The United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPOS) has reaffirmed its commitment to deliver at least 100,000 affordable, sustainable houses across Kenya.
The landmark agreement was signed between the government of Kenya and UNOPOS on the sidelines of the 73rd United Nations General Assembly in New York City last September in the presence of President Uhuru Kenyatta.
As part of the agreement, UNOPS and its partners will seek to attract Ksh 65.5 billion ($647 million) worth of investment in the project, which will provide significant employment opportunities for local communities nationwide and help to alleviate the housing crisis in Kenya.
UNOPS will invest Ksh 1 billion ($10 million) in seed funding to kickstart the investment The project has a total estimated gross development value of around Ksh 476 billion ($4.7 billion).
The agreement is a major milestone in UNOPS commitment to fostering innovative financing for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and will help the government of Kenya open access to sustainable, affordable and environmentally sound housing for its citizens.
Expounding on the deal in New York this week, UNOPS Executive Director, Grete Faremo said: “Thousands of people in Kenya will be able to benefit from sustainable and affordable homes. By reducing the investment risks of development activities, we are helping to bring about new partnerships between the private and public sectors.”
“The knock-on effect means unlocking new opportunities and providing jobs for local communities, which all helps drive progress towards the SDGs.”
The 100,000 houses are to be constructed using green technologies and energy-efficient solar rooftops, while the implementation work will include local equipment, skills and expertise. The needs of local communities will be a key priority of the project, through the inclusion of public facilities including children’s playgrounds, schools and community halls.
After witnessing the signing of the deal, President Uhuru said: “We are very excited about this project [with UNOPS] and we look forward to unlocking similar partnerships that will allow us to fulfil our duties as leaders and pave the way for adequate, decent, and affordable housing for Kenyans”.
“Our Affordable Housing Program seeks to implement interventions that will ensure that developers can produce housing units at scale, home buyers can access affordable financing facilities that allow them to buy homes, and that the enabling environment facilitates innovation, embraces technology, and commercial arrangements that can bring down the cost of construction,” President Uhuru added.
UNOPS Social Impact Investment Initiative (S3i) seeks to de-risk infrastructure investment projects in an effort to help attract financing from the private sector to national development agendas. Projects selected are subjected to a rigorous due diligence process that will ensure a positive environmental, social and economic impact, with a financial return.
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