Coordinates : 1°N 38°E / 1°N 38°E / 1; 38
Republic of Kenya
Kenya (Kiswahili )
Flag Coat of arms
Harambee " (Kiswahili)
"Let us all pull together"
Ee Mungu Nguvu Yetu
O God of all creation
Kenya (dark blue)
African Union (light blue)
and largest city
1°16′S 36°48′E / 1.267°S 36.800°E / -1.267; 36.800
ETHNIC GROUPS (2018 )
* 22% Kikuyu
* 14% Luhya
* 13% Luo
* 12% Kalenjin
* 11% Kamba
* 6% Kisii
* 6% Meru
* 15% other African
* 1% non-African
Unitary presidential constitutional republic
• DEPUTY PRESIDENT
• SPEAKER OF THE SENATE
• SPEAKER OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY
• CHIEF JUSTICE
• ATTORNEY GENERAL
• UPPER HOUSE
• LOWER HOUSE
• FROM THE UNITED KINGDOM
12 December 1963
• REPUBLIC DECLARED
12 December 1964
580,367 km2 (224,081 sq mi) (48th )
• WATER (%)
• 2017 ESTIMATE
49,125,325 (28th )
• 2009 CENSUS
78/km2 (202.0/sq mi) (124th )
GDP (PPP )
• PER CAPITA
• PER CAPITA
medium · 48th
medium · 146th
Kenyan shilling (KES )
EAT (UTC +3)
dd/mm/yy (AD )
DRIVES ON THE
ISO 3166 CODE
According to the CIA, estimates for this country explicitly take
into account the effects of mortality because of AIDS; this can result
in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality and death rates,
lower population and growth rates, and changes in the distribution of
population by age and sex, than would otherwise be expected.
KENYA (/ˈkɛnjə/ ; locally ( listen )), officially the REPUBLIC
OF KENYA, is a country in
Africa and a founding member of the East
African Community (EAC). Its capital and largest city is
Kenya's territory lies on the equator and overlies the East African
Rift covering a diverse and expansive terrain that extends roughly
Lake Victoria to
Lake Turkana (formerly called Lake Rudolf ) and
further south-east to the
Indian Ocean . It is bordered by
the south and southwest,
Uganda to the west,
South Sudan to the
Ethiopia to the north and
Somalia to the north-east. Kenya
covers 581,309 km2 (224,445 sq mi), and had a population of
approximately 48 million people in January 2017.
Kenya has a warm and humid tropical climate on its Indian Ocean
coastline. The climate is cooler in the savannah grasslands around the
capital city, Nairobi, and especially closer to
Mount Kenya , which
has snow permanently on its peaks. Further inland are highlands in
Central and Rift Valley regions where tea and coffee are grown as cash
crops which are major foreign revenue earners. In the West are Nyanza
and Western regions, there is an equatorial, hot and dry climate which
becomes humid around
Lake Victoria , the largest tropical fresh-water
lake in the world. This gives way to temperate and forested hilly
areas in the neighbouring western region. The north-eastern regions
along the border with
Ethiopia are arid and semi-arid
areas with near-desert landscapes.
Kenya is known for its world class
athletes in track and field and rugby . Thanks to its diverse climate
and geography, expansive wildlife reserves and national parks such as
the East and West
Tsavo National Park ,
Amboseli National Park ,
Maasai Mara ,
Lake Nakuru National Park ,
Aberdares National Park and
white sand beaches at the Coastal region,
Kenya is home to the modern
safari and has several world heritage sites such as
Lamu and a number
of beaches, including in
Kilifi , where
international yachting competitions are held every year.
African Great Lakes
African Great Lakes region, which
Kenya is a part of, has been
inhabited by humans since the
Lower Paleolithic period. By the first
millennium AD, the
Bantu expansion had reached the area from West
-Central Africa. The borders of the modern state consequently comprise
the crossroads of the Niger-Congo , Nilo-Saharan and Afroasiatic areas
of the continent, representing most major ethnolinguistic groups found
in Africa. Bantu and Nilotic populations together constitute around
97% of the nation's residents. European and
Arab presence in coastal
Mombasa dates to the Early Modern period; European exploration of the
interior began in the 19th century. The
British Empire established the
East Africa Protectorate in 1895, which starting in 1920 gave way to
Kenya Colony .
Kenya obtained independence in December 1963.
Following a referendum in August 2010 and adoption of a new
Kenya is now divided into 47 semi-autonomous counties ,
governed by elected governors.
The economy of
Kenya is the largest by GDP in East and Central
Africa. The capital,
Nairobi , is a regional commercial hub.
Agriculture is a major employer; the country traditionally exports tea
and coffee and has more recently begun to export fresh flowers to
Europe. The service industry is also a major economic driver.
Kenya is a member of the
East African Community trade
* 1 Etymology
* 2 History
* 2.1 Prehistory
* 2.2 Neolithic
Swahili culture and trade (1st century–19th century)
British Kenya (1888–1962)
Mau Mau Uprising
Mau Mau Uprising (1952–1959)
* 2.5 Independent
* 2.5.1 Moi era (1978–2002)
* 2.5.2 2000s
* 3 Geography and climate
* 3.1 Climate
* 4 Government and politics
* 4.1 2013 elections and new government
* 4.2 Foreign relations
* 4.4 Administrative divisions
* 4.5 Human rights
* 5.3 Industry and manufacturing
* 5.4 Transport
* 5.5 Energy
* 5.6 Overall Chinese investment and trade
* 5.7 Vision 2030
* 5.8 Oil exploration
* 5.9 Child labour and prostitution
Microfinance in Kenya
Microfinance in Kenya
* 6 Demographics
* 6.2 Languages
* 6.3 Urban centres
* 6.4 Religion
* 6.5 Health
* 6.6 Women
* 6.7 Education
* 7 Culture
* 7.1 Media
* 7.2 Literature
* 7.3 Music
* 7.4 Sports
* 7.5 Cuisine
* 8 See also
* 9 References
* 10 Sources
* 11 External links
Kenya is named after Mount Kenya. The origin of the
Kenya is not clear, but perhaps linked to the Kikuyu, Embu and
Kamba words Kirinyaga, Kirenyaa, and Kiinyaa which mean "God's resting
place" in all three languages. If so, then the British may not so
much have mispronounced it ('Keenya'), as misspelled it. Prehistoric
volcanic eruptions of
Mount Kenya (now extinct ) may have resulted in
its association with divinity and creation among the indigenous Bantu
ethnic groups, who are the native inhabitants of the agricultural land
surrounding Mount Kenya.
In the 19th century, the German explorer
Johann Ludwig Krapf
Johann Ludwig Krapf was
staying with the Bantu
Kamba people when he first spotted the
mountain. On asking for the name of the mountain, he was told
"Kĩ-Nyaa" or "Kĩĩma- Kĩĩnyaa" probably because the pattern of
black rock and white snow on its peaks reminded them of the feathers
of the cock ostrich. The Agikuyu, who inhabit the slopes of Mt.
Kenya, call it Kĩrĩma Kĩrĩnyaga in Kikuyu , which is quite similar
to the Kamba name.
Ludwig Krapf recorded the name as both Kenia and Kegnia believed by
most to be a corruption of the Kamba version. Others say that this
was—on the contrary—a very precise notation of a correct African
pronunciation /ˈkɛnjə/ . An 1882 map drawn by Joseph Thompsons, a
Scottish geologist and naturalist, indicated Mt.
Kenya as Mt. Kenia,
1862. Controversy over the actual meaning of the word Kenya
notwithstanding, it is clear that the mountain's name became widely
accepted, pars pro toto , as the name of the country.
History of Kenya
Turkana boy , a 1.6-million-year-old hominid fossil
Homo erectus .
Fossils found in
Kenya suggest that primates roamed the area more
than 20 million years ago. Recent findings near
Lake Turkana indicate
that hominids such as
Homo habilis (1.8 and 2.5 million years ago) and
Homo erectus (1.9 million to 350,000 years ago) are possible direct
ancestors of modern
Homo sapiens , and lived in
Kenya in the
During excavations at
Lake Turkana in 1984, paleoanthropologist
Richard Leakey assisted by
Kamoya Kimeu discovered the
Turkana Boy , a
1.6-million-year-old fossil belonging to Homo erectus. Previous
research on early hominids is particularly identified with Mary Leakey
Louis Leakey , who were responsible for the preliminary
archaeological research at
Hyrax Hill . Later work at
the former site was undertaken by
Glynn Isaac .
