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Kenyan urban centers face shortage of two million housing units

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenya’s urban centers face a shortage of two million housing units, an official from the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector arm of the World Bank, has said.

IFC regional director for East and Southern Africa, Oumar Seydi, told a housing forum in Nairobi, Kenya that the country was currently only able to construct 50,000 housing units against an annual demand of 240,000 houses.

"Kenya should use innovative methods such as public-private partnerships (PPPs) to fill the housing gap," Seydi said.

Seydi said that most of the houses already built were targeting the middle and high income classes while low income households were left with very few options.

He said that one possible way to increase the supply of low-cost houses was for public land to be allocated via PPPs to private sector developers to construct large-scale affordable houses.

Estimates indicate that by 2050 Kenya’s population will double to reach 80 million, Seydi said.

"We predict that 40 million of these people will live in cities compared to the current 11 million people," he said.

According to the IFC, the cost of housing in Kenya is high among Africa nations.

"This is partly because most housing developments are on a small scale and so can’t benefit from economies of scale," Seydi said.



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