Putting food on the table is the biggest priority for Nairobi residents – Business Daily
Putting food on the table is the main goal for Nairobi residents, reflecting the prevalence of a hand-to-mouth lifestyle in a city where a majority of the dwellers have dropped ambitions to buy land, start a business or improve their careers.
According to the FinAccess household survey data that rank the main goals for Kenyans in different counties, 32.6 per cent of Nairobi respondents identified the daily search for food as their main preoccupation in life.
The survey revealed that only 35 per cent of Nairobi residents are financially healthy, meaning 65 per cent cannot meet their day-to-day financial needs without breaking their backs.
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The percentage of city dwellers living below the poverty line stands at 16.7 per cent, with seven out of every 10 having defaulted on a loan.
The worsening financial situation among Nairobi residents reflects that in many households in the country, which have been buffeted by high inflation, stagnation in real wages and joblessness that has increased the dependency burden on those fortunate enough to find work.
The report paints a picture of a country where more than three-quarters of families are living from hand to mouth, and the share of financially healthy Kenyans—those who afford their day-to-day financial needs, deal with emergencies and invest in future goals – standing at just 15 per cent.
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In the city, the struggles for daily sustenance have not been helped by the fact that food prices have risen sharply this year due to drought and global shortages of key staples.
The report further says that 31 per cent of city residents have gone without food at some point.
Additionally, a third (31 per cent) of workers in Nairobi are casually employed, meaning that they lack the financial security that would allow them to afford investments beyond the day-to-day expense list.
The proportion of city dwellers who primarily depend on their businesses for livelihood stands at 22.3 per cent while a fifth say they survive by depending on others.
Incidentally, Nairobi has the highest rate of formal financial inclusion in the country at 95 per cent, meaning that only five out of 100 dwellers have not heard of or had access to financial products and services.
The effect of the economic hardships that have been experienced in the past two years since the onset of Covid-19 has also negatively hit savings, at a time when the government is trying to raise the national savings rate as a buffer against future shocks.
Other than seeking food, the pursuit of education is second on the priority list, at 26.3 per cent, followed by looking for a job or developing a career at 14.4 per cent.
The desire to start or improve a current business follows at 13.4 per cent, while only 7.0 per cent reported prioritising good health over other needs.