Kenya’s High Urbanization Rate at 4.2pct is Pushing Dwellers into Slums

Demand for Apartments Surge in Q2 2020 Due to Affordability

Over 60% of urban households are living in slum settings

Kenya’s urbanisation has been described as the highest in Africa forcing a large number into slums according to pan-African housing development financier Shelter Afrique report.

Research by the firm shows the country’s rate of urbanisation currently stands at 4.2%  above the 3.5% continental average resulting in a housing deficit of an estimated two million units.

“Our research has shown that Kenya has an estimated two million units housing backlog with an annual demand of 200,000 new units versus the 50,000 currently being constructed. The result has been that over 60% of urban households are living in slum settings, a situation that could worsen with the increasing urbanization rate,” Shelter Afrique chief executive Andrew Chimphondah said. 

“As the rate of urbanization increases so does the demand for decent housing and this partly explains why many Kenyans are living in slum settings. We are, however, encouraged by the initiatives (affordable housing) already put in place by the government of Kenya to address the issue,” Mr. Chimphondah said.

However, affordability continues to be a key challenge in the country given the current high cost of funding and unavailability of financing, amid rising property prices he noted.

According to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS), 74.5% of the Kenyan population earns KSh49, 999 a month or below in the formal sector.

“This means that an affordable housing unit would need to have a monthly rental price of KSh15, 000 and below, assuming a maximum of 30 percent of household gross income is spent on housing,” Mr. Chimphondah explained.