The Government outlined four key development priorities (The BIG 4 Agenda) for implementation over a five-year period (2018- 2022). Key among this is Affordable Housing with a target to deliver at least 500,000 affordable housing units in major cities around the country.
The National Treasury is contributing to the Affordable Housing agenda through the establishment of a liquidity facility (The Kenya Mortgage Refinance Company) in order to address inherent financing challenges and unlock liquidity for affordable housing. Financing solutions can play a catalytic role in stimulating both supply and demand of affordable housing and can help create momentum for other underlying reforms outside the sector.
The Kenya Mortgage Refinance Company (“KMRC”) was incorporated in April 2018 as a Limited liability company under the Companies Act 2015, with the sole purpose of providing secure long-term funding to primary mortgage lenders (Banks & Saccos) in order to increase availability and affordability of housing loans to Kenyans. The company will be regulated by the Central Bank of Kenya as a non-deposit taking financial institution, with the Capital Markets Authority (CMA) providing oversight over its bond issuance operations.
KMRC was purposely established as a public private partnership arrangement with majority private sector owned in order to crowd in private sector funding to support affordable housing. The company recently closed a successful capital mobilization drive which resulted in eight (8) commercial banks, one (1) micro finance bank, and eleven (11) SACCO’s becoming shareholders of KMRC. In addition, two development finance institutions (Shelter Afrique & IFC) are keen to invest equity in KMRC and are currently finalizing their due diligence processes. The company is therefore owned 80% by private sector and 20% by Government.
On April 30th, 2019, the World Bank approved a $250 million International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) credit to support the Government Affordable Housing program. On May 15, 2019, African Development Bank (AfDB) approved a further $100 million to support the program. These funds will be applied towards enhancing access to affordable housing finance, strengthening KMRC balance sheet, and providing requisite credit enhancements to support KMRC issuance of bonds.