The Affordable Housing Network (AHN) of Ghana, a non-governmental organisation has participated in the World Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development at the UN Housing and Sustainable Development (Habitat III) Conference in Quito, Ecuador.

The AHN is aimed at advocating and facilitating the provision of affordable housing at all levels of government and society, especially for the low income, in the West African Sub-region and beyond.

It was established with a strong passion for urban development in general and low-income housing and slum upgrading/prevention in particular.

The AHN also held a side event at the Habitat III Conference on the theme: 'The Potential for Scaling up Affordable Housing in West Africa.'

The AHN side event, which was on three inter-related pivot namely, a panel discussion on the theme, a competition launch and business networking showcased affordable housing opportunities in various countries of the West African Sub-region.

The event draws from the current partners of AHN and seeks new partners from the regional and international front and presented to participants a clear way forward for input to chart and start the implementation for the development of sustainable affordable housing, targeting the low-income bracket of the society.

Mrs Ellen Nsiah, a Co-Founder of the AHN said the organisation was focusing on the low to middle-low income households not spending above 30per cent of their income on housing.

She said the AHN available opportunities were land, mostly in sub-urban areas, Housing and Urban Policies, Technical expertise, High demand for housing, Existing financing facilities for both demand and supply sides of housing finance, Some political will and Good will of relevant stakeholders in the sector.

Mrs Nsiah who was speaking on the topic: 'Ghana-Optimising Opportunities for Affordable Housing' said the objectives was to generate a groundswell of activities towards the sustained lowering of costs of housing development and the improvement of conditions that enable the poor to access decent housing on affordable terms.

It is also to canvass the appreciation of what constitutes affordable housing including the establishment of country-specific threshold and definitions and undertake policy advocacy and public sensitization interventions throughout the country.

'The other objectives are to promote enterprise support for affordable housing business based on agreed goals of benefit transfer of cost savings to poor households and instigate the establishment of learning and sharing platforms for its members, policy makers and other interest groups.'

She however identified the Encumbrances with land acquisition, High cost of finance, Few options for housing acquisition, Low incomes and Cultural attitudes to material and design as some of the major challenges.

The Co-Founder noted that to optimised opportunities, there was the need to build a strong network of relevant stakeholders such as Government, Academia, beneficiaries, land owners, developers, development partners, financiers and facilitators.

She said the building and nurturing of partnership was to get stakeholders to work together, encourage exchanges to learn from local, national, regional or internationally, train stakeholders to work with each other, build support and trust to sustain confidence and interest, inspire leadership and ensure sustainability.