Road and Rail Network
The county has a good road network. It has a total of 2,033.8 km of roads under bitumen standards, 1,480.2 km under gravel surface and 430.1 km under earth surface. There is a great need in improving the condition of the roads since during the rainy season, most of the roads become impassable. However, the terrain poses a great challenge for road maintenance. There has been a lot of improvement in the roads subsector with the example of Thika-Nairobi highway.
It also has 131 km of railway line and four railway stations in Ruiru, Thika, Kikuyu and Limuru towns. The rail is not fully utilized in the county and only passenger trains operate in the morning and evenings between the City of Nairobi and the four stations. However, there is a great potential in the sector and hence efforts need to be put in place to ensure the infrastructure is improved which will encourage introduction of modern efficient trains.
Posts and Telecommunications
Kiambu County is well covered by mobile network which is estimated at 98 percent even though landline coverage is very poor with only 214 connections in the entire county. This might be attributed to the fact that landlines are becoming obsolete and have a high maintenance cost. There are 19 post offices and 14 sub-post offices which are fairly distributed within the county. Distances to the nearest post office vary from one part of the county to another. Most of the residents (70.4 percent) are within the range of 5 Km and above while 22.5 percent of the population are in the range of 1.1-4.9 Km and only 7.2 percent of the residents are within the range of 0-1 Km. Currently there are 149 cyber cafes and eight private courier services operating within the county which are mostly located in the urban centres of Thika, Ruiru, Karuri, Kiambu, Limuru and Kikuyu.
There are a total of 17 commercial banks with branches well distributed within the county. In addition, there are eight microfinance institutions, one building society, four village banks and 12 insurance companies. The institutions are well distributed within the county and hence they are easily accessible. This is an indication of vibrant economic activities that are able to sustain the financial sector making it one of the fastest growing sectors in the county over the last five years.
The county is well endowed with education institutions which are well distributed within the county. It has about 1,595 ECD centres out of which 1,063 are private and 532 are public. They are well distributed within the county and hence children do not have to travel long distances. The county has 934 primary schools which are equally distributed between the private and the public where each category has 467 schools. There are 303 secondary schools out of which 227 are public and 76 are Private. The County has one public University, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology located in Juja Constituency and two satellite campuses namely University of Nairobi, Kikuyu campus in Kikuyu sub county and Kenyatta University , Ruiru campus in Ruiru Sub County. There are six private universities which include Gretsa University, Mount Kenya
University, St. Paul‘s University, Kiriri Women‘s Science and Technology University and Presbyterian University of East Africa, Zitech University in Ruiru and a number of tertiary colleges. The county has some of the best national secondary schools such as Alliance Boys High School, Alliance Girls School, Loreto Girls High School, Limuru Girls High School, Mary Hill Girls and Mangu High School. This does not give the county any advantage as the schools admit pupils from the entire nation. It therefore implies that great efforts need to be put in place to ensure performance at the primary level is improved hence giving a chance for majority of pupils within the county to exploit the opportunities available in the national schools, locally and around the nation.
The main source of cooking energy in the county is firewood which accounts for about 47.3 percent, while paraffin is the major source of lighting fuel. This poses a great challenge to the realization of 10 percent forest cover within the county. Connection to the national grid is good with 98 percent of all trading centres connected and only 4 percent of public institutions currently not connected. However, connection to individual homes is low and there is need for up-scaling of the rural electrification programme. Kiambu County is endowed with a number of big rivers which can be exploited for power generation. As indicated in the photo below the presence of fourteen falls and a number of other small falls like Thika falls presents a big opportunity for hydropower generation, as the country gears towards adoption of green energy.
Markets and Urban Centres
The county has a total of 2,517 trading centres with 6,634 registered retail traders and 750 registered wholesale traders. There are also a number of urban centres with the largest being Thika Town which is one of the largest industrial towns in the country. Other urban centres include Kiambu in Kiambu Sub county, Karuri in Kiambaa sub county, Kikuyu in Kikuyu sub county, Limuru in Limuru Sub County Gatundu in Gatundu South sub county and Ruiru in Ruiru Sub County.
According to 2009, Kenya Population and Housing Census, 48.3 percent of all homes in the county are stone –walled, 4.9 percent are brick/block, 4.8 percent are mud/wood. There are 74.6 percent of the houses that have cemented floors and 87.5 percent have corrugated iron sheets. Only 0.1 percent has used other forms of roofing materials. The proximity of the county to the city of Nairobi has seen transformation of large pieces of land into residential houses. The presence of good all weathered roads have given an opportunity to those working in Nairobi to reside within the county. This has led to the establishment of residential estates with the Tatu city being one of the major housing projects currently under implementation.