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) , national_anthem = " Ee Mungu Nguvu Yetu"
()
, image_map = , map_caption = , image_map2 = , capital =
Nairobi Nairobi ( ) is the Capital city, capital and largest city of Kenya. The name is derived from the Maasai language, Maasai phrase ''Enkare Nairobi'', which translates to "place of cool waters", a reference to the Nairobi River which flows throug ...

Nairobi
, coordinates = , largest_city =
Nairobi Nairobi ( ) is the Capital city, capital and largest city of Kenya. The name is derived from the Maasai language, Maasai phrase ''Enkare Nairobi'', which translates to "place of cool waters", a reference to the Nairobi River which flows throug ...

Nairobi
, official_languages = Constitution (2009) Art. 7 ational, official and other languages"(1) The national language of the Republic is Swahili. (2) The official languages of the Republic are Swahili and English. (3) The State shall–-–- (a) promote and protect the diversity of language of the people of Kenya; and (b) promote the development and use of indigenous languages, Kenyan Sign language, Braille and other communication formats and technologies accessible to persons with disabilities." , languages_type =
National language A national language is a language (or variety (linguistics), language variant, e.g. dialect) that has some connection—de facto or de jure—with a nation. There is little consistency in the use of this term. One or more languages spoken as fir ...
, languages = Swahili , ethnic_groups = , ethnic_groups_year = 2019 census , religion = , religion_year = 2019 census , demonym =
Kenyan ) , national_anthem = "Ee Mungu Nguvu Yetu"() , image_map = , map_caption = , image_map2 = , capital = Nairobi , coordinates = , largest_city = Nairobi , ...
, government_type =
Unitary Unitary may refer to: Mathematics * Unitary divisor * Unitary element * Unitary group * Unitary matrix * Unitary morphism * Unitary operator * Unitary transformation * Unitary representation * Unitarity (physics) * E-unitary inverse semigroup, ''E ...
presidential
republic A republic () is a "sovereign state, state in which Power (social and political), power rests with the people or their Representative democracy, representatives; specifically a state without a monarchy" and also a "government, or system of gov ...

republic
, leader_title1 =
President President most commonly refers to: *President (corporate title) *President (education), a leader of a college or university *President (government title) President may also refer to: Automobiles * Nissan President, a 1966–2010 Japanese ful ...
, leader_name1 =
William Ruto William Kipchirchir Samoei Arap Ruto (born 21 December 1966) is a Kenyan politician who is serving as the fifth and current president of Kenya since 13 September 2022. Prior to becoming president, he served as the 11th Deputy President of Keny ...
, leader_title2 =
Deputy President A vice president, also director in British English, is an officer in government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state. In the case of its broad associative definition, ...
, leader_name2 = Rigathi Gachagua , leader_title3 = Senate Speaker , leader_name3 = Amason Kingi , leader_title4 = Assembly Speaker , leader_name4 = , leader_title5 = Chief Justice , leader_name5 =
Martha Koome Martha Karambu Koome (born 3 June 1960) is a Kenyan advocate who is currently serving as the Chief Justice of Kenya, and is the first woman to occupy the post. Early life and education Koome was born on 3 June 1960 in Kithiu village, Meru ...

Martha Koome
, legislature =
Parliament In modern politics, and history, a parliament is a legislative body of government. Generally, a modern parliament has three functions: Representation (politics), representing the Election#Suffrage, electorate, making laws, and overseeing ...
, upper_house =
Senate A senate is a deliberative assembly, often the upper house An upper house is one of two Debate chamber, chambers of a bicameralism, bicameral legislature, the other chamber being the lower house.''Bicameralism'' (1997) by George Tseb ...
, lower_house =
National Assembly In politics, a national assembly is either a unicameral legislature, the lower house of a bicameral legislature, or both houses of a bicameral legislature together. In the English language it generally means "an assembly composed of the repre ...
, sovereignty_type =
Independence Independence is a condition of a person, nation, country, or Sovereign state, state in which residents and population, or some portion thereof, exercise self-government, and usually sovereignty, over its territory. The opposite of independ ...
, sovereignty_note = from the
United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain, is a country in Europe, off the north-western coast of the European mainland, continental mainland. It comprises England, Scotlan ...

United Kingdom
, established_event1 =
Dominion The term ''Dominion'' is used to refer to one of several self-governing nations of the British Empire. "Dominion status" was first accorded to Canada, Australia, Dominion of New Zealand, New Zealand, Dominion of Newfoundland, Newfoundland, Un ...
, established_date1 = 12 December 1963 , established_event2 =
Republic A republic () is a "sovereign state, state in which Power (social and political), power rests with the people or their Representative democracy, representatives; specifically a state without a monarchy" and also a "government, or system of gov ...

Republic
, established_date2 = 12 December 1964 , area_km2 = 580,367 , area_footnote = , area_rank = 48th , area_sq_mi = 224,960 , percent_water = 2.3 , population_estimate = 55,864,655 , population_estimate_year = 2022 , population_estimate_rank = 27th , population_census = 47,564,296 , population_census_rank = , population_census_year = 2019 , population_density_km2 = 78 , population_density_sq_mi = 202 , population_density_rank = 124th , GDP_PPP = $333.1 billion , GDP_PPP_year = 2022 , GDP_PPP_rank = 61th , GDP_PPP_per_capita = $6,122 , GDP_PPP_per_capita_rank =140th , GDP_nominal =$114.8 billion , GDP_nominal_year = 2022 , GDP_nominal_rank = 64th , GDP_nominal_per_capita = $2,255 , GDP_nominal_per_capita_rank = 146th , Gini = 40.8 , Gini_year = 2015 , Gini_change = decrease , Gini_ref = , Gini_rank = , HDI = 0.575 , HDI_year = 2021 , HDI_change = decrease , HDI_ref = , HDI_rank = 152nd , currency =
Kenyan shilling The shilling ( sw, shilingi; abbreviation: KSh; ISO 4217, ISO code: KES) is the currency of Kenya. It is divided into 100 cents. Notation Prices in the Kenyan shilling are written in the form of , where x is the amount in shillings, while ...
, currency_code = KES , time_zone =
East Africa Time East Africa Time, or EAT, is a time zone used in eastern Africa. The time zone is three hours ahead of UTC (UTC+03:00), which is the same as Moscow Time, Arabia Standard Time, Further-eastern European Time and Eastern European Summer Time. As t ...
, utc_offset = +3 , date_format = dd/mm/yy ( AD) , drives_on = left , calling_code = +254 , cctld = .ke , footnotes = 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, officially the Republic of Kenya ( sw, Jamhuri ya Kenya), is a country in
East Africa East Africa, Eastern Africa, or East of Africa, is the eastern subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region or continent and is usually based on location. Cardinal directions, such as south are commonly used to define a subregion. ...
. At , Kenya is the world's 48th largest country by area. With a population of more than 47.6 million in the 2019 census, Kenya is the 27th most populous country in the world. Kenya's capital and largest city is
Nairobi Nairobi ( ) is the Capital city, capital and largest city of Kenya. The name is derived from the Maasai language, Maasai phrase ''Enkare Nairobi'', which translates to "place of cool waters", a reference to the Nairobi River which flows throug ...

Nairobi
, while its oldest, currently second largest city, and first capital is the coastal city of
Mombasa Mombasa ( ; ) is a coastal city in southeastern Kenya along the Indian Ocean. It was the first capital of the British East Africa, before Nairobi was elevated to capital city status. It now serves as the capital of Mombasa County. The town is ...

Mombasa
. is the third-largest city and also an inland port on
Lake Victoria Lake Victoria is one of the African Great Lakes. With a surface area of approximately , Lake Victoria is Africa's largest lake by area, the world's largest tropics, tropical lake, and the world's second-largest fresh water lake by surface are ...

Lake Victoria
. Other important urban centres include
Nakuru Nakuru is a city in the Great Rift Valley, Kenya, Rift Valley region of Kenya. It is the capital of Nakuru County, and was formerly the capital of Rift Valley Province. As of 2019, Nakuru had an urban and rural population of 570,674 inhabitant ...

Nakuru
and
Eldoret Eldoret is a principal town in the Rift Valley Province, Rift Valley region of Kenya and serves as the capital of Uasin Gishu County. The town was referred to by white settlers as Farm 64, 64 and colloquially by locals as 'Sisibo'. As per the 2 ...
. As of 2020, Kenya is the third-largest economy in sub-Saharan Africa after
Nigeria Nigeria ( ), , ig, Naìjíríyà, yo, Nàìjíríà, pcm, Naijá , ff, Naajeeriya, kcg, Naijeriya officially the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is a country in West Africa. It is situated between the Sahel to the north and the Gulf of G ...

