DW AngolaLearning from Integrated Housing Development Program in Addis Ababa

Learning from Integrated Housing Development Program in Addis Ababa


DW’s director Allan Cain participated in an Expert Meeting on Housing Finance convened by the African Development Bank and UN Habitat on 18 Feb 2015 in Addis Ababa. The mission visited sites of the Integrated Housing Development Program in Addis.

Ethiopia has one of the lowest proportions of citizens living in urban areas: only 16.7 percent. However, things are changing and the country is now urbanizing at an annual growth rate of 3.49 percent. The combination of high population and urban growth rates, coupled with a high prevalence of urban poverty, has placed enormous strain on Ethiopian cities, especially when it comes to affordable housing.

The Ethiopian Government launched the affordable housing program in 2004, building condominium houses in five-storey blocks. They are built both in the center of cities or in peripheral areas at low cost. The condos have been transferred to their owners by way of a computer-based lottery system. When registering for the lottery, applicants choose which condominium site, sub-city and unit type they prefer. Thirty percent of housing units are allocated to women. Presently, there is no income verification system in place but lottery entrants must be able to prove that they have lived in Addis for at least six months.

Addis Ababa’s current housing project has a goal of constructing 400,000 condominium units between 2010 and 2015. Although the program has not met its original targets it has built 171,000 housing units to date. Up to January 2014, over USD 800 million was earmarked for the housing projects in cities across Ethiopia. The construction of 65,000 houses commenced in 2013 and construction of the same number of houses will begin in 2015. Some 22,000 condos were handed over to beneficiaries in 2014 alone, according to the Ethiopian Housing Development Agency. And the government expects to transfer 76,000 houses to individuals in 2015. Close to one million individuals that seek condos have been registered since 2012 in Addis Ababa only.

The houses so constructed are for sale and not for renting. Cities transfer the houses to low and middle-income residents who do not have their own houses, especially those relocated from their houses due to developments taking place in their localities. (If they already live in rented government houses, they are required to hand over the house). About 20% of the units are allocated to women-headed households.

Two projects were visited: Yeka Ayat II Baldaras (2000 units) completed in 2007 in the urban centre and Yeka Abado (18,000 units) nearing completion in the periphery of he city. The projects are financed nationally by issuing Municipal Bonds through the state Commercial Bank. End-user purchase is through three subsidized housing mechanisms:

  • 10% down payment, 90% 20 year mortgage at 9% interest for studio and one room units 25 – 40 m.sq.
  • 20% down payment to own through 15 year mortgage for two bedroom units of 60 m.sq.
  • 40% down payment, 60% mortgage over 10 years for three bedroom units of 100 m.sq.

Unit prices were set in 2009 at the original estimate ($87/m2), many units may be occupied by higher income households who can afford to pay full price ($3,590-$6,154 or more). Current prices adjusted to inflation and today's market were not available.

These projects utilize low-cost designs, and are multi-storied. The features of the programme are:

  • Construction is undertaken by micro, small and medium-scale private construction firms 
  • Use low-cost materials and methods 
  • To utilize labour intensive technologies thus creating employment opportunities for skilled and semi-skilled

The construction technology is simple reinforced concrete frames with hollow block walls and floor. Hundreds of local small and medium contractors have been trained and 60,000 local jobs have been created. Technology is simple and local using timber-pole scaffolding, no cranes are used. Roadways are built using labor-intensive methods of traditional coble-stone employing 33% women in the construction. 

Small and micro-enterprises (SMEs) are established in major urban centres to supply materials for these
projects. The Government promotes SMEs by providing working capital in the form of loans and technical assistance. While job creation is the idea behind SMEs the Government is also hoping that such enterprises will have significant impact on the economy. The capacity of local contractors and engineers is also expected to grow as a result of such entrepreneurships. 

Housing Finance Model

The Integrated Housing Development Programme is entirely financed by public resources. The programme was originally funded by the city government’s own account. Municipal administrations purchase bonds from the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia, secured under a Bond Agreement and paying them back over five years. The CBE is the only independent financial resource for the housing programme in Ethiopia and had in 2011 provided USD 246 million in bonds to the government, receiving a return of USD 153 million. Up to this date, the housing programme had not received any donor funding. The IHDP is solely financed by CBE bonds and the city administration’s own budget. The returns are used to pay back the bank bonds where once they were invested into new schemes.

A proportion of the Addis Ababa city budget is allocated to condominium building construction costs, labour costs, and infrastructure costs. (The infrastructure works include the water supply, the electricity, the roads and the drainage system). Within each project the relative weight of these are 60, 20 and 20 per cent respectively. The government secured a tax exemption on the import of loaders, crushers and other machinery for the construction industry. The government has also guaranteed exemption from the lease payment for land up to 50m² per unit.

Commercial Bank of Ethiopia (CBE) The Commercial Bank of Ethiopia is a government owned bank, whose mandate is to provide finance for commercial purposes allowing municipalities to purchase bonds in order to finance the implementation of the IHDP. The city of Addis Ababa, sells bonds to the CBE to finance construction costs. The Bank provides funding for the total cost of the programme’s implementation in Addis Ababa and in the regions. The Bank also provides a loan-service to all condominium beneficiaries, whereby the Bank pays 60, 80 or 90 percent of the unit price on behalf of the beneficiary at the handover of the property (the beneficiaries, depening on economic level, pay the remaining per cent down payment themselves) and the families enter into a loan-agreement with the CBE to pay back this amount subject to interest. 

The construction cost of a condominium housing unit (in 2011) on the private market is estimated to be USD 154/m². The cost on the pilot project, was USD 68/m². 12 per cent of this reduction in construction costs was due to the type of technology used, and 38 per cent of this reduction was due to the management and level of internal finishes - in other words, the phasing strategies and the absence of floor tiles, the floor screed finish and absence of wall plaster all contributed towards increasing the affordability of the scheme. 

In the long-term, the programme is structured to be 100 per cent cost-recoverable. Beneficiaries will eventually pay for the full construction cost of their condominiums and the land and infrastructure cost will be recovered through the sale of commercial units. 

Yeka Abado Housing

Pictured: AFDB Delegation visit Addis Ababa Integrated Housing Development Program

Pictured: Women carrying sand on housing site Yeka Abado

Pictured: Women on construction site - housing background Yeka Abado

Yeka Pictured: Ayat II - Baldaras - Housing

Yeka Ayat II - Baldaras - Housing

Laying cobbles

Cobble Pavement

Wooden Scafolding Poles