In Kenya the richest ten per cent of the population controls 42 per cent of the countrys wealth while the poorest ten per cent has just one per cent, according to a recent study by the international non-governmental organisation Action Aid. Based on official figures, the report also shows that the poverty gap in Kenya is widening: the portion of poor Kenyans defined as living on less than Ksh2,648 (28.5) a month in urban areas and on less than Ksh1,239 (13) a month in rural areas) increased from 52.3 per cent in 1997 to 57 per cent last year. However, these figures mask significant differences across the country. Nairobi is the fourth poorest region in Kenya after Nyanza, Coast and Western, with a poverty rate of 50.2 per cent.

The study was released during a conference on equity and growth in Nairobi as part of the so-called Rich and Poor Project (RAPP), a collaborative effort between the ministry of planning and national development, the Society for International Development (SID) and the African Woman and Child Feature Service (AWC) to disseminate information on poverty and inequality for the design and implementation of pro-poor policy strategies and intervention. Kenya ranks among the top ten most unequal countries in the world according to EU figures. This imbalance is particularly noticeable in cities such as Nairobi, where the gap between rich and poor is extreme. For information see www.inequalitykenya.org

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