The first inhabitants of present-day
Kenya were hunter-gatherer
groups, akin to the modern
Khoisan speakers. These people were later
replaced by agropastoralist
Cushitic speakers from the Horn of Africa
. During the early
Holocene , the regional climate shifted from dry
to wetter climatic conditions, providing an opportunity for the
development of cultural traditions, such as agriculture and herding ,
in a more favourable environment.
Around 500 BC, Nilotic -speaking pastoralists (ancestral to Kenya's
Nilotic speakers) started migrating from present-day Southern Sudan
into Kenya. Nilotic groups in
Kenya include the Samburu , Luo ,
Turkana , Maasai .
By the first millennium AD, Bantu -speaking farmers had moved into
the region. The Bantus originated in
West Africa along the Benue
River in what is now eastern
Nigeria and western
Cameroon . The Bantu
migration brought new developments in agriculture and iron working to
the region. Bantu groups in
Kenya include the Kikuyu , Luhya , Kamba
, Kisii , Meru , Kuria ,
Wapokomo and Mijikenda among others.
Remarkable prehistoric sites in the interior of
Kenya include the
Namoratunga on the west side of Lake Turkana
and the walled settlement of ThimLich Ohinga in
Migori County .
SWAHILI CULTURE AND TRADE (1ST CENTURY–19TH CENTURY)
Swahili culture and
Sultanate of Zanzibar
A traditional Swahili carved wooden door in
The Kenyan coast had served host to communities of ironworkers and
communities of Bantu subsistence farmers, hunters and fishers who
supported the economy with agriculture, fishing, metal production and
trade with foreign countries. These communities formed the earliest
city states in the region which were collectively known as
By the 1st century CE, many of the city-states such as
Malindi , and
Zanzibar began to establish trade relations with
This led to the increase economic growth of the Swahili states,
Arabic influences on the Swahili Bantu
language , cultural diffusion , as well as the Swahili city-states
becoming a member of a larger trade network. Many historians had
long believed that the city states were established by
Arab or Persian
traders, but archeological evidence has led scholars to recognize the
city states as an indigenous development which, though subjected to
foreign influence due to trade, retained a Bantu cultural core.
Kilwa Sultanate was a medieval sultanate , centred at Kilwa in
Tanzania . At its height, its authority stretched over the
entire length of the
Swahili Coast , including Kenya. It was said to
be founded in the 10th century by
Ali ibn al-Hassan Shirazi , a
Persian Sultan from
Shiraz in southern Iran. However, scholars have
suggested that claims of
Arab or Persian origin of city-states were
attempts by the Swahili to legitimize themselves both locally and
internationally. Since the 10 century, rulers of Kilwa would go on
to build elaborate coral mosques and introduce copper coinage.
Pottery sherds from the
Kilwa Sultanate , founded in the 10th century
by the Persian Sultan
Ali ibn al-Hassan Shirazi .
The Swahili built
Mombasa into a major port city and established
trade links with other nearby city-states, as well as commercial
centres in Persia, Arabia, and even India. By the 15th-century,
Duarte Barbosa claimed that "
Mombasa is a place of
great traffic and has a good harbour in which there are always moored
small craft of many kinds and also great ships, both of which are
bound from Sofala and others which come from Cambay and Melinde and
others which sail to the island of Zanzibar."
Later on in the 17th century, once the Swahili coast was conquered
and came under direct rule of Omani
Arabs , the slave trade was
expanded by the Omani
Arabs to meet the demands of plantations in Oman
Zanzibar . Initially these traders came mainly from Oman, but
later many came from
Zanzibar (such as
Tippu Tip ). In addition, the
Portuguese started buying slaves from the Omani and Zanzibari traders
in response to the interruption of the transatlantic slave trade by
Bantu language with
Arabic , Persian , and other Middle
Eastern and South Asian loanwords , later developed as a lingua franca
for trade between the different peoples. Swahili now also has loan
words from English.
Throughout the centuries, the Kenyan Coast has played host to many
merchants and explorers. Among the cities that line the Kenyan coast
is the City of Malindi. It has remained an important Swahili
settlement since the 14th century and once rivalled
dominance in the
African Great Lakes
African Great Lakes region.
Malindi has traditionally
been a friendly port city for foreign powers. In 1414, the Chinese
trader and explorer
Zheng He representing the
Ming Dynasty visited the
East African coast on one of his last \'treasure voyages\' . Malindi
authorities welcomed the Portuguese explorer
Vasco da Gama in 1498.
BRITISH KENYA (1888–1962)
British East Africa
British East Africa in 1909
The colonial history of
Kenya dates from the establishment of a
German protectorate over the Sultan of
Zanzibar 's coastal possessions
in 1885, followed by the arrival of the Imperial British East Africa
Company in 1888. Imperial rivalry was prevented when
its coastal holdings to Britain in 1890. This was followed by the
building of the Kenya–
Uganda railway passing through the country.
The building of the railway was resisted by some ethnic
groups—notably the Nandi led by
Koitalel Arap Samoei
Koitalel Arap Samoei for
ten years from 1890 to 1900—however the British eventually built the
railway. The Nandi were the first ethnic group to be put in a native
reserve to stop them from disrupting the building of the railway.
During the railway construction era, there was a significant inflow
of Indian people, who provided the bulk of the skilled manpower
required for construction. They and most of their descendants later
Kenya and formed the core of several distinct Indian
communities such as the Ismaili
While building the railway through
Tsavo , a number of the Indian
railway workers and local African labourers were attacked by two lions
known as the
Tsavo maneaters .
At the outbreak of World War I in August 1914, the governors of
British East Africa
British East Africa (as the protectorate was generally known) and
German East Africa agreed a truce in an attempt to keep the young
colonies out of direct hostilities. Lt. Col. Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck
took command of the German military forces, determined to tie down as
many British resources as possible. Completely cut off from
von Lettow conducted an effective guerrilla warfare campaign, living
off the land, capturing British supplies, and remaining undefeated. He
eventually surrendered in
Northern Rhodesia (today Zambia) fourteen
days after the Armistice was signed in 1918. The Kenya–Uganda
Mombasa , about 1899.
To chase von Lettow, the British deployed the British Indian Army
India but needed large numbers of porters to overcome the
formidable logistics of transporting supplies far into the interior on
Carrier Corps was formed and ultimately mobilised over
400,000 Africans, contributing to their long-term politicisation.
In 1920, the
East Africa Protectorate was turned into a colony and
Kenya for its highest mountain.
During the early part of the 20th century, the interior central
highlands were settled by British and other European farmers, who
became wealthy farming coffee and tea. (One depiction of this period
of change from one colonist's perspective is found in the memoir Out
Africa by Danish author Baroness Karen von Blixen-Finecke,
published in 1937.) By the 1930s, approximately 30,000 white settlers
lived in the area and gained a political voice because of their
contribution to the market economy.
The central highlands were already home to over a million members of
the Kikuyu people, most of whom had no land claims in European terms
and lived as itinerant farmers. To protect their interests, the
settlers banned the growing of coffee, introduced a hut tax, and the
landless were granted less and less land in exchange for their labour.
A massive exodus to the cities ensued as their ability to provide a
living from the land dwindled. There were 80,000 white settlers
Kenya in the 1950s.
World War II
World War II ,
Kenya was an important source of manpower
and agriculture for the United Kingdom.
Kenya itself was the site of
fighting between Allied forces and Italian troops in 1940–41 when
Italian forces invaded.
Malindi were bombed as well.
In 1952, Princess Elizabeth and her husband Prince Philip were on
holiday at the
Treetops Hotel in
Kenya when her father, King George VI
, died in his sleep. The young princess cut short her trip and
returned home immediately to take her throne. She was crowned Queen
Elizabeth II at Westminster Abbey in 1953 and as British hunter and
Jim Corbett (who accompanied the royal couple) put it,
she went up a tree in
Africa a princess and came down a queen.
