Ministry of housing together with many stakeholders joins hands to address the numerous problems and challenges facing the informal settlements and slum areas in Nairobi. The plan to upgrade slums settlements is the effort of the government and other stakeholders desire to provide decent moderns residence housing to slum dwellers at cheaper cost possible.
The ministry is formulating national slum upgrading and prevention policy to stop growing of slums in cities. Slums and squatter settlements manifests at higher rate. It is uncontrolled and frenzied urbanization linked with scarce space for urban management.
Slums and informal settlements has unbearable urban living conditions characterize by urban decay, high rate of poverty, illiteracy, joblessness, congestion and insecurity that makes them breeding ground for negative uses and deteriorate behavior.
Slum lack basic infrastructure like water, sanitation, solid waste management, ease of access to electricity, social amenities including schools, health centers and market facilities. According to the statement to the press, the ministry says housing structure is badly dilapidated. Structures are constructed using temporary materials and unfit for human habitation.
Settlements are allocated in very fragile points including unsecure and unfeasible areas close to industries and along the railway lines and road reserved areas. Settling under high power voltage lines a top underground, petroleum pipelines and dumpsites. Slum dwellers are susceptible to all types of pollution which includes air, water, noise, noxious waste and environmental degradation. Inhabitants of slums are also prone to disasters like floods and diseases outbreak.
Accessibility to credit is hard for slum dweller as they lack formal job and legal land ownership. Slums and informal settlement account for a big percentage of the urban population. The reason as why lack of jobs is high in the country. Accessibility to credit facilities will create more jobs and money is pumped back the economy. This will see slums dwellers going to school then after reducing poverty level in entire country.
No single entity can boast to address slum menace in every respect but many hands make it easier. The scenario is too complex. The Government and other stakeholder held a forum in April 2012 to formulate a slum upgrading and prevention policy to provide a framework for addressing the concern at last there is hope ahead for the inhabitant of informal settlements.
The government and other parties are working together and the process will be all inclusive participation. The policy serves as a guide to spread its wings to devolved government structure in their effort to upgrade and prevent slum patching on edges of urban centre. The policy comes at a time devolved structures are taking other responsibilities in investments development and consequently provide for the increasing urban population.
Past initiates have had minimal impact in addressing menace related to slum formation and prevention. The government has been blamed for low budgetary allocation and failure by private sector to provide low cost housing to the urban poor even after introduction of incentives by the government.
There is a divergence between housing supply and demand arising from non responsive building standards and regulation which recognizes only conventional building material. As envisaged out in Kenya vision 2030 that the country to be a middle income class economy, there is need to focus legal and institutional framework to tap on the high potential, talents and home-grown technical know-how of slum and informal settlement dwellers.
This can be enhanced to develop small and medium scale industries that can earn the country foreign exchange to compete even with Asia Tiger Economies.
This is happening at a time when housing supply is almost reaching its peak in Kenya especially for the middle and upper class earners. The sale is moving slowly not as faster as ten year back.Property investors have ripped good profit for the last 10years. The sales were good. But does means all middle and upper class earners have secured homes and no more buying? Kenya Diaspora should also be a target and favorable policies to allow foreigners to buy and own home in Kenya also one way to increase sales.
Now prices for real estate are soaring through the roof. Mortgages prices have fallen the same yet new development is sprouting in the Nairobi Suburbs.
Lenders are watching keenly the dropping values fetched by the real estate business on low sale and may decide to close the source of funding.
Property developer targets mostly few middle class and upper class forgetting 60% percent of the population is low income earners with also high collective power to purchase. Makers of property should consider the class level when target market. The united should match earning levels of general population.
With many unsold units, the real state property sector could be leading to a crush after booming for 10 years.
Now with government partnering with others to upgrade slum housing foresee units made to target lower income earn facing another fate as the once targeted for upper class income earners. Property makers should now increase units that target the pocket of lower income earners by making units more affordable to many than targeting a few rich. One just imagine if we have a decent house unit that cost up to Ksh. 200 000, for sure the will higher it is at present.
I think property makers should be creative enough to construct decent property development to other growing towns; still the market will still be fetch-able.