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Thika is an industrial town in Kiambu County, Kenya, lying on the A2 road 40 kilometres (25 mi) north-east of Nairobi, near the confluence of the Thika and Chania Rivers. Although Thika town is administratively in Kiambu County, the greater Thika area comprising such residential areas such as Bender estate, Maporomoko, Thika Greens, Thika Golden Pearl, Bahati Ridge, Thika Sports Club, Kahawa Sukari among others, are within Murang’a County. Thika has a population of 139,853 which is growing rapidly, as is the entire greater Nairobi area. Its elevation is approximately 1,631 metres (5,351 ft). Thika is home to the Chania Falls, Fourteen Falls on the Athi river and the Thika Falls, Ol Donyo Sabuk National Park lies to the southeast. The town has a railway station with limited passenger service as only cargo trains operate, although there are plans to extend the proposed light rail system to Thika.
The town is currently the headquarters of Thika West district following the split of the larger Thika district (created in 1994) into five districts: Thika East and Thika West, Ruiru, Gatundu and Gatanga. It is the seat of the South Central regional commissioner (deputy Provincial Commissioner) for Central Province appointed by president Mwai Kibaki in 2009 who is in charge of the larger Kiambu, Thika, and Murang’a districts. However, under Kenya’s new constitution, which recognizes only the 47 districts in existence before 1992 as semi-autonomous counties, Thika falls under Kiambu County. Although Kiambu Town is expected to be the new county headquarters, it should remain the main commercial centre as well as the seat of the Thika Subcounty of the Kiambu County.
The town is famous as the prime pineapple -growing region in Kenya, the Chania and Thika falls near the confluence of the respective rivers and as a gateway to the “Fourteen Falls” near Ol Donyo Sabuk National Park, which is used as a popular picnic and corporate recreation site. Thika is known as a centre for light industry, especially in food and horticulture processing. However, the decline of the textile industry has hit local firms such as Kenya Textile Mills (KTM), which was a cotton-to-fabric manufacturer that competed against Egyptian and Chinese manufacturers. Nevertheless, recent growth has been accentuated by the growth of the service sector, especially in education and finance.