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Growing number of slum residents in Nairobi use cooking gas

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- At the shop in Kariobangi on the east of Nairobi, Kenya’s capital, businessman Victor Kinuthia whistles as he dusts two 6kg cooking gas cylinders with a flywhisk.

He later hands them to his assistant, who fastens them on the carrier of a bicycle, and rides to the direction of the nearby Korogocho slum, which is neighboring the low income estate.

“A good number of my customers come from the slum,” said Kinuthia on Saturday. “They are using cooking gas, but mainly the 6kg, which is why over 90 percent of what I am selling is the small cylinders.”

Kinuthia is among the cooking gas dealers in various suburbs in Nairobi who are experiencing booming business as demand for the commodity, grows.

The trader noted that the slum residents started using cooking gas as the cost dropped following decline in fuel prices. Consumption of the clean energy in the East African nation is currently at a three-year high.

Kinuthia sells the 6kg cylinder at 12.5 U.S. dollars while the 13kg, which he stores in small numbers at 25 dollars, prices that are lower than those in middle income estates by at least 1.1 dollars.

Kenyans are now consuming 8,000 metric tones (MT) of cooking gas per month, according to latest data from Kenya National Bureau of Statistics.

The last time East African nation residents consumed 8,000MT of cooking gas was in 2012.

“I could not resist buying cooking gas after I realized it is going for about 11 dollars. I have not used the fuel for more than a year though I have a cylinder because of high prices,” said Nancy Musembi, a community support worker in Korogocho.

Away from Korogocho, in Mathare slum a few kilometers away, that residents are warming up to cooking gas is evident in the number of shops selling the commodity on the periphery of the informal settlement.

Salome Wanjiku, a social worker in Mathare, acknowledged that a good number of residents are using cooking gas.

“My work enables me to walk in peoples’ homes in the informal settlement and I can confirm that I see the 6kg cylinder that is attached to a burner in many homes,” said Wanjiku, who lives in the slum and uses cooking gas.



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