This report discusses three interrelated issues. It assesses the state of implementation of government’s Big 4 housing projects in Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu, which has generally slowed down for a number of reasons. It considers different ways through which housing is funded in the cities noting that there is a mismatch between the proposed funding mechanisms by government and the actual financial needs of the people. As currently configured the housing finance mechanisms are unlikely to impact the target population. It considers evictions, noting that these seemed to peak in 2018, apparently inspired by “the Big 4” housing agenda. Although there is reprieve on that end because of slow down in implementation and court cases; new eviction impetus is gathering pace, linked with infrastructure projects, national government parastatals’ work, private developers and urban regeneration programme by counties. On evictions, the paper notes that there tend to be better compliance with the law when the programmes involve international development partners, and more breaches where the project involves national government, county government and the private sector. The main support communities have now against forced eviction are community based human right defenders, who are operating with many challenges and limitations.
Implementation of the Big 4 Housing Agenda / Readiness by the Counties
The report looks at the various efforts by Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu County to implement the Big 4 Housing Agenda. It reviews the state of implementation of the programmes at County level comparing this with the Volume 1 Study that was undertaken more than a year ago. The study discusses the plans that Nairobi County had for affordable housing and social housing. It notes that the first project is starting in Pangani, with a possibility of two others following soon. There are concerns that the Pangani project is unlikely to meet government requirements for the target beneficiaries, with the rest likely to follow soon. Apart from these initial efforts, the County has put in place Urban Housing Renewal and Regeneration Policy and Urban Renewal Implementation Strategy. The City is investing in consultancy services but there is no provision in the budgets for housing construction.
Mombasa, similarly, planned to start development of 3,000 units scaling up eventually to 30,000 units within this planning period, 2018-2022. The County also planned to develop social housing in 10 council estates. In its’ CIDP Mombasa allocated 9 billion for housing development, but actually no part of this money has ever been allocated in the Annual Development Plan or budgets. Like, Nairobi Mombasa has so far focused on “software” issues, namely: Housing Policy, Transaction Advisors, reconnaissance surveys, data collection, design of the housing units and training on building typologies. None of the MoUs that had been signed with prospective developers has translated into actual contracts.
Kisumu follows the same pattern, seen in Nairobi and Mombasa. The County is focusing on software issues of housing policy and buildings audit. None of the capital-intensive projects, like refurbishment of institutional housing, redevelopment of old government housing has taken off. There are on-going discussions with the National Housing Cooperation (NHC) to undertake a County Government Civil Servants Housing Scheme.
National government has also planned projects in all the three counties. There are advanced efforts to start initial projects in Nairobi (Park Road, Ngara) and civil servants housing scheme in Kisumu. National government is also at advanced stages in developing the Kenya informal Settlement Improvement Programme (KISIP 2), which all the three counties are looking up to for infrastructure, services and security of tenure. This has been slowed down because of need to clarify the roles of national and county governments in such localised urban interventions, which the county deem to be their Constitutional role. National government has also been able to establish the Kenya mortgage Refinance Company in collaboration with the private sector and with seed funding from the World Bank. Its potential is likely to be limited as discussed in the report. Meanwhile national government has scored on a number of financial incentives to the private sector through the Finance Act 2019. Despite these achievements, the government is far from realising even 5% of its ambitious agenda.