The RIBA is to consider cutting the cost of its subscriptions for members in the developing world after it was revealed that one year's membership for a newly qualified Nigerian architect would account for half of his or her annual salary.
The RIBA had proposed an increase in the annual fee for a newly qualified international corporate member from £131 to £134, just £24 less than for a UK-based architect, but now the institute's international committee will consider linking international subscription rates to currency exchange values in an attempt to boost the membership of the RIBA abroad.
'It is essential that we look carefully at how to deal with discrepancies on currency strengths if we are to make the benefits of the RIBA available more widely, ' said Olufemi Majekodunmi. President Marco Goldschmied added: 'This is a very real issue affecting RIBA's international reputation.'
International membership of the RIBA has been falling steadily since 1996 against the trend of an increase in the overall figure. Four years ago 589 African architects were members and this number has now dropped to 501, a fall of 15 per cent. Falls have also been recorded in the Middle East and Asia and in the Americas.
A 3 per cent increase in the subscription rate for UK architects was agreed at the meeting, adding an extra £7 to a £230-a-year subscription. Honorary treasurer Baz Dickson pointed out that the increase is in line with retail price inflation and less than the 5 per cent per annum at which architects salaries are rising.