Chinese, Qataris commit to building 300,000 houses

Kenya has secured commitments from foreign investors to build more than 300,000 affordable housing units as part of the government’s Big Four Agenda.

Multinationals in the two countries have pledged to invest in the affordable housing scheme spearheaded President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Transport and Infrastructure Cabinet Secretary James Macharia said two Qatari firms have committed to construct 200,000 houses while a Chinese multinational will build at least 100,000.

The development follows a visit by the minister to the two countries.

“Discussions with the Qatari investors are progressing. This will go a long way towards achieving the Big Four Agenda target of building 500,000 affordable homes across the country,” the minister said.

He held talks with Qatari Prime Minister Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani and the country’s Transport and Communications minister Jassim bin Saif Al Sulaiti on issues concerning the strengthening of cooperation between the two countries.

Mr Macharia also attended the coordinators meeting of the Beijing Forum for China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) in Beijing.

The discussions mainly focused on industrial promotion, facilitating trade, infrastructure connectivity, training, peace and security.

During the meeting, Mr Macharia urged the Chinese investors to dedicate more resources to manufacturing in Africa.

He also told them to continue helping Africa develop the skills of its people by admitting more students to Chinese universities and offering internship.

In 2018, Kenya’s exports to China were valued at Sh11.1 billion whereas imports from the Asian country totalled Sh370.83 billion.

The minister said Kenya and the rest of Africa are uniquely positioned between the world’s two largest trading blocks — the USA and China.

He added that the Mombasa port, the recently developed roads and the standard gauge railway augment Kenya’s position as the gateway to East Africa and the Great Lakes region.

“Kenya has realised transformative infrastructure projects by working with neighbours to implement seamless transport networks. We plan to continue working with China and other partners on world-class projects,” he said.

The minister added that during the FOCAC summit in Beijing, the two countries agreed to strengthen their partnership through the private sector “with the Chinese government ready to welcome African countries to invest in China”.

“The Chinese are ready to increase technology transfer and training, encourage innovation cooperation, regional value chains development, support Africa cultivate technical, industrial and management professionals and promote people-centred partnerships,” he said.

Mr Macharia added that the first China-Africa Economic and Trade expo from June 27 to 29 in Changsha city attracted more than 50 African countries.

During the expo, China focused on key areas of trade and investment promotion, agriculture, energy, industrial park development, infrastructure, financing cooperation and others, he said.

The expo was themed “Win-Win Cooperation for Closer China-Africa Economic Partnership”.

The summit, the minister said, aimed at expanding, elevating and deepening mutually-beneficial China-Africa economic and trade ties.

Kenya had a pavilion showcasing the Big Four Agenda, investment opportunities, tourism and agriculture.

Activities focused on agro-processing, value addition, horticulture and floriculture exports, coffee, tea, green energy, tourism, culture, mining, infrastructure development and the general economy.

Source: Daily Nation Newspaper.

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