Housing and Urbanization in Africa : Unleashing a Formal Market Process | Land Portal

Informations sur la ressource

Date of publication: 
avril 2014
Resource Language: 
ISBN / Resource ID: 
oai:openknowledge.worldbank.org:10986/17586
Copyright details: 
CC BY 3.0 IGO

The accumulation of decent housing
matters both because of the difference it makes to living
standards and because of its centrality to economic
development. The consequences for living standards are
far-reaching. In addition to directly conferring utility,
decent housing improves health and enables children to do
homework. It frees up women's time and enables them to
participate in the labor market. More subtly, a home and its
environs affect identity and self-respect. Commentary on the
emergence of an African middle class has become common, but
it is being defined in terms of discretionary spending and
potential for consumer markets. A politically more salient
definition of a middle class will be in terms of home
ownership and the consequent stake in economic stability.
This paper examines why such a process has not happened in
Africa. Our hypothesis is that the peculiarity of housing
exposes it to multiple points of vulnerability not found
together either in private consumer goods or in other
capital goods. Each point of vulnerability can be addressed
by appropriate government policies, but addressing only one
or two of them has little payoff if the others remain
unresolved. Further, the vulnerabilities faced by housing
are the responsibility of distinct branches of government,
with little natural collaboration. Unblocking multiple
impediments to housing therefore requires coordination that
can come only from the head of government: ministries of
housing have neither the political weight nor the analytic
capacity to play this role effectively. Yet in Africa,
housing has never received such high political priority.
This in turn is because the centrality of housing in
well-being and of housing investment in development has not
been sufficiently appreciated.

Auteurs et éditeurs

Author(s), editor(s), contributor(s): 

Collier, Paul
Venables, Anthony J.

Publisher(s): 

The World Bank is a vital source of financial and technical assistance to developing countries around the world. We are not a bank in the ordinary sense but a unique partnership to reduce poverty and support development.

Fournisseur de données

The World Bank is a vital source of financial and technical assistance to developing countries around the world. We are not a bank in the ordinary sense but a unique partnership to reduce poverty and support development.

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