, RUMBEK, Jun 1 – Kenya Commercial Bank said on Monday its mortgage subsidiary had signed sh35.3 billion deal to finance construction of housing units for government workers in southern Sudan.
The minister for Housing, Physical Planning and Environment of the Government of Southern Sudan, Martin Ohuro Okerruk, broke the ground to signify commencement of the first phase of the project comprising 150 units.
"Today, the KCB Group makes a big statement on its commitment to doing business in this country over the long term," said KCB Group Chairman, Peter Muthoka.
Muthoka said KCB was confident the peace in Southern Sudan will hold adding that the bank will continue to invest in network expansion, introduction of new products and employment of more Sudanese into the regional banking giant.
"There is an increasing need for residential houses in many towns in Southern Sudan due to the growing population of public servants and employees of private and non-governmental organizations," said the chairman.
The first phase will be financed by KCB to the tune of sh3 billion and is expected to be completed in 12 months. It will reflect high standards of architecture and provide a reference point for future housing development in the country.
The houses will be designed to reflect the high, middle and lower classes among the South Sudan civil service.
Minister Okerruk described KCB\’s investment as demonstration of Kenya\’s support for the people of South Sudan over the years.
"Kenya is more than just a neighbour. They took care of us during the war, they fought for our people and now through KCB, they want to make sure our people leave in peace and dignity," said Mr Okerruk.
He said President Salva Kiir Mayardit was keen to see the project completed soon to symbolize the permanence of the peace in the country and encourage more investors to help develop infrastructure in the country.
"The Government will make funds available to enable our people own these houses once complete," said Mr Okerruk.
The project is being constructed in the State of Central Equatoria which has given the land to the Government for the project.
The deputy Governor of Central Equatoria State, Manasse Lomole pledged to avail more land for KCB to finance houses for state employees.
"We also want to build houses for our Government in Central Equatoria State and will ask KCB to consider financing them," he added.
The tripartite agreement was signed between KCB, the Government of Southern Sudan and the State of Central Equatoria. Mr Muthoka signed on behalf of the bank while technocrats from the Governments of Southern Sudan and the state of Central Equatoria signed for their respective governments.
The project architect, Philip Kungu of Otieno and Kungu Architects promised that the housing project would reflect the current realities of green architecture.