Nigeria
and
South Africa South Africa, officially the Republic of South Africa (RSA), is the Southern Africa, southernmost country in Africa. It is bounded to the south by of coastline that stretch along the Atlantic Ocean, South Atlantic and Indian Oceans; to the ...

South Africa
. Kenya is bordered by
South Sudan South Sudan (; din, Paguot Thudän), officially the Republic of South Sudan ( din, Paankɔc Cuëny Thudän), is a landlocked country in East Africa. It is bordered by Ethiopia, Sudan, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Con ...

South Sudan
to the northwest,
Ethiopia Ethiopia, , om, Itiyoophiyaa, so, Itoobiya, ti, ኢትዮጵያ, Ítiyop'iya, aa, Itiyoppiya officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, is a landlocked country in the Horn of Africa. It shares borders with Eritrea to the ...

Ethiopia
to the north,
Somalia Somalia, , Osmanya script: 𐒈𐒝𐒑𐒛𐒐𐒘𐒕𐒖; ar, الصومال, aṣ-Ṣūmāl officially the Federal Republic of SomaliaThe ''Federal Republic of Somalia'' is the country's name per Article 1 of thProvisional Constitut ...

Somalia
to the east,
Uganda }), is a landlocked country in East Africa. The country is bordered to the east by Kenya, to the north by South Sudan, to the west by the Democratic Republic of the Congo, to the south-west by Rwanda, and to the south by Tanzania. The souther ...

Uganda
to the west,
Tanzania Tanzania (; ), officially the United Republic of Tanzania ( sw, Jamhuri ya Muungano wa Tanzania), is a country in East Africa within the African Great Lakes region. It borders Uganda to the north; Kenya to the northeast; Comoro Islands an ...

Tanzania
to the south, and the
Indian Ocean The Indian Ocean is the third-largest of the world's five oceanic divisions, covering or ~19.8% of the water on Earth's surface. It is bounded by Asia to the north, Africa to the west and Australia (continent), Australia to the east. To the so ...

Indian Ocean
to the southeast. Its geography, climate and population vary widely, ranging from cold snow-capped mountaintops (Batian, Nelion and Point Lenana on
Mount Kenya Mount Kenya (Kikuyu language, Kikuyu: ''Kĩrĩnyaga'', Kamba language, Kamba, ''Ki Nyaa'') is the highest mountain in Kenya and the Highest mountain peaks of Africa, second-highest in Africa, after Mount Kilimanjaro, Kilimanjaro. The highest pea ...

Mount Kenya
) with vast surrounding forests, wildlife and fertile agricultural regions to temperate climates in western and rift valley counties and dry less fertile
arid A region is arid when it severely lacks available water, to the extent of hindering or preventing the growth and morphogenesis, development of plant and animal life. Regions with arid climates tend to lack vegetation and are called Deserts and ...

arid
and
semi-arid A semi-arid climate, semi-desert climate, or steppe climate is a dry climate sub-type. It is located on regions that receive precipitation below Evapotranspiration#Potential evapotranspiration, potential evapotranspiration, but not as low as a des ...
areas and absolute deserts ( and
Nyiri Desert Nyiri Desert, also called The Nyika, Taru Desert, Taru desert, is a desert in southern Kenya. It is located east of Lake Magadi and between Amboseli, Tsavo West National Park, Tsavo West and Nairobi National Park, Nairobi National Parks. A high pr ...
). Kenya's earliest inhabitants were
hunter-gatherer A traditional hunter-gatherer or forager is a human living an ancestrally derived lifestyle (sociology), lifestyle in which most or all food is obtained by foraging, that is, by gathering food from local sources, especially edible wild plants bu ...
s, like the present-day
Hadza people The Hadza, or Hadzabe (''Wahadzabe'' in Swahili), are a Tanzanian indigenous ethnic group An ethnic group or an ethnicity is a grouping of people who identity (social science), identify with each other on the basis of shared attributes tha ...
. According to archaeological dating of associated artifacts and skeletal material, Cushitic speakers first settled in Kenya's lowlands between 3,200 and 1,300 BC, a phase known as the Lowland Savanna Pastoral Neolithic.
Nilotic The Nilotic peoples are people Indigenous peoples of Africa, indigenous to the Nile Valley who speak Nilotic languages. They inhabit South Sudan, Sudan, Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania. ...
-speaking
pastoralists Pastoralism is a form of animal husbandry where domesticated animals (known as "livestock") are released onto large vegetated outdoor lands (pastures) for grazing, historically by nomadic people who moved around with their herds. The animal s ...
(ancestral to Kenya's Nilotic speakers) began migrating from present-day South Sudan into Kenya around 500 BC.
Bantu people The Bantu peoples, or Bantu, are an ethnolinguistic grouping of approximately 400 distinct List of ethnic groups of Africa, ethnic groups who speak Bantu languages. They are native to 24 countries spread over a vast area from Central Africa to Sou ...
settled at the coast and the interior between 250 BC and 500 AD. European contact began in 1500 AD with the
Portuguese Empire The Portuguese Empire ( pt, Império Português), also known as the Portuguese Overseas (''Ultramar Português'') or the Portuguese Colonial Empire (''Império Colonial Português''), was composed of the overseas Colonialism, colonies, Factory ...
, and effective colonisation of Kenya began in the 19th century during the European exploration of the interior. Modern-day Kenya emerged from a protectorate established by the
British Empire The British Empire was composed of the dominions, Crown colony, colonies, protectorates, League of Nations mandate, mandates, and other Dependent territory, territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom and its predecessor states. I ...

British Empire
in 1895 and the subsequent
Kenya Colony The Colony and Protectorate of Kenya, commonly known as British Kenya or British East Africa, was part of the British Empire The British Empire was composed of the dominions, Crown colony, colonies, protectorates, League of Nations mand ...
, which began in 1920. Numerous disputes between the UK and the colony led to the Mau Mau revolution, which began in 1952, and the declaration of independence in 1963. After independence, Kenya remained a member of the
Commonwealth of Nations The Commonwealth of Nations, simply referred to as the Commonwealth, is a political association of 56 member states, the vast majority of which are former territories of the British Empire. The chief institutions of the organisation are the C ...
. The current constitution was adopted in 2010 and replaced the 1963 independence constitution. Kenya is a presidential representative democratic republic, in which elected officials represent the people and the president is the head of state and government. Kenya is a member of the
United Nations The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization whose stated purposes are to maintain international peace and international security, security, develop friendly relations among nations, achieve international cooperation, and be ...
,
Commonwealth of Nations The Commonwealth of Nations, simply referred to as the Commonwealth, is a political association of 56 member states, the vast majority of which are former territories of the British Empire. The chief institutions of the organisation are the C ...
,
World Bank The World Bank is an international financial institution that provides loans and Grant (money), grants to the governments of Least developed countries, low- and Developing country, middle-income countries for the purpose of pursuing capital pro ...
,
International Monetary Fund The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is a major financial agency of the United Nations, and an international financial institution, headquartered in Washington, D.C., consisting of 190 countries. Its stated mission is "working to foster globa ...
,
COMESA The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) is a regional economic community in Africa with twenty-one member states stretching from Tunisia to Eswatini. COMESA was formed in December 1994, replacing a Preferential Trade Area whic ...
,
International Criminal Court The International Criminal Court (ICC or ICCt) is an intergovernmental organization and International court, international tribunal seated in The Hague, Netherlands. It is the first and only permanent international court with jurisdiction to pro ...
, as well as other international organisations. With a GNI of 1,840, Kenya is a lower-middle-income economy. Kenya's economy is the largest in eastern and central Africa,Ethiopia GDP purchasing power 2010: 86 billion
. Imf.org. 14 September 2006.
Kenya GDP purchasing power 2010: 66 Billion
. Imf.org. 14 September 2006.
with
Nairobi Nairobi ( ) is the Capital city, capital and largest city of Kenya. The name is derived from the Maasai language, Maasai phrase ''Enkare Nairobi'', which translates to "place of cool waters", a reference to the Nairobi River which flows throug ...

Nairobi
serving as a major regional commercial hub. Agriculture is the largest sector: tea and coffee are traditional cash crops, while fresh flowers are a fast-growing export. The
service industry The tertiary sector of the economy, generally known as the service sector, is the third of the three economic sectors in the three-sector model (also known as the economic cycle). The others are the primary sector (raw materials) and the second ...
is also a major economic driver, particularly tourism. Kenya is a member of the
East African Community The East African Community (EAC) is an intergovernmental organisation composed of seven countries in the African Great Lakes, Great Lakes region of East Africa: the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the United Republic of Tanzania, the Republi ...
trade bloc, though some international trade organisations categorise it as part of the Greater Horn of Africa. Africa is Kenya's largest export market, followed by the European Union.


