Nairobi Metropolitan Development

Nairobi Metropolitan Development

Kenya is rapidly urbanising with an expected average growth rate of 3.9 per cent per year for the period 2005-2010. The population shows remarkable shifts in urbanisation levels having increased from 8 per cent at independence to 19 per cent in 1989 and 19.4 per cent in 1999. Urbanisation is estimated to have reached over 25 per cent in 2007 and is projected to account for about 32 per cent of the total population by the year 2012. This growth is largely due to a high level of rural-urban migration fuelled by rural poverty and a dwindling of the per capita ownership of farming and grazing land.

The urbanisation process in the country has also been uneven dominated by one primate city-
Nairobi, with a population of about 2 million. This is about four times bigger than the next largest urban centre (Mombasa) with a population of 660,080. Kenyan urban centres are characterised by spontaneous growth and haphazard development, which has mainly taken place outside urban planning intervention. Nationally, physical planning is beset by a complex institutional arrangement where plan formulation is undertaken by Central government whereas implementation is the responsibility of Local government. This has led to physical development plans not being informed by the local needs and therefore does not address local realities resulting to apathy during implementation. The situation is exacerbated by the glaring disconnect
between national economic planning process and physical planning. Consequently, the physical development plans have not been recognised as essential instruments for the development of urban centres, which are engines of growth.

There are also wide discrepancies in terms of the level of urbanisation and the distribution of urban centres across regions. It is for this reason that the six flagship projects on metropolitan regions of Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu- Kakamega, Kitui-Mwingi-Meru, Wajir-Garissa-Mandera and Nakuru-Eldoret are highly necessary as a corrective measure that will spread the benefits of urbanisation across the country. This will lead to the establishment and operationalisation of the Metropolitan Area Authority whose task will be to assist the central government and local
authorities undertake comprehensive physical planning and zoning for the six metropolitan regions, as well as to develop and enforce standards for urban development.

Flagship Projects for 2008 - 2012

  •  Prepare and implement strategic development and investment plans in six metropolitan regions (Nairobi,  Mombasa, Kisumu-Kakamega; Nakuru-Eldoret, Wajir-Garissa-Mandera, Kitui-Mwingi-Meru). Similar plans will also be developed for special border towns and all other municipalities.
  • Preparation of a national land-use plan in order to facilitate better urban planning;
  • Installation of physical and social infrastructure in slums in 20 urban areas to make them formal settlements, permit construction of permanent houses and attract private investment;
  • Preparing Physical Development Plans for three Resort Cities (Isiolo and two others at the Coast;
  • Establishing waste management systems in selected Local Authorities; and
  • Preparation of integrated physical infrastructure investment plans.


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