6 October 2012

Kenya: World Bank Praises City Hall's Electronic System

The City Council of Nairobi yesterday got a rare praise from the World Bank for the successful implementation of the electronic construction permit management system.

During a tour of the council's planning department, executive vice president and CEO of the International Finance Corporation Jin-Yong Cai praised the council for being the first local authority to automate its planning operations in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The system, launched last year by former town clerk Philip Kisia, allows online submission of building proposals by architects for immediate evaluation and approval. It also enhances efficiency in the surveillance of ongoing construction projects around the city using the smartphone technology.

Kenya is currently experiencing rapid urbanisation, with the city of Nairobi bearing the brunt of the rural to urban exodus. Jin-Yong urged the council to focus on automating e-payments in the future in alignment with Kenya Vision 2030.

He was accompanied in the tour by World Bank country director Johannes Zutt. IFC has previously partnered with the council in bringing reforms to the licensing department's single business permit. It now takes a day to get a businees permit, up from the previous 30 days.

Town Clerk Tom Odongo said the Physical Planning Act mandates the council to prohibit or control development of land and buildings to ensure an orderly development.

"The council has embarked on reforms to change the pace and direction of doing business in the construction permit process in line with the Vision 2030, whose mid-term goal (2012) is to increase annual production of housing from the current 35,000 to over 200, 000," said Odongo, who is a career planner.

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