The East African Community (EAC) member states are now seeking to emulate Kenya’s affordable housing projects by President William Ruto in a bid to promote and drive the construction of housing units within the region.
This comes following a visit by members of the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) to Kenya on February 6, 2024, where they visited the Ksh 6billion Buxton Point Affordable Housing project in Mombasa.
The visit prompted the members to take a leaf out of the country’s book to promote and drive these projects in other member states, which will in turn alleviate the region’s shortage in the housing sector.
Speaking during the site visit, EALA members noted that the initiative will help member states address the region’s housing deficit.
“This is an exciting development, and I would like to see this replicated in some of our countries. We would like to see something like this initiated in our member states like Sudan, Uganda to name a few,” said Deng Nhial Gai, a Member of Parliament from South Sudan.
She further urged member states to emulate Kenya by engaging their governments to come up with policies to invest in affordable housing.
In the East African region, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has the largest affordable housing financing gap, with a deficit of four million units.
DRC is closely followed by Tanzania with a deficit of three million units, Uganda with 2.4 million units, Rwanda with 2.3 million units and Kenya with two million units.
On his part, EALA MP Kakooza James noted that there has been a huge rural-urban migration and that EAC governments have not invested enough money in housing.
He further said investment in affordable housing is a good learning point and EAC Member States can attract investors to undertake such projects in different countries.
Suleiman Shahbal, the chairperson of the EALA Committee on Communication, Trade and Investment, said such projects create jobs and employment opportunities for the youth and have a positive impact on the economy.
“Delighted to witness Mombasa’s strides in setting standards for affordable housing. A fantastic experience having our regional partners explore and appreciate our initiatives,” he said.
Ruto Launches Buxton Affordable Housing
President Ruto officially handed over to the owners the completed Phase 1 of the Buxton units which had 584 houses on November 2, 2023.
Additionally, the head of state led the groundbreaking ceremony of Buxton Phase 2, noting that the project will involve both social and affordable housing and market units.
He also reiterated that the affordable housing projects will allow the youth to get jobs, create homes for Kenyans and help boost the country’s economy.
“I am here today to tell you the former tenants that you will have the opportunity to live here. It has been possible because we have passed a bill on housing funds. The kitty will allow us to issue TPS.
“We are going to fund the TPS,” said President Ruto who also broke ground for the neighboring Mzizima estate.
However, the Head of state suffered a blow after the Court of Appeal declined to lift orders by the high Court suspending his ambitious Housing levy.
In a ruling delivered by a three-judge bench, the Court held that the deductions remain suspended.
“In conclusion, we find and hold that none of the 4 consolidated applications satisfies both limps. Accordingly, Civil applications Nos. E577 of 2023, E581 of 2023, E585 of 2023 and E596 of 2023 are hereby dismissed.
“We make no orders as to Costs. However, we direct that the appeals be heard expeditiously so that the issues raised in the appeals can be resolved with finality,” read part of the ruling.