Nairobi Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (NAMATA) has  been officially established by President Uhuru Kenyatta. It will cover the counties of Nairobi City, Kiambu, Kajiado, Machakos and Murang’a

Its responsibility will be “to provide a comprehensive and dynamic platform for addressing the decades-old challenges in the transport sector that have bedeviled the Metropolitan Area.”

The Nairobi Metropolitan was  created in 2008 by the government of the retired President Mwai Kibaki  and then Prime Minister Raila Odinga  with the late Mutula Kilonzo as the Minister in charge.

Fastest Growing Cities in Africa

Writing in the inaugural brochure, Kibaki said Nairobi was one of the fastest growing cities in Africa, with its influence extending more than 30 kilometers beyond its borders.

“We must therefore begin to think of a greater Nairobi Metropolitan area that includes the City of Nairobi and the various county authorities in the surrounding districts and provinces,” he wrote.

Catalyst for Economic Growth

And Raila Odinga wrote, “This city region must rise to its full potential to enable it act as a robust catalyst for economic growth within itself and for the nation.”

It was then estimated that it would require an investment of Sh33.2 trillion to transform Nairobi City to a metropolitan.

The initial counties covered then included Machakos, Kajiado and Kiambu with an elaborate plan of cooperation and the transformation being included as one of the Vision 2030 strategic project. Vision 2030 is a blueprint for transforming Kenya’s economy to a middle income status.

Many of these projects have however been abandoned or put “in slow motion” in the Jubilee administration.

NAMATA for Integrated Public Transport Strategy

Now President Kenyatta says the new author will, “ formulate a sustainable integrated public transport strategy based on the development of a sustainable urban mobility plan that will be the basis for the orderly and structured development of the proposed Metropolitan Area mass-transit system, which incorporates both bus rapid-transit and commuter rail. These elements are part of the Administration’s wider plan of improving Kenya’s transport infrastructure as a spur for social and economic development.”

In a statement signed by State House spokesman, Manoah Esipisu “ the Authority is based on the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed in August 2013 between the National Government, through the Ministry of Transport, on one part; and the county governments of Nairobi City, Kiambu, Murang’a, Machakos and Kajiado on the other part.”

“ The Metropolitan Area has experienced rapid growth over the last three decades but there has not been commensurate focus on providing sufficient and sustainable transport options for the area’s visitors and residents. NAMATA is designed to, at long last, address this gap and provide the Metropolitan Area with a world-class public transport system,” the statement continues.