Nairobi's economy - a large contributor to Kenya's GDP

Nairobi business contributes enormously to the economy of Kenya. In fact, Nairobi is considered a business hub for East and Central Africa.

Most companies that have operations in this region have headquarters located in Nairobi, including international organizations and multi-national companies. Coca Cola, General Motors, Google and even the United Nations' regional headquarters are located in this city.

Those looking to establish a new business find that Nairobi is an ideal location because of its infrastructure and liberal markets. Government policies have encouraged business growth and a stable Nairobi economy. Its modernity, state-of-the-art skyline, improved technology, highly educated and trained manpower, and diverse and vibrant market have elevated Nairobi to become the business hub of the region. Nairobi, alone, contributes 60 percent of Kenya's GDP. Its companies are both public and private entities, including service based, agricultural and manufacturing industries.

Official Nairobi business hours are from 8 am to 5 pm Monday through Friday. A few business premises are open six days a week. Most businesses are open for half a day on Saturday, but stay closed on Sunday.

Nairobi industry

Manufacturing in Nairobi consists of many small and medium-sized industries. These include industries manufacturing steel products, plastic goods, soaps, flour, vegetable oil, canned fruit and fruit juice, horticulture, and dairy and poultry farming. Bulk trading of Kenyan coffee (the Kenyan coffee auction) also takes place weekly at the Nairobi Coffee Exchange. Although Nairobi trade is based on an agricultural economy, the most vibrant industry is the service-based industry with Business Process Outsourcing (BPOs) as the latest entrant into the market. The service industry contributes 59.2 percent of Nairobi's GDP as compared to 24 percent from agriculture, followed next by the manufacturing industry.

The informal sector (Jua Kali)

The informal sector is an integral part of Nairobi business. The "Jua Kali" sector is comprised of artisans who craft, fabricate and re-model all kinds of items. They also deal in the trading of second hand goods such as clothes, fabric, shoes, electronics and vehicle spare parts. "Jua Kali", a Swahili word for "hot sun", signifies outdoor exposure.

The hawkers market at Muthurwa is where most of the small-scale traders and "Jua Kali" artisans trade their products. Situated at the junction of Moi Avenue is the Maasai market where members of the Maasai community and other ethnic tribes exhibit their crafts every Tuesday. At the heart of the city is the City Market - a market that specializes in fresh produce, flowers and Kenyan art and crafts products (curios).

Nairobi tourist industry

Nairobi is the only city in the world with a game park. Nairobi National Park is a preserved ecosystem where you can view wildlife in its natural habitat. The Nairobi National Park is a tourist attraction site that has contributed greatly to Kenya's tourism and hospitality industries as one of Nairobi's most important economic activities. Hotels, airlines and numerous tour firms and agencies offer tour packages for both domestic and foreign tourists visiting Nairobi and the park. The tourism industry provides direct employment to thousands of Nairobi residents. Indirect employment is also realized through the supply of goods and services to this industry.

Banking in Nairobi

Both local and international banks dominate the banking sector in Nairobi. There are approximately 47 banks in Kenya to serve your banking needs, and the majority of these banks have their headquarters in Nairobi. Major Nairobi banks include: Barclays Bank, Equity Bank, Standard Chartered Bank, Kenya Commercial Bank, National Bank, Co-operative Bank, and CFC Stanbic Bank, among others. Nairobi banks are open five days a week from 8am to 3pm, as well as on the first and last Saturday of each month. Many also provide 24-hour ATM service. Find more details on Kenya's big banks.

The thriving microfinance sector provides financial services to various un-banked and under-served segments of the Nairobi population, including the poor and low-income households, informal sector traders and micro-entrepreneurs.

Nairobi Stock Exchange (NSE)

The Nairobi Stock Exchange is the leading securities exchange in East and Central Africa and the fourth largest in Africa in terms of trading volumes. Situated at the Nation House on Kimathi Street, the NSE offers securities and stocks listing and trading for major companies doing business in Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu and other parts of Kenya, including some companies in East and Central Africa. The Nairobi Stock Exchange plays a major role in the Nairobi economy by mobilizing funds for investment.

Real Estate in Nairobi

Property ownership in Nairobi is liberal. Anyone can own or lease property in Nairobi by following the legal system and procedures. Property prices will vary based on location and proximity to the city center, with property close to the central business district (CBD) costing more to buy or rent. Real estate in Nairobi can be purchased directly from property dealers or through real estate brokers. Individuals, corporations, institutions, foreign investors and agencies can acquire property for commercial or residential purposes.

Nairobi Trade Shows

Trade shows exhibit the latest products and services offered by different companies. Nairobi Business Shows attract participants and guests from all over the world. Trade shows in Nairobi show case travel and tourism, horticulture, housing and construction, automobiles, food industries, pharmaceuticals, and fashion and textiles among other products and services of interest to the Kenyan market.

Kenyatta International Conference Centre (KICC) plays host to most of these international fairs and shows. Due to its appeal, tight security, modern conference facilities and strategic location in the CBD, KICC has become a preferred venue for show and exhibition organizers. Some of the regular trade shows include: BuildExpo, Kenya Travel and Tourism Kenya, Hortec, Agriflor East Africa, Auto Expo, Food and Pack, Kenya Fashion, AfricaMedi and Pharm Kenya, Digital Kenya, Kenya International Trade Expo, Medexpo Kenya, and Kenya International Education Fair among other local and international exhibitors.

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