The Ewaso Ng’iro North River Basin Development Authority (ENNDA) has proposed establishing a heavy clay building products factory within its jurisdiction. This visionary project aims to develop and promote affordable housing solutions by producing modern clay blocks, floor blocks, and other heavy clay housing materials.

The proposed factory will have a capacity of producing 125 tons of building materials per day, translating to over 40,000 tons of wall blocks, floor blocks, hollow clay blocks, roofing tiles, and other heavy clay products annually. The project aligns with the Kenyan government’s “Bottom Up Economic Transformation Agenda (BETA) ” Agenda, specifically the affordable housing initiative, which seeks to deliver affordable housing units across the country.

The justification for the project lies in the current housing deficit in Kenya, estimated at 1.85 million units. The high cost of construction, exorbitant land prices, and low purchasing power have exacerbated this deficit. By developing and commercializing low-cost building technologies, such as precast wall panels and interlocking blocks, the project aims to significantly reduce construction costs and timelines.

Moreover, the project addresses the environmental challenges associated with traditional fired bricks, which contribute to deforestation. The interlocking heavy clay technology eliminates the need for firewood, promoting environmental conservation and sustainable use of resources. Additionally, the interlocking bricks significantly reduce construction costs by up to 50% as they do not require cement for bonding.

The establishment of the heavy clay building products factory is expected to create over 4,000 direct jobs, improving the livelihoods of the resident communities in the region. It will also spur the growth of ancillary industries and businesses, creating indirect employment opportunities and stimulating economic development in the area. The project’s impact extends beyond economic benefits. By providing affordable housing solutions, it contributes to improving living conditions and social well-being. The use of locally sourced raw materials and the adoption of sustainable production practices demonstrate ENNDA’s commitment to environmental stewardship.

In terms of project readiness, ENNDA has identified the need for feasibility studies, land acquisition, and regulatory approvals. The project implementation plan includes undertaking a comprehensive feasibility study, developing a commercial and technical proposal, acquiring 500 acres of land for the factory and quarry sites, constructing the factory infrastructure, and commencing production.

The estimated total project cost is Kshs 1.8 billion, with funding options including government support, private investors, and internally generated revenue. The project is expected to be implemented over five years, with the majority of the capital expenditure occurring in the second and third years.