Nairobi, Kenya

Economy | Central business district | Upper Hill | Construction and real estate

🇰🇪 Nairobi is the capital and the largest city of Kenya. The city is popularly referred to as the Green City in the Sun. Nairobi was founded in 1899 by the colonial authorities in British East Africa, as a rail depot on the Uganda - Kenya Railway. The town quickly grew to replace Mombasa as the capital of Kenya in 1907. After independence in 1963, Nairobi became the capital of the Republic of Kenya. During Kenya's colonial period, the city became a centre for the colony's coffee, tea and sisal industry. The city lies in the south central part of Kenya, at an elevation of 1,795 metres (5,889 ft).

UK PM Rishi Sunak's paternal grandfather, Ramdas Sunak, moved to Nairobi in 1935 to work as a clerk, where he was joined by his wife Suhag Rani Sunak from Delhi in 1937.

Nairobi is home of the Kenyan Parliament Buildings and hosts thousands of Kenyan businesses and over 100 major international companies and organisations, 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 has the Nairobi National Park with a large game reserve. Nairobi is currently under the Nairobi Metropolitan Service.


Economy Nairobi is home to the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE), one of Africa's largest stock exchanges. The NSE was officially recognised as an overseas stock exchange by the London Stock Exchange in 1953. The exchange is Africa's 4th largest in terms of trading volumes, and 5th largest in terms of Market Capitalisation as a percentage of GDP.

Nairobi is the regional headquarters of several international companies and organisations. In 2007, General Electric, Young & Rubicam, Google, Coca-Cola, IBM Services, and Cisco Systems relocated their African headquarters to the city. The United Nations Office at Nairobi hosts UN Environment and UN-Habitat headquarters.

Several of Africa's largest companies are headquartered in Nairobi. Safaricom, the largest company in Kenya by assets and profitability is headquartered in Nairobi, KenGen, which is the largest African stock outside South Africa, is based in the city. Kenya Airways, Africa's fourth largest airline, uses Nairobi's Jomo Kenyatta International Airport as a hub.

Nairobi has not been left behind by the FinTech phenomenon that has taken over worldwide. It has produced a couple of tech firms like Craft Silicon, Kangai Technologies, and Jambo Pay which have been in the forefront of technology, innovation and cloud based computing services. Their products are widely used and have considerable market share presence within Kenya and outside its borders.

Goods manufactured in Nairobi include clothing, textiles, building materials, processed foods, beverages, and cigarettes. Several foreign companies have factories based in and around the city. These include Goodyear, General Motors, Toyota Motors, and Coca-Cola.

Nairobi has a large tourist industry, being both a tourist destination and a transport hub.


Central business district Nairobi has grown around its central business district. This takes a rectangular shape, around the Uhuru Highway, Haille Selassie Avenue, Moi Avenue, and University Way. It features many of Nairobi's important buildings, including the City Hall and Parliament Building. The city square is also located within the perimeter.

Most of the skyscrapers in this region are the headquarters of businesses and corporations, such as I&M and the Kenyatta International Conference Centre. The United States Embassy bombing took place in this district, prompting the building of a new embassy building in the suburbs.

In 2011, the city was considered to have about 4 million residents. A large beautification project took place in the Central Business District, as the city prepared to host the 2006 Afri-Cities summit. Iconic buildings such as the Kenyatta International Conference Centre had their exteriors cleaned and repainted.

Nairobi downtown area or central business district is bordered to the south-west by Uhuru Park and Central Park. The Mombasa to Kampala railway runs to the south-east of the district.


Upper Hill Two areas outside the Central Business District that are seeing growth in companies and office space are Upper Hill, which is located, approximately 4 km (2.5 mi) from the Central Business District and Westlands, about the same distance from the city centre.

Companies that have moved from the Central Business District to Upper Hill include Citibank, and in 2007 Coca-Cola began construction of their East and Central African headquarters in Upper Hill, cementing the district as the preferred location for office space in Nairobi. The largest office development in this area is UAP Tower, which opened for business in 2016. It is a 33-storey tower 163 meters high. The World Bank and International Finance Corporation (part of the World Bank Group) are also located in Upper Hill at the Delta Center, Menegai Road. Earlier on, they were located in the Hill Park Building and CBA Building respectively (both also in Upper Hill), and prior to that in View Park towers in the Central Business District.

To accommodate the large demand for floor space in Nairobi, various commercial projects are being constructed. New business parks are being built in the city, including the flagship Nairobi Business Park.


