Nairobi and Mombasa among the most unequal cities in the world with a fifth of the population owning more than three quarter of the wealth

On average, nearly 60 per cent of Kenya’s wealth is in the hands of a small group at the top of the economic pyramid.

Similarly, just a fraction of the population at Kenya’s coastal city of Mombasa controls more than half of all the wealth.

According to a newly-released report by Kenya Integrated Household Budget Survey (KIHBS), a fifth of Nairobi and Mombasa residents own 86.4 per cent and 78.2 per cent of the wealth, respectively.

In Nairobi, the survey found that 40 per cent of residents at the bottom of the income pyramid control a mere 0.4 per cent of total expenditure, a figure that rises to 2.7 per cent for 60 per cent of the population.

“Over space across the 47 counties, the distribution of expenditure by quintiles shows that for all counties that exhibited high poverty rates, the two bottom quintiles control relatively larger shares of expenditure compared to counties depicting relatively lower poverty rates,” the report says.

The survey further found that 60 per cent of Mombasa residents control only 4.7 per cent of resources in the port city.

“On the other hand, counties with significant components of urban population present skewed expenditures in favour of the uppermost quintiles.”

On average, nearly 60 per cent of Kenya’s wealth is in the hands of a small group at the top of the economic pyramid, who make a fifth of the more than 45.37 million population in 2016.

The household budget report based on response from 24,000 households found that peri-urban areas have the largest inequality gaps nationally where 60 per cent of residents at the bottom control just 5.7 per cent of the total wealth compared to 29.9 per cent in major cities and towns and 41.5 per cent in rural areas.

Distribution of wealth in rural areas has however greatly improved.

In the latest survey, 80 per cent of the population controlled 67.4 per cent of the resources in 2016 compared to 47.9 per cent in 2006.

The survey findings further underscores Kenya’s need to develop policies that can minimise the growing income inequalities whose impact  certainly spreads beyond the economic sphere.

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