World Bank approves $250m loan to Kenya for affordable housing

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The World Bank has approved a Ksh25 billion ($250 million) loan to Kenya for affordable housing loan for Kenyans who are unable to access affordable housing finance.

The loan is expected to provide a silver lining for the government’s affordable housing project, which has been rocked by controversy due to poor public buy-in.

According to the lender, the Kenya Affordable Housing Finance Project (KAHFP) will support the establishment and operationalisation of the Kenya Mortgage Refinance Corporation (KMRC), a largely private sector-owned and non-deposit taking financial institution supervised by the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK).

KMRC also intends to drive the affordability of mortgages by providing more long-term funding to financial institutions, an incentive to enable them offer long tenure loans to homebuyers.

“The project will also assist the Ministry of Lands and Physical Planning to improve property registration and address structural constraints in the land management system in Kenya,” the World Bank said in a statement.

The private sector own 80 per cent of KMRC while the remaining 20 per cent is for the National Treasury.

The lender did not, however, reveal the process for Kenyans to access the funds, the terms, or interest rates.

Currently, commercial banks in Kenya hold only about 26,000 mortgage loans of an individual value of Ksh11million ($100,000).

Besides the World Bank investments, about 20 banks and savings and credit cooperative societies (saccos) have contributed capital so far.

The project will be implemented through KMRC, the National Treasury and the Lands ministry.

“We believe Kenya’s vibrant private sector offers an excellent opportunity to crowd in privately-held skills and resources towards achieving the country’s Big Four affordable housing goals and in alignment with the World Bank Group’s Maximizing Finance for Development agenda,” said Felipe Jaramillo, World Bank’s Kenya Country Director.

Investment in affordable housing will have a strong economic multiplier effect, given the number of linked sectors, and could support 132,000 new jobs.

“Better housing conditions are also linked to improved health and education outcomes,” the lender noted.

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