Blockchain To Be Used For Providing Affordable Housing In Kenya

By Sumedha Bose

An exciting and hopeful news for Kenyans. The Kenyan government is all set to use blockchain technology in order to distribute brand new affordable government housing units.

The news is being hailed as a glimmer of hope by citizens who are too poor to afford new settlements. Charles Hinga, who is the State Housing and Urban Development Permanent Secretary, said that this housing Fund aims to raise atleast Sh55 billion a year, which is around $545 million in USD, to build “cheaper 500,000 housing units.”

This initiative will be funded by the Kenyan National Housing Fund under the Finance Act 2018. Blockchain’s distributed ledger technology will be used to allocate the houses to people in need of it and it will help keep track of these allocations.

James Macharia, the Cabinet Secretary for Transport and Housing in Kenya recently spoke at a meeting with the World Bank in Nairobi, on the agenda of housing. He assured that blockchain technology will be used to distribute housing to deserving applicants and will hopefully eliminate issues like  “graft fears arising from beneficiaries and even legislators,” which have arisen in the past. He was quoted saying,

“Kenya will use blockchain technology to ensure the rightful owners live in government-funded housing projects.”

Kenyans face affordability issues in the country when it comes to property. This is because the country has a skewed ratio of mortgage which is 6 to 1. Added to this, the wages earned by Kenyans on average are not very high. Only three per cent out of around two million employed Kenyans in 2016, earned over 100,000 Shillings ($992 in USD).

There are further issues in the country which plague the country’s economy and the ability of citizens to afford housing. The people of Kenya have lost their faith over the government. So this entire initiative may not be accepted or embraced as openly as the government wants it to be. In the past, the government has spent extravagantly on capital projects and that clearly did not help their cause with the government. Corruption is another big lacuna in the Kenyan bureaucracy which has made the government unpopular when it comes to the masses.

The country has however seen a boost in developments related to blockchain and cryptocurrency. Just last month, Bitange Ndemo, the chairman of the Distributed Ledgers and Artificial Intelligence task force expressed his support for tokenizing the economy to reduce corruption. He said,

“We must begin to tokenize the economy by giving incentives to young people to do things which they are paid through tokens that can be converted to Fiat currency,”

Back in May, Information Minister Joseph Mucheru spoke to BBC and confirmed that the country would soon deploy blockchain technology in the land registry sector.

 

Sumedha Bose

Sumedha uses words as her crutch to get by in life. She takes a keen interest in debating, dancing and destroying the patriarchy in her free time. She can be contacted at [email protected].

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