Kenya harnesses blockchain in affordable homes project

October 16, 2018
Chris Wheal

Nairobi slum

Kenya’s planned new housing will tackle Nairobi’s slums: Shutterstock

Kenya plans to deploy blockchain technology to manage a government housing project of 500,000 units, according to local news outlet the Star.

Within the affordable housing programme, Kenya’s government aims to build half a million units by 2022, and assist contributors earning less than 100,000 Kenyan Shillings ($992) who cannot afford mortgages. According to the Star, of 2.48 Kenyans employed in 2016 only 77,000, or 3.1%, earned over Sh100,000.

The report states that blockchain technology will be used to ensure the proper distribution of housing to deserving participants in the programne and address issues of graft from both legislators and beneficiaries.

The government also hopes that the new technology will re-establish public trust in its housing initiatives, following the National Youth Service scandal, last May. Forty civil servants and 14 private sector officials were charged with siohoning off $78m in funding for the agency.

Earlier initiatives

Speaking at the second urban dialogue on the affordable housing agenda with the World Bank in Nairobi, housing and urban development principal secretary Charles Hinga said: “Kenya will use blockchain technology to ensure the rightful owners live in government funded housing projects.”

The project will reportedly be financed by the National Housing Fund under the Finance Act of 2018, to which Kenyans will contribute 1.5% of their salary that will be matched by their employers.

The government has made previous efforts to employ blockchain in Kenya. Recently, Kenyan Distributed Ledgers and Artificial Intelligence task force chairman Bitange Ndemo urged ministers to consider tokenising the economy to deal with “increasing” rates of corruption and uncertainties. This move, according to Ndemo, would have the government print less hard currency.

In June, “decentralised liquidity network” Bancor partnered with non-profit foundation Grassroots Economics to launch a network of blockchain-based community currencies in Kenya aimed at combating poverty. The project seeks to stimulate local and regional commerce and peer-to-peer (P2P) activity by enabling Kenyan communities to create and manage their own digital tokens.

Post written by Chris Wheal
Chris Wheal is editor of OpenLedger's news and features service. An award-wining business journalists himself, he runs a team of freelance journalists from across the UK and north America.

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