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Nairobi; The place of cool waters

25 May

The name originated from the Masai phrase “Enkrae Nyirobi”, which translates to “the place of cool waters”.  Nairobi is however also commonly known as “the green city in the sun”.

With its population estimated at 3 million, Nairobi is the most crowded city in Kenya and is ranked the 13th biggest city in Africa. It is home to a lot of companies and organisations, including the United Nations Environment program and the UN office in Africa. The stock exchange is ranked 4th in terms of trading amount and competent of making 10 million trades a day.

The city originated as a transport hub and since then has expanded upwards and outwards to accommodate a population of over three million people! Its diminutive colonial buildings jostle for space with high-rises and concrete apartment blocks.

Culturally, the city is diverse, hosting a sizeable population of Asians, Europeans and a growing community of expatriates who have set up base in the city.

There are currently 44 licensed commercial banks, and 1 mortgage Supply Company in Nairobi. As a means of improving access to financial services, the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) commenced measures to open up banking channels to non-bank agents. An amendment to the Banking Act (passed as part of the Finance Act 2009) allowed banks to start using agents to deliver financial services.

Nairobi is also one of a small number of pioneering city’s where financial services are starting to be offered by mobile network operators to people.  Mobile payment services are being used to send money to relatives, pay field staff their allowances and expenses. This obviously plays an important role in reducing the risk of theft, as there is reduced need of having to travel with cash.


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