Construction and real estate Nairobi is undergoing a construction boom. Major real estate projects and skyscrapers are coming up in the city. Among them are:The pinnacle twin towers which will tower at 314 m, Britam Tower (200 m), Avic International Africa headquarters (176 m), Prism tower (140 m), Pan Africa insurance towers, Pallazzo offices, and many other projects. Shopping malls are also being constructed like the recently completed Garden city Mall, Centum's Two rivers Mall, The Hub in Karen, Karen waterfront, Thika Greens, and the recently reconstructed Westgate Mall. High-class residential apartments for living are coming up like Le Mac towers, a residential tower in Westlands Nairobi with 23 floors. Avic International is also putting up a total of four residential apartments on Waiyaki way: a 28-level tower, two 24-level towers, and a 25-level tower. Hotel towers are also being erected in the city. Avic International is putting up a 30-level hotel tower of 141 m in the Westlands. The hotel tower will be operated by Marriot group. Jabavu limited is constructing a 35 floor hotel tower in Upper Hill which will be high over 140 metres in the city skyline. Arcon Group Africa has also announced plans to erect a skyscraper in Upper hill which will have 66 floors and tower over 290 metres, further cementing Upper hill as the preferred metropolis for multinational corporations launching their operations in the Kenyan capital.

Nairobi, Kenya 
<b>Nairobi, Kenya</b>
Image: Clara Sanchiz

Nairobi is rated Beta by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network (GaWC) which evaluates and ranks the relationships between world cities in the context of globalisation. Beta level cities are cities that link moderate economic regions to the world economy.

Nairobi is the #98 city in the world according to the Global Financial Centres Index (GFCI) which evaluates and ranks the competitiveness of the major financial centres of the world according to a wide range of criteria – Human Capital, Business, Finance, Infrastructure and Reputation.

Nairobi is rated C by the Global Urban Competitiveness Report (GUCR) which evaluates and ranks world cities in the context of economic competitiveness. C cities are international gateway cities. Nairobi was ranked #260 by the Nomad List which evaluates and ranks remote work hubs by cost, internet, fun and safety. Nairobi has a population of over 4,397,073 people. Nairobi also forms the centre of the wider Nairobi metropolitan area which has a population of over 9,354,580 people. Nairobi is ranked #136 for startups with a score of 4.277.

To set up a UBI Lab for Nairobi see: Twitter:

Twin Towns, Sister Cities Nairobi has links with:

🇪🇹 Addis Ababa, Ethiopia 🇻🇪 Colonia Tovar, Venezuela 🇺🇸 Denver, USA 🇨🇳 Kunming, China 🇺🇸 Lowell, USA 🇺🇸 Raleigh, USA 🇧🇷 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 🇧🇷 São Luís, Brazil
Text Atribution: Wikipedia Text under CC-BY-SA license | GFCI | GaWC | GUCR | Nomad | StartupBlink

  • Leonard William Thornton White |

    🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 🇿🇦 Architect Leonard William Thornton White is associated with Nairobi. He was a Soane Medallist in 1928 and a Henry Jarvis Student in 1928.

  • Anthony Merlott Chitty |

    🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 Architect Anthony Merlott Chitty is associated with Nairobi. He was President of the Architectural association in 1950-51.

Antipodal to Nairobi is: -143.183,1.283

Locations Near: Nairobi 36.8167,-1.28333

🇰🇪 Embakasi 36.9,-1.317 d: 10  

🇰🇪 Kiambu 36.817,-1.167 d: 13  

🇰🇪 Karen 36.699,-1.32 d: 13.7  

🇰🇪 Ruiru 36.96,-1.148 d: 21.9  

🇰🇪 Athi River 36.982,-1.451 d: 26.2  

🇰🇪 Thika 37.083,-1.05 d: 39.4  

🇰🇪 Machakos 37.267,-1.517 d: 56.4  

🇰🇪 Kajiado 36.783,-1.85 d: 63.1  

🇰🇪 Nyeri 36.95,-0.417 d: 97.5  

🇰🇪 Wote 37.633,-1.783 d: 106.4  

Antipodal to: Nairobi -143.183,1.283

🇵🇫 Papeete -149.566,-17.537 d: 17808.6  

🇺🇸 Hilo -155.089,19.725 d: 17589.6  

🇺🇸 Maui -156.446,20.72 d: 17418.2  

🇺🇸 Kahului -156.466,20.891 d: 17401.4  

🇺🇸 Wailuku -156.505,20.894 d: 17398.9  

🇺🇸 Maui County -156.617,20.868 d: 17394.5  

🇺🇸 Honolulu -157.85,21.3 d: 17279.8  

🇺🇸 Pearl City -157.969,21.394 d: 17264  

🇺🇸 Līhuʻe -159.35,21.967 d: 17125.3  

🇺🇸 Lihue -159.35,21.967 d: 17125.3  

Bing Map

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