Etymology

The Republic of Kenya is named after
Mount Kenya Mount Kenya (Kikuyu language, Kikuyu: ''Kĩrĩnyaga'', Kamba language, Kamba, ''Ki Nyaa'') is the highest mountain in Kenya and the Highest mountain peaks of Africa, second-highest in Africa, after Mount Kilimanjaro, Kilimanjaro. The highest pea ...

Mount Kenya
. The earliest recorded version of the modern name was written by German explorer
Johann Ludwig Krapf Johann Ludwig Krapf (11 January 1810 – 26 November 1881) was a German missionary in East Africa, as well as an explorer, Linguistics, linguist, and traveler. Krapf played an important role in exploring East Africa with Johannes Rebmann. They we ...
in the 19th century. While travelling with a Kamba caravan led by the legendary long-distance trader Chief Kivoi, Krapf spotted the mountain peak and asked what it was called. Kivoi told him "''Kĩ-Nyaa''" or "''Kĩĩma- Kĩĩnyaa''", probably because the pattern of black rock and white snow on its peaks reminded him of the feathers of the male ostrich. In archaic Kikuyu the word 'nyaga' or more commonly 'manyaganyaga' is used to describe an extremely bright object. The Agikuyu, who inhabit the slopes of Mt. Kenya, call it Kĩrĩma Kĩrĩnyaga (literally 'the mountain with brightness') in Kikuyu, while the Embu call it "Kirenyaa". All three names have the same meaning. Ludwig Krapf recorded the name as both ''Kenia'' and ''Kegnia''. Some have said that this was a precise notation of the African pronunciation . An 1882 map drawn by Joseph Thompsons, a Scottish geologist and naturalist, indicated Mt. Kenya as Mt. Kenia. The mountain's name was accepted, ''
pars pro toto ''Pars pro toto'' (, ), , is a figure of speech where the name of a ''portion'' of an object, place, or concept is used or taken to represent its entirety. It is distinct from a merism, which is a reference to a whole by an enumeration of parts; ...
'', as the name of the country. It did not come into widespread official use during the early colonial period, when the country was referred to as the
East African Protectorate East Africa Protectorate (also known as British East Africa) was an area in the African Great Lakes occupying roughly the same terrain as present-day Kenya from the Indian Ocean inland to the border with Uganda in the west. Controlled by Britai ...
. The official name was changed to the Colony of Kenya in 1920.


History


Human prehistory

Fossils found in Kenya have shown that primates inhabited the area for more than 20 million years. Recent findings near
Lake Turkana Lake Turkana (), formerly known as Lake Rudolf, is a lake in the Great Rift Valley, Kenya, Kenyan Rift Valley, in northern Kenya, with its far northern end crossing into Ethiopia. It is the world's largest permanent desert lake and the world's ...
indicate that
hominid The Hominidae (), whose members are known as the great apes or hominids (), are a taxonomic Family (biology), family of primates that includes eight Neontology#Extant taxa versus extinct taxa, extant species in four Genus, genera: ''Orangutan, ...
s such as ''
Homo habilis ''Homo habilis'' ("handy man") is an extinct species of archaic human from the Early Pleistocene of East and South Africa about 2.31 million years ago to 1.65 million years ago (mya). Upon species description in 1964, ''H. habilis'' was highly c ...
'' (1.8 to 2.5 million years ago) and ''
Homo erectus ''Homo erectus'' (; meaning ":wikt:erectus, upright man") is an extinct species of archaic human from the Pleistocene, with its earliest occurrence about 2 million years ago. Several human species, such as ''H. heidelbergensis'' and ''H. ...
'' (1.9 million to 350,000 years ago) are possible direct ancestors of modern ''
Homo sapiens Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most abundant and widespread species of primate, characterized by bipedality, bipedalism and exceptional cognitive skills due to a large and complex Human brain, brain. This has enabled the development of ad ...
'', and lived in Kenya in the
Pleistocene The Pleistocene ( , often referred to as the '' Ice age'') is the geological epoch that lasted from about 2,580,000 to 11,700 years ago, spanning the Earth's most recent period of repeated glaciations. Before a change was finally confirmed ...
epoch. During excavations at Lake Turkana in 1984, paleoanthropologist
Richard Leakey Richard Erskine Frere Leakey (19 December 1944 – 2 January 2022) was a Kenyan paleoanthropologist, conservation movement, conservationist and politician. Leakey held a number of official positions in Kenya, mostly in institutions of archaeol ...
, assisted by
Kamoya Kimeu Kamoya Kimeu (1938 – 20 July 2022) was a Kenyan paleontologist Paleontology (), also spelled palaeontology or palæontology, is the scientific study of life that existed prior to, and sometimes including, the start of the Holocene epoch (g ...
, discovered the Turkana Boy, a 1.6-million-year-old ''Homo erectus'' fossil. Previous research on early hominids is particularly identified with
Mary Leakey Mary Douglas Leakey, Fellow of the British Academy, FBA (née Nicol, 6 February 1913 – 9 December 1996) was a British paleoanthropologist who discovered the first fossilised ''Proconsul (mammal), Proconsul'' skull, an extinct ape which is now ...
and
Louis Leakey Louis Seymour Bazett Leakey (7 August 1903 – 1 October 1972) was a Kenyan-British palaeoanthropologist and archaeologist Archaeology or archeology is the scientific study of human activity through the recovery and analysis of material ...
, who were responsible for the preliminary archaeological research at Olorgesailie and Hyrax Hill. Later work at the former site was undertaken by
Glynn Isaac Glynn Llywelyn Isaac (19 November 1937 – 5 October 1985) was a South African archaeologist who specialised in the very early prehistory of Africa, and was one of twin sons born to botanists William Edwyn Isaac and Frances Margaret Leighton ...
. East Africa, including Kenya, is one of the earliest regions where modern humans (''
Homo sapiens Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most abundant and widespread species of primate, characterized by bipedality, bipedalism and exceptional cognitive skills due to a large and complex Human brain, brain. This has enabled the development of ad ...
'') are believed to have lived. Evidence was found in 2018, dating to about 320,000 years ago, at the Kenyan site of Olorgesailie, of the early emergence of modern behaviours, including long-distance trade networks (involving goods such as obsidian), the use of pigments, and the possible making of projectile points. The authors of three 2018 studies on the site observed that the evidence of these behaviours is approximately contemporary to the earliest known ''Homo sapiens'' fossil remains (such as at
Jebel Irhoud Jebel Irhoud or Adrar n Ighoud ( zgh, ⴰⴷⵔⴰⵔ ⵏ ⵉⵖⵓⴷ, Adrar n Iɣud; ar, جبل إيغود, žbəl iġud), is an archaeological site An archaeological site is a place (or group of physical sites) in which evidence of past ...
in Morocco and Florisbad in South Africa), and they suggest that complex and modern behaviours had already begun in Africa around the time of the emergence of ''Homo sapiens''.


Neolithic

The first inhabitants of present-day Kenya were
hunter-gatherer A traditional hunter-gatherer or forager is a human living an ancestrally derived lifestyle (sociology), lifestyle in which most or all food is obtained by foraging, that is, by gathering food from local sources, especially edible wild plants bu ...
groups, akin to the modern
Khoisan Khoisan , or (), according to the contemporary Khoekhoegowab orthography, is a catch-all term for those Indigenous peoples of Africa, indigenous peoples of Southern Africa who do not speak one of the Bantu languages, combining the (formerly " ...
speakers.Ehret, C. (2002) ''The Civilizations of Africa: a History to 1800'', University Press of Virginia, . These people were later largely replaced by agropastoralist
Cushitic The Cushitic languages are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family. They are spoken primarily in the Horn of Africa The Horn of Africa (HoA), also known as the Somali Peninsula, is a large peninsula and Geopolitics, geopolitical region ...
(ancestral to Kenya's Cushitic speakers) from the
Horn of Africa The Horn of Africa (HoA), also known as the Somali Peninsula, is a large peninsula and Geopolitics, geopolitical region in East Africa.Robert Stock, ''Africa South of the Sahara, Second Edition: A Geographical Interpretation'', (The Guilford P ...
.Ehret, C. (1980) ''The historical reconstruction of Southern Cushitic phonology and vocabulary'', Kölner Beiträge zur Afrikanistik 5, Bd., Reimer, Berlin. During the early
Holocene The Holocene ( ) is the current geological epoch. It began approximately 11,650 cal years Before Present Before Present (BP) years, or "years before present", is a geologic time scale, time scale used mainly in archaeology, geology and othe ...
, the regional climate shifted from dry to wetter conditions, providing an opportunity for the development of cultural traditions such as agriculture and
herding Herding is the act of bringing individual animals together into a group (herd), maintaining the group, and moving the group from place to place—or any combination of those. Herding can refer either to the process of animals forming herds in ...
, in a more favourable environment. Around 500 BC,
Nilotic The Nilotic peoples are people Indigenous peoples of Africa, indigenous to the Nile Valley who speak Nilotic languages. They inhabit South Sudan, Sudan, Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania. ...
-speaking
pastoralists Pastoralism is a form of animal husbandry where domesticated animals (known as "livestock") are released onto large vegetated outdoor lands (pastures) for grazing, historically by nomadic people who moved around with their herds. The animal s ...
(ancestral to Kenya's Nilotic speakers) started migrating from present-day southern Sudan into Kenya.Ehret, C. (1983) ''Culture History in the Southern Sudan'', J. Mack, P. Robertshaw, Eds., British Institute in Eastern Africa, Nairobi, pp. 19–48, .Ambrose, S.H. (1982). "Archaeological and linguistic reconstructions of history in East Africa." In Ehert, C., and Posnansky, M. (eds.), ''The archaeological and linguistic reconstruction of African history'', University of California Press, .Ambrose, S.H. (1986) ''Sprache und Geschichte in Afrika'' 7.2, 11. Nilotic groups in Kenya include the Kalenjin, Samburu, Luo, Turkana, and Maasai. By the first millennium AD, Bantu-speaking farmers had moved into the region, initially along the coast.Ehret, C. (1998) ''An African Classical Age : Eastern and Southern Africa in World History, 1000 B.C. to A.D. 400.'', University Press of Virginia, Charlottesville, pp. xvii, 354, . The Bantus originated in West Africa along the
Benue River The Benue River (french: la Bénoué), previously known as the Chadda River or Tchadda, is the major tributary of the Niger River. The river is approximately long and is almost entirely navigable during the summer months. The size of its bas ...
in what is now eastern
Nigeria Nigeria ( ), , ig, Naìjíríyà, yo, Nàìjíríà, pcm, Naijá , ff, Naajeeriya, kcg, Naijeriya officially the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is a country in West Africa. It is situated between the Sahel to the north and the Gulf of G ...

