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The scale of urban poverty in Kenya is something that policymakers can no longer afford to ignore. Between a third and half of the country’s urban population live in poverty. The country is urbanising at such a speed that it is projected to be 50 per cent urban by 2020, and half of all Kenya’s poor will be living in urban areas. In this respect there can be no doubt that poverty itself is rapidly urbanising in Kenya. Moreover, the percentage of the urban population in the poorest categories of all (the ‘food poor1’ and ‘hardcore poor2’) is on the increase, and the gap between rich and poor is rapidly widening. While some urban dwellers have seen their position improve due to impressive levels of economic growth in recent years, poverty has been deepening for the majority of the urban poor who have become trapped in downward spirals of deprivation and vulnerability.

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