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IFC and World Bank to Help Provide Affordable Housing in Afghanistan


In Karachi
Syed Farhan Fasihuddin

Phone: +92 (301) 829-3260

Email:
sfasihuddin@ifc.org

In Cairo

Egidio Germanetti & Riham Mustafa

Phone: +20 (2) 461-9150 Ext. 314/306

Email:
egermanetti@ifc.org/ rmustafa@ifc.org


Kabul, April, 1, 2007—IFC and the World Bank, have organized a workshop in Afghanistan to present the findings of a study on the country’s housing sector. The study outlines the environment in which financial institutions operate and assesses both mortgage and nonmortgage (noncollateralized) housing finance.

The workshop established an action plan to improve access to housing finance and promote the sector over the next 12 to 24 months. The study was presented to a wide group of stakeholders, including government officials, governors of the central bank, and CEOs of commercial banks and microfinance institutions.  


On the basis of the findings, workshop participants identified a list of short- and medium-term interventions and set up a task force to champion specific reforms. The proposed interventions include the introduction of a guarantee facility, a developer-finance program, a mortgage law, and improvements to the foreclosure law, land titling, and registration systems that include reduction in registration costs. There were specific recommendations to introduce microfinance loans for home renovation, construction, and purchase. Topic discussed included the need for market research, provision of extensive advisory services and longer-term funding, and facilitation of partnerships between banks and microfinance institutions.


“Housing is a critical issue in Afghanistan’s urban development, and the destruction caused by years of wars has made it a huge priority for us,” said Eng. M. Yousaf Pashtun, Afghanistan’s Minister of Urban Development.


Syed Farhan Fasihuddin, IFC’s Program Manager for housing finance in the Middle East and North Africa, added, “While it is important to start removing obstacles that prevent a mortgage-enabling environment, it is critical to meet the immediate and growing housing needs of Afghanis through noncollateralized microfinance loans.”


Afghanistan is facing unprecedented population growth and rapid urbanization, which is widening the gap in demand and supply of housing in urban areas like Kabul and Jalalabad. Increasing access to housing finance is key to developing a large scale housing market and addressing housing supply shortages. This project, which evolved from an agreement signed by IFC and Afghanistan’s Ministry of Urban Development, is implemented by IFC Advisory Services in the Middle East and North Africa—PEP-MENA—and the International Development Association.


About IFC

IFC, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, promotes open and competitive markets in developing countries.  IFC supports sustainable private sector companies and other partners in generating productive jobs and delivering basic services, so that people have opportunities to escape poverty and improve their lives. Through FY06, IFC Financial Products has committed more than $56 billion in funding for private sector investments and mobilized an additional $25 billion in syndications for 3,531 companies in 140 developing countries. IFC Advisory Services and donor partners have provided more than $1 billion in program support to build small enterprises, to accelerate private participation in infrastructure, to improve the business enabling environment, to increase access to finance, and to strengthen environmental and social sustainability. For more information, please visit
www.ifc.org.

About IFC PEP-MENA

IFC PEP-MENA is a multidonor facility for advisory services that supports private sector development across the Middle East and North Africa. It focuses on improving the business enabling environment, strengthening financial markets, supporting SME development, and promoting privatization and public-private partnerships. From its inception through FY06, IFC PEP-MENA has committed more than $20 million in advisory projects. Its activities are funded jointly by IFC and the following donors: Canada, France, the Islamic Development Bank, Japan, Kuwait, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and the United States.


About IDA

The International Development Association is the part of the World Bank that helps the world’s poorest countries. IDA aims to reduce poverty by providing interest-free loans and grants for programs that boost economic growth, reduce inequalities, and improve people’s living conditions. For more information, visit
www.worldbank.org.

In Kabul
Md. Reazul Islam
Phone: +93 (7) 016-6151
Email: mislam4@worldbank.org