Nairobi has been ranked sixth among African cities in terms of economic growth potential over the next five years.
It, however, compares poorly â€” scoring 0.291,nearly half of the first ranked city of Accra, Ghana, which scored 0.526.
The 2013 MasterCard African Cities Growth Index ranked Nairobi behind Dar es Salaam and Addis Ababa, which came in fourth and fifth position, respectively.
Lusaka (Zambia) was second, while Luanda (Angola) was third. Mombasa was ranked in twelfth position while Kampala, Uganda, came in seventh place.
The research behind the index was carried out in the last quarter of 2012 among 19 African cities.
It took into consideration data on population growth, gross domestic product per capita, governance and ease of doing business, to measure the cities with the most growth potential, with one as the top score.
MasterCard notes that with increasing urbanisation and growth of the middle class, Africaâ€™s cities will likely be instrumental in the continentâ€™s growth over the next decade.
â€œThis growth in urbanisation, combined with the fact that the centre of global economic gravity is shifting to dynamic emerging markets such as those found in Africa, means that the continentâ€™s cities will play a much bigger role in driving the economic growth of their respective countries,â€ said the firmâ€™s Middle East and Africa president, Mr Michael Miebach.
In its December 2012 Kenya Economic Update, the World Bank noted that job creation in the country was increasingly concentrated in urban centres. Over the past 20 years, the Bank noted, Kenyaâ€™s urban population grew more than twice as fast as the country overall.
An analysis of the migration patterns in the country further revealed that flows were overwhelmingly to and from Nairobi.
â€œThe countryâ€™s urbanisation fundamentally reflects a quest for opportunity, as Kenyans move to towns and cities seeking jobs and better lives for themselves and their families,â€ read part of the World Bank report.
In the MasterCard index, Khartoum, Sudan and Abidjan (Ivory Coast) had the lowest growth potential of the cities surveyed.
Larger cities that are traditionally considered the centres of Africaâ€™s economic activities did not perform quite as well.
Johannesburg was ranked in eighth position with both Durban and Cape Town recording worse performance.
Lagos, Nigeria was assessed as having medium-low growth potential and was ranked in thirteenth position.
MasterCard postulates that the relative maturity levels of these cities led to lower growth expectations.
For instance, while Nairobi might expect significant growth in its middle class over the next decade, Johannesburgâ€™s middle class has been growing since the 1940s and is unlikely to post any dramatic changes.
Research for the Index was carried out at the University of South Africa by Professor George Angelopulo.-nation