Nigeria
and western
Cameroon Cameroon (; french: Cameroun, ff, Kamerun), officially the Republic of Cameroon (french: République du Cameroun, links=no), is a country in West Africa, west-central Africa. It is bordered by Nigeria to the west and north; Chad to the nor ...
.Smith, C. Wayne (1995) ''Crop Production: Evolution, History, and Technology'', John Wiley & Sons, p. 132, . The Bantu migration brought new developments in agriculture and
ironworking Ferrous metallurgy is the metallurgy of iron and its alloys. The earliest surviving prehistory, prehistoric iron artifacts, from the 4th millennium BC in Egypt, were made from meteorite, meteoritic Iron–nickel alloy, iron-nickel. It is not know ...
to the region. Bantu groups in Kenya include the Kikuyu, Luhya, Kamba, Kisii, Meru, Kuria, Aembu, Ambeere, Wadawida-Watuweta, Wapokomo, and Mijikenda, among others. Notable prehistoric sites in the interior of Kenya include the (possibly archaeoastronomical) site Namoratunga on the west side of
Lake Turkana Lake Turkana (), formerly known as Lake Rudolf, is a lake in the Great Rift Valley, Kenya, Kenyan Rift Valley, in northern Kenya, with its far northern end crossing into Ethiopia. It is the world's largest permanent desert lake and the world's ...
and the walled settlement of Thimlich Ohinga in
Migori County Migori County is a counties of Kenya, county in the former Nyanza Province of southwestern Kenya. It is located in Southwestern Kenya and borders Homa Bay County (North), Kisii County (North E), Narok County, Narok (South East), Tanzania (West a ...
.


Swahili trade period

The Kenyan coast had served host to communities of
ironwork Ironwork is any weapon A weapon, arm or armament is any implement or device that can be used to deter, threaten, inflict physical damage, harm, or kill. Weapons are used to increase the efficacy and efficiency of activities such as huntin ...
ers and 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
Azania Azania ( grc, Ἀζανία) is a name that has been applied to various parts of southeastern tropical Africa. In the Roman Empire, Roman period and perhaps earlier, the toponym referred to a portion of the Southeast Africa coast extending from ...
. By the 1st century CE, many of the
city-states A city-state is an independent sovereignty, sovereign city which serves as the center of political, economic, and cultural life over its contiguous territory. They have existed in many parts of the world since the dawn of history, including ci ...
such as
Mombasa Mombasa ( ; ) is a coastal city in southeastern Kenya along the Indian Ocean. It was the first capital of the British East Africa, before Nairobi was elevated to capital city status. It now serves as the capital of Mombasa County. The town is ...

Mombasa
,
Malindi Malindi is a town on Malindi Bay at the mouth of the Sabaki River, lying on the Indian Ocean coast of Kenya. It is 120 kilometres northeast of Mombasa. The population of Malindi was 119,859 as of the 2019 census. It is the largest urban centre ...
, and
Zanzibar Zanzibar (; ; ) is an insular Autonomous administrative division, semi-autonomous province which united with Tanganyika (1961–1964), Tanganyika in 1964 to form the United Republic of Tanzania. It is an Zanzibar Archipelago, archipelago in t ...
began to establish trading relations with
Arabs The Arabs (singular: Arab; singular ar, عَرَبِيٌّ, DIN 31635: , , plural ar, عَرَب, DIN 31635: , Arabic pronunciation: ), also known as the Arab people, are an ethnic group An ethnic group or an ethnicity is a grouping o ...
. This led to increased economic growth of the Swahili states, the introduction of
Islam Islam (; ar, ۘالِإسلَام, , ) is an Abrahamic monotheistic religion centred primarily around the Quran, a religious text considered by Muslims to be the direct word of God in Islam, God (or ''Allah'') as it was revealed to Muh ...
,
Arabic Arabic (, ' ; , ' or ) is a Semitic languages, Semitic language spoken primarily across the Arab world.Semitic languages: an international handbook / edited by Stefan Weninger; in collaboration with Geoffrey Khan, Michael P. Streck, Janet C ...
influences on the Swahili
Bantu language The Bantu languages (English: , Proto-Bantu: *bantʊ̀) are a large family of languages spoken by the Bantu people of Central, Southern, Eastern africa and Southeast The points of the compass are a set of horizontal, Radius, radially array ...
,
cultural diffusion In cultural anthropology and cultural geography, cultural diffusion, as conceptualized by Leo Frobenius in his 1897/98 publication ''Der westafrikanische Kulturkreis'', is the spread of culture, cultural items—such as ideas, fashion, styles, rel ...
, as well as the Swahili city-states becoming members of a larger trade network. Many historians had long believed that the city-states were established by Arab or Persian traders, but archaeological evidence has led scholars to recognise the city-states as an indigenous development which, though subjected to foreign influence due to trade, retained a Bantu cultural core. The
Kilwa Sultanate The Kilwa Sultanate ( fa, پادشاهی کیلوا) was a sultanate, centered at Kilwa Kisiwani, Kilwa (an island off modern-day, Kilwa District in Lindi Region of Tanzania), whose authority, at its height, stretched over the entire length of t ...
was a medieval
sultanate This article includes a list of successive Islamic state, Islamic states and History of Islam, Muslim dynasties beginning with the time of the Islamic prophet Muhammad (570–632 CE) and the early Muslim conquests that Spread of Islam, spread Isla ...
centred at Kilwa, in modern-day 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 Persian may refer to: * People and things from Iran Iran, officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, and also called Persia, is a country located in Western Asia. It is bordered by Iraq and Turkey to the west, by Azerbaijan and Arm ...
Sultan from
Shiraz Shiraz (; fa, شیراز, Širâz ) is the List of largest cities of Iran, fifth-most-populous city of Iran and the capital of Fars province, Fars Province, which has been historically known as Pars (Sasanian province), Pars () and Persis. As o ...
in southern Iran. However, scholars have suggested that claims of Arab or Persian origin of city-states were attempts by the Swahili to legitimise themselves both locally and internationally. Since the 10th century, rulers of Kilwa would go on to build elaborate coral mosques and introduce copper coinage. Swahili, a Bantu language with
Arabic Arabic (, ' ; , ' or ) is a Semitic languages, Semitic language spoken primarily across the Arab world.Semitic languages: an international handbook / edited by Stefan Weninger; in collaboration with Geoffrey Khan, Michael P. Streck, Janet C ...
,
Persian Persian may refer to: * People and things from Iran Iran, officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, and also called Persia, is a country located in Western Asia. It is bordered by Iraq and Turkey to the west, by Azerbaijan and Arm ...
, and other Middle-Eastern and South Asian
loanword A loanword (also loan word or loan-word) is a word at least partly assimilated from one language (the donor language) into another language. This is in contrast to cognates, which are words in two or more languages that are similar because the ...
s, later developed as a ''
lingua franca A lingua franca (; ; for plurals see ), also known as a bridge language, common language, trade language, auxiliary language, vehicular language, or link language, is a Natural language, language systematically used to make communication possib ...
'' for trade between the different peoples. Since the turn into the 20th century, Swahili has adopted numerous loanwords and calques from English, many of them originating during English colonial rule.


