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Housing Finance

Uhuru inks another mega housing deal with UN agency

Sustainable Housing Solutions boss Allan Zimbler said the partnership is another step in attempting to build a better world by addressing the need for affordable and sustainable housing in Kenya.
Transport and Infrastructure Housing Cabinet Secretary James Macharia said the project is expected to create 3,000 jobs for local workers.
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President Uhuru Kenyatta’s administration has yet again inked a multibillion-shilling housing deal that will see the construction of 100,000 homes for the poor.

This is the second housing deal to be secured by the government in a week, having received another support from a Singaporean consortium.

The deal between the State department for Housing, United Nations Office for Projects Service (Unops) and Sustainable Housing Solutions (SHS) was signed during the ongoing UN Habitat Assembly in Gigiri.

During the deal signing, President Kenyatta said the project is a major boost to the Affordable Housing Programme (AHP), which seeks to address the critical need for proper shelter across the country.

He noted that although the ambitious project is both labour and capital-intensive, it is an economic stimulus that will see a reduction in the high unemployment and poverty levels in the country.

“We are delighted to get this project under way as it will greatly contribute to unlocking the massive benefits to the economy that the AHP will have,” he said.

SUPPORT

He added: “The provision of clean, safe and sustainable housing will not only enable us to restore our people’s dignity and secure their stake in their nation, but will also lead to transformative, systemic changes to the country’s economic landscape.”

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Unops Executive Director Grete Faremo said the construction of the landmark large-scale affordable housing project is set to begin in earnest, with show homes now in development in Nairobi.

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“We are committed to supporting the government in its sustainable development aimed at providing the much-needed housing across the country. We will do everything we can to ensure this project succeeds,” said Mr Faremo.

The signing of the agreement follows a Memorandum of Understanding between the government and Unops in September 2018 in New York, after the operational arm of the UN accepted an invitation to construct at least 100,000 green and energy-efficient units in the country.

PARTNERSHIP

Dr Allan Zimbler, chairman of SHS, said the partnership is another step in attempting to build a better world by addressing the need for affordable and sustainable housing in Kenya.

“We are proud to be working with Unops and the Kenyan government in our innovative technologies and global partnerships to provide 100,000 houses for Kenyan citizens, while at the same time offering significant employment opportunities,” he said.

As part of the agreement, the Kenyan government will play a facilitative role by committing to provide bulk off-site infrastructure including roads, water and sewer systems to the site.

It will also ensure the availability of sufficient land on which Unops and SHS will put up affordable houses in line with the Development Framework Guidelines, committing at the same time to fast-track the statutory approval process and the requirements stipulated by the partners.

Transport and Infrastructure Housing Cabinet Secretary James Macharia said the project is expected to create 3,000 jobs for local workers.

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“We will work to ensure that the project, which will be done on private land and with private capital, is successfully delivered so that we can begin to change the landscape of upcoming municipalities and unlock their capacity for attracting investment that will ultimately improve our people’s living standards,” he said.

Source: By ANITA CHEPKOECH

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