President Ruto urges investors to partner with State on affordable housing initiative

GulfCap Real Estate Chairman Mr Suleiman Shabhal

GulfCap Real Estate Chairman Mr Suleiman Shabhal being taken through the 6,704 housing plan at Nairobi’s Starehe project ahead of the groundbreaking by President William Ruto on March 6, 2023. 

Photo credit: David Mwere | Nation Media Group

President William Ruto has challenged local investors to partner with the government in the construction of affordable housing units. 

The President said this as he presided over the groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of 6,704 affordable housing units in Nairobi’s Starehe area.

The Starehe project is President Ruto's fifth affordable housing project launched this year after Homa Bay, Ruiru in Kiambu and Kibera and Shauri Moyo in Nairobi.

The Starehe project, which also includes 2,000 social housing project, will cost Sh13 billion and is being developed in a joint venture between the government and GulfCap Africa Limited that owns GulfCap Real Estate limited chaired by businessman cum-politician Suleiman Shahbal, a member of the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA).

“An investor is a person that believes in the country. I am encouraging other investors to step forward and partner with the government in this course. I thank you Suleiman Shahbal. Some people get a little money and immediately run to Dubai to buy flats,” President Ruto said at Kariakor during the groundbreaking ceremony.

200,000 housing units

The President gave the undertaking to construct 200,000 housing units every year to ensure that Kenyans live in dignity.

He said that the construction of 26,000 affordable housing units, heads to the counties of Garissa, Kajiado, Uasin Gishu, Kisumu, Mombasa, Kiambu, Marsabit, Narok and Machakos.

At least 6,000 Kenyans live in squalid conditions in urban areas, exposing them to diseases and insecurity.

The President announced that once completed, the previous owners of the houses that were demolished, to pave the way for the construction of the 6,704 units, will be given the first priority.

Housing and Urban Development Principal Secretary, Charles Hinga, said the project is a manifestation of President Ruto's committment to a dignified housing plan for the poor.

“This programme epitomises your bottom-up economic model,” PS Hinga told the President, adding that the 2000 social housing units will be for the low cadre people. 

“The development will create a significant number of employment opportunities for the youth and women in the construction industry,” Mr Hinga said, adding “it will generate over 10,000 direct and indirect jobs in other sectors, which will greatly stimulate local economic development.”

The occupants of the units will be required to pay a monthly mortgage of between Sh3,500 and 4,000 for 15 to 20 years after which they will own the houses.

The project is being financed by both local and international investors including regional banks.

“GulfCap Real Estate‘s philosophy revolves around building a lifestyle, not just apartments, hence the sharp focus on providing facilities touching on every aspect of the well-being of homeowners,” said Mr Shahbal.

The state-of-the-art facility will include children's playgrounds, a swimming pool, a gym, greenery, sports facilities, a community centre, Early Childhood Development (ECD) centre, outdoor communal recreational facilities, food courts, and many others.

The President also announced that GulfCap limited will also construct additional 10 classrooms in the neighbouring schools, and a level three hospital to be handed over to the county government upon completion.  

GulfCap Africa limited CEO has previously done phase 1 of Buxton point project in Mombasa which has 584 affordable housing units to be handed over to the new owners “in the next few months.”

Buxton Point

Phase 2 of the project to start in the coming months, will have 1500 units.

This approach, Mr Shahbal added, has won his company numerous awards at Buxton Point in Mombasa even before the completion of the award-winning housing project.

Buxton Point, whose Phase 1 is currently on sale was ranked the best real estate developer by the Kenya National Chambers of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI) during the 2022 Mombasa Business Award.

At Starehe Point, the developer intends to build one, two, three-bedroom and shop typologies. The selling price for the units will be starting from Sh1.2 million.

“In addition to creating over 6,000 new homeowners, the project will create thousands of jobs directly and indirectly for the people of Nairobi, especially the hustlers,” Mr Shahbal said.

The EALA MP added that they will dedicate over Sh500 million worth of tenders of the project for the Jua Kali sector with at least 50 percent going towards women.

“We are grateful for the support that both the National and County Governments have extended towards this project which has also excited our local manufacturing players who will provide us with the required materials for the project,” he said.