Early Portuguese colonization

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, Portuguese voyager
Duarte Barbosa Duarte Barbosa (c. 14801 May 1521) was a Portuguese people, Portuguese writer and officer from Portuguese India (between 1500 and 1516). He was a Christian pastor and scrivener in a ''feitoria'' in Kochi, and an interpreter of the local language, ...
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." In the 17th century, the Swahili coast was conquered and came under the direct rule of the Omani Arabs, who expanded the
slave trade Slavery and enslavement are both the state and the condition of being a slave—someone forbidden to quit one's service for an enslaver, and who is treated by the enslaver as property. Slavery typically involves slaves being made to perf ...
to meet the demands of plantations in
Oman Oman ( ; ar, عُمَان ' ), officially the Sultanate of Oman ( ar, سلْطنةُ عُمان ), is an Arabian country located in southwestern Asia. It is situated on the southeastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula, and spans the mouth of t ...
and
Zanzibar Zanzibar (; ; ) is an insular Autonomous administrative division, semi-autonomous province which united with Tanganyika (1961–1964), Tanganyika in 1964 to form the United Republic of Tanzania. It is an Zanzibar Archipelago, archipelago in t ...
. Initially, these traders came mainly from Oman, but later many came from Zanzibar (such as
Tippu Tip Tippu Tip, or Tippu Tib (1832 – June 14, 1905), real name Ḥamad ibn Muḥammad ibn Jumʿah ibn Rajab ibn Muḥammad ibn Saʿīd al Murjabī ( ar, حمد بن محمد بن جمعة بن رجب بن محمد بن سعيد المرجبي), ...
). In addition, the Portuguese started buying slaves from the Omani and Zanzibari traders in response to the interruption of the transatlantic slave trade by British abolitionists. Throughout the centuries, the Kenyan coast has played host to many merchants and explorers. Among the cities that line the Kenyan coast is Malindi. It has remained an important Swahili settlement since the 14th century and once rivalled Mombasa for dominance in the African Great Lakes region. Malindi has traditionally been a friendly port city for foreign powers. In 1414, the Chinese trader and explorer
Zheng He Zheng He (; 1371–1433 or 1435) was a Chinese history of the Chinese navy, mariner, Chinese exploration, explorer, Foreign relations of imperial China, diplomat, fleet admiral, and court eunuch during China's History of the Ming dynasty, earl ...
, representing the
Ming Dynasty The Ming dynasty (), officially the Great Ming, was an Dynasties in Chinese history, imperial dynasty of China, ruling from 1368 to 1644 following the collapse of the Mongol Empire, Mongol-led Yuan dynasty. The Ming dynasty was the last ort ...
, visited the East African coast on one of his last 'treasure voyages'. Malindi authorities also welcomed the Portuguese explorer
Vasco da Gama Vasco da Gama, 1st Count of Vidigueira (; ; c. 1460s – 24 December 1524), was a Portugal in the Age of Discovery, Portuguese explorer and the first European to reach India by sea. His initial voyage to India by way of Cape of Good Hope (14 ...
in 1498.


18th and 19th centuries

During the 18th and 19th century C.E, the Masai people moved into what is now modern-day central Kenya, from a region north of Lake Rudolf (now
Lake Turkana Lake Turkana (), formerly known as Lake Rudolf, is a lake in the Great Rift Valley, Kenya, Kenyan Rift Valley, in northern Kenya, with its far northern end crossing into Ethiopia. It is the world's largest permanent desert lake and the world's ...
). Although there were not many, they managed to conquer a great amount of Bantu-speaking peoples, who did not put up much resistance. The Nandi peoples managed to oppose the Masai, while the Taveta peoples fled to the forests on the eastern edge of
Mount Kilimanjaro Mount Kilimanjaro () is a Volcano#Dormant, dormant volcano in Tanzania. It has three volcanic cones: Kibo, Mawenzi, and Shira. It is the highest African mountains, mountain in Africa and the highest free-standing mountain above sea level in ...
, along with the Kikuyu peoples, although they later were forced to leave the land due to the threat of
smallpox Smallpox was an infectious disease caused by variola virus (often called smallpox virus) which belongs to the genus Orthopoxvirus. The Ali Maow Maalin#Maalin's case, last naturally occurring case was diagnosed in October 1977, and the World ...
. An outbreak of either
rinderpest Rinderpest (also cattle plague or steppe murrain) was an infectious viral disease of cattle, domestic water buffalo, buffalo, and many other species of even-toed ungulates, including gaurs, African Buffalo, buffaloes, large antelope, deer, giraff ...
or
pleuropneumonia Pleuropneumonia is inflammation of the lungs and pleura, pleurisy being the inflammation of the pleura alone. See also * Contagious bovine pleuropneumonia – a disease in cattle * Contagious caprine pleuropneumonia – a disease in goats Refe ...
greatly affected the Masai's cattle, while an epidemic of smallpox affected the Masai themselves. After the death of the Masai Mbatian, the chief ''laibon'' (medicine man), the Masai split into warring factions. There was much strife between the Nilotic (Masai) and Bantu peoples; however, cooperation between such groups as the
Luo people The Luo of Kenya and Tanzania are a Nilotic peoples, Nilotic ethnic group native to Nyanza Province, western Kenya and the Mara Region of northern Tanzania in East Africa. The Luo are the fourth-largest ethnic group (10.65%) in Kenya, after ...
,
Luhya people The Luhya (also known as ''Abaluyia'' or Luyia) comprise a number of Bantu peoples, Bantu ethnic groups native to Western Province (Kenya), western Kenya. They are divided into 20 culturally and linguistically related tribes. ''Luhya'' refers to ...
, and
Gusii people The Abagusii (also known as Kisii (Mkisii/Wakisii) in Swahili, or Gusii in Ekegusii) are a highly diverse East African ethnic group and nation indigenous to Kisii County, Kisii (formerly Kisii District) and Nyamira County, Nyamira counties o ...
is evinced by shared vocabulary for modern implements and similar economic regimes. Although Arab traders remained in the area, trade routes were disrupted by the hostile Masai, though there was trade in ivory between these factions. The first foreigners to successfully get past the Masai were
Johann Ludwig Krapf Johann Ludwig Krapf (11 January 1810 – 26 November 1881) was a German missionary in East Africa, as well as an explorer, Linguistics, linguist, and traveler. Krapf played an important role in exploring East Africa with Johannes Rebmann. They we ...
and
Johannes Rebmann Johannes Rebmann (January 16, 1820 – October 4, 1876) was a German missionary, linguist, and explorer credited with feats including being the first European, along with his colleague Johann Ludwig Krapf, to enter Africa from the Indian Ocean coa ...
, two German missionaries who established a mission in Rabai, not too far from
Mombasa Mombasa ( ; ) is a coastal city in southeastern Kenya along the Indian Ocean. It was the first capital of the British East Africa, before Nairobi was elevated to capital city status. It now serves as the capital of Mombasa County. The town is ...

Mombasa
. The pair were the first Europeans to sight
Mount Kenya Mount Kenya (Kikuyu language, Kikuyu: ''Kĩrĩnyaga'', Kamba language, Kamba, ''Ki Nyaa'') is the highest mountain in Kenya and the Highest mountain peaks of Africa, second-highest in Africa, after Mount Kilimanjaro, Kilimanjaro. The highest pea ...

Mount Kenya
.


