Working closely with five public and private sector financial partners in South Africa, the European Investment Bank is engaged in a EUR 150 million programme to increase the supply of social and affordable housing across the country. Recent participation of NHFC completes financial agreement for the landmark programme. High-level summit being held to discuss sector priorities and current concerns in the sector.

Earlier today, the European Investment Bank hosted a high-level housing summit in Sandton/South Africa to evaluate the European Union's long-term lending institution's current engagement to social and affordable housing in South Africa.  The engagement of South African public and private stakeholders, who will identify, plan and implement new housing or urban renewal schemes, was completed in January by finalisation of NHFC's role in the initiatives. Housing units financed under the scheme include both rental accommodation and owner-occupied homes.

Speaking in Sandton earlier today European Investment Bank Vice President for Africa, Plutarchos Sakellaris, said "The European Investment Bank's programme to fund affordable and social housing, infrastructure and social amenities recognises the unique and fundamental role of improving housing for low-income South Africans to achieve South Africa's economic and social integration objectives. We commend South African public and private sector partner institutions for their hard work of seeking to overcome historical challenges to the availability of housing in South Africa."

The scheme to increase affordable and social housing, alongside provision of infrastructure and social amenities, in separate projects across the country was launched by the European Investment Bank in 2007. Funding was made available to three commercial banks: Standard Bank, ABSA and Nedbank, and two public institutions: DBSA and NHFC. EUR 150 million has been allocated to 30 different projects and currently EUR 70 million has been disbursed to support construction of 17,000 housing units. Remaining funds agreed under the initiative are expected to be disbursed later this year for the construction of a further 17,000 homes.

The European Investment Bank social and affordable housing scheme was developed following the 2003 Financial Sector Charter committing the South African commercial financial to finance low-cost housing and increase end-user financing for social and affordable homes. Funding provided to the 5 institutions has enabled public and private housing developers to increase engagement in the housing sector.  Eligible investments include planning, design and construction, as well as preparatory measures such as studies and site preparation.

The Social and Affordable Housing Initiative is the European Investment Bank's only financial support for housing outside Europe, reflecting realisation of the essential need to ensure continued expansion of housing provision and improvement in South Africa.

Notes for Editors:
•    The European Investment Bank is the European Union's long-term lending institution owned by the European Union 27 member states. In 2010 the EIB lent EUR 72 billion for 460 projects around the world and is the world's largest multinational financial institution.
•    The European Investment Bank has operated in South Africa since 1994 and is committed to providing EUR 900 million for projects in the country between 2007 and 2013.