The government of Kenya is planning to use artificial intelligence (AI) technologies in the allocation of affordable housing. The government has recently come under tight scrutiny regarding the allocation of the said 500,000 affordable homes recently with Kenyans wanting to know the criteria to be used.

It has since emerged that to assess citizens’ eligibility for affordable housing, the government will use AI to check applicants’ credit histories using data sourced by the Credit Reference Bureau (CRB), including smart-phone wallet transaction histories.

According to a government policy paper, using data such as that contained in people’s smartphone wallet apps obtainable from third party providers, will help build credit profiles for those without a conventional banking history.

“In principle the scoring will provide credit assessments that are driven by data analytics. This means that the credit and risk decision-making is fully automated; the system will be able to run ‘Thin File Assessments’ for those with little to no conventional transaction histories; and 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,” says the policy document.

The PS State Department of Urban and Housing Development recently came under fire from Kenyans for suggesting that the government would subject applicants to a lottery system of selection.

The use of AI comes on the back of government proposals, put forward in October 2018, to use block chain technology in deciding the distribution of affordable homes. According to CNN reports, the technology would help ensure that housing is allocated to “deserving” participants and address “graft fears arising from beneficiaries and even legislator.”

In September last year, the chairman of the Distributed Ledgers and Artificial Intelligence task force, Dr. Bitange Ndemo, advised the government to replace cash with digital currency in order to tackle “increasing issues of corruption and uncertainty”. The state is yet to make the matter clear.

Read; World Bank approves Sh. 25 bn for affordable housing