American University of Cairo
As Egypt’s growing population generates growing demand for affordable housing, The American University in Cairo’s (AUC) International Executive Education Institute’s (IEEI) Real Estate Academy held a forum to examine affordable housing solutions being implemented in other areas of the world. The June 13 forum, titled, “Affordable Housing” convened experts from the United States, Mexico and Turkey who discussed best practices and the potential to address challenges facing Egypt’s housing sector by establishing public-private partnerships.
Held in cooperation with Mountain View and Al Ahram newspaper, the event hosted the Affordable Housing Institute, a nonprofit international consultancy based in Boston specializing in affordable housing program design and development; the Housing Development Administration of Turkey (TOKI), a leader in providing safe and affordable residential areas; and Infonavit, a Mexican fiscal authority in pension fund management and mortgage banking. Governmental and private institutions also participated in forum activities.
Held at AUC New Cairo, the forum included two panels and one lecture. The first panel, “The Egyptian Context,” included Ayman Ismail, chairman of Dar Al Mimar Group – Mountain View, Omar El Hitamy, managing director of Orascom Housing Communities and May Abd El Hamid, Guarantee and Subsidy Fund for Real Estate Finance chair, Egypt. In his remarks, El Hitamy noted, "Egypt is one of the most populated countries in the region. With more than half a million marriages a year, Egypt suffers from a growing gap in the number of units of affordable housing available. The cooperation among government agencies, real estate developers and finance companies has proven successful in bridging this gap in various countries around the world. Therefore, we must maintain this partnership in Egypt in order to achieve tangible progress that can be felt by every citizen in need of a house,” he elaborated.
“It is universally known that real estate investment leads more than 90 industries that are associated with it. Locally, it represents about 16 percent of the gross national product of Egypt,” said Ismail, emphasizing that improving real estate sector and affordable housing is considered a primary responsibility of all real sate developers in Egypt.
The second panel, on global experiences of affordable housing, included Mehmet Ali Kahraman, head of strategic planning for TOKI, and Ernesto Gomez Gallardo of Infonavit. David Smith, founder of Affordable Housing Institute, gave a lecture on affordability principles and practice.
“The Real Estate Academy will continue to bring models and best practices from all over the world to inspire the development of the real estate industry in Egypt,” said IEEI director Ghada Howaidy. Partnering with the National University of Singapore and Mountain View, IEEI launched the Real Estate Academy in 2010 to provide a forum for real estate stakeholders to examine the latest international trends, to connect real estate professionals in Egypt with international knowledge networks, and to design and deliver world class multi-level training programs for real estate professionals in partnership with leading academic and professional international institutions.
The International Executive Education Institute was launched by AUC’s School of Business on September 2008 to help current and emerging business leaders master the necessary tools to grow their businesses in a challenging global environment. IEEI has established institutional partnerships with global leaders such as Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, Marshall School of Business at University of Southern California, Rotterdam School of Management (RSM) at Erasmus University, National University of Singapore, the Professional Risk Managers International Association (PRMIA) and Wisconsin University. The institute also draws upon prominent faculty from INSEAD and ESSEC to lead executive seminars.