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Kenya banks on construction sector to revitalize hard-hit economy

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Kenya says that the construction sector will play a pivotal role in the quest to recover the its bleeding economy due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

President Uhuru Kenya while acknowledging that the construction sector is one of the worst hit,also said that sector is one that can rebound quickly. In a speech read on his behalf by cabinet secretary James Macharia, during the opening ceremony of Shelter Afrique’s 39th AGM and Symposium in Nairobi,  Uhuru said the construction sector can be targeted to lead the rebound in the broader economy.

“Economic history teaches us that the construction sector, including housing construction, has been very effective in driving economic recovery. Housing construction provides excellent opportunities for job creation,” he explained.

On his part, Shelter Afrique’s Chief Executive Officer Andrew Chimphondah said large scale housing delivered by Private-Public-Partnerships (PPPs) is a vital way to inject much-needed capital into the economy.

“Since the beginning of the crisis, we have advocated that the construction of large-scale housing and related infrastructure can be the driver for economic revival in the Post-COVID era. This belief is reflected in the theme for the annual symposium and AGM, Affordable Housing Delivery as an Economic Revival Strategy in the COVID 19 Era in Africa,” Mr. Chimphondah said.

The issue of affordable housing is under Kenya’s Big Four Agenda, and aims to facilitate ownership of affordable and decent housing for Kenyans in the low and middle-income brackets who are unable to own decent homes due to the prohibitive land and construction costs and stringent financing requirements.

The first of its kind in Kenya’s history, the project will be bankrolled and constructed by private entities on government and private land in all the 47 counties.

The housing deficit in Kenya stands at 2 million and continues to grow at a rate of about 200,000 units every year, according to the World Bank. And Kenya is not alone in this crisis.The housing deficit in Nigeria for example is within the range of 16 million and 22 million. South Africa on the other hand, suffers a deficit of nearly 2.5 million homes.

Shelter Afrique estimates that Africa needs more than 1.4 trillion U.S. dollars funding to effectively address the affordable housing deficit.

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