Nairobi City Review


About This Report

Aug 2017

With GDP per capita of USD1,900 in 2016, Nairobi is the poorest major city in Africa, trailing other Sub-Saharan Africa cities such as Lagos (USD4,800 GDP per capita in 2016) or Johannesburg (USD9,000). However, Nairobi will continue to modernise. Local annual household disposable incomes are growing at a fast pace (18% growth at constant 2016 prices over 2011-2016) and the city ranks as one with the most shopping mall space in Sub-Saharan Africa (500,000 sq m in 2016) outside South Africa.

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Nairobi City Review


In 2016, Nairobi reached a productivity level (GVA per employee) of USD4,300, which is 12% higher than the rest of Kenya. The difference stems from a higher concentration of higher value-added activities such as services in Nairobi (82% of total GVA in 2016 versus 45% in the rest of the country) as opposed to lower value-added agriculture (1.5% of total GVA in 2016 versus 38% in the rest of the Kenya).

Higher unemployment rate and smaller average household size lead to lower average annual disposable income per household

In 2016, average annual disposable income per household in Nairobi reached USD4,700, which is less than in the rest of the country (USD5,300). This is the result of much higher unemployment and much smaller average household size in Nairobi than elsewhere in Kenya.

Lower consumer expenditure

Consumer expenditure per household (excluding housing and transport) in Nairobi was 21% below the level of the rest of the country in 2016, in light of lower incomes. Nonetheless, Nairobi records higher consumer spending on hotels and restaurants, and recreation and culture, boosted by tourists.

High transport expenses

In 2016, households in Nairobi spent 19% more on housing and transport than in other parts of the country. Transport expenses are especially high in the city (+88% in 2016) since the highest household possession rate of passenger cars nationwide is recorded in Nairobi (15% of households owned a car in 2016) and the city suffers from traffic congestion.

Nairobi City Review


Understanding Nairobi Review structure
Chart 1 Overview
Key facts on Nairobi
Summary 1 Key Facts On Nairobi 2011, 2016, 2021


Delimitation of the metropolitan region
Chart 2 Map Of Nairobi Metropolitan Area
Main business districts


Industrial make-up
Chart 3 Industrial Composition Of Nairobi 2016
Chart 4 Labour Productivity: Selected Cities 2016
Recent developments and outlook
Chart 5 Dynamics Of Real GDP In Nairobi, Kenya And Other Cities In Africa & Middle East, 2011-2021
Summary 2 Labour Market Changes In Nairobi 2011, 2016


City demographics
Chart 6 Population By Age 2016
Chart 7 Drivers Of Population Growth In Nairobi 2011-2016
Household income
Chart 8 Household Distribution By Income In Nairobi 2016 And 2021


Structure of household budget
Chart 9 Comparison Of Household Expenditure In Nairobi And Kenya, 2016
Summary 3 Nairobi Household Budget Structure By Consumer Expenditure Item, % of total, 2011, 2016, 2021
City lifestyle
Nairobi Wildlife Dominating Kenya's Tourism
Facebook Provides Cheap Internet In Nairobi
City affordability
Chart 10 Household Expenditure On Housing: Selected Cities 2016
Chart 11 Household Expenditure On Transport: Selected Cities 2016



Summary 4 GDP Development, 2011, 2016, 2021
Summary 5 GDP By Origin, Current Prices, US$, Million, 2011-2016
Summary 6 Population And Labour Force, 2011-2016
Summary 7 Employed Population By Economic Sector, % of total, 2011-2016
Summary 8 Population By Sex And Broad Age Groups, ‘000, 2011-2016
Summary 9 Population Growth, 2011-2016
Summary 10 Forecast Population Growth
Summary 11 Population By Educational Attainment, 2011-2016
Summary 12 Structure Of Consumer Expenditure By Main Category, 2011-2016
Summary 13 Consumer Expenditure By Main Category, Per Household, Constant (2016) Prices, US$, 2011, 2016, 2021
Summary 14 Households By Income Band, % Of Total, Constant (2016) Prices 2011, 2016, 2021
Summary 15 Households By Income Band, ‘000, Current Prices 2011-2016
Summary 16 Inflation, 2011-2016
Summary 17 Transport Indicators, 2011-2016
Summary 18 Possession of Consumer Durables, % of Households, 2011, 2016, 2021