The activities of AHFI are concentrated in two main categories which are: the provision of technical assistance across a range of housing finance related matters (likely to absorb most of the allocated budget), and the establishment of tools and mechanisms for sharing and disseminating information and best practices.

Alongside the knowledge sharing, the AHFI is providing technical assistance to countries in the region. Technical Assistance can take a number of forms and will be dependent on the specific needs of the country making the request. The World Bank has been active in close to 30 countries around the world in making loans and providing technical support to operations aimed at building or strengthening housing finance systems. From the basic building blocks, such as mortgage legislation, up to complex tasks, such as developing secondary mortgage market solutions. The following non-exhaustive list classifies the types of assistance which can be provided under this program:

  • Housing Finance System Review: A diagnostic assessment of the current housing finance system with detailed and practical recommendations. This type of review would also include some benchmarking of the particular country’s system with other developed and developing markets.
  • Islamic Housing Finance: This is a growth area with rapid take-up and product development. Assistance can be provided on the creation of the legal and regulatory framework for Shariah-compliant products. Also funding mechanisms using Sukuk issuances can be developed.
  • Market Infrastructure Development: Assistance can be provided in developing individual building blocks for a housing finance system or in developing a comprehensive strategy covering all aspects such as legal and regulatory requirements, credit bureaus, mortgage default insurance, real estate market observatories, mortgage registration systems, more effective foreclosure process, etc
  • Secondary Mortgage Market: Assistance is available to suit different levels of market development. Long-term funding is often one of the key obstacles to mortgage markets attaining critical mass. Solutions can include simple institutions such as mortgage liquidity facilities, mortgage warehousing schemes, mortgage covered bonds, or securitization and mortgage-backed securities. Assistance is available on carrying out a needs assessment and in helping to devise and implement solutions.
  • Affordable Housing Finance: Other solutions targeted at informal and/or lower income groups are available, these include targeted subsidy programs, housing micro-finance products, or development of the rental market. This is a broad area with many linkages into social and urban policy.
  • Developer Finance: Financing the suppliers of housing is just as critical as financing the consumers. This can be a challenging area with many risks for the banking sector. Technical assistance can be provided to develop lending in this area, to help establish land allocation mechanisms for developers, including Public Private Partnerships.

Since project inception to date, AHFI has had strong achievements, including the following:

The list of main achievements is coming soon