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Kenya President woos property developers into tourism sector

President Kibaki has invited international property developers to invest in the booming sector, which has earned investors double-digit returns in the past decade.

The President asked investors to consider putting up business parks, shopping malls and hotel facilities to lift the country’s profile as a regional business hub.

“I want to ask multinational institutions to invest in the country by developing modern facilities which will enable us to attract the growing number of tourists, especially in the conferencing sub-sector,” said Mr Kibaki at the official launch of the (Kenya Medical Association) KMA Centre Tuesday.

KMA Centre is a mixed-use development built by the association of medical practitioners at a cost of about Sh2 billion, comprising of a commercial block and executive apartments.

The President said providing high quality property in the local real estate market guarantees investors attractive returns for both local and multinational players.

His invitation comes as Kenya steps up its bid to diversify tourist attractions from the traditional holiday segment popular for game drives, site seeing and beach tourism, to the more lucrative conference segment.

Kenya has in the past been losing conference business to markets with better developed facilities like South Africa, Morocco and Egypt.

Recent investment in housing and infrastructure, however, helped the country to rise to second position in Africa after South Africa in 2012, according to the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA), a global umbrella body for international conferences and conventions.

Mr Kibaki also asked mortgage providers to their cut lending rates to encourage the uptake of home ownership loans especially among the low- and middle-income segments.

“I want to appeal to mortgage providers to offer affordable and flexible loans to enable Kenyans to purchase and construct their own homes, and develop commercial property,” said Mr Kibaki.

He said that the high lending rates had depressed the demand for home loans, a situation that has dampened the demand for housing in some segments and eliminated opportunities for developers.

“Having less than 20,000 mortgage accounts is unacceptable for a thriving economy, the mortgage sector has a massive potential for growth especially among the low and medium income earners.”

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