In a rather interesting move, Kenya's governement has stated that it will use Artificial Intelligence (AI) to allocate houses through its affordable housing programme. The revelation can be found in the Kenya Affordable Housing Programme Development Framework Guidelines document which states that AI will help reduce the time it takes to process each assesment.

The allocation of affordable housing in Kenya is handled through the BomaYangu online platform that allows Kenyan citizens, with valid national IDs, to apply for houses as built by the government.

"Scoring will be via Credit Reference Bureau (CRB) verification – through third party interfaces including mobile network operator verification, which will provide mobile wallet transaction history to build credit profiles of those not conventionally banked. In principle the scoring will provide credit assessments that are driven by data analytics. This means that (1) the credit and risk decision-making is fully automated; (2) the system will be able to run 'Thin File Assessments' for those with little to no conventional transaction histories; and (3) the level of Artificial Intelligence integrations being deployed reduce the time taken on each assessment – providing a credit profile of each applicant in much less time than is conventionally accepted," reads an extract from the Kenya Affordable Housing Programme Development Framework Guidelines document explaining how AI will be used.

Applicant Profile Assessment. Kenya Affordable Housing Programme

Using Blockchain and Artificial Intelligence

This recent revelation in Kenya is interesting because during the third quarter of 2018, Kenya's government also announced that it will be using a blockchain solution to allocate affordable housing. Specifically, Kenya's government said that it intends to use blockchain technology in order to allocate the 500,000 housing units so that it can avoid corruption and ensure that those who are supposed to live in them, are allocated to them accordingly.

However, recently, there has been no mention of a blockchain based solution nor is such a solution mention in the Kenya Affordable Housing Programme Development Framework Guidelines document. This raises the question whether it was an ill-considered solution or whether Charles Hinga, Principal Secretary of Kenya's State Department for Housing and Urban Development, was too eager to use the latest trending technology even though unnecessary?

It remains to be seen how AI will exactly be deployed as the guideline document is light on technical details.


Cover image credit: Slum upgrading, Kibera. Kenya Ministry of Transport, Infrastructure and Urban Development

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