Jessica Monteiro | Afriscaper Researcher

According to the data released by World Bank in 2015, Kenya’s national gross domestic product (GDP) reached $63.40 billion, showing a growth of $2 billion compared to the previous year.

Top 10 counties by GDP in Kenya (in blue).

Using this data, the team at Afriscaper decided to dig a bit deeper at the cities producing the most wealth in Kenya and by extension, put some of these cities on our watch list as potentials for maximising real estate values.

For purposes of ease of understanding for international readers, we have aggregated the ‘counties’ as ‘cities’.

Most of the top 10 counties are in central Kenya, close to its capital, and in Rift Valley area.

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The capital of Kenya, Nairobi, despite having the highest overall wealth it is not the richest county in Kenya because its high population. This implies the dependence level is higher than supply.

World Bank’s reports reveals that Kiambu is Kenya’s richest county with a GDP per capita of $1,785, followed by Nyeri and Kajido with $1,503 and $1,466 respectively.

Kiambu county generates about 60% of Kenya’s wealth. It holds heavy industrial activity, pineapple plantations and it is also a coffee and tea hub. In recent years, the county also witnessed a real estate boom that caused the rapid growth of towns like Thika.

Greenfield investment monitor fDi Markets reported that Kenya attracted 96 projects in 2015, a 54.84% increase from 2014. During 2015, 71 companies invested in Kenya, the highest number of investing companies to date, with a combined capital expenditure of $2.55bn. The key investing countries in Kenya during 2015 were the UK and US, contributing 16 FDI projects each, followed by India, accounting for 10 projects and South Africa which invested in seven.

In general Kenya is receiving a lot of interest because of its rising income levels, growing urbanization and its strategic location as a logistics hub into East & Southern Africa. There also seems to be a proxy war going on between China & the US in Kenya. China has selected Kenya as a key partner in its ‘One Belt, One Road’ initiative while Kenya’s traditional partner, the US seems to be waking up to the fact that its influence in Kenya is waning, and is not aggressively investing in Kenya.

As with most things, time will tell who wins this proxy war. For now, Kenya and Kenyans are the beneficiaries of the increased income.