Industry Experts from the World of Community Development Banking and Technology Explore Innovation and Data to Scale Green Smart Villages

iLima Digital Foundary (iLima) had the unique opportunity to moderate one of the many presentations that took place at the 38th Annual Conference and AGM of the African Union for Housing Finance (AUHF) last week. The event was held in Egypt just one week after the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) where members renewed their commitment to reduce global warming through a number of initiatives. Furthermore, an agreement to provide assistance to African countries to lower green borrowing costs in order to build deeper, resilient, and sustainable financing to accelerate its post-Covid green recovery was introduced.

A green urban future

The theme for this year’s AUHF conference focused on a “Green Urban Future for Affordable Housing” highlighting the impact that climate change has on low-income communities and the pressing need to make green, affordable housing available to these communities.

It was an incredible honour for iLima CEO, Karsten Popp, to take part in the panel discussion supported by industry collaborators from the South African political, financial and technical worlds who, together, share a vision to scale affordable housing and green sustainable smart villages. Panelists included Bongani Magongo acting CEO of the National Development Agency (NDA), Marius Marais, CEO First National Bank (FNB) Home Loans, Fred Platt, Executive Chairman Nexus Water Alchemy, and Etienne van Wyk, Chief Development Officer, Beyond Covid.

Innovation and technology supports the community

The key message focused on how innovation and technology can attend to the needs of the community by involving them throughout the process and tapping into resources that previously were unavailable to them. Bongani Magongo emphasised the NDA’s mandate to eradicate poverty through investment by mobilising and educating communities to become self-sustainable. The NDA believes that the construction of smart, low cost housing schemes will create millions of job, develop new skills, and new technologies in a climate friendly manner.

Marius Marais discussed how FNB is constantly on the look out for ways to find alternative funding mechanisms to speed up the process. From a banking perspective, the smart village design offers a new way of thinking by combining new platforms and logic, unlocking dead property capital which is key for Africa growth.

Water plays a critical role in sustainable development and forms a vital part of investment and green development as Fred Platt from Nexus explained. His organisation believes that focusing on the use of digitisation, data and blockchain will ensure that previously un-bankable projects are funded.

Beyond Covid has a working model that is focused on community economic integration and it is centred around the success of modern smart villages. Etienne van Wyk explained how modern digital technology enabled the optimisation of job creation and SMME market access for those impoverished communities, providing a win-win solution for Investors, developers, government, community SMME’s, community job seekers and community civil society organisations. 

ACIP platform is the future

The iLima ACIP Sustainable Smart Village AI Platform disrupts the current construction process by harnessing AI, big data, robotics, and industrialized construction technologies to accelerate the modeling, measuring and managing process of affordable housing and self-sustainable villages for Africa. ACIP links the communities, the stakeholders and the users across the complete building lifecycle enabling the building of. “cheaper, faster, better quality, sustainable and transparent” affordable housing while creating jobs for the local community. Everything Africa Ready.

“The 2022 AUHF conference again provided an excellent platform for African leaders to get together on the extremely important topic of affordable housing. I was very encouraged to see the strong momentum moving towards the industry collaboration between the political, banking and technological worlds, with data being the common language that unites us all.” says Karsten Popp

About Ilima Digital Foundary

iLima Digital Foundary is an independent company based in Johannesburg and San Francisco, disrupting the current construction process by harnessing AI, big data, robotics, and industrialized construction technologies to accelerate the construction of affordable housing and sustainable smart villages for Africa. This will be achieved through the unique AI-driven Construction Innovation Platform (ACIP) matching producers, stakeholders and end-users across the complete building lifecycle, enabling the building of sustainable smart villages, faster with more quality, sustainability, and transparency.