On MENA affordable housing

By Janaki Blum, AHI Staff

The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) asked AHI’s MENA Advisor, Maysa Sabah Shocair, to talk about the lack of affordable housing in the  Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region by for their October 1 news video Shortage of low-cost housing adds to Mid-East unrest.

Maysa explained that the provision of affordable housing is only now appearing on the radar of MENA governments, who for reasons of bureaucracy, lack of resources, political instability or corruption, have had limited, or no, active involvement in this field up to now.  Meanwhile, developers of housing have concentrated exclusively on the upper end of the market. Governments could learn from other regions and introduce incentives for these developers to produce more housing for lower income people. These incentives could be financial and take the form of debt, for instance, or they could be non-financial ones such as access to land, tax breaks, and other supportive measures that could help underwrite the development process.

The interview followed upon her contribution to a special report on affordable housing in the MENA region published by Jones Lang LaSalle, a leading real estate investment and advisory firm. Why Affordable Housing Matters? for MENA shows that demand far outpaces supply of affordable housing across the seven major markets surveyed, causing a shortfall of over 350 million dwellings. It calls for more targeted government involvement, urban planning and community development.

Maysa was filmed during the first Future Cities Conference where she presented a talk on Delivering sustainable affordable housing strategies. This meeting was held alongside Cityscape Global 2011,  on 27 – 29 September, 2011, in Dubai, UAE.

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