The changing fortunes of Nakuru fortune that made it second richest county

There are several surprise findings in the inaugural 2019 Gross County Product report.

Perhaps the most surprising is the fact that Nakuru is the second richest county after Nairobi.

The South Rift County has seen its economic fortunes change dramatically in recent times in what the authors of the 2019 Gross County Product (GCP) attribute to increased agricultural productivity.

In 2017, the total value of all goods and services produced in Nakuru was Sh517.4 billion, or 6.9 per cent of the national gross domestic product (GDP). This was an improvement from a share of 5.4 per cent in 2013.

A lot of economic activities have been going on in Nakuru County. Tourism, especially conference tourism, has been on the rise, with most organisations opting to hold their meetings in Naivasha.

But it is the efficiency with which the county does its agriculture, complete with mechanisation which has raised its productivity, according to Tegemeo Institute, an agricultural policy think tank. The county contributes 10.6 per cent of all agricultural produce in the country.

Nakuru is the home of Kenya’s flowers, one of the country’s foremost foreign exchange earners.

And now the county is eyeing even more. It has fixed its eyes on city status.

In September 2017, the Cabinet approved the elevation of two more towns to cities, to bring the total number to five. Nakuru and Eldoret are expected to receive charters before the end of this year.

“At the county level, we also formed a Nakuru City Upgrade Committee to ensure all departments in the county government play their role to ensure we match the status,” Governor Lee Kinyanjui said.

Last October, the World Bank said Nakuru had been chosen as the county to pilot President Uhuru Kenyatta’s affordable housing project because it had most of the critical infrastructure needed for cheap houses.

The national government contracted the Washington-based institution to come up with a road-map that would lead to President Kenyatta’s legacy project.

The houses in Nakuru will be built on a 50-acre parcel along the Nairobi-Nakuru highway.

World Bank’s Financial Sector Specialist Hadija Kamayo said yesterday that, besides its proximity to the road, the area also had energy, water and sanitation, schools and health centres. “Naivasha is the hot-spot of the many development activities happening right now,” said Ms Kamayo.