Interview: Amina Abdi Aden

What has been done to facilitate private participation in the affordable housing segment?

AMINA ABDI ADEN: It is important that the private sector is encouraged to engage in real estate projects, especially for middle-income households. To that end, legislation was enacted in July 2013 to regulate real estate development, facilitating the emergence of several private developers. However, these developers remain focused on the high-income segment.

To address this, the ministry is piloting a public-private partnership (PPP) project in the field of affordable housing, in collaboration with the International Finance Corporation. We hope that the new PPP framework will enable the launch of similar projects that will further reduce the housing deficit. Other measures to encourage the involvement of private players are ongoing reforms in the ecosystem, and support for small and medium-sized enterprises in the construction sector.

In what ways does the principle of decent housing for all define the affordable housing policy?

ABDI ADEN: Given the capital-intensive nature of the sector, access to housing requires the mobilisation of significant funding, as well as the control of building materials and construction costs. To maximise the benefits of housing for all, we must target the entire value chain.

The ministry’s activities fall within the national strategy to widen access to decent housing for all households, regardless of income. Households with no source of income are supported by the Ismaïl Omar Guelleh Right to Housing Foundation. Established in 2016, the foundation has rehoused nearly 2000 extremely vulnerable families. A ministry-led initiative has enabled households earning less than DJF100,000 ($563) a month to acquire land and material credit to build a basic housing unit; those earning between DJF100,000 ($563) and DJF160,000 ($901) can access funding via concessional lending for social housing; and those earning more than DJF160,000 ($901) can purchase a plot of serviced land from public agencies for development.

Which financing mechanisms have been implemented to provide access to housing credit?

ABDI ADEN: Improving the accessibility and affordability of housing finance is a key focus of the government, underscored by the proposed establishment of a housing bank. However, given the growth in the number of financial institutions, the government is exploring additional avenues to mobilise housing credit. In collaboration with the Ministry of Justice, Penal Affairs and Human Rights, the government has introduced mortgage reforms to remove obstacles faced by commercial banks when extending credit, resulting in an increase in mortgage loans. Additionally, the government has established a guarantee fund dedicated to the housing sector to mitigate the risks associated with lending to middle- and low-income households. The loans granted during the first phase of this mechanism are projected to benefit more than 2000 households.

How effective is the Zero Slums in Djibouti Programme in providing equitable housing?

ABDI ADEN: The programme is now a reality, following the launch of its first agenda. A 15-year operational implementation strategy has been developed to leverage the resources and expertise of international financial partners such as the World Bank, the Islamic Development Bank and the French Development Agency. To date, we have mobilised approximately $85m in funding from our partners to restructure and upgrade the first seven slums in the capital. Strengthening local capacity in urban management and sustaining investment will help achieve successful implementation of the programme.