OBSOLETE DATA: Polycarp Igathe’s Claim on Nairobi Generating 40% of Kenya’s GDP

Speaking in an interview at Spice FM on April 20, 2022 Former Nairobi Deputy Governor and current gubernatorial aspirant Polycarp Igathe claimed that Nairobi generates 40 percent of Kenya’s GDP.

Background

Polycarp Igathe was recently fronted by the Azimio la Umoja One Kenya coalition party in his bid to become Nairobi’s next governor. The party nominations favored him, against fellow coalition contestants like Tim Wanyonyi and Richard Ngatia.

Igathe takes pride in his portfolio as a long-time technocrat having held senior positions at some of the most notable entities like the Equity Bank and Vivo Energy where he has worked as chief commercial officer and chief executive respectively. He stepped down from his position as Nairobi’s deputy governor in January 2018 because the then Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko would not enable him “to drive Admin & Management of the county [sic]”, he said.

He believes that Nairobi needs an executive, not necessarily a politician, to run it.

“For sure there are conversations that are taking place at the leadership level about the city county of Nairobi, 40 percent of Kenya’s GDP. The party leader [Jubilee party leader President Uhuru Kenyatta] has also held the resounding thunderous demand for a competent executive to run Nairobi City County,” Polycarp Igathe said at the Spice FM interview, “In fact, you even heard people saying, we don’t need to elect the governor of Nairobi, this should be an executive role.”

Verification

The data Polycarp Igathe used in stating that Nairobi generates 40 percent of Kenya’s GDP is stale and out of date. The same figure has previously been quoted in this 2004 report on affordable housing, and a 2010 report here.

This is along other ancient statistics on the county’s GDP contribution to Kenya’s economy; 60 percent according to a 2014 report by the Institute of Economic Affairs. Other quoted data in regard to Nairobi’s share of the national GDP include data published on The Guardian, citing 45%. This was flagged as false in a fact-check by Africa Check here.

But in the most recent Gross County Product (GCP) report commissioned by The World Bank in partnership with the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) in 2017 and published in 2019, Nairobi generates 21.7 percent of the national GDP. This is still the biggest contribution as all other counties’ GDP contributions are in single digits. Nakuru which is the second largest contributor is at 6.1 percent, followed by Mombasa at 4.7 percent. See screengrab below;

Photo courtesy of World Bank

Verdict

Data quoted by Nairobi gubernatorial candidate Polycarp Igathe, that Nairobi generates 40 percent of Kenya’s GDP is OUTDATED.

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Linda Ngari

Linda is a fact-checking and data journalist. She is currently the Piga Firimbi editor. She is passionate about acquiring and utilising OSINT tools and skills to tell stories that matter to a modern day tech-savvy audience in innovative ways.