British Kenya (1888–1962)

The colonial history of Kenya dates from the establishment of a German protectorate over the Sultan of
Zanzibar Zanzibar (; ; ) is an insular Autonomous administrative division, semi-autonomous province which united with Tanganyika (1961–1964), Tanganyika in 1964 to form the United Republic of Tanzania. It is an Zanzibar Archipelago, archipelago in t ...
's coastal possessions in 1885, followed by the arrival of the
Imperial British East Africa Company The Imperial British East Africa Company (IBEAC) was a commercial association founded to develop African trade in the areas controlled by the British Empire. The company was incorporated in London on 18 April 1888 and granted a royal charter by Q ...
in 1888. Imperial rivalry was prevented when Germany handed its coastal holdings to Britain in 1890. This was followed by the building of the
Uganda Railway The Uganda Railway was a metre-gauge railway system and former United Kingdom, British state-owned railway company. The line linked the interiors of Uganda and Kenya with the Indian Ocean port of Mombasa in Kenya. After a series of mergers and ...
passing through the country.Encyclopædia Britannica The building of the railway was resisted by some ethnic groups—notably the Nandi, led by '' Orkoiyot'' Koitalel Arap Samoei from 1890 to 1900—but the British eventually built it. 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 influx of Indian workers, who provided the bulk of the skilled manpower required for construction. R. Mugo Gatheru (2005) ''Kenya: From Colonization to Independence, 1888–1970'', McFarland, They and most of their descendants later remained in Kenya and formed the core of several distinct Indian communities, such as the Ismaili Muslim and
Sikh Sikhs ( or ; pa, ਸਿੱਖ, ' ) are people who adhere to Sikhism (Sikhi), a monotheistic religion that originated in the late 15th century in the Punjab region of the Indian subcontinent, based on the revelation of Guru Nanak. The ter ...
communities. While building the railway through
Tsavo Tsavo is a region of Kenya ) , national_anthem = "Ee Mungu Nguvu Yetu"() , image_map = , map_caption = , image_map2 = , capital = Nairobi , coordinates = , large ...
, 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 World War I (28 July 1914 11 November 1918), often abbreviated as WWI, was List of wars and anthropogenic disasters by death toll, one of the deadliest global conflicts in history. Belligerents included much of Europe, the Russian Empire, ...
in August 1914, the governors of
British East Africa East Africa Protectorate (also known as British East Africa) was an area in the African Great Lakes occupying roughly the same terrain as present-day Kenya from the Indian Ocean inland to the border with Uganda in the west. Controlled by Bri ...
(as the protectorate was generally known) and
German East Africa German East Africa (GEA; german: Deutsch-Ostafrika) was a German colonial empire, German colony in the African Great Lakes region, which included present-day Burundi, Rwanda, the Tanzania mainland, and the Kionga Triangle, a small region later i ...
initially agreed on a truce in an attempt to keep the young colonies out of direct hostilities. But Lieutenant Colonel
Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck Paul Emil von Lettow-Vorbeck (20 March 1870 – 9 March 1964), also called the Lion of Africa (german: Löwe von Afrika), was a general in the Imperial German Army and the commander of its forces in the German East Africa East African Campaign ...
, the German military commander, determined to tie down as many British resources as possible. Completely cut off from Germany, Lettow-Vorbeck conducted an effective guerrilla warfare campaign, living off the land, capturing British supplies, and remaining undefeated. He eventually surrendered in
Northern Rhodesia Northern Rhodesia was a British protectorate in southern Africa, south central Africa, now the independent country of Zambia. It was formed in 1911 by Amalgamation (politics), amalgamating the two earlier protectorates of Barotziland-North-West ...
(today Zambia) 14 days after the Armistice was signed in 1918. To chase von Lettow, the British deployed the
British Indian Army The British Indian Army, commonly referred to as the Indian Army, was the main military of the British Raj before its dissolution in 1947. It was responsible for the defence of the British Indian Empire, including the princely states, which co ...
troops from India but needed large numbers of porters to overcome the formidable logistics of transporting supplies far into the interior on foot. The 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 renamed Kenya after 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 a colonist's perspective is found in the memoir ''
Out of Africa ''Out of Africa'' is a memoir A memoir (; , ) is any nonfiction narrative writing based in the author's personal memories. The assertions made in the work are thus understood to be factual. While memoir has historically been defined as a s ...
'' 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 and 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 make a living from the land dwindled. By the 1950s, there were 80,000 white settlers living in Kenya. Throughout
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a world war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. It involved the World War II by country, vast majority of the world's countries—including all of the great power ...
, Kenya was an important source of manpower and agriculture for the United Kingdom. Kenya itself was the site of
fighting Combat (French language, French for ''fight'') is a purposeful violence, violent conflict meant to physically harm or kill the opposition. Combat may be armed (using weapons) or unarmed (Hand-to-hand combat, not using weapons). Combat is sometim ...
between Allied forces and Italian troops in 1940–41, when Italian forces invaded. Wajir and
Malindi Malindi is a town on Malindi Bay at the mouth of the Sabaki River, lying on the Indian Ocean coast of Kenya. It is 120 kilometres northeast of Mombasa. The population of Malindi was 119,859 as of the 2019 census. It is the largest urban centre ...
were bombed as well. In 1952, Princess Elizabeth and her husband
Prince Philip Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh (born Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark, later Philip Mountbatten; 10 June 1921 – 9 April 2021) was the husband of Queen Elizabeth II. As such, he served as the consort of the British monarch from El ...
were on holiday at the
Treetops Hotel Treetops Hotel was a hotel in Aberdare National Park in Kenya near the township of Nyeri, 1,966 m (6,450 ft) above sea level on the Aberdare Range and in sight of Mount Kenya. First opened in 1932 by Eric Sherbrooke Walker, it was bui ...
in Kenya when her father,
King George VI George VI (Albert Frederick Arthur George; 14 December 1895 – 6 February 1952) was King of the United Kingdom and the Dominions of the British Commonwealth from 11 December 1936 until Death and state funeral of George VI, his death in 1952. ...
, died in his sleep. Elizabeth cut short her trip and returned home immediately to assume the throne. She was crowned Queen Elizabeth II at Westminster Abbey in 1953 and as British hunter and conservationist
Jim Corbett Edward James Corbett (25 July 1875 – 19 April 1955) was a British hunting, hunter, Tracking (hunting), tracker, natural history, naturalist, and author who hunted a number of man-eating tigers and Indian leopard, leopards in the Indian subc ...
(who accompanied the royal couple) put it, she went up a tree in Africa a princess and came down a queen.


Mau Mau Uprising

From October 1952 to December 1959, Kenya was in a state of emergency arising from the
Mau Mau rebellion The Mau Mau rebellion (1952–1960), also known as the Mau Mau uprising, Mau Mau revolt or Kenya Emergency, was a war in the British Kenya Colony (1920–1963) between the Kenya Land and Freedom Army (KLFA), also known as the ''Mau Mau'', ...
against British rule. The Mau Mau, also known as the Kenya Land and Freedom Army, were primarily Kikuyu people. During the colonial administration's crackdown, over 11,000 rebel fighters had been killed, along with 100 British troops and 2000 Kenyan loyalist soldiers. The governor requested and obtained British and African troops, including the
King's African Rifles The King's African Rifles (KAR) was a multi- battalion British colonial regiment raised from Britain's various possessions in East Africa from 1902 until independence in the 1960s. It performed both military and internal security functions with ...
. The British began counter-insurgency operations. In May 1953, General Sir
George Erskine General (United Kingdom), General Sir George Watkin Eben James Erskine (23 August 1899 – 29 August 1965) was a senior British Army Officer (armed forces), officer who is most notable for having commanded the 7th Armoured Division (United Kin ...
took charge as commander-in-chief of the colony's armed forces, with the personal backing of
Winston Churchill Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill (30 November 187424 January 1965) was a British statesman, soldier, and writer who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom twice, from 1940 to 1945 Winston Churchill in the Second World War, dur ...
.Maloba, Wunyabari O. (1993) ''Mau Mau and Kenya: An Analysis of Peasant Revolt'', Indiana University Press, 0852557450. The capture of
Waruhiu Itote Waruhiu Itote (1922 – 30 April 1993, aged 70-71), ''nom de guerre'' General China, was one of the key leaders of the Mau Mau Uprising (1952–1960) in British Kenya alongside Dedan Kimathi, Stanley Mathenge, Kurito ole Kisio, Musa Mwariama an ...
(nom de guerre ''"General China"'') on 15 January 1954 and the subsequent interrogation led to a better understanding of the Mau Mau command structure for the British. 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 suspected Mau Mau supporters moved to detention camps. More than 80,000 Kikuyu were held in detention camps without trial, often subject to brutal treatment. 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 The British Army is the principal land warfare force of the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain, is a country in Europe, off the north-western ...
and King's African Rifles. The capture of Dedan Kimathi on 21 October 1956 in
Nyeri Nyeri is a town situated in the Central Highlands of Kenya. It is the county headquarters of Nyeri County. The town was the central administrative headquarters of the country's former Central Province (Kenya), Central Province. Following the dis ...
signified 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. This left roughly 1/3rd of Kikuyu bereft of any tenancy land arrangement and thus propertyless at the time of independence.


Somalis of Kenya referendum, 1962

Before Kenya got its independence, Somali ethnic people in present-day Kenya in the areas of Northern Frontier Districts petitioned Her Majesty's Government not to be included in Kenya. The colonial government decided to hold Kenya's first referendum in 1962 to check the willingness of
Somalis in Kenya Somalis in Kenya are Citizenship, citizens and residents of Kenya who are of Somalis, Somali ethnic descent. They have historically inhabited the North Eastern Province (Kenya), North Eastern Province, previously called the Northern Frontier D ...
to join
Somalia Somalia, , Osmanya script: 𐒈𐒝𐒑𐒛𐒐𐒘𐒕𐒖; ar, الصومال, aṣ-Ṣūmāl officially the Federal Republic of SomaliaThe ''Federal Republic of Somalia'' is the country's name per Article 1 of thProvisional Constitut ...

