Checking Abdulswamad Nassir’s claim on Mombasa’s economy

By Vincent Ng’ethe

Kenya is five weeks away from its third general election under the 2010 constitution. As the polls approach, politicians have been debating on television to showcase their visions. 

Two candidates for governor recently jousted on a local TV station in late May. Mr Johnson Sakaja, who was recently cleared to run for Nairobi governor after a drawn-out vetting process, met Mr Abdulswamad Shariff Nassir, who is contesting the governorship of Mombasa County

Sakaja represents Nairobi County in the Senate, while Nassir represents Mvita, a constituency in the coastal county of  Mombasa.  Both houses of parliament were recently adjourned until after the election.

Nassir lamented that many “little tiny towns” further inland “from Mombasa all the way to Mtito Andei and onwards” had suffered from a decline in business at the port. The lawmaker also sought to show the significance of transport to the coastal county’s economy. “Twenty-seven percent of Mombasa’s economy is derived from logistics, transport, warehousing,” Nassir said.

The KEG Fact-checking desk looked into whether logistics, transport and warehousing accounts for 27 per cent of Mombasa’s economy.

Gross County Product

We asked Nassir for the evidence of his claim. He provided us with screenshots of both the 2017 and 2020 data from the gross county product reports. 

We asked the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics what the most recent data was on Mombasa County’s economy. Collins Omondi, the statistics agency’s director of macroeconomics, referred us to the Gross County Product 2021 report.

The Gross County Product 2021 report was launched on 5 May 2022 in Nairobi, the same day that four other reports were launched including the 2022 Economic Survey. It shows that based on 2020 data, the contribution of transport and storage to Mombasa’s economy was  22.3%.

Transport and storage share of Mombasa County GCP (Current KSh billion)
Year Transport and Storage Mombasa  GCP Percent
2017 88.4 332.1 26.6
2018 99.5 435.5 22.9
2019 112.2 469.6 23.9
2020 104.3 467.4 22.3

Source: Kenya National Bureau of Statistics

In 2017, transport and storage constituted 27% of Mombasa’s economy, supporting Nassir’s claim. Data from subsequent years has however shown a smaller gross county product, between 22 and 24 per cent.

Mr Nassir’s claim is outdated given that the data used is from 2017, but we do acknowledge the 2019 report was the most recent until the 2021 report was released on 4 May 2022, meaning he cited the most recent data available until that date.  He also provided the latest data when we asked. We rate his claim In the Ballpark.

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