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December 11, 2018

Project to build Kenya's future

Jamii Bora housing scheme
Jamii Bora housing scheme

Kenya faces an annual housing demand of about 250,000 units. With an exponentially rising population, the demand is equally projected to escalate, probably by double the value within the next decade. It is based on these statistics that the government, through the State Department of Housing, developed an ambitious plan to build one million housing units.

The plan will be rolled out in two phases, with 500,000 units being built in each phase. Broadly viewed from a PESTEL approach, the plan is expected to positively influence the political, economic, social, technological, environmental and legal dimensions. Politically, it will be the fulfilment of a campaign promise, hence, the public will gain more confidence in the government.

Perhaps the greatest impact will be on the economic front. The project will provide employment to unskilled, semi-skilled and skilled workforce. It will require architects, engineers, skilled construction workers and construction site supervisors. To complete each housing unit, the bill of quantities gives an average of 20 personnel per year per unit. This could be both on site and off site.

From the Economic Survey Report 2017, the construction industry is one of the greatest employers that continually offer jobs. The sector’s employment opportunities rose from 148,600 jobs in 2015 to 163,000 in 2016. In line with the Economic Survey Report, about 20 million people will be involved in the housing project.

For the first phase, Sh1.2 trillion will be required for builders’ works, Sh148 billion for electrical works and Sh191 billion for mechanical works. This adds up to Sh1.5 trillion. This project will boost the manufacturing sector, with factories being set up at the counties. This will serve as a case for investment in production of each of the required materials at different economic zones within the counties.

Owing to the economies of scale involved and as a cost-cutting strategy, we see it prudent to set up a number of production units. They include cement production plants, steel processing/machining plants, and ready-mix concrete production plants. These will ensure overall reduction of importation and/or transportation costs. Besides, they will serve as sources of employment.

Technologically, the project will serve as a channel through which skills will be transferred and imparted to society. Some of the stakeholders may be drawn from the international arena, particularly in specific areas where the capacity of local players is deemed inadequate.

Socially, the project will provide decent housing. According to the 2009 UN Habitat Report, as a result of rapid urbanisation, Kenya has continued to face high growth rate of informal settlements. The annual average growth rate stands at five per cent and is the highest in the entire world. From the 2007 UNDP Report, the figure is likely to double in 30 years in case adequate intervention measures are not put in place.

The project will be monitored by existing institutional and legal frameworks. Various industry regulators in the national and county governments will be incorporated for the overall success of the project, key of which will be the National Construction Authority.

Charged with the overall mandate of overseeing the construction industry and coordinating its development, the NCA will ensure adherence to construction standards and procedures.

To uphold quality, the authority will continually monitor and appraise every stage of the construction process and ensure that only registered and competent personnel take part in the project. The authority promises delivery of safe and quality construction works throughout every stage of the construction process.

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