Ardhisasa is a digital platform, launched on 27th April 2021 to help streamline the process of buying and selling land in Kenya. The platform seeks to improve land management in Kenya by resolving the numerous historical land problems experienced by Kenyans by providing a centralized, transparent and efficient system for land ownership, transfer and registration.
The platform offers services relating to due diligence; land registration of cautions, leases, charges, replacement of title; land administration processes such as payment of land rents, extension and renewal of lease; physical planning activities such as the acquisition of approvals for development; valuation of property; adjudication and settlement; and land allocation by the National Land Commission.
Benefits of the Ardhisasa platform
Ardhisasa, an innovative land management system, was launched to provide Kenyans with the following benefits:
- Improved Land Management: The Ardhisasa platform seeks to improve land management in Kenya by making it easier for citizens to access information about land ownership, transfer, and registration. This will in turn reduce the numerous cases of land fraud and corruption which have plagued the land sector in Kenya.
- Increased Transparency: The platform is designed to increase transparency in land transactions by providing a single source of truth for all land records in Kenya, making it easier for citizens to access accurate information about land ownership.
- Security: Ardhisasa uses blockchain technology to secure land transactions thereby reducing the risk of fraud and ensuring that all land records are tamper-proof.
- Reduced Corruption: Ardhisasa aims at reducing corruption in the land sector by providing a transparent and secure platform for land transactions. This will minimize the opportunities for officials to demand bribes or engage in other fraudulent and corrupt practices.
- Increased Efficiency: The Ardhisasa platform seeks to increase efficiency in land transactions by eliminating the need for physical visits to the Ministry of Lands. This will reduce the time and cost involved in land transactions and make it easier for citizens to access these services by a click of a button.
- Improved Land Planning: The Ardhisasa platform aims at improving land planning in Kenya by providing accurate and up-to-date information about land use and ownership. This data can be used for planning and development and will go a long way in preventing unplanned settlements and improper land uses that have been a common issue in the past.
Challenges of the Ardhisasa Platform
The Ardhisasa system aspired to provide simple and seamless workflows between the different stakeholders in the real estate sector while ensuring efficiency and improved service delivery to Kenyans. However, the system has been marred with the following challenges:
- Limited Coverage and Accessibility: Ardhisasa is in its early stages of development and has currently only been rolled out and caters to properties situated within Nairobi County. Further, the platform can only be accessed by Kenyan citizens and does not provide for guidelines on how foreigners can access the system.
- Limited Data Availability: Ardhisasa relies on accurate, reliable and up-to-date land records and data to provide its services. However, the availability and quality of land data in Kenya is quite poor. This has in turn limited the platform’s effectiveness and has reduced its usefulness to users.
- Lack of Awareness and Education: Many Kenyans are not aware of the Ardhisasa platform or its benefits, which may limit its adoption and impact. Many property owners whose titles are in the format of NAIROBI/BLOCKXX/XXX have still not uploaded their property details for verification making processes like due diligence difficult to undertake. As such, there is a need for more awareness-raising campaigns and training programs to educate Kenyans about the platform.
- Infrastructure Challenges: The successful implementation of the Ardhisasa platform relies on a reliable and efficient digital infrastructure. Many parts of Kenya still lack reliable internet connectivity which can lead to slow data transfer making it difficult for users to access the platform.
- User interface: The platform needs to have a user-friendly interface that is easy to navigate and use especially for users who may not be tech-savvy. The platform should be clear, straightforward and concise. Further, it should be designed in such a way it is accessible to all users including those with disabilities.
- Limited funding: The implementation of the Ardhisasa platform to other counties requires significant financial resources. There are also ongoing costs associated with maintaining and updating the platform. This has limited its ability to expand its services and reach a wider audience. As such, there is a need for more investment in the platform to help it reach its full potential.
- Security concerns: Like all online platforms, Ardhisasa is vulnerable to cyber threats and attacks. There is a need to ensure that the platform’s security measures are robust and up-to-date to protect users’ data and prevent unauthorized access and misuse of personal information.
The Ardhisasa platform has the potential to transform the way land transactions are conducted in Kenya, making them more secure, efficient, and accessible to everyone. Indeed, key stakeholders like the Law Society of Kenya and the Institute of Surveyors of Kenya have severally held peaceful protests urging the Ministry of Lands to address the number of challenges and inefficiencies associated with the platform. The success of the Ardhisasa platform will depend on its implementation and the government’s effectiveness in addressing the challenges and limitations of the system.
Written by Cynthia Kitolo
Legal Officer & Advocate of the High Court of Kenya