June 3, 2009 (JUBA) — Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) signed a US$452 million contract with the government of southern Sudan to build housing units for the civil servants of the semi-autonomous government.
A KCB mortgage subsidiary, S&L, will construct some 1750 housing units. The project is being constructed in the State of Central Equatoria which has given the land for the project.
The first phase of the project will be financed by KCB to the tune of USD40 million and is expected to be completed in 12 months. The houses will be designed to reflect the high, middle and lower classes among the South Sudan civil service, the bank said.
The South Sudan minister for Housing, Martin Ohuro Okerruk, broke the ground to signify commencement of the first phase of the project comprising 150 units, on Tuesday June 2. He said GOSS President Salva Kiir Mayardit was keen to see the project completed soon to symbolize the permanence of the peace and encourage more investors to help develop infrastructure in the country.
KCB Group Chairman, Peter Muthoka. “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.
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.
Most of southern Sudan has been destroyed by decades of war. Due to the lack of proper housing, rental housing is becoming more expensive in Juba — civil servants fork out high prices for accommodation in tented camps or dilapidated buildings.
Also the KCB opened a second branch in the capital of southern Sudan. The Buluk branch was inaugurated on June 1 by the President Salva Kii who became the first customer to open a KCB Advantage Banking account at the new branch.
President Kiir commended KCB for its efforts to promote private investment in the country and pledged support to the bank in order to facilitate development.
“There are more foreign banks talking to us now about opening operations here because of KCB,” said, GOSS minister for finance, Kuol Athian Mawien. He added the Government had plans to bail out troubled the Nile Bank in order to strengthen the young financial sector.
With this new branch in Juba, now the Kenya Commercial Bank has five branches in southern Sudan. KCB opened for business in Southern Sudan in May 2006 with two branches, in Juba and Rumbek. It also has two other branches in Bentiu and Yei.