Kenya confers two urban towns with city status bringing the total to 5

The Cabinet approved the elevation of two urban centers after amending the Urban Areas and Cities Act.

The Cabinet has approved elevation of two urban centers according to a brief from State House which indicated that the Cabinet had agreed to amend the Urban Areas and Cities Act to provide for five cities.

“Under the proposed amendments there would be five cities, 64 municipalities, 66 townships and 80 market centres,” the State House statement said.

As a result, Nakuru and Eldoret town are on their way to gaining city status.

Currently, Kenya has only three cities namely the capital Nairobi, Mombasa port city and Kisumu.

Though the brief did not specify the targeted towns, Kenya’s largest urban centres behind Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu cities are Nakuru and Eldoret in that order.

The Urban Areas and Cities Act 2011, which is set to be amended, states that for an urban area to be classified as a city, it must have a population of at least 250,000 residents based on the last population census data.

It must also have an integrated urban area or city development plan and should demonstrable capacity to generate sufficient revenue to sustain its operation.

In the 2015/16 financial year, Nairobi collected Sh11.7 billion in revenues, it was followed by Mombasa (Sh2.9 billion), Kiambu (Sh2.5 billion) while Nakuru came in fourth at Sh2.3 billion and Sh1.8 billion for Narok.

Machakos was sixth having collected Sh1.1 billion, according to Controller of Budget records.

Informally some Kenyan urban areas have conferred city status onto themselves without government approval with Eldoret town for instance branding itself as the 'City of Champions' in line to its legacy of producing Kenyan track champions.

There are no official benefits conferred to any town that gets elevated to a city apart from officially putting it "on the map".

Compared to a town, a city tends to attract investors and residents are sure to start enjoying  services not available previously such as better roads, medical facilities and schools.

Of course there is the pride and buzz that comes with the 'city status'.

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