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Water vendors fill up their jericans in Miritini, Mombasa amid a shortage that affected regular supply to households and public facilities in the city last month. PHOTO | KEVIN ODIT  © Kevin Odit

© Kevin Odit

29. July 2016

Rapid urbanisation in Kenya poses challenge to basic services

Kenya's unprecedent urbanisation rate offers major economic opportunities, but also put to the  test the new Constitution's declaration to make access to basic services a basic right for all Kenyans.Good urban infrastructure services  especially transport,water supply and sanitation, electricity  and solid waste management are beneficial to a nation's economy. Presently, however, kenya's investment in urban network infrastructure is not keeping up with demand. In Nairobi, only 36 per cent  of households in informal settlement have access to piped water in the house or compound  compared to 84 per cent in formal areas. Solid wastes are mostly dumped in open sites or undesignated areas, due to lack of properly regulated sanitary landfil. Only18 per cent of the urban population have access to a sewer system.With some exceptions, similar disparity is experienced in; house electricity, access to solid waste collection services, and the quality of roads.Households in the lowest income quintile spend 12 per cent of their income on water and 18 per cent on electricity. Households in the highest quintile spend on average two per cent on water and 3.2 per cent on electricity. Spending so much on these services alongside food and transport, leaves little for housing, so that people opt for informal structures.