Nairobi gears up for high-tech status

August 2, 2011 3:17 pm
Nairobi, Kenya's Capital City

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 2 – Plans to transform Nairobi into a city of the future are underway, with the launch of the draft spatial plan for the proposed Nairobi Metropolitan Region (NMR).

The spatial plan that was unveiled on Tuesday by the Ministry of Nairobi Metropolitan Development will determine how the NMR that consists of four counties including Nairobi, Kiambu, Machakos and Kajiado, will develop over the next 22 years.

The ministry’s Permanent Secretary Philip Sika said the plan would turn Nairobi into a competitive world class city that would create sustainable wealth for its citizens.

“Our wish was to build a metropolis of strong centres that was attractive and would promote the overall ambitions of the Nairobi Metropolitan Region. This spatial framework is to rationalise the interdependence of the region in terms of land use, environment, infrastructure including transport, economic and social activities and governance,” he said.

Spread over 32,000 square kilometres with a current population of 6.7 million, the Nairobi Metropolitan Region currently contributes to 50 percent of Kenya’s GDP.

The plan that took nine months to prepare also incorporates a strategy for two trans-African highways to run through Nairobi and a high-speed rail system between Mombasa and Uganda.

Nairobi Metropolitan Development Minister Njeru Githae said the plan will also help deal with the issue of informal settlements, proposing the development of Nairobi’s surrounding towns, such as Kiambu and Machakos, into fully fledged cities and “new towns.”

“We have not planned for some sectors of society and this is the contradiction that this spatial plan tries to address. The only reason why we have slums is because we have exclusive estates. Look at the well planned estates; Runda has Githogoro, Karen has Kuwinda (slums),” he said.

These new towns that are designed to decongest Nairobi, will be self-contained, eco-friendly cities, with high speed rail connectivity to Nairobi, as well as an airport.

Seeking to improve physical infrastructure for the year 2030, the plan designates Sh343 trillion for water supply upgrade, Sh57 trillion for sewerage and sanitation and Sh185 trillion to enhance power capacity.

The economic growth target as envisaged in the plan is 15 percent per annum up until 2030, with a population projection for the NMR between 12 and 18 million by 2030.

The last comprehensive plan for the expansion and improvement of Nairobi dates back to 1973, which included the implementation of the bypasses that are being currently constructed.

Minister Githae said failure to implement such projects in the appropriate time is what causes for redundancies in planning and further stressed the need to follow through the proposed plan to completion.

“The bypasses that we are now doing, are really not bypasses, they are now ring roads. They have been overtaken by time. I’m glad the plan is proposing new bypasses outside the city limits. The important thing in a plan is implementation. If it is not implemented it will remain a dead plan.”


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