Why Nairobians are Feeling More Heat in the Face of Rising Cost of Living

By Lynnet Okumu / Published June 22, 2022 | 4:52 pm




KEY POINTS

Nairobi is for sure one of the most expensive cities to live in at the moment. According to data released by Statista on March 24, 2021, Nairobi was ranked the 14th most expensive African city to live in, with a score of 37.95 percent.


Nairobi

KEY TAKEAWAYS


Those residing in Nairobi have been greatly affected, but it is what it is. Projections show that the current situation is not likely to stop anytime soon. So, what’s left for Nairobians? Life has to move on.


The early bird catching the worm is a phrase you will hear many times as you walk down the city of Nairobi in Kenya.

Every bird is busy, leaving its nests at the crack of dawn to at least secure a day’s meal for the hopeful family.

Well, it’s not like people from other towns are not early risers, but Nairobians top the list. After all, you came to Nairobi to work, not sleep.

Everything in Nairobi costs a dime, and those who live there understand the dangers of lazing around—ranging from rent to food, clothing, transport to and from work, medical expenses, and many other emergencies that catch you off-guard.

Nairobi is for sure one of the most expensive cities to live in at the moment. According to data released by Statista on March 24, 2021, Nairobi was ranked the 14th most expensive African city to live in, with a score of 37.95 percent.

Statista stated that the ranking was based on data collected in 2021, adding that the survey covered the cost of essential commodities such as food, clothing, and healthcare.

However, this survey did not include the cost of renting a house or the mortgage payment.

This high cost of living has been extensively attributed to several factors, such as the European war, changed weather patterns that have led to continuous drought, and of course, the effects of covid 19 pandemic, among other factors.

This is not to insinuate that before all these factors came on board, life was bearable in Nairobi. As informed by the economic survey by Statista, life in Nairobi has never been easy. You will hear phrases such as Inabidi tujikaze tu.

Numerous things make life unbearable for Nairobians, but here are a few that stand out;

  1. Inflation

The inflation rates rising every month have made it harder for the city folks. Most of them now have to forego a meal or two in a day due to the increased prices.

Food prices have been rising, making food beyond the reach of most Nairobians due to low purchasing power. Fuel prices have also been increasing sporadically.

The annual inflation rate in Kenya accelerated to 7.1 percent in May of 2022, from 6.47 percent in April 2022.

  1. Rent

Almost everybody living in Nairobi stays in residential houses where they must pay rent. When life hits as hard as it has now, they face many challenges in remitting this amount to their landlords.

The landlords also feel the pinch of the high cost of living, pushing some of them to hike the rent. Others who are not understanding go as far as throwing their tenants out and auctioning their house items to pay the rent due.

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This especially happens in the slums of Nairobi.

  1. Hiked Transport to and from Work

Many motorists have taken advantage of the city’s fuel situation and the large number of Nairobians who must wake up early to make a living.

Most of them use public service vehicles which sometimes is more than double the charge for transport fares.

You must have heard most of them complain about how they are charged 100 shillings to a destination that should be 40 or 50 shillings, for instance.

  1. Everything is Money in Nairobi.

Everything is money in Nairobi. Yes, everything. You will not get any service or product without the note. The coin is already worthless.

They range from vegetables to milk, to fruits, water, electricity, clothes, shoes, etc. Compared to rural areas with vegetables readily available on the farm or milk from the cows, Nairobians have to buy everything.

Most people living in this city have no room for savings because the expenses are much more than the salary they get at the end of the week or month.

All these expenses add to school requirements such as fees, uniforms, etc. It’s a hard tussle, but life still has to go on.

  1. Increased Insecurity Cases

If you do not feel safe, no matter where you live, you will not be a happy tenant.

Even if you live in a leafy neighborhood with running water all day long, a sewerage system that works, or near amenities such as schools, hospitals, and one-stop malls, you will be a dissatisfied homeowner. The same goes if you do not feel secure when you sleep at night or when walking during the day.

Across the different corners of Nairobi city, especially in the slums, there have been increased cases of insecurity.

Thousands of Kenyans lose their valuables daily, including phones, computers, or even cash, to the thieves who have mastered the art of taking by a force quite well.

Nairobians have raised concerns over an emerging trend where kidnappers, muggers, and robbers are now patrolling Nairobi in broad daylight without fear.

Effect Of The Rising Cost Of Living On Nairobians

  1. Depression

According to a survey released in 2021, the hard life in Nairobi has millions of Nairobians into complete depression.

Several pieces of research show that gender-based violence has been on the rise, especially during the onset of the Covid 19 pandemic. Some Nairobians even commit suicide due to shamba la mawe; a phrase usually used to refer to the hard life in Nairobi.

  1. Youths Slide into crime

To make ends meet in the harsh city, many unemployed youths have been pushed to commit crimes.

Statistically, during the covid-19 period, there was an increased crime rate. Most youths in Nairobi resorted to theft, pickpocketing, and kidnapping.

The cost of living in the country has risen over the last ten years, with the economic situation worsening over the previous two years following the global pandemic and now the Ukraine war and persistent drought.

Some essential household goods whose prices have skyrocketed include bread, milk, sugar, cooking oil, and wheat flour.

Those residing in Nairobi have been greatly affected, but it is what it is. Projections show that the current situation is not likely to stop anytime soon. So, what’s left for Nairobians? Life has to move on. No matter how bushy the jungle is, the lion is still the king. Hakuna kugive up.






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