Top 10 richest Kenyan counties and how much they contribute to the national GDP

The end of an asphalt road at the junction of Samburu County and Marsabit County in northern Kenya
  • The report titled Gross County Product (GCP) 2019 was funded by the World Bank
  • Gross County Product (GCP) is the equivalent of the county GDP and tracks the net value of goods and services produced within the boundaries of a specific county.
  • 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.

The report titled Gross County Product (GCP) 2019 was funded by the World Bank and tracks the monetary measure of the market value of all the final goods and services produced in each of the 47 counties, with a view to providing a picture of the economic structure and relative size of the economy for each county.

Gross County Product (GCP) is the equivalent of the county GDP and tracks the net value of goods and services produced within the boundaries of a specific county.

In providing the wealth estimates generated by each county, the Chairperson of the Commission on Revenue Allocation (CRA), Ms Jane Kiringai, said the study had identified the missing piece of the jigsaw puzzle that is revenue sharing.

The report is expected to help shape the revenue sharing debate,” she said.

Generally, the leading counties are associated with large populations and where major urban centres are located. In addition, counties associated with thriving economic activities such as agriculture, manufacturing, transportation, financial, real estate and wholesale and retail trade, also took lead in the ranking by GCP, according to the study.

The latest data was drawn from regular data collected by the agency through recurrent and intermittent surveys and censuses and administrative records,” said KNBS.

More than half of county economic activity is driven by the services sector. GCP amounted to KSh 3,992.7 billion in 2017, with services sector accounting for 54.6 percent, followed by agriculture (24.0 percent) and industry (21.4 percent). However, agriculture remained the most spread across counties.

Nairobi, Nakuru and Kiambu are Kenya’s top-three richest counties while Lamu (0.4 percent), Samburu (0.3 percent) and Isiolo (0.2 percent) are the poorest, according to the Gross County Product (GCP) 2019 report.

“Nairobi seized the lion’s share of Kenya GDP at 21.7 percent,” said KNBS director-general Zachary Mwangi during the report’s release in the capital on Wednesday.

With the exception of Nairobi city and Mombasa counties, agriculture remains a key driver of growth in most counties. Agriculture helped counties such as Nakuru, Kiambu, Meru, Bungoma, Kakamega and Nyeri to record robust growth powered by agriculture and the services sectors.

However, agriculture activity is low in Kajiado, Isiolo, Machakos, and Kisumu.

Industrial activities (manufacturing activities in particular) are mainly concentrated in urban counties, namely: Nairobi, Kiambu, Mombasa, Machakos, Kisumu, Nakuru, and Kajiado.

However, there remain untapped opportunities for industry sector development in counties including Lamu, Samburu, Isiolo, Tana River, Elgeyo Marakwet, and Baringo.

Here are the top 10 richest Kenyan counties.

Nairobi - 21.7 percent to the overall GDP

Nakuru - 6.1 percent

Kiambu - 5.5 percent

Mombasa - 4.7 percent

Machakos - 3.2 percent

Meru - 2.9 percent

Kisumu - 2.9 percent

Nyandarua - 2.6 percent

Kakamega - 2.4 percent

Uasin-Gishu - 2.3 percent

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