The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) on February 13th released the inaugural Gross County Product (CGP), which shows Nairobi as the leader with 21.7 percent contrary to Central Kenya leaders who claimed that Kiambu is at the top.
According to KNBS’s Gross County Product 2019, Nakuru ranked second highest contributor to Kenya’s GDP with 5.7.5 billion shillings (6.1 percent), followed by Kiambu at 421.9 billion shillings (5.5 percent), and Mombasa at 3332.1 billion shillings (4.7 percent).
The stats come as a shock to Central Kenya leaders who met in October 2018 under Mount Kenya Parliamentary Caucus to present a study claiming that the county was the richest in Kenya with a GDP per capita of approximately 178,500 shillings.
The leaders wanted the state to allocate more funds to the region owing to its significant contribution to the country’s economy.
The rest of the top 10 counties included Machakos (3.2 percent), Meru (2.9 percent) and Kisumu (2.9 percent), Nyandarua (2.6 percent) Kakamega (2.4 percent) and Uasin Gishu (2.3 percent).
The study tracks the monetary measure of the market value of all the final goods and services produced within each of the 47 counties. The GCP estimates are meant to address the increased demand for economic statistics at the county level.
Bottom on the list was Isiolo which contributed 15.9 billion shillings in 2017 with an average five- year GDP share of 0.2 percent. Samburu was second on the list of least contributors with 26.5 billion shillings in 2017 with an average share of 0.3 percent.
Other counties with low contributions are Lamu 32.4 billion shillings (0.4 percent), Tana River (33.5 billion shillings), Marsabit (34.1 billion shillings), Mandera (35.1 billion shillings) and Wajir (37.2 billion shillings) with all accounting for an average 0.5 percent of the GDP over the period under review.
The report explained that the leading counties were associated with large populations and where major urban centers are located adding that counties associated with thriving economic activities such as agriculture, manufacturing, transportation, financial, real estate and wholesale and retail trade, took lead in the ranking by GCP.
“Growth was volatile across counties during 2014-2017. On average only Elgeyo Marakwet recorded a double-digit growth during 2014-2017. Few counties experienced double-digit growth at least once during the same period (Busia, Migori, Tharaka Nithi in 2017), while other counties have at least once experienced a contraction in economic activities (example: Nandi, Nyamira, Uasin Gishu, West Pokot in 2017),” read the report.
More than half of the counties’ GCP growth remained below average, while in two counties (Kwale and Nairobi), economic activity remained stable relative to the average county growth over (2014-2017).
More than half of county economic activity is driven by the service sector. GCP amounted to 3,992.7 billion shillings in 2017, with services sector accounting for 54.6 percent, followed by agriculture (24.0 percent) and industry (21.4 percent).
Agriculture remained the most spread across counties including Nakuru, Nyandarua, Kiambu, Narok, Meru, Bungoma, and Bomet.
Industrial activities are mainly based in counties with large urban centers, including Nairobi, Kiambu, Mombasa, Machakos, and Nakuru; while services are concentrated in Nairobi, Mombasa, Kiambu, Nakuru, and Machakos.
Over the period, at least 17 counties, recorded faster growth in their real GCP relative to the average growth in all counties. More than half of the counties’ GCP growth remained below average (28 counties), while in two counties (Kwale and Nairobi), economic activity remained stable relative to the average county growth.