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Nairobi is found in the central part of the country is the largest city in Kenya. Its name comes from a Maasai word meaning “a place of cool waters”. The city begun as a camp for the Kenya-Uganda Railway workers in 1899. It gave the workers an opportunity to replenish their food and water supply. Because it was in the highlands, its climate was attractive to the workers and later, Nairobi became the capital of the British East Africa Company.

Nairobi is home of the Kenyan Parliament Buildings and hosts thousands of Kenyan businesses and over 1000 major international companies and organizations, including the United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment) and the United Nations Office at Nairobi (UNON). Nairobi is an established hub for business and culture. The Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) is one of the largest in Africa and the second-oldest exchange on the continent. It is Africa’s fourth-largest exchange in terms of trading volume, capable of making 10 million trades a day. It also contains the Nairobi National Park. Nairobi joined the UNESCO Global Network of Learning Cities in 2010.

Urbanisation refers to the development of towns. It also refers to an increase in the number of people living in urban areas. The smallest urban centres are very many in number while large towns or cities are very few and far apart.

Factors favouring the growth of towns

  • Presence of a natural harbour may lead to the development of a port.
  • Presence of farming activities which may lead to the development of collecting centres.
  • Presence of suitable climate, relief or well developed soial amenities like hospitals encourage people to settle.
  • Government policy or industrial activity.
  • Well developed transport and communication facilities.
  • Accessibility  of the areas.
  • Provision of government dervices that lead to the development of administrative centres.
  • Availability of land to farm and settle in.

Fuctions of the town

a) the capital city of Kenya

b) the headquarters of all government ministries

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c) an administrative centre for Nairobi Province

d) an important industrial centre

e) a cultural centre with the National Museum and Bomas of Kenya showing different aspects of the Kenyan culture

f) an important residential centre with many housing estates

g) a commercial centre with shopping malls and business centres

h) a recreation centre

i) a tourist centre with the National Museum, snake parks and the Nairobi National Park near the city

j) an education centre with schools, universities and training institutions

k) a centre for transport and communication with the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport located here. Local and international media houses are also located here.

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