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Kenya gets US$150mn credit from World Bank to support slum dwellers

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The World Bank Group Board of Directors approved today a $150 million – Sh16.2 billion – International Development Association credit to improve tenure security and access to basic services for 1.7 million residents living in selected Kenya’s urban informal settlements.

The funds will facilitate the second phase of the Kenya Informal Settlements Improvement Project (KISIP2) to reduce infrastructure and services gap.

“Rapid urbanization and an increasing share of the poor living in urban areas has outpaced services and infrastructure provision, and this project will contribute to reducing this infrastructure and services gap,” said World Bank Operations Manager and Acting Country Director for Kenya Camille Lampart Nuamah.

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The project will include titling to enhance tenure security and infrastructure upgrading for basic services, which includes roads, drainage, water, sanitation, street lighting and community facilities.

It will also include livelihoods support and community engagement to assess and address risks, including the impacts of COVID-19.

“The project will also cushion urban informal settlement residents who depend on daily earnings against the negative socio-economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Nuamah said.

In describing the impact of the project, World Bank says the project will improve access to basic services, such as clean and safe water; mobility within the informal settlements; access for emergency vehicles; and the resilience of communities in instances of disasters.

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In addition, it will increase the connectivity of residents to socio-economic opportunities while the high-mast lights will enhance economic activities by reducing crime.

The project’s special focus on socio-economic inclusion will help counter the immediate economic impact of COVID-19 by urgently linking vulnerable people of informal settlements to government programs aimed at reducing poverty and vulnerability.

It will also link at-risk youth to programs focused on building skills and creating opportunities for employment and self-employment.

“In the short run, the works related to upgrading roads will provide an important source of employment opportunities for unskilled, informal and vulnerable workers disproportionately affected by the economic impact of COVID-19,” said Sheila Kamunyori, World Bank Senior Urban Specialist and Task Team Leader.

“The World Bank is keen to continue supporting the government’s effort to the ongoing Kazi Mtaani program in the subsequent phases to reach up to 200,000 youth across all 47 counties.”

The project will strengthen national and county institutions to scale up slum upgrading, involve communities in implementation, including efforts to close the gender gap across interventions.

The project will be implemented through institutional arrangements at the national level and county level. Criteria to determine eligible settlements have been developed to ensure that the project has maximum impact for the targeted beneficiaries. Counties with eligible settlements will be expected to demonstrate readiness to implement the project.

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