The Government of Kenya is committed to ensuring the population has the necessary skills to continue the country’s economic progress, and to do so it needs an educated workforce. The subsequent drive to increase the number of enrolments at Kenya’s public universities and colleges means they have struggled to meet the demand for on-campus student accommodation. Only 23% of students secure accommodation through their institution of study and this has led to a rise in the use of off-campus housing such as hostels where poor security, overcrowding and inadequate sanitation are common. The government has recognised the need for private sector investment into safe, affordable student housing if students are to achieve the best educational outcomes.

A&K are part of the solution to deliver high quality purpose-built student accommodation, acting for pioneering property developer and manager Acorn Holdings Ltd (Acorn) as the Issuer and Stanbic Bank and SBG Securities, the lead arrangers, in connection with a USD 50 million MTN programme for several proposed purpose-built student housing projects by Acorn. The housing development will deliver 11 purpose-built blocks in Nairobi that will comply with the international green building and certification system, ICE EDGE, and provide 8,800 student beds over five years. Catering to a range of income levels, security will be paramount and they will provide access to 24 hour electricity, wi-fi, clean water and sanitation as well as social areas, gyms and safe transport to campuses.

The transaction won the Deal of the Year Award at GFC Media Group’s Bonds, Loans & Sukuk Africa Awards in 2020. A&K partner Sonal Sejpal, who led the team, described it as “a complex finance transaction” that also required coordinating multijurisdictional advice on different transactional aspects, playing to A&K’s particular strengths.