Harambee Sacco bets on AfDB real estate deal to hit Sh1bn assets


A construction site in Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Harambee Investment Cooperative Society (HICS) is in talks with African Development Bank (AfDB) for entry into real estate as it seeks to grow its asset base to more than Sh1 billion by end of year.

The investment vehicle of the giant Harambee Sacco is looking to venture into the real estate business beyond the acquisition and sale of land which it has been doing since inception in 2014.

The society which largely serves the disciplined forces has acquired and sold over 200 acres in three years pushing its total asset base as at December 2020 stood to Sh616 million.

“We are negotiating a partnership with African Development Bank (AfDB) to ensure we do affordable housing for members in efforts to achieve the over Sh1 billion asset base at end of year,” said HICS chairman Macloud Malonza at the society’s sixth annual general meeting.

He said the plan is to give the society’s 596 members an opportunity to put to use the land they purchase.

HICS has paid its shareholders Sh8 million, being 15 percent in dividends, and 10 percent interest on deposits for the year to December 2020.

“This is the first time in three years (since 2017) that we are giving dividend and interest on deposits to our members,” he said. The society’s first project was 10 acres at Kantafu along Kangundo Road, Nairobi, in 2019, which was followed by acquisition of 40 acres in Nakuru, another 20 acres in Kantafu and 145.5 acres in Eldoret.

A total of 370 title deeds had been issued by close of 2020, making HICS one of the fastest investment cooperatives in the country. HICS acting chief executive Gichuki Kabukuru noted there had been slow sale on the Eldoret project due to Covid-19 movement restrictions.

“People normally want to see something tangible and the Covid restrictions barred us from taking members to the ground to see beacons,” he said.

The Covid restrictions and delays at the land registry saw deeds take more than four months to be awarded after purchase.