Housing and Finance in Developing Countries

By Kavita Datta; Gareth A. Jones | Go to book overview

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HOUSING FINANCE AND NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES

Gareth A. JonesandDiana Mitlin

University of Wales, Swansea and the International Institute for Environment and Development, London


INTRODUCTION

Although housing conditions represent one of the most visible signs of poverty in developing countries, formal financial institutions have been reluctant to offer their services and official development organizations afford urban issues a low priority. 1 Seeking to address this gap, during the last twenty years there has been considerable innovation in the provision of housing finance to low-income households, particularly among Southern NGOs working in urban areas (Anzorena 1993, Arrossi et al. 1994). NGOs that have been involved in the implementation of upgrading and service delivery programmes as well as more radical urban development strategies involving community mobilization and empowerment have extended their activities into housing finance programmes (Cabannes 1997, Cruz 1994, Dizon 1997). 2

The development of housing finance programmes by NGOs has taken place within a broader context of NGO initiatives in micro-enterprise credit and loan finance for small and medium-sized entrepreneurs (Adams and Fitchett 1992, Schmidt and Zeitinger 1996a). These programmes have received considerable attention from donors, so that the sector had become sufficiently significant to hold the World Micro-Enterprise Conference in 1987 and the World Microcredit Summit in 1997. A number of these NGOs and community organizations with an established track record in micro-finance have diversified towards housing finance, motivated in part by the realization that their borrowers were investing loans given for income-generation into housing and basic services (often in contravention of the rules). For example, by 1995, the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh had provided 330,000 housing loans to the members of its savings schemes; in India the Self-Employed Women’s

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