Context and investment rationale
In 2011, we established an investment strategy for urban communities, given the critical need for low-cost, high-quality housing in sub-Saharan Africa and our leadership’s track record in large-scale construction projects. Through this initiative, we launched an urban community platform called Kora Housing.
Kora specializes in the planning, construction and sales of fully integrated urban developments. It designs and builds high-quality affordable housing with a holistic approach that includes all the infrastructure and amenities needed to support an entire community. This includes roads, electricity, water, sewage treatment plants, healthcare, and educational facilities. Kora was envisioned with the help of Jaime Lerner, a world-renowned architect and urban planner in green planning and sustainable development.
Kora’s ambitions were substantial and only made possible using a distinctive construction technique. The chosen technology was autoclaved aerated concrete, a first for the region, allowing construction to be developed faster and cost-effectively. Apart from the innovative essence of the technology, we ensured that engineering, logistics, project management, IT, marketing and sales were completed locally, allowing the project’s costs to be reduced even further. During the development of Kora, more than 5,000 people were working on the project.
With the aim of building vibrant urban communities and to ease the population’s transition into their new homes, Kora established partnerships with local NGOs to facilitate training and awareness-raising activities. These included education on the concepts of private and public spaces, management of a family budget, and cultural, recreational and sport activities. Kora’s “Urban Community” became a flagship concept with regards to social integration of its community members.
During our ownership of Kora, 20,000 affordable homes were built across six cities, housing more than 100,000 individuals. In addition to first-time home ownership, Kora’s residents have access to fully equipped, quality education facilities, on-site healthcare services, modern and improved sanitation including wastewater treatment, electricity, clean water and other infrastructure essentials. Each urban community was provided with access to health and education through Kora’s construction of six healthcare centers and 51 education facilities.
We exited Kora eight years after launch, with a robust pipeline of 20,000 additional units.