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Kenya to launch $20bn social housing project

By Olawale Abdul-Fatah with agency report

The Kenya Government has concluded plans to launch a $20 billion social housing project to ease the housing deficit in the country.

Under the project, the east African nation plans to construct one million low-cost houses at a cost of $20,000 each, over the next five years, to reduce current housing deficit which stood at 1.85 million.

The cabinet secretary, Ministry of Infrastructure, Housing and Urban Development, James Macharia, told newsmen during a press briefing in Nairobi, that a request for interest has been issued to international and domestic firms to undertake the mass low-cost housing venture.

Macharia, who disclosed the government plans during the Stakeholders Forum on Validation of Kenya Building Research Centers Strategic Plan 2017 to 2022, hinted that about 60 firms, that have previously embarked on such project, have indicated interest.

“We will soon award the contract after completion of the tender process. Though, we are going to borrow heavily from nations such as China that have been able to construct high-rise apartments which are safe for human occupation at an affordable cost in order to roll out a high number of quality houses,” he said.

While attributing increase in housing deficit to rapid urbanization, Macharia noted that the shortage was responsible for proliferation of slums.

The cabinet secretary said that the social houses will be built through a public-private partnership as government resources are not sufficient to construct the houses.

According to him, the private sector will be offered a number of incentives and subsidies in order to ensure the houses are affordable to ordinary citizens.

The ministry of infrastructure, housing and urban development is fast tracking the enactment of the Kenya Building Research Institute bill that will create a research organization to spearhead innovation of the latest technology to lower the cost of construction in the country.

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