Somalia
. The result of the referendum showed that 86% of Somalis in Kenya wanted to join
Somalia Somalia, , Osmanya script: 𐒈𐒝𐒑𐒛𐒐𐒘𐒕𐒖; ar, الصومال, aṣ-Ṣūmāl officially the Federal Republic of SomaliaThe ''Federal Republic of Somalia'' is the country's name per Article 1 of thProvisional Constitut ...

Somalia
, but the British colonial administration rejected the result and the Somalis remained in Kenya.


Independence

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 The Kenya African National Union (KANU) is a Kenyan political party that ruled for nearly 40 years after Kenya's independence from United Kingdom, British Kenya Colony, colonial rule in 1963 until its electoral loss in 2002. It was known as Kenya ...
(KANU) of
Jomo Kenyatta Jomo Kenyatta (22 August 1978) was a Kenyan anti-colonialism, colonial activist and politician who governed Kenya as its Prime Minister of Kenya, Prime Minister from 1963 to 1964 and then as its first President of Kenya, President from 1964 to ...
that formed a government. The Colony of Kenya and the Protectorate of Kenya each came to an end on 12 December 1963, with independence conferred on all of Kenya. The U.K. ceded sovereignty over the Colony of Kenya. The Sultan of Zanzibar agreed that simultaneous with independence for the colony, he would cease to have sovereignty over the Protectorate of Kenya so that all of Kenya would become one sovereign state."Commonwealth and Colonial Law" by
Kenneth Roberts-Wray Sir Kenneth Owen Roberts-Wray, GCMG The Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George is a British order of chivalry founded on 28 April 1818 by George IV, George IV, Prince of Wales, while he was acting as prince regent for his ...
, London, Stevens, 1966. P. 762
In this way, Kenya became an independent country under the Kenya Independence Act 1963 of the United Kingdom. On 12 December 1964, Kenya became a republic under the name "Republic of Kenya". Concurrently, the Kenyan army fought the
Shifta War The Shifta War or Gaf Daba (1963–1967) was a secessionist conflict in which Somalis in Kenya, ethnic Somalis in the North Eastern Province (Kenya), Northern Frontier District (NFD) of Kenya attempted to join Somalia. The Kenyan government na ...
against ethnic Somali rebels inhabiting the
Northern Frontier District The North Eastern Province ( so, Gobolka Woqooyi Bari, 𐒌𐒙𐒁𐒙𐒐𐒏𐒖 𐒓𐒙𐒎𐒝𐒕𐒘 𐒁𐒖𐒇𐒘) is one of the former provinces A province is almost always an administrative division within a country or soverei ...
who wanted to join their kin in the
Somali Republic The Somali Republic ( so, Jamhuuriyadda Soomaaliyeed; it, Repubblica Somala; ar, الجمهورية الصومالية, Jumhūriyyat aṣ-Ṣūmālīyyah) was a sovereign state composed of Somalia Somalia, , Osmanya script: 𐒈 ...
to the north. A ceasefire was eventually reached with the signing of the Arusha Memorandum in October 1967, but relative insecurity prevailed through 1969. To discourage further invasions, Kenya signed a defence pact with
Ethiopia Ethiopia, , om, Itiyoophiyaa, so, Itoobiya, ti, ኢትዮጵያ, Ítiyop'iya, aa, Itiyoppiya officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, is a landlocked country in the Horn of Africa. It shares borders with Eritrea to the ...

Ethiopia
in 1969, which is still in effect.


First presidency

On 12 December 1964, the Republic of Kenya was proclaimed, and
Jomo Kenyatta Jomo Kenyatta (22 August 1978) was a Kenyan anti-colonialism, colonial activist and politician who governed Kenya as its Prime Minister of Kenya, Prime Minister from 1963 to 1964 and then as its first President of Kenya, President from 1964 to ...
became Kenya's first president. Under Kenyatta, corruption became widespread throughout the government, civil service, and business community. Kenyatta and his family were tied up with this corruption as they enriched themselves through the mass purchase of property after 1963. Their acquisitions in the Central, Rift Valley, and Coast Provinces aroused great anger among landless Kenyans. His family used his presidential position to circumvent legal or administrative obstacles to acquiring property. The Kenyatta family also heavily invested in the coastal hotel business, with Kenyatta personally owning the Leonard Beach Hotel. Kenyatta's mixed legacy was highlighted at the 10-year anniversary of Kenya's independence. A December 1973 article in ''
The New York Times ''The New York Times'' (''the Times'', ''NYT'', or the Gray Lady) is a daily newspaper based in New York City with a worldwide readership reported in 2020 to comprise a declining 840,000 paid print subscribers, and a growing 6 million paid d ...
'' praised Kenyatta's leadership and Kenya for emerging as a model of pragmatism and conservatism. Kenya's GDP had increased at an annual rate of 6.6%, higher than the population growth rate of more than 3%. But
Amnesty International Amnesty International (also referred to as Amnesty or AI) is an international non-governmental organization focused on human rights, with its headquarters in the United Kingdom. The organization says it has more than ten million members and s ...
responded to the article by stating the cost of the stability in terms of human rights abuses. The opposition party started by
Oginga Odinga Jaramogi Ajuma Oginga Odinga (October 1911 – 20 January 1994) was a Luo chieftain A tribal chief or chieftain is the leader of a tribe, tribal society or chiefdom. Tribe The concept of tribe is a broadly applied concept, based on tri ...
Kenya People's Union (KPU)—was banned in 1969 after the Kisumu Massacre and KPU leaders were still in detention without trial in gross violation of the U.N. Declaration of Human Rights. The Kenya Students Union, Jehovah Witnesses and all opposition parties were outlawed. Kenyatta ruled until his death on 22 August 1978.


Moi era

After Kenyatta died,
Daniel arap Moi Daniel Toroitich arap Moi ( ; 2 September 1924 – 4 February 2020) was a Kenyan politician who served as the second president of Kenya from 1978 to 2002. He was the country's longest-serving president. Moi previously served as the third vice ...
became president. He retained the presidency, running unopposed in elections held in 1979, 1983 (
snap election A snap election is an election that is called earlier than the one that has been scheduled. Generally, a snap election in a parliamentary system (the dissolution of parliament) is called to capitalize on an unusual electoral opportunity or to ...
s), 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 a failed military coup on 2 August 1982. The 1982 coup was masterminded by a low-ranking Air Force serviceman, Senior Private Hezekiah Ochuka, and was staged mainly by enlisted men of the Air Force. It 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 police. On the heels of the Garissa Massacre of 1980, Kenyan troops committed the Wagalla massacre in 1984 against thousands of civilians in Wajir County. An official probe into the atrocities was later ordered in 2011. 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 casting a secret ballot. This was seen as the climax of a very undemocratic regime and led to widespread agitation for constitutional reform. Several contentious clauses, including the one that allowed for only one political party, were changed in the following years.


Transition to multiparty democracy

In 1991, Kenya transitioned to a multiparty political system after 26 years of single-party rule. On 28 October 1992, Moi dissolved parliament, five months before the end of his term. As a result, preparations began for all elective seats in parliament as well as the president. The election was scheduled to take place on 7 December 1992, but delays led to its postponement to 29 December. Apart from KANU, the ruling party, other parties represented in the elections included
FORD Ford commonly refers to: * Ford Motor Company Ford Motor Company (commonly known as Ford) is an American multinational corporation, multinational automobile manufacturer headquartered in Dearborn, Michigan, Dearborn, Michigan, United States. ...
Kenya and FORD Asili. This election was marked by large-scale intimidation of opponents and harassment of election officials. It resulted in an economic crisis propagated by ethnic violence as the president was accused of rigging electoral results to retain power. This election was a turning point for Kenya as it signified the beginning of the end of Moi's leadership and the rule of KANU. Moi retained the presidency and George Saitoti became vice president. Although it held on to power, KANU won 100 seats and lost 88 seats to the six opposition parties. The 1992 elections marked the beginning of multiparty politics after more than 25 years of KANU rule. Following skirmishes in the aftermath of the elections, 5,000 people were killed and another 75,000 displaced from their homes. In the next five years, many political alliances were formed in preparation for the next elections. In 1994,
Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Jaramogi Ajuma Oginga Odinga (October 1911 – 20 January 1994) was a Luo (Kenya), Luo chieftain who became a prominent figure in Kenya's struggle for independence. He later served as Kenya's first Vice-President of Kenya, Vice-President, and t ...
died and several coalitions joined his FORD Kenya party to form a new party, United National Democratic Alliance. This party was plagued with disagreements. In 1995,
Richard Leakey Richard Erskine Frere Leakey (19 December 1944 – 2 January 2022) was a Kenyan paleoanthropologist, conservation movement, conservationist and politician. Leakey held a number of official positions in Kenya, mostly in institutions of archaeol ...
formed the Safina party, but it was denied registration until November 1997. In 1996, KANU revised the constitution to allow Moi to remain president for another term. Subsequently, Moi stood for reelection and won a 5th term in 1997. His win was strongly criticised by his major opponents, Kibaki and Odinga, as fraudulent. Following this win, Moi was constitutionally barred from another presidential term. Beginning in 1998, he attempted to influence the country's succession politics to have
Uhuru Kenyatta Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta (born 26 October 1961) is a Kenyan politician who served as the fourth president of Kenya from 2013 to 2022. Kenyatta was chosen by Daniel Arap Moi as his preferred successor, but Kenyatta was defeated by opposition le ...
elected in the 2002 elections.


