Raila Odinga

Day: July 18, 2019



JULY 18, 2019
Ladies and gentlemen;

It has always been our dream to provide affordable and adequate housing to our citizens.
That dream has fared differently under different regimes. But it has never died.
Despite several efforts to address it, housing remains a huge challenge, particularly in our urban centres.
It is estimated that the country’s urban centres face a shortage of 200,000 housing unit annually.
On average, we are only able to construct 50,000 new housing units every year against the demand of 200,000 units.
The hardest hit are the youth, students who are coming out of colleges and middle-income earners.
This is the category of our citizens who are struggling to settle down as they start new jobs or look for jobs and as they struggle to start families and push our country forward.

While Nairobi’s housing demand falls short by close to 150,000 units annually, the city receives at least 500,000 people from rural homes to the city annually in search of employment opportunities.
We are certainly in a crisis when it comes to housing.
We therefore should not be surprised that slums are sprouting everywhere and rents are forever going up.
Because of supply are inadequate, urban residents spend approximately 34 per cent of their income on rental charges.
That eats into the capacity of the most significant age group to save and invest in our economy. When nearly half of your salary goes into paying rent, you will hardly invest in business, farming, education or anything else.
The houses are both unavailable and unaffordable.
As at last year, the average price of a 1 to 3-bedroom unit stood at Ksh14m.
At the same time, a 4 to 6 bedroom property stood at Ksh42m. Houses with prices of Ksh. 3 million and below remain in acute shortage or simply don’t exist while high end houses are in over supply.
House are unavailable and unaffordable partly due to the high cost of construction.
Developers incur additional infrastructure cost when constructing houses because much of the land is unserviced and land is extremely expensive.
The average land and infrastructure cost in Kenya makes up 10 to 35 per cent of the total cost of construction.
This is happening at a time mortgages are unaffordable and inaccessible. We need to address these urgently and comprehensively.
As things stand, the prevailing scenario is a recipe for the economy to stagnate.
Against this background, it is encouraging that the government has identified housing as one of its Big Four Agenda.

The national government’s plans to construct about 500,000 affordable houses to bridge the housing gap by 2022, if realised, would be a long overdue milestone for our country.
We may differ on how the dream of providing decent and adequate housing can be financed and realised. But we cannot debate the need for new public housing units in our urban centres.

To fully realise our dream of housing every Kenyan especially in urban areas, we need to internalise the fact that housing is a basic human need.
Having internalised that, we will then need to accept that when the provision of housing is left purely to market forces, segments of our population will not be adequately housed.
The government will therefore need to intervene in the market to ensure that our people can have decent housing.
Our approach and vision has been, and remains that we need to build subsidised public housing for citizens with household incomes below a designated threshold. That model has worked successfully in places like Singapore.

Today, 86 per cent of the Singapore population live in public housing. Nine out of ten public housing dwellers own their flats. That is something we can do in Kenya if we commit to it.
There is real gain in having citizens own homes, especially in multi-ethnic, multiracial and multi-cultural urban centres.
Home-ownership enhances a citizen’s commitment to his country, and contributes to political and social stability. Community living in a public housing area enhances unity and a sense common purpose among citizens.
As we seek to build new houses, we must also develop and implement an aggressive Estate Renewal Strategy to revamp the old estates.
But the government cannot achieve this ambitious dream alone.
To accelerate the development and access to affordable and adequate housing, we need to be open for public private partnership.
I wish to encourage the Government to embrace the private sector as partners in the provision of affordable housing.

The completion of Phase 1 of Alma is an example of what we can achieve if we are working together as government and private sector.

The government must actively support the sector by creating the right environment for mortgage lenders and housing developers.

Such support can come in the form of improving access to land, providing basic infrastructure, and improving the efficiency of mortgage registration and title transfers.
We must address the affordability gap in the housing market by ensuring that we create adequate institutions to fund mortgages.
We need to pursue policies that can encourage SACCOs to help bridge the gap in the housing finance market.
It is my hope that this example set here can be embraced and replicated elsewhere across our towns.
I wish you well as you pursue this dream that is in line with our overall goals as a nation with regard to housing our people.
Thank You.



JULY 18, 2019;
There is no denying that Energy is the sector on which Kenya and Africa can depend in the years ahead to spur economic development, attract investment and create jobs for young people.
That is why I am happy to join you this morning to hear your thoughts, which I believe are based on solid research on the trends and dynamics in this critical sector.
Our overall aim, I believe, is how to ensure affordable, reliable and sustainable energy for our economies in order to spur jobs. I am therefore deeply impressed by the subject of this meeting which is “Powering Jobs.”
Ladies and Gentlemen;
The question of youth and jobs is critical. And so is the question of education, research and training.
Demographers are constantly reminding us that the population of our continent is set to double to about two billion people in the coming decades and that majority of this population will be youth aged 18 and below.
To turn this age group into an opportunity and not a curse for our continent, we will need to create millions of jobs for them every year.
But we also know that good jobs go where there is the right infrastructure mix of energy, transportation and internet connectivity. Business owners don’t go where power is unreliable and unaffordable. Businesses set up shop where there’s high-speed railway and high-speed internet and all these require tremendous amounts of energy.
Africa has made some progress towards ensuring affordable, sustainable and reliable energy. But I also know that our best efforts have not been good enough both here in Kenya and elsewhere across Africa.
Our market for decentralized renewables in Kenya is reputed to be the fastest moving in Africa. Some 30 per cent of Kenyan households use solar lighting and the country is home to a pioneering green mini-grids program, thousands of bio digesters and 3,000MW of micro-hydro systems.

However, there is still ample room to grow—the country requires an increase in power output of 5 per cent per annum just to keep pace with current demand, let alone to meet the Government’s ambitious goal of 100 percent electrification by 2020.
As we lag in these areas, the energy landscape is undergoing significant shifts with regard to production, management and consumption. Globally, the share of renewables in the overall energy mix is increasing.
According to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), global renewable capacity reached 2,179 Gigawatt (GW) in 2017. This represents a 167 GW or 8.3% year on year growth over 2016.
Kenya, and Africa for that matter, must not be left behind in this energy shift.
Yet all indications are that we are falling behind.
As we speak, in Sub -Saharan Africa, 600 million people are still without electricity and only 16,000 people work in the renewable energy sector. Innovation in decentralized energy is going to be essential for the sector to meet expectations. We still lack a clear capacity building roadmap on Energy Investment and financing that will facilitate more investments in in the sector.
We have a challenge to enhance our energy resilience and ensure that we are never dependent on any single source of supply. We are all aware that harnessing renewables is not easy.
But with greater international cooperation, we can achieve it.
Africa should have no problem exploiting and deploying renewable energy.
We have enormous hydro and geothermal energy potential.
As the Continent’s infrastructure ambassador, I have taken up the challenge of convincing the Continent and the international community to have a dedicated focus on the Inga Dam in the DRC, which has long been identified to have the capacity to power the entire Continent if its 110 MW capacity is fully developed.
Inga is not a new story. What is new is why it has failed to take off over the last 50 years.
We have a realization that over 70 percent of Grand Inga’s projected power consumption market is outside of the DRC. Inga therefore cannot be a DRC project as we have approached it for more than five decades. As many potential off-take countries as possible must take interest in Inga. Inga must be a pan-African project.
But we do not need to develop the Inga Hydro potential at the expenses of other sources. We need diverse energy mix. We have massive land to deploy solar panels and exploit wind potential. We have not fully exploited our capacity for solar and wind.
To unlock the potential of renewables to meet our energy objectives, we must continue to invest steadily in Research and Development. We need to better integrate renewables into the grid and manage energy demand and supply intelligently, to ensure a reliable energy supply to consumers.
We must work to attract many more industry partners and researchers to come to Kenya and Africa to partner with our companies and governments and work with our people to develop new ideas on energy.
All of these ideas and innovations can only succeed if we have a pool of manpower equipped with the necessary skillsets and know-how to implement them on the ground.

Therefore, it is important that we clearly articulate the skill sets, and progression opportunities to our existing and potential energy professionals. In particular, we need partnerships that develop the skills framework for Energy and Power and which ensure that our workforce can continuously stay relevant and competitive.
Am aware that few of you know my work in renewables which began in the formation of my foundation, The Green Outreach Foundation Africa, which is a renewable energy and environmental conservation initiative focusing on the development and reform of renewable energy sources in Kenya.
In my capacity as Chairman of this organization I have faced the issue of the skills gap on the continent. In many rural areas in this country and across Africa, the high unemployment is linked to the mismatch between available work and available skills. There is work but no skills.
Closing this gap with skills and jobs training is critical especially with regard to renewable energy sector. We cannot achieve energy for all without a labor force to support it.
We need to build an army of creative, empowered and educated entrepreneurs to power our energy sector. The global community and national governments must develop awareness, interest and support for the distributed renewable energy sector, along with technical and vocational education and training (TVET), to create the workforce to close this critical gap.
We must invest in a new army of energy workforce including engineers and technicians, utility staff, finance and banking professionals, manufacturers and entrepreneurs who will remove barriers hindering “last mile” delivery of electricity and faster adoption of distributed power. This mobilization will also kick start job creation in energy-poor countries.
I therefore welcome you with an appeal that we work together to rebuild an economy powered by education, research, hard work and which creates good jobs for all through reliable and affordable energy for all.
Thank you very much.