Mau Mau Uprising
Mau Mau Uprising (1952–1959)
Mau Mau Uprising
Mau Mau Uprising A statue of Dedan Kimathi
, a Kenyan rebel leader with the
Mau Mau who fought against the
British colonial system in the 1950s.
From October 1952 to December 1959,
Kenya was in a state of emergency
arising from the
Mau Mau rebellion against British rule. The Mau Mau,
also known as the
Kenya Land and Freedom Army, were primarily members
of the Kikuyu Group.
The governor requested and obtained British and African troops,
including the King\'s African Rifles . The British began
counter-insurgency operations. In May 1953, General Sir George Erskine
took charge as commander-in-chief of the colony's armed forces, with
the personal backing of
Winston Churchill .
The capture of Warũhiũ Itote (also known as
General China ) on 15
January 1954 and the subsequent interrogation led to a better
understanding of the
Mau Mau command structure. Operation Anvil opened
on 24 April 1954, after weeks of planning by the army with the
approval of the War Council. The operation effectively placed Nairobi
under military siege. Nairobi's occupants were screened and the Mau
Mau supporters moved to detention camps . The Home Guard formed the
core of the government's strategy as it was composed of loyalist
Africans, not foreign forces such as the
British Army and King's
African Rifles. By the end of the emergency, the Home Guard had killed
4,686 Mau Mau, amounting to 42% of the total insurgents.
The capture of
Dedan Kimathi on 21 October 1956 in
the ultimate defeat of the
Mau Mau and essentially ended the military
offensive. During this period, substantial governmental changes to
land tenure occurred. The most important of these was the Swynnerton
Plan , which was used to both reward loyalists and punish Mau Mau.
INDEPENDENT KENYA (1963)
The first President and founding father of Kenya, Jomo Kenyatta
The first direct elections for native
Kenyans to the Legislative
Council took place in 1957. Despite British hopes of handing power to
"moderate" local rivals, it was the
Kenya African National Union
Jomo Kenyatta that formed a government. The Colony of Kenya
and the Protectorate of
Kenya each came to an end on 12 December 1963
with independence being conferred on all of Kenya. The United Kingdom
ceded sovereignty over the Colony of Kenya. The Sultan of Zanzibar
agreed that simultaneous with independence for the Colony of Kenya,
the Sultan would cease to have sovereignty over the Protectorate of
Kenya so that all of
Kenya would be one sovereign, independent state.
In this way,
Kenya became an independent country under the Kenya
Independence Act 1963 of the United Kingdom. Exactly 12 months later
on 12 December 1964,
Kenya became a republic under the name "Republic
Concurrently, the Kenyan army fought the
Shifta War against ethnic
Somali rebels inhabiting the
Northern Frontier District , who wanted
to join their kin in the Somali
Republic to the north. A cease fire
was eventually reached with the signature of the Arusha Memorandum in
October 1967, but relative insecurity prevailed through 1969. To
discourage further invasions,
Kenya signed a defence pact with
Ethiopia in 1969, which is still in effect.
On 12 December 1964 the
Kenya was proclaimed, and Jomo
Kenyatta became Kenya's first president.
Moi Era (1978–2002)
At Kenyatta's death in 1978,
Daniel arap Moi became President. Daniel
arap Moi retained the Presidency, being unopposed in elections held in
1979, 1983 (snap elections ) and 1988, all of which were held under
the single party constitution. The 1983 elections were held a year
early, and were a direct result of an abortive military coup attempt
on 2 August 1982.
Daniel arap Moi , Kenya's second President, and
George W. Bush, 2001
The abortive coup was masterminded by a low ranked Air Force
serviceman, Senior Private
Hezekiah Ochuka , and was staged mainly by
enlisted men in the Air Force. The putsch was quickly suppressed by
forces commanded by Chief of General Staff
Mahamoud Mohamed , a
veteran Somali military official. They included the General Service
Unit (GSU)—a paramilitary wing of the police—and later the regular
On the heels of the
Garissa Massacre of 1980, Kenyan troops committed
Wagalla massacre in 1984 against thousands of civilians in Wajir
County . An official probe into the atrocities was later ordered in
The election held in 1988 saw the advent of the mlolongo (queuing)
system, where voters were supposed to line up behind their favoured
candidates instead of a secret ballot. This was seen as the climax of
a very undemocratic regime and it led to widespread agitation for
constitutional reform. Several contentious clauses, including one that
allowed for only one political party, were changed in the following
years. In democratic, multiparty elections in 1992 and 1997, Daniel
arap Moi won re-election.
In 2002, Moi was constitutionally barred from running, and Mwai
Kibaki , running for the opposition coalition "National Rainbow
Coalition" (NARC ), was elected President. Anderson (2003) reports the
elections were judged free and fair by local and international
observers, and seemed to mark a turning point in Kenya's democratic
Kenyans rejected a plan to replace the 1963 independence
constitution with a new one.
The toll of the 2007 Post-election violence included approximately
1,500 deaths and up to 600,000 people left internally displaced.
In mid-2011, two consecutive missed rainy seasons precipitated the
worst drought in East
Africa seen in 60 years. The northwestern
Turkana region was especially affected, with local schools shut down
as a result. The crisis was reportedly over by early 2012 because of
coordinated relief efforts. Aid agencies subsequently shifted their
emphasis to recovery initiatives, including digging irrigation canals
and distributing plant seeds.
GEOGRAPHY AND CLIMATE
Geography of Kenya A map of Kenya. A
Köppen climate classification
Köppen climate classification map of Kenya.
At 580,367 km2 (224,081 sq mi),
Kenya is the world's forty-seventh
largest country (after
Madagascar ). It lies between latitudes 5°N
and 5°S , and longitudes 34° and 42°E . From the coast on the
Indian Ocean, the low plains rise to central highlands. The highlands
are bisected by the
Great Rift Valley , with a fertile plateau lying
to the east.
The Kenyan Highlands are one of the most successful agricultural
production regions in Africa. The highlands are the site of the
highest point in
Kenya and the second highest peak on the continent:
Mount Kenya , which reaches 5,199 m (17,057 ft) and is the site of
Mount Kilimanjaro (5,895 m or 19,341 ft) can be seen from
Kenya to the south of the Tanzanian border.
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Kenya's climate varies from tropical along the coast to temperate
inland to arid in the north and northeast parts of the country. The
area receives a great deal of sunshine every month, and summer clothes
are worn throughout the year. It is usually cool at night and early in
the morning inland at higher elevations.
The "long rains" season occurs from March/April to May/June. The
"short rains" season occurs from October to November/December. The
rainfall is sometimes heavy and often falls in the afternoons and
evenings. The temperature remains high throughout these months of
tropical rain. The hottest period is February and March, leading into
the season of the long rains, and the coldest is in July, until mid
August. A giraffe at
Nairobi National Park , with Nairobi's
skyline in background
Average annual temperatures
Rift Valley town
Dry north plainlands
Dry north plainlands
Wildlife of Kenya
Wildlife of Kenya and
Environmental issues in Kenya
Kenya has considerable land area devoted to wildlife habitats,
Masai Mara , where blue wildebeest and other bovids
participate in a large scale annual migration. More than 1 million
wildebeest and 200,000 zebras participate in the migration across the
Mara River .
The "Big Five" game animals of Africa, that is the lion , leopard ,
buffalo , rhinoceros , and elephant , can be found in
Kenya and in the
Masai Mara in particular. A significant population of other wild
animals, reptiles and birds can be found in the national parks and
game reserves in the country. The annual animal migration occurs
between June and September with millions of animals taking part,
attracting valuable foreign tourism. Two million wildebeest migrate a
distance of 2,900 kilometres (1,802 mi) from the
Tanzania to the
Masai Mara in Kenya, in a constant
clockwise fashion, searching for food and water supplies. This
Serengeti Migration of the wildebeest is a curious spectacle listed
Seven Natural Wonders of Africa .
GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS
Politics of Kenya Kenya's third President Mwai
Kenya is a presidential representative democratic republic. The
President is both the head of state and head of government , and of a
multi-party system .
Executive power is exercised by the government.
