NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
Economic analysts on Wednesday urged Kenya to tap
the rapid urbanization in order to boost the manufacturing
Kwame Owino, the
chief executive officer of the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA),
told Xinhua in Nairobi that the rate of urbanization growth is
estimated at an annual rate of 5 percent.
created a large labor force that can power the country’s
industrial agenda,” Owino said during the launch of the Kenya
Urban Areas Performance Index Report.
The first of its
kind research aims to assess the performance of Kenya’s urban
areas. The overall purpose of the assessment is to incentivize
good decisions by urban centers.
Owino said urban
areas are generally engines of growth due to high population
density which promotes efficient use of resources, including
According to IEA,
Kenya is still largely an agro based society with the bulk of
the population residing in rural areas.
Owino said labor
productivity of small-scale farmers is typically lower as
compared to that of workers in urban areas.
“So, the movement of
people from rural to urban centers is generally associated with
economic growth especially if the people move to work for the
manufacturing sector,” he said.
The think tank noted
that people in rural areas are often lured to urban centers in
search for better economic opportunities.
challenge is for government to be able to provide adequate
social services to the growing urban population,” Owino added.
He urged the
government to develop policies that will ensure that rapid
urbanization does not lead to expansion of informal settlements.
Owino said the
government should prioritize and scale up investment in the
provision of networked infrastructure and services.
He observed that the
majority of urban areas do not have public transport policies