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Kenya, Spain Mull Partnership on Social Housing

Kenya and Spain on Tuesday agreed to explore a partnership on social housing for the low income earners especially in urban areas.

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and Joseph Borrell Fontelles, visiting Spain’s minister for foreign affairs, European Union and cooperation, also agreed to pursue partnerships in the areas of renewable energy, particularly in solar and wind energy.

A statement issued from Kenyatta’s office said Spain is ready to engage and participate towards the achievement of the affordable housing pillar of the Big 4 Agenda.

“We have many firms that can be good partners in affordable housing,” Fontelles said, noting that his country has a unique social housing model where construction, renovation and buying of houses are subsidized by the state through reduced interest loans to providers.

Houses developed under this scheme, dubbed publicly protected housing, are provided to the public almost entirely on owner-occupation terms, rather than for rent, he said.

Under the affordable housing pillar of the Big 4 agenda, Kenya plans to put up at least 500,000 affordable houses by 2022.

The minister also welcomed Kenya’s continued efforts to improve operations at the Port of Mombasa saying his country welcomes the reforms the country has taken to enhance efficiency at the facility.

During the meeting, Kenyatta assured Spain that Kenya is doing everything possible to streamline operations at Kenya’s Mombasa gateway.

“The port was a big loophole for us. We are working on it and soon all the systems will be streamlined. In about a month, we will be able to see great changes at the port. We are trying to ensure the importation of goods is streamlined,” Kenyatta added.

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He also welcomed Spain’s proposal for a partnership to develop Kenya’s tourist sites and enhance tourist experiences especially in scuba diving, a hobby that’s becoming a major tourist attraction in the country.

The two countries further agreed to develop partnerships in sports especially in football and athletics. Spain is famed for its highly developed football while Kenya is an African powerhouse in athletics.

“We are keen on developing football academies across the country where we can start training our youth on the sport from early ages,” said Kenyatta.

“Our objective is to tap and develop the football talents of young people and transform this potential into rewarding engagements,” he added.

Spain and Kenya also signed three protocols on political relations, foreign service training and on the protection of investments.

Source: xinhuanet

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