President Kibaki and the road to a new constitution

Moi's plan to be replaced by Uhuru Kenyatta failed, and
Mwai Kibaki Emilio Stanley Mwai Kibaki (15 November 1931 – 21 April 2022) was a Kenyan politician who served as the third President of Kenya from December 2002 until April 2013 and is regarded as one of Kenya's founding fathers. He had previously ser ...
, running for the opposition coalition "National Rainbow Coalition" ( NARC), was elected president. David 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 evolution. In 2005, Kenyans rejected a plan to replace the 1963 independence constitution with a new one. As a result, the elections of 2007 took place following the procedure set by the old constitution. Kibaki was reelected in highly contested elections marred by political and ethnic violence. The main opposition leader, Raila Odinga, claimed the election was rigged and that he was the rightfully elected president. In the ensuing violence, 1,500 people were killed and another 600,000 internally displaced, making it the worst post-election violence in Kenya. To stop the death and displacement of people, Kibaki and Odinga agreed to work together, with the latter taking the position of a prime minister. This made Odinga the second prime minister of Kenya. In July 2010, Kenya partnered with other East African countries to form the new East African Common Market within the
East African Community The East African Community (EAC) is an intergovernmental organisation composed of seven countries in the African Great Lakes, Great Lakes region of East Africa: the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the United Republic of Tanzania, the Republi ...
. In 2011, Kenya began sending troops to Somalia to fight the terror group Al-Shabaab. In mid-2011, two consecutive missed rainy seasons precipitated the worst drought in East Africa 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.Gettleman, Jeffrey (3 February 2012
U.N. Says Famine in Somalia Is Over, but Risks Remain
. ''The New York Times''.
In August 2010, Kenyans held a
referendum A referendum (plural: referendums or less commonly referenda) is a Direct democracy, direct vote by the Constituency, electorate on a proposal, law, or political issue. This is in contrast to an issue being voted on by a Representative democr ...
and passed a new constitution, which limited presidential powers and devolved the central government. Following the passage of the new constitution, Kenya became a presidential representative democratic republic, whereby the
President of Kenya The president of the Republic of Kenya () is the head of state and head of government of the Republic of Kenya. The President is also the head of the Executive (government), executive branch of the Government of Kenya and is the commander-in-ch ...
is both
head of state A head of state (or chief of state) is the public persona who officially embodies a state (polity), state#Foakes, Foakes, pp. 110–11 "
he head of state He or HE may refer to: Language * He (pronoun), an English pronoun * He (kana), the romanization of the Japanese kana へ * He (letter) He is the fifth Letter (alphabet), letter of the Semitic abjads, including Phoenician alphabet, Phoenic ...
being an embodiment of the State itself or representatitve of its international p ...
and
head of government The head of government is the highest or the second-highest official in the Executive (government), executive branch of a sovereign state, a federated state, or a self-governing colony, autonomous region, or other government who often presid ...
, and of a
multi-party system In political science, a multi-party system is a political system in which multiple political parties across the political spectrum run for national elections, and all have the capacity to gain control of government offices, separately or in coal ...
. The new constitution also states that
executive power The Executive, also referred as the Executive branch or Executive power, is the term commonly used to describe that part of government which enforces the law, and has overall responsibility for the governance of a State (polity), state. In poli ...
s are exercised by the executive branch of government, headed by the president, who chairs a cabinet composed of people chosen from outside parliament.
Legislative power A legislature is an deliberative assembly, assembly with the authority to make laws for a Polity, political entity such as a Sovereign state, country or city. They are often contrasted with the Executive (government), executive and Judiciary, ...
is vested exclusively in
Parliament In modern politics, and history, a parliament is a legislative body of government. Generally, a modern parliament has three functions: Representation (politics), representing the Election#Suffrage, electorate, making laws, and overseeing ...
. The
judiciary The judiciary (also known as the judicial system, judicature, judicial branch, judiciative branch, and court or judiciary system) is the system of courts that adjudication, adjudicates legal disputes/disagreements and interprets, defends, and app ...
is independent of the executive and the legislature.


Kenyatta presidency

After Kibaki's tenure ended in 2013, Kenya held its first general elections after the 2010 constitution had been passed. Uhuru Kenyatta won in a disputed election result, leading to a petition by the opposition leader, Raila Odinga. The supreme court upheld the election results and Kenyatta began his term with
William Ruto William Kipchirchir Samoei Arap Ruto (born 21 December 1966) is a Kenyan politician who is serving as the fifth and current president of Kenya since 13 September 2022. Prior to becoming president, he served as the 11th Deputy President of Keny ...
as deputy president. Despite this ruling, the Supreme Court and the head of the Supreme Court were seen as powerful institutions that could check the powers of the president. In 2017, Kenyatta won a second term in office in another disputed election. Odinga again petitioned the results in the Supreme Court, accusing the
Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) is an independent regulatory agency that was founded in the year 2011 through the making of the Constitution of Kenya. The Commission is responsible for conducting or supervising refere ...
of mismanagement of the elections and Kenyatta and his party of rigging. The Supreme Court overturned the election results in what became a landmark ruling in Africa and one of the very few in the world in which the results of a presidential elections were annulled. This ruling solidified the position of the Supreme Court as an independent body. Consequently, Kenya had a second round of elections for the presidential position, in which Kenyatta emerged the winner after Odinga refused to participate, citing irregularities.


BBI

In March 2018, a historic
handshake A handshake is a globally widespread, brief greeting or parting tradition in which two people grasp one of each other's like hands, in most cases accompanied by a brief up-and-down movement of the grasped hands. Customs surrounding handshakes a ...
between Kenyatta and his longtime opponent Odinga signaled a period of reconciliation followed by economic growth and increased stability. Between 2019 and 2021, Kenyatta and Odinga combined efforts to promote major changes to the Kenyan constitution, labelled the "Building Bridges Initiative" (BBI), saying that their efforts were to improve inclusion and overcome the country's winner-take-all election system that often resulted in post-election violence.Omondi, Ferdinand
"Kenya's BBI blocked in scathing court verdict for President Kenyatta,"
May 14, 2021,
BBC News BBC News is an operational Division (business), business division of the BBC, British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) responsible for the gathering and broadcasting of news and current affairs in the UK and around the world. The department is t ...
(Africa), retrieved May 14, 2021
Miriri, Duncan
"Kenyan court slams brakes on president's constitutional changes,"
May 13, 2021, Reuters News Service, retrieved May 14, 2021
The BBI proposal called for broad expansion of the legislative and executive branches, including the creation of a
prime minister A prime minister, premier or chief of cabinet is the head of the Cabinet (government), cabinet and the leader of the Minister (government), ministers in the Executive (government), executive branch of government, often in a parliamentary syst ...
with two deputies and an official leader of the opposition, reverting to selecting cabinet ministers from among the elected Members of Parliament, establishment of up to 70 new
constituencies An electoral district, also known as an election district, legislative district, voting district, constituency, riding, ward, division, or (election) precinct is a subdivision of a larger state (a country A country is a distinct part o ...
, and addition of up to 300 unelected members of Parliament (under an " affirmative action" plan). Critics saw this as an unnecessary attempt to reward political dynasties and blunt the efforts of Deputy President Willian Ruto (Odinga's rival for the next presidency) and bloat the government at an exceptional cost to the debt-laded country. Ultimately, in May 2021, the Kenyan High Court ruled that the BBI constitutional reform effort was unconstitutional, because it was not truly a
popular initiative In political science, an initiative (also known as a popular initiative or citizens' initiative) is a means by which a petition signed by a certain number of Voter registration, registered voters can force a government to choose either to enac ...
, but rather an effort of the government. The court sharply criticized Kenyatta for the attempt, laying out out grounds for his being sued, personally, or even impeached (though the Parliament, which had passed the BBI, was unlikely to do that). The ruling was seen as a major defeat for both Kenyatta (soon to leave office), and