population live in shanty towns, 38.38% in Morocco and in Cameroon the figure stands at 67% of the total population (USF, p.100). This shows the seriousness of the situation and urgent need of interventions in the real estate investment sector.

What strategies Cameroon as a Sahelian country should implement to maintain the profitability of the real estate market?

They should seek a possible means to draft an ambitious policy in the real estate sector in Cameroon which should first of all begin with an awareness campaign by both the local and public administration.

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Cameroon must benefit from the advantages of the five logics of social housing which are: the quantification of housing in Cameroon; the drafting and prioritisation of the social housing policy by political leaders; the carrying out of research on what portion of national land can be sold and what part should be left for renting by the poorer population; the political and strategic choices of different real estate project sites; the establishment of a good policy for allocating these houses at the same time differentiating beneficiaries from most needy.

How does the rental property market constitute an investment opportunity in Africa?

Many opportunities are glaring like the forecast into the future environmental impact or projects in the real estate sector (Africa is seen as a continent of the future); the development to the political plan of the real estate sector of houses which must become a main pillar in the rebirth of new towns (satellite towns) in Africa. On the economic plan, construction programmes must give strong impetus to economic growth. And finally, in the social domain, the poor class could be assisted by a social policy which will provide them with both work and housing.

What are the obstacles linked to the development of investments in the real estate sector in Africa as a whole?

Taking Cameroon for example we can say that at the level of the continent, we must fight corruption and embezzlement of public funds which benefits the middle class and divides our society in two: one part which is extremely poor and cursed to poverty and another class that is very rich.

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We should also fight against bad governance and poor management of natural resources and financial limits; construct large universities operating in the technical fields like architecture, engineering, environment, etc…; propose to our big companies and rich men real estate projects while granting them freely satellite territories in the larger towns of the country; decentralise financial, material and human resources at the level of every community for the construction of residences for public servants posted to which ever zone.