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Ngara hostel owners smiling all the way to banks

Hostel owners in Nairobi are making big bucks as thousands of students from outside the county join universities and colleges annually. The institutions are facing an accomodation crisis.


In September, Kenyatta University admitted a record 10,000 students, guaranteeing customers for the hostel industry.

Nairobi alone is home to five out of the 24 public universities countrywide; University of Nairobi, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Multimedia University, Technical University (formerly Kenya Polytechnic) and Kenyatta University.

Besides, there are 20 other private varsities around.

“At times you will find four lady students sharing a single room with double-decker beds and they don’t not mind paying Sh3,000 or Sh4,000 a month for the rooms,” said Samwel Katheri, a private developer who transformed his commercial property on Moi Avenue into a girls’ hostel.

Mabel Imbuga, the chairperson of the Joint Admissions Board, said 53,010 candidates who sat their 2012 Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education exams will be admitted into public universities and local constituent colleges next year. But a good number will miss out on accommodation.

“Student accommodation is becoming a marketable option in real estate that developers should look into,” says Mackrine Abukah, the chairperson of Safaricom Investment Cooperative (SIC) after launching ahousing project in Mlolongo targeting students.