Legislative power is vested in both the government and the National
Assembly and the Senate . The
Judiciary is independent of the
executive and the legislature. There was growing concern especially
during former president Daniel arap Moi's tenure that the executive
was increasingly meddling with the affairs of the judiciary.
Kenya ranks low on
Transparency International 's Corruption
Perception Index (CPI), a metric which attempts to gauge the
prevalence of public sector corruption in various countries. In 2012,
the nation placed 139th out of 176 total countries in the CPI, with a
score of 27/100. However, there are several rather significant
developments with regards to curbing corruption from the Kenyan
government, for instance, the establishment of a new and independent
Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC). The Supreme Court
Following general elections held in 1997, the Constitution of Kenya
Review Act designed to pave the way for more comprehensive amendments
to the Kenyan constitution was passed by the national parliament.
In December 2002,
Kenyans held democratic and open elections, most of
which were judged free and fair by international observers. The 2002
elections marked an important turning point in Kenya's democratic
evolution in that power was transferred peacefully from the Kenya
African National Union (KANU), which had ruled the country since
independence to the
National Rainbow Coalition (NARC), a coalition of
Under the presidency of
Mwai Kibaki , the new ruling coalition
promised to focus its efforts on generating economic growth, combating
corruption, improving education, and rewriting its constitution. A few
of these promises have been met. There is free primary education. In
2007, the government issued a statement declaring that from 2008,
secondary education would be heavily subsidised, with the government
footing all tuition fees.
2013 ELECTIONS AND NEW GOVERNMENT
Kenyan general election, 2013 ; Kenyan presidential
election, 2013 ;
Kenya National Assembly elections, 2013 ; Kenya
Senate elections, 2013 ;
Kenya gubernatorial elections, 2013 ; Kenya
Women Representatives elections, 2013 ; and
Representative elections, 2013
Under the new constitution and with President Kibaki prohibited by
term limits from running for a third term, Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru
Kenyatta ran for office. He won with 50.51% of the vote in March 2013.
In December 2014, President
Uhuru Kenyatta signed a Security Laws
Amendment Bill, which supporters of the law suggested was necessary to
guard against armed groups. Opposition politicians, human rights
groups, and nine Western countries criticised the security bill,
arguing that it infringed on democratic freedoms. The governments of
United States , the
United Kingdom ,
Germany , and
collectively issued a press statement cautioning about the law's
potential impact. Through the Jubilee Coalition, the Bill was later
passed on 19 December in the National Assembly under acrimonious
Foreign relations of Kenya
Kenya has close ties with its fellow Swahili -speaking neighbours in
African Great Lakes
African Great Lakes region. Relations with
generally strong, as the three nations work toward economic and social
integration through common membership in the
East African Community .
Somalia have historically been tense, although there
has been some military co-ordination against Islamist insurgents.
Kenya has good relations with the United Kingdom.
Kenya is one of the
most pro-American nations in Africa, and the wider world.
International Criminal Court trial dates scheduled in 2013 for
both President Kenyatta and Deputy President
William Ruto related to
the 2007 election aftermath, US President
Barack Obama chose not to
visit the country during his mid-2013 African trip . Later in the
summer, Kenyatta visited China at the invitation of President Xi
Jinping after a stop in Russia and not having visited the United
States as president. In July 2015 Obama visited Kenya, the first
American president to visit the country while in office.
Kenya Defence Forces Kenyan Army Brig. Gen.
Leonard Ngondi, left, greets U.S. Marine Lt. Col. Steve Nichols, left,
at Camp Lonestar in Kenya, 2006
The KENYA DEFENCE FORCES are the armed forces of the
Kenya . The
Kenya Army ,
Kenya Navy and
Kenya Air Force compose the
National Defence Forces. The current
Kenya Defence Forces were
established, and its composition laid out, in Article 241 of the 2010
Constitution of Kenya ; the KDF is governed by the
Forces Act of 2012. The
President of Kenya
President of Kenya is the commander-in-chief
of all the armed forces.
The armed forces are regularly deployed in peacekeeping missions
around the world. Further, in the aftermath of the national elections
of December 2007 and the violence that subsequently engulfed the
country, a commission of inquiry, the
Waki Commission , commended its
readiness and adjudged it to "have performed its duty well."
Nevertheless, there have been serious allegations of human rights
violations, most recently while conducting counter-insurgency
operations in the
Mt Elgon area and also in the district of Mandera
central. Kenya's 47 counties .
Kenya's armed forces, like many government institutions in the
country, have been tainted by corruption allegations. Because the
operations of the armed forces have been traditionally cloaked by the
ubiquitous blanket of "state security", the corruption has been hidden
from public view, and thus less subject to public scrutiny and
notoriety. This has changed recently. In what are by Kenyan standards
unprecedented revelations, in 2010, credible claims of corruption were
made with regard to recruitment and procurement of Armoured
Personnel Carriers. Further, the wisdom and prudence of certain
decisions of procurement have been publicly questioned.
Counties of Kenya and
Divisions of Kenya
Kenya is divided into 47 semi-autonomous counties that are headed by
governors. These 47 counties now form the first-order divisions of
The smallest administrative units in
Kenya are called locations .
Locations often coincide with electoral wards. Locations are usually
named after their central villages/towns. Many larger towns consist of
several locations. Each location has a chief, appointed by the state.
Constituencies are an electoral subdivision, with each county
comprising a whole number of constituencies. An Interim Boundaries
commission was formed in year 2010 to review the constituencies and in
its report, it recommended creation of an additional 80
constituencies. Previous to the 2013 elections, there were 210
Human rights in Kenya and
LGBT rights in Kenya
LGBT rights in Kenya
Homosexual acts are illegal in
Kenya and punishable by up to 14 years
in prison though the state often turns a blind eye on prosecuting
homosexuals. According to 2013 survey by the
Pew Research Center
Pew Research Center ,
Kenyans believe that homosexuality should not be accepted by
society. While addressing a joint press conference together with
Barack Obama in 2015, President Kenyatta declined to assure
Kenya's commitment to gay rights saying that "the issue of gay rights
is really a non-issue." "But there are some things that we must admit
we don't share. Our culture, our societies don't accept."
In November 2008,
WikiLeaks brought wide international attention to
The Cry of Blood report. In the report, the
Kenya National Commission
on Human Rights (KNCHR) reported these in their key finding "e)",
stating that the forced disappearances and extrajudicial killings
appeared to be official policy sanctioned by the political leadership,
the Police. The police often shoot suspected gangsters in public as a
new "strategy" to fight the rising levels of crime in the country in
total disregard of the laws.
Economy of Kenya A proportional representation of
Kenya is the biggest and most advanced economy in east and
central Africa, and has an affluent urban minority, it has a Human
Development Index (HDI) of 0.519, ranked 145 out of 186 in the world.
As of 2005 , 17.7% of
Kenyans lived on less than $1.25 a day. In
Kenya ranked 92nd in the
World Bank ease of doing business
rating from 113rd in 2016 (of 190 countries). The important
agricultural sector is one of the least developed and largely
inefficient, employing 75% of the workforce compared to less than 3%
in the food secure developed countries .
Kenya is usually classified
as a frontier market or occasionally an emerging market , but it is
not one of the least developed countries . A market hall in
The economy has seen much expansion, seen by strong performance in
tourism, higher education and telecommunications , and acceptable
post-drought results in agriculture, especially the vital tea sector.
Kenya's economy grew by more than 7% in 2007, and its foreign debt was
greatly reduced. But this changed immediately after the disputed
presidential election of December 2007, following the chaos which
engulfed the country.
East and Central Africa's biggest economy has posted tremendous
growth in the service sector, boosted by rapid expansion in
telecommunication and financial activity over the last decade, and now
contributes 62% of GDP. 22% of GDP still comes from the unreliable
agricultural sector which employs 75% of the labour force (a
consistent characteristic of under-developed economies that have not
attained food security —an important catalyst of economic growth) A
small portion of the population relies on food aid. Industry and
manufacturing is the smallest sector, accounting for 16% of GDP. The
service, industry and manufacturing sectors only employ 25% of the
labour force but contribute 75% of GDP.
Privatisation of state corporations like the defunct
Kenya Post and
Telecommunications Company, which resulted in East Africa's most
Safaricom , has led to their revival because of
massive private investment.
As of May 2011, economic prospects are positive with 4–5% GDP
growth expected, largely because of expansions in tourism ,
telecommunications , transport, construction and a recovery in
agriculture . The
World Bank estimated growth of 4.3% in 2012.
Kenya, Trends in the
Human Development Index
Human Development Index 1970–2010.
In March 1996, the presidents of Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda
East African Community (EAC). The EAC's objectives
include harmonising tariffs and customs regimes, free movement of
people, and improving regional infrastructures. In March 2004, the
three East African countries signed a Customs Union Agreement .
Kenya is East and Central Africa's hub for financial services. The
Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) is ranked 4th in
Africa in terms of
market capitalisation. The Kenyan banking system is supervised by the
Central Bank of Kenya (CBK). As of late July 2004, the system
consisted of 43 commercial banks (down from 48 in 2001), several
non-bank financial institutions , including mortgage companies, four
savings and loan associations, and several core foreign-exchange
Kenya Elephants at Amboseli National
Kenya's services sector, which contributes 61% of GDP, is dominated
by tourism. The tourism sector has exhibited steady growth in most
years since independence and by the late 1980s had become the
country's principal source of foreign exchange. Tourists, the largest
number being from
Germany and the
United Kingdom , are attracted
mainly to the coastal beaches and the game reserves , notably, the
expansive East and
Tsavo West National Park 20,808 square kilometres
(8,034 sq mi) in the southeast.
Tourism has seen a substantial revival over the past several years
and is the major contributor to the pick-up in the country's economic
Tourism is now Kenya's largest foreign exchange earning
sector, followed by flowers, tea, and coffee. In 2006 tourism
generated US$803 million, up from US$699 million the previous year.
Presently, there are also numerous shopping malls in
Kenya . In
addition, there are four main hypermarket chains in
Kenya . Kenya
banned most game hunting in 1977, removing a major economic incentive
for rural communities to protect wildlife. By best estimates,
Kenya’s wildlife has declined by more than 70 percent over the past
Kenya A Tea farm near
Kericho County .
Agriculture is the second largest contributor to Kenya's gross
domestic product (GDP), after the service sector. In 2005 agriculture,
including forestry and fishing, accounted for 24% of GDP, as well as
for 18% of wage employment and 50% of revenue from exports. The
principal cash crops are tea, horticultural produce, and coffee.
Horticultural produce and tea are the main growth sectors and the two
most valuable of all of Kenya's exports. The production of major food
staples such as corn is subject to sharp weather-related fluctuations.
Production downturns periodically necessitate food aid—for example,
in 2004 aid for 1.8 million people because of one of Kenya's
intermittent droughts . A Kenyan farmer at work in the Mount
A consortium led by the International Crops Research Institute for
Arid Tropics (
ICRISAT ) has had some success in helping
farmers grow new pigeon pea varieties, instead of maize, in
particularly dry areas. Pigeon peas are very drought resistant, so can
be grown in areas with less than 650 mm annual rainfall. Successive
projects encouraged the commercialisation of legumes, by stimulating
the growth of local seed production and agro-dealer networks for
distribution and marketing. This work, which included linking
producers to wholesalers, helped to increase local producer prices by
Nairobi and Mombasa. The commercialisation of the pigeon
pea is now enabling some farmers to buy assets, ranging from mobile
phones to productive land and livestock, and is opening pathways for
them to move out of poverty.
Tea, coffee, sisal, pyrethrum, corn, and wheat are grown in the
fertile highlands, one of the most successful agricultural production
regions in Africa. Livestock predominates in the semi-arid savanna to
the north and east.
Coconuts , pineapples , cashew nuts , cotton,
sugarcane , sisal , and corn are grown in the lower-lying areas. Kenya
has not attained the level of investment and efficiency in agriculture
that can guarantee food security and coupled with resulting poverty
(53% of the population lives below the poverty line), a significant
portion of the population regularly starves and is heavily dependent
on food aid. Poor roads, an inadequate railway network, under-used
water transport and expensive air transport have isolated mostly arid
and semi-arid areas and farmers in other regions often leave food to
rot in the fields because they cannot access markets. This was last
seen in August and September 2011 prompting the
Kenyans for Kenya
initiative by the
Red Cross .
Kenya's irrigation sector is categorized into three organizational
types: smallholder schemes, centrally-managed public schemes and
private/commercial irrigation schemes.
The smallholder schemes are owned, developed and managed by
individuals or groups of farmers operating as water users or self-help
Irrigation is carried out on individual or on group farms
averaging 0.1–0.4 ha. There are about 3,000 smallholder irrigation
schemes covering a total area of 47,000 ha. The country has seven
large, centrally managed irrigation schemes, namely Mwea, Bura , Hola
, Perkera , West Kano, Bunyala and
Ahero covering a total commanded
area of 18,200 ha and averaging 2,600 ha per scheme. These schemes are
managed by the National
Irrigation Board and account for 18% of
irrigated land area in Kenya. Large-scale private commercial farms
cover 45,000 hectares accounting for 40% of irrigated land. They
utilize high technology and produce high-value crops for the export
market, especially flowers and vegetables.
Kenya is the world's 3rd largest exporter of cut flowers. Roughly
half of Kenya's 127 flower farms are concentrated around Lake Naivasha
, 90 kilometers northwest of Nairobi. To speed their export, Nairobi
airport has a terminal dedicated to the transport of flowers and
INDUSTRY AND MANUFACTURING
Kenya Commercial Bank headquarters at KENCOM House in
Kenya is the most industrially developed country in the
African Great Lakes
African Great Lakes region, manufacturing still accounts for only 14%
of the GDP. Industrial activity, concentrated around the three largest
Kisumu , is dominated by
food-processing industries such as grain milling, beer production, and
sugarcane crushing, and the fabrication of consumer goods, e.g.,
vehicles from kits.
There is a cement production industry.
Kenya has an oil refinery
that processes imported crude petroleum into petroleum products,
mainly for the domestic market. In addition, a substantial and
expanding informal sector commonly referred to as jua kali engages in
small-scale manufacturing of household goods, auto parts, and farm
Kenya's inclusion among the beneficiaries of the US Government's
African Growth and Opportunity Act (
AGOA ) has given a boost to
manufacturing in recent years. Since
AGOA took effect in 2000, Kenya's
clothing sales to the
United States increased from US$44 million to
US$270 million (2006). Other initiatives to strengthen manufacturing
have been the new government's favourable tax measures, including the
removal of duty on capital equipment and other raw materials.
Transport in Kenya
Transport in Kenya
The country has an extensive network of paved and unpaved roads.
Kenya's railway system links the nation's ports and major cities,
connecting it with neighbouring Uganda. There are 15 airports which
have paved runways.
Energy in Kenya
Energy in Kenya
The largest share of Kenya's electricity supply comes from geothermal
energy followed by hydroelectric stations at dams along the upper
Tana River , as well as the Turkwel Gorge Dam in the west. A
petroleum-fired plant on the coast, geothermal facilities at Olkaria
(near Nairobi), and electricity imported from
Uganda make up the rest
of the supply. Kenya's installed capacity stood at 1,142 megawatts
between 2001 and 2003. The state-owned
Kenya Electricity Generating
Company (KenGen) , established in 1997 under the name of
Company, handles the generation of electricity, while
handles the electricity transmission and distribution system in the
country. Shortfalls of electricity occur periodically, when drought
reduces water flow. To become energy sufficient,
Kenya aims to build a
nuclear power plant by 2017. Workers at
Olkaria Geothermal Power
Kenya has proven deposits of oil in Turkana and the commercial
viability was just discovered.
Tullow Oil estimates Kenya's oil
reserves to be around 10 billion barrels. Exploration is still
continuing to determine if there are more reserves.
imports all crude petroleum requirements. Kenya, east Africa's largest
economy, has no strategic reserves and relies solely on oil marketers'
21-day oil reserves required under industry regulations. Petroleum
accounts for 20% to 25% of the national import bill.
OVERALL CHINESE INVESTMENT AND TRADE
Published comments on Kenya's Capital FM website by Liu Guangyuan,
China\'s ambassador to
Kenya , at the time of President Kenyatta's
2013 trip to Beijing, said, "Chinese investment in
Kenya ... reached
$474 million, representing Kenya's largest source of foreign direct
investment, and ... bilateral trade ... reached $2.84 billion" in
2012. Kenyatta was "ccompanied by 60 Kenyan business people ... gain
support from China for a planned $2.5 billion railway from the
southern Kenyan port of
Mombasa to neighboring
Uganda , as well as a
nearly $1.8 billion dam", according to a statement from the
president's office also at the time of the trip.
Base Titanium, a subsidiary of Base resources of Australia, shipped
its first major consignment of minerals to China. About 25,000 tonnes
of ilmenite was flagged off the Kenyan coastal town of Kilifi. The
first shipment was expected to earn
Kenya about Kshs15–20 billion in
earnings. Recently the Chinese contracted railway project from
Mombasa was suspended due to dispute over compensation for
The official logo of Vision 2030 .
In 2007, the Kenyan government unveiled Vision 2030 , an economic
development programme it hopes will put the country in the same league
as the Asian Economic Tigers by the year 2030. In 2013, it launched a
National Climate Change Action Plan, having acknowledged that omitting
climate as a key development issue in Vision 2030 was an oversight.
The 200-page Action Plan, developed with support from the Climate
$41.84 billion (2012) at Market Price. $76.07 billion (Purchasing
Power Parity, 2012)
There exists an informal economy that is never counted as part of the
official GDP figures.
ANNUAL GROWTH RATE
PER CAPITA INCOME
Per Capita Income (PPP)= $1,800
tea, coffee, corn , wheat, sugarcane , fruit, vegetables, dairy
products, beef, pork, poultry, eggs
small-scale consumer goods (plastic, furniture, batteries,
textiles, clothing, soap, cigarettes, flour), agricultural products,
horticulture, oil refining; aluminium, steel, lead; cement, commercial
ship repair, tourism
Trade in 2012
tea, coffee, horticultural products, petroleum products, cement,
Tanzania 9.6%, Netherlands 8.4%, UK, 8.1%, US 6.2%,
Egypt 4.9%, Democratic
Republic of the Congo 4.2% (2012)
machinery and transportation equipment, petroleum products, motor
vehicles, iron and steel, resins and plastics
India 13.8%, UAE 10.5%, Saudi Arabia 7.3%, South
Africa 5.5%, Japan 4.0% (2012)
See also: Oil in
Lake Turkana borders
Kenya has proven oil deposits in
Turkana County . President Mwai
Kibaki announced on 26 March 2012 that
Tullow Oil , an Anglo-Irish oil
exploration firm, had struck oil but its commercial viability and
subsequent production would take about three years to confirm.
Early in 2006 Chinese President
Hu Jintao signed an oil exploration
contract with Kenya, part of a series of deals designed to keep
Africa's natural resources flowing to China's rapidly expanding
The deal allowed for China's state-controlled offshore oil and gas
company, CNOOC , to prospect for oil in Kenya, which is just beginning
to drill its first exploratory wells on the borders of
Somalia and in coastal waters. There are formal estimates of the
possible reserves of oil discovered.
CHILD LABOUR AND PROSTITUTION
Maasai people . The Maasai live in both
Kenya and Tanzania.
Child labour is common in Kenya. Most working children are active in
agriculture. In 2006, UNICEF estimated that up to 30% of girls in the
coastal areas of Malindi, Mombasa, Kilifi, and
Diani were subject to
prostitution. Most of the prostitutes in
Kenya are aged 9–18. The
Ministry of Gender and Child Affairs employed 400 child protection
officers in 2009. The causes of child labour include poverty, the
lack of access to education and weak government institutions. Kenya
has ratified Convention No. 81 on labour inspection in industries and
Convention No. 129 on labour inspection in agriculture.
MICROFINANCE IN KENYA
Microfinance in Kenya
Microfinance in Kenya
24 institutions offer business loans on a large scale, specific
agriculture loans, education loans and for any other purpose loans.
Additionally there are:
* emergency loans, which are more expensive in respect to interest
rates, but are quickly available
* group loans for smaller groups (4–5 members) and larger groups
(up to 30 members)
* women loans, which are also available to a group of women
Out of approximately 40 million
Kenyans , about 14 million Kenyans
are not able to receive financial service through formal loan
application service and an additional 12 million
Kenyans have no
access to financial service institutions at all. Further, 1 million
Kenyans are reliant on informal groups for receiving financial aid.
CONDITIONS FOR MICROFINANCE PRODUCTS
* Eligibility criteria: the general criteria might include gender as
in the case for special women loans, to be at least 18 years old, to
own a valid Kenyan ID, have a business, demonstrate the ability to
repay the loan, and to be a customer of the institution.
Credit scoring : there is no advanced credit scoring system and
the majority has not stated any official loan distribution system.
However, some institutions require to have an existing business for at
least 3 months, own a small amount of cash, provide the institution
with a business plan or proposal, have at least one guarantor , or to
attend group meetings or training. For group loans, almost half of the
institutions require group members to guarantee for each other.
Interest rate : they are mostly calculated on a flat basis and
some at a declining balance. More than 90% of the institutions require
monthly interest payments. The average interest rate is 30–40% for
loans up to 500,000 Kenyan Shilling. For loans above 500,000 Kenyan
Shilling, interest rates go up to 71%.
Demographics of Kenya A Bantu Kikuyu woman in
Kenya had a population of approximately 48 million people in January
Kenya has a young population, with 73% of residents aged below
30 years because of rapid population growth ; from 2.9 million to 40
million inhabitants over the last century.
Kenya's capital, Nairobi, is home to
Kibera , one of the world's
largest slums . The shanty town is believed to house between 170,000
and 1 million locals. The UNHCR base in
Dadaab in the north also
currently houses around 500,000 people.
A Nilotic Turkana woman wearing traditional neck beads
Kenya has a diverse population that includes most major ethnoracial
and linguistic groups found in Africa. There are an estimated 47
different communities, with Bantus (67%) and Nilotes (30%)
constituting the majority of local residents.
Cushitic groups also
form a small ethnic minority , as do
Arabs , Indians and Europeans.
According to the
Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS), Kenya
has a total population of 38,610,097 inhabitants. The largest native
ethnic groups are the Kikuyu (6,622,576), Luhya (5,338,666), Kalenjin
(4,967,328), Luo (4,044,440), Kamba (3,893,157), Kisi (2,205,669),
Mijikenda (1,960,574), Meru (1,658,108), Turkana (988,592), and Maasai
(841,622). Foreign-rooted populations include Kenyan
Asians and Europeans .
Languages of Kenya
Kenya's various ethnic groups typically speak their mother tongues
within their own communities. The two official languages , English and
Swahili , are used in varying degrees of fluency for communication
with other populations. English is widely spoken in commerce,
schooling and government. Peri-urban and rural dwellers are less
multilingual, with many in rural areas speaking only their native
British English is primarily used in Kenya. Additionally, a distinct
Kenyan English , is used by some communities and
individuals in the country, and contains features unique to it that
were derived from local
Bantu languages , such as Kiswahili and Kikuyu
. It has been developing since colonisation and also contains certain
American English . Sheng is a Kiswahili-based cant spoken
in some urban areas. Primarily consisting of a mixture of Kiswahili
and English, it is an example of linguistic code-switching .
There are a total of 69 languages spoken in Kenya. Most belong to two
broad language families: Niger-Congo (Bantu branch ) and Nilo-Saharan
(Nilotic branch ), spoken by the country's Bantu and Nilotic
populations, respectively. The
Arab ethnic minorities
speak languages belonging to the separate Afroasiatic family, with the
Indian and European residents speaking languages from the
List of cities and towns in Kenya by population
Largest cities or towns in Kenya
Kenya CIA Factbook
3 375 000
1 200 000
Religion in Kenya Holy Ghost Roman Catholic
cathedral in Mombasa.
The majority of Kenyan's inhabitants are followers of Christianity
(83%), with 47.7% regarding themselves as
Protestant and 23.5% as
Roman Catholic of the
Latin Rite . The Presbyterian Church of East
Africa has 3 million followers in
Kenya and the surrounding countries.
There are smaller conservative
Reformed churches, the Africa
Evangelical Presbyterian Church , the Independent Presbyterian Church
Kenya , and the
Reformed Church of East
Africa . 621,200 of Kenyans
are Orthodox Christians.
Kenya has the highest number of Quakers in
the world, with around 133,000 members. The only
Jewish synagogue in
the country is located in the capital, Nairobi.
Minorities of other faiths exist (
Muslim 11.2%, indigenous beliefs
1.7%), and nonreligious 2.4%. Sixty percent of the
lives in Kenya's Coastal Region , comprising 50% of the total
population there. Western areas of the Coast Region are mostly
Christian. The upper part of Kenya's Eastern Region is home to 10% of
the country's Muslims, where they constitute the majority religious
group. In addition, there is a large Hindu population in Kenya
(around 300,000), who have played a key role in the local economy;
they are mostly of Indian origin.
Health in Kenya Outpatient Department of AIC
Kapsowar Hospital in
Kenya's health private sector is one of the most advanced and dynamic
Sub-Saharan Africa and is the main source of health care even for
the nation's poorest people. The private health sector is larger and
more easily accessible than both the public and the non-profit health
sectors in terms of facilities and personnel. According to a World
Bank report, nearly half of the poorest 20 percent of
Kenyans use a
private health facility when a child is sick.
Private health facilities are diverse and cater for all economic
groups. Hospitals such as the Aga Khan Hospital and the Mombasa
Hospital are comparable to many hospitals in the developed world but
are expensive and accessible only to the rich and the insured. Many
affordable and low-cost private medical institutions and clinics exist
and are easily accessible to the poor and the working middle-class .
The unlicensed practice and control of medical practice by laymen
through limited liability companies and other artificial legal
entities is common and widespread unlike other countries where it is
The public health sector consists of community-based (level I)
services which are run by community health workers, dispensaries
(level II facilities) which are run by nurses, health centers (level
III facilities) which are run by clinical officers, sub-county
hospitals (level IV facilities) which may be run by a clinical officer
or a medical officer, county hospitals (level V facilities) which may
be run by a medical officer or a medical practitioner, and national
referral hospitals (level VI facilities) which are run by fully
qualified medical practitioners (consultants and sub-specialists).
Table showing different grades of clinical officers, medical officers
and medical practitioners in Kenya's public service
Nurses are by far the largest group of front-line health care
providers in all sectors followed by clinical officers , medical
officers and medical practitioners . According to the
Bureau of Statistics , in 2011 there were 65,000 qualified nurses
registered in the country; 8,600 clinical officers and 7,000 doctors
for the population of 43 million people (These figures from official
registers include those who have died or left the profession hence the
actual number of these workers may be lower).
Traditional healers (Herbalists , witch doctors and faith healers )
are readily available, trusted and widely consulted as practitioners
of first or last choice by both rural and urban dwellers.
Despite major achievements in the health sector,
Kenya still faces
many challenges. The life expectancy estimate has dropped to
approximately 55 years in 2009—five years below 1990 levels. The
infant mortality rate is high at approximately 44 deaths per 1,000
children in 2012. The WHO estimated in 2011 that only 42% of births
were attended by a skilled health professional.
Diseases of poverty directly correlate with a country's economic
performance and wealth distribution : Half of
Kenyans live below the
poverty level. Preventable diseases like malaria, HIV/AIDS, pneumonia,
diarrhoea and malnutrition are the biggest burden, major
child-killers, and responsible for much morbidity; weak policies,
corruption, inadequate health workers, weak management and poor
leadership in the public health sector are largely to blame. According
to 2009 estimates, HIV prevalence is about 6.3% of the adult
population. However, the 2011 UNAIDS Report suggests that the HIV
epidemic may be improving in Kenya, as HIV prevalence is declining
among young people (ages 15–24) and pregnant women.
Kenya had an
estimated 15 million cases of malaria in 2006.
Women in Kenya
The total fertility rate in
Kenya is estimated to be 4.49 children
per woman in 2012. According to a 2008–09 survey by the Kenyan
government, the total fertility rate was 4.6% and the contraception
usage rate among married women was 46%.
Maternal mortality is high,
partly because of female genital mutilation , with about 27% of women
having undergone it. This practice is however on the decline as the
country becomes more modernised, and the practice was also banned in
the country in 2011. Women were economically empowered before
colonialization. By colonial land alienation, women lost access and
control of land. They became more economically dependent on men. A
colonial order of gender emerged where the male dominated the female.
Median age at first marriage increases with increasing education.
Rape, defilement and battering are not always seen as serious crimes.
Reports of sexual assault are not always taken seriously.
Education in Kenya School children in a
classroom. An MSc student at
Kenyatta University in Nairobi.
Children attend nursery school, or kindergarten in the private sector
until they are five years old. This lasts one to three years (KG1, KG2
and KG3) and is financed privately because there has been no
government policy regarding it until recently.
Basic formal education starts at age six years and lasts 12 years
consisting of eight years in primary school and four years in high
school or secondary school. Primary school is free in public schools
and those attending can join a vocational youth/village polytechnic or
make their own arrangements for an apprenticeship program and learn a
trade such as tailoring, carpentry, motor vehicle repair, brick-laying
and masonry for about two years.
Those who complete high school can join a polytechnic or other
technical college and study for three years, or proceed directly to
the university and study for four years. Graduates from the
polytechnics and colleges can then join the workforce and later obtain
a specialized higher diploma qualification after a further one to two
years of training, or join the university—usually in the second or
third year of their respective course. The higher diploma is accepted
by many employers in place of a bachelor's degree and direct or
accelerated admission to post-graduate studies is possible in some
universities. A Maasai girl at school.
Public universities in
Kenya are highly commercialized institutions
and only a small fraction of qualified high school graduates are
admitted on limited government-sponsorship into programs of their
choice. Most are admitted into the social sciences, which are cheap to
run, or as self-sponsored students paying the full cost of their
studies. Most qualified students who miss out opt for middle-level
diploma programs in public or private universities, colleges, and
38.5 percent of the Kenyan adult population is illiterate. There are
very wide regional disparities; for example,
Nairobi had the highest
level of literacy, 87.1 per cent, compared to North Eastern Province,
the lowest, at 8.0 per cent. Preschool, which targets children from
age three to five, is an integral component of the education system
and is a key requirement for admission to Standard One (First Grade).
At the end of primary education, pupils sit the
Kenya Certificate of
Primary Education (KCPE), which determines those who proceed to
secondary school or vocational training. The result of this
examination is needed for placement at secondary school.
Primary school is for students aged 6/7-13/14 years. For those who
proceed to the secondary level, there is a national examination at the
end of Form Four – the
Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education
(KCSE), which determines those proceeding to the universities, other
professional training or employment. Students sit examinations in
eight subjects of their choosing. However, English, Kiswahili and
mathematics are compulsory subjects.
Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement Service
(KUCCPS), formerly the Joint Admissions Board (JAB), is responsible
for selecting students joining the public universities. Other than the
public schools, there are many private schools, mainly in urban areas.
Similarly, there are a number of international schools catering to
various overseas educational systems.
Despite its impressive commercial approach and interests in the
country, Kenya's academia and higher education system is notoriously
rigid and disconnected from the needs of the local labor market and is
widely blamed for the high number of unemployable and "half-baked"
university graduates who struggle to fit in the modern workplace.
Culture of Kenya Kenyan boys and girls performing
a traditional dance Nation Media House which hosts the Nation
The culture of
Kenya consists of multiple traditions.
Kenya has no
single prominent culture that identifies it. It instead consists of
the various cultures of the country's different communities.
Notable populations include the Swahili on the coast, several other
Bantu communities in the central and western regions, and Nilotic
communities in the northwest. The Maasai culture is well known to
tourism, despite constituting a relatively small part of Kenya's
population. They are renowned for their elaborate upper body adornment
Kenya has an extensive music, television and theater
Media of Kenya
Media of Kenya
Kenya has a number of media outlets that broadcast domestically and
globally. They cover news, business, sports and entertainment. Popular
Kenyan newspapers include:
Daily Nation ; part of the
Nation Media Group (NMG) (largest
* The Standard
* The Star
* The People
Television stations based in
Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC)
* Citizen TV
Kenya Television Network (KTN)
* NTV (part of the
Nation Media Group (NMG))
* Kiss Television
* K24 Television
All of these terrestrial channels are transmitted via a DVB T2
digital TV signal.
Literature of Kenya Kenyan author Ngũgĩ wa
Ngũgĩ wa Thiong\'o is one of the best known writers of Kenya. His
Weep Not, Child , is an illustration of life in
the British occupation. The story details the effects of the Mau Mau
on the lives of Kenyans. Its combination of themes—colonialism ,
education, and love—helped to make it one of the best-known novels
M.G. Vassanji 's 2003 novel The In-Between World of Vikram Lall won
the Giller Prize in 2003. It is the fictional memoir of a Kenyan of
Indian heritage and his family as they adjust to the changing
political climates in colonial and post-colonial Kenya.
Since 2003, the literary journal
Kwani? has been publishing Kenyan
contemporary literature. Additionally,
Kenya has also been nurturing
emerging versatile authors such as Paul Kipchumba (Kipwendui,
Kibiwott) who demonstrate pan-African outlook (see
Africa in China's
21st Century: In Search of a Strategy (2017) .
Music of Kenya Popular Kenyan musician
Jua Cali .
Kenya has a diverse assortment of popular music forms, in addition to
multiple types of folk music based on the variety over 40 regional
The drums are the most dominant instrument in popular Kenyan music.
Drum beats are very complex and include both native rhythm and
imported ones, especially the Congolese cavacha rhythm. Popular Kenyan
music usually involves the interplay of multiple parts, and more
recently, showy guitar solos as well. There are also a number of local
hip hop artists, including
Jua Cali and afro-pop bands such as Sauti
Lyrics are most often in Kiswahili or English. There is also some
emerging aspect of Lingala borrowed from Congolese musicians. Lyrics
are also written in local languages. Urban radio generally only plays
English music, though there also exist a number of vernacular radio
Zilizopendwa is a genre of local urban music that was recorded in the
1960s, 70s and 80s by musicians such as
Daudi Kabaka , Fadhili William
and Sukuma Bin Ongaro , and is particularly revered and enjoyed by the
older folks—having been popularised by the
Corporation's Kiswahili service (formerly called Voice of
The isukuti is a vigorous dance performed by the Luhya sub-tribes to
the beat of a traditional drum called the Isukuti during many
occasions such as the birth of a child, marriage and funerals. Other
traditional dances include the
Ohangla among the Luo , Nzele among the
Mugithi among the Kikuyu and
Taarab among the Swahili .
Kenya has a growing Christian gospel music scene.
Prominent local gospel musicians include the
Kenyan Boys Choir .
Benga music has been popular since the late 1960s, especially in the
Lake Victoria . The word benga is occasionally used to
refer to any kind of pop music. Bass, guitar and percussion are the
Sport in Kenya Jepkosgei Kipyego and Jepkemoi
Cheruiyot at London 2012 Olympics 5,000 meters
Kenya is active in several sports, among them cricket , rallying ,
football , rugby union and boxing . The country is known chiefly for
its dominance in middle-distance and long-distance athletics, having
consistently produced Olympic and
Commonwealth Games champions in
various distance events, especially in 800 m, 1,500 m, 3,000 m
steeplechase, 5,000 m, 10,000 m and the marathon. Kenyan athletes
(particularly Kalenjin ) continue to dominate the world of distance
running, although competition from
Ethiopia has reduced
this supremacy. Kenya's best-known athletes included the four-time
Boston Marathon winner and two-time world champion Catherine
Ndereba , 800m world record holder
David Rudisha , former Marathon
Paul Tergat , and
John Ngugi .
Kenya won several medals during the Beijing Olympics, six gold, four
silver and four bronze, making it Africa's most successful nation in
the 2008 Olympics. New athletes gained attention, such as Pamela
Jelimo , the women's 800m gold medalist who went ahead to win the IAAF
Golden League jackpot, and
Samuel Wanjiru who won the men's marathon.
Retired Olympic and
Commonwealth Games champion
Kipchoge Keino helped
usher in Kenya's ongoing distance dynasty in the 1970s and was
followed by Commonwealth Champion
Henry Rono 's spectacular string of
world record performances. Lately, there has been controversy in
Kenyan athletics circles, with the defection of a number of Kenyan
athletes to represent other countries, chiefly
The Kenyan Ministry of Sports has tried to stop the defections, but
they have continued anyway, with
Bernard Lagat the latest, choosing to
represent the United States. Most of these defections occur because
of economic or financial factors. Decisions by the Kenyan government
to tax athletes' earnings may also be a reason for defection. Some
elite Kenyan runners who cannot qualify for their country's strong
national team find it easier to qualify by running for other
countries. Kenyan Olympic and world record holder in the 800
David Rudisha .
Kenya has been a dominant force in women's volleyball within Africa,
with both the clubs and the national team winning various continental
championships in the past decade. The women's team has competed at
the Olympics and World Championships though without any notable
Cricket is another popular sport, also ranking as the most
successful team sport.
Kenya has competed in the
Cricket World Cup
since 1996 . They upset some of the world's best teams and reached the
semi-finals of the 2003 tournament . They won the inaugural World
Cricket League Division 1 hosted in
Nairobi and participated in the
World T20. They also participated in the ICC
Cricket World Cup 2011 .
Their current captain is
Rakep Patel .
Kenya is represented by
Lucas Onyango as a professional rugby league
player who plays with
Oldham Roughyeds . Besides the former European
Super League team, he has played for
Widnes Vikings and rugby union
Sale Sharks .
Rugby union is increasing in popularity,
especially with the annual
Safari Sevens tournament. The
team ranked 9th in IRB Sevens World Series for the 2006 season. In
2016, the team beat
Fiji at the
Singapore Sevens finals, making Kenya
the second African nation after South
Africa to win a World Series
Kenya was also a regional powerhouse in football.
However, its dominance has been eroded by wrangles within the now
Kenya Football Federation
Kenya Football Federation , leading to a suspension by FIFA
which was lifted in March 2007.
In the motor rallying arena,
Kenya is home to the world-famous Safari
Rally , commonly acknowledged as one of the toughest rallies in the
world. It was a part of the
World Rally Championship for many years
until its exclusion after the 2002 event owing to financial
difficulties. Some of the best rally drivers in the world have taken
part in and won the rally, such as
Björn Waldegård ,
Hannu Mikkola ,
Tommi Mäkinen ,
Shekhar Mehta ,
Carlos Sainz and
Colin McRae .
Although the rally still runs annually as part of the
championship, the organisers are hoping to be allowed to rejoin the
World Rally championship in the next couple of years.
Nairobi has hosted several major continental sports events, including
FIBA Africa Championship 1993 where Kenya\'s national basketball
team finished in the top four, its best performance to date.
Ugali and sukuma wiki , staples of Kenyan cuisine
Kenyans generally have three meals in a day—breakfast in the
morning (kiamsha kinywa), lunch in the afternoon (chakula cha mchana)
and supper in the evening (chakula cha jioni or known simply as
"chajio"). In between, they have the 10 o'clock tea (chai ya saa nne)
and 4 p.m. tea (chai ya saa kumi). Breakfast is usually tea or
porridge with bread, chapati , mahamri , boiled sweet potatoes or yams
Githeri is a common lunch time dish in many households while Ugali
with vegetables, sour milk (
Mursik ), meat, fish or any other stew is
generally eaten by much of the population for lunch or supper.
Regional variations and dishes also exist.
In western Kenya: among the Luo , fish is a common dish; among the
Kalenjin who dominate much of the Rift Valley Region, mursik —sour
milk—is a major drink.
In cities such as
Nairobi , there are fast food restaurants,
KFC , and Subway . There are also many fish and
Foreign relations of Kenya
Index of Kenya-related articles
Outline of Kenya
Outline of Kenya
Water supply and sanitation in Kenya
Geography of Kenya portal
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