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Kenya mulls incentives to spur low-cost housing development   

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenya is considering offering a number of incentives to spur the development of low-cost housing units, a government official said on Saturday.

Charles Hinga Mwaura, Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure, said in Nairobi that the real estate sector has concentrated on the high-income housing segment due to enormous returns from investments.

“In order to spur development of more low-income housing units, the government has set aside 7,500 acres of serviced land for property developers to construct affordable housing units,” Mwaura said.

He said the incentives are meant to overcome the systematic problems that have made the construction sector spurn the affordable housing category.

Other incentives include a 15-percent tax relief for taxpayers who purchase houses under the affordable housing scheme.

Government data indicates that the national housing demand stands at 250,000 units annually with 80,000 for high-income and 170,000 for low-income households.

However, Mwaura said that the real estate industry constructs on average 49,000 housing units for the rich and only 1,000 units were targeted at the low-income segment of the population.

“This has lead to the development of informal settlements as the poor cannot find affordable decent houses,” he added.

The PS said Kenya has one of the highest costs of land in Africa and as a result real estate developers tend to concentrate on constructing expensive houses in order to make returns on their incentives.



Kenyan campaigners root for inclusion of elderly persons in disability agenda

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Policymakers should incorporate the concerns and aspirations of senior citizens during implementation of national programs that seeks to empower people living with disabilities, Kenyan campaigners said on Monday.

Talal Waheed, the Africa Regional Inclusion Advisor at HelpAge International, said the campaigners noted that elderly people with various forms of physical impairments were likely to suffer from severe forms of discrimination and abuse hence the need to avail them adequate social protection.

“Women, men and children with disabilities across all age groups face systematic neglect throughout their life course in various developing countries including Kenya,” Waheed said.

“When age and gender intersect with disability, the vulnerability of persons with disabilities is multiplied,” he added.

Kenya will be co-hosting the Global Disability Summit to be held in London on Tuesday with the British government and the International Disability Alliance to help spotlight the plight of people living with physical and mental impairments.

He urged governments and multilateral lenders to allocate more resources towards uplifting the living standards of older and disabled persons.

Kenyan advocates are hoping the Global Disability Summit will come up with a new roadmap to advance the welfare of physically challenged senior citizens.

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