The goat slaughterhouse that’s driving a Kenyan slum’s economy

African governments are exploring new ways to slash red tape and help legalise micro-businesses to give slum dwellers a legitimate income to invest and improve their lives – while creating a new taxation stream for city administrations, experts say.

Africa’s population of slum dwellers is expected to rapidly increase in the coming years with United Nations projecting that around 187 million more Africans will live in cities in the next decade, boosting both formal and informal urban economies.

Indeed, Kiamaiko meat market is one of the three places that provide a steady supply of goat meat to city dwellers, besides Njiru and Dagoretti slaughter houses.

In Kiamaiko residents say the goat market has transformed the sprawling slum – once notorious for guns and young, violent thugs – and even attracted investment.

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And while there are times when there is a shortage of essential commodities, including unga, sugar, paraffin and petrol, there is rarely a shortage of meat in Nairobi.

The growth of the goat market has led to other businesses opening their doors from car wash points to barber shops, fruit and vegetable stores to money transfer services and even recreation centres, locals say.

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The communities displaced during the Shifta War were settled by the government in what is today Kiamaiko area of Huruma.

The Wagalla Massacre visited upon Wajir by our military forces in 1984, coupled with the fall of Somali President Siad Barre in 1991, only created more internal and external refugees of Somali descent.

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Kiamaiko’s fast-growing slum economy has also started to attract investors, residents say.

“The slum has become safer, less risky and more attractive to outside investors,” said John Kibichu, a beer distributor.

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