US firm to build affordable houses in Kenya - CNBC Africa

US firm to build affordable houses in Kenya

East Africa

by Elayne Wangalwa 0

IGS has announced plans to build a manufacturing factory in Kenya. PHOTO: IGS

The US-based firm will build a panel factory in a peri-urban area outside Kenya’s Capital, Nairobi in Thika worth 1.3 billion Kenya shillings.

IGS, widely known for the manufacturing of compressed agricultural fiber (CAF) panels, will build two bedroom housing units in the East African country with the use of alternative building materials.

The firm which builds homes and office blocks from panels made of compressed rice and wheat husks has already received commitments of 3,400 units from the private sector. The affordable homes targeting the low income population will go at a cost of 851,400 Kenyan shillings and slightly higher depending on the size.  

“We are targeting to provide building solutions just under Sh9, 000 per square meter by allowing construction companies and developers to culturally adapt the IGStructures for Kenyans in the communities where they live,” said Mike McCarthy, IGS president and CEO.

(READ MORE: Kenya's housing deficit impacts economic growth)

According to state run, National Housing Corporation, the estimated current urban housing needs are 150,000 units per year to cater for the backlog. However, it is estimated that the current production of new housing in urban areas is only about 30,000 units annually, a shortfall of 80 per cent.

Julius K. Nyoike, president of IGS Kenya said, “There is an overwhelming demand for housing in Kenya and limited supply in the middle and lower market segment giving IGS optimism of great success. IGS’s vision aligns with the Government of Kenya’s Vision 2030, whose long term strategy is to improve livelihoods of Kenyans through facilitation of access to affordable and adequate housing.” 

The launch of these operations is expected to create more than 4,000 direct and indirect jobs by 2015 and to meet the rising demand for housing in the country. IGS will also train the youth in manufacturing, construction and secondary finishing products.

“We target to produce 3,000 IGStructures in our first phase which with expansion of production lines will increase capacity to about 12,000 units per year,” Nyoike said.

IGS is looking to make Kenya is hub for operations across East Africa. The firm has successfully built structures not only in the United States but also in Kenya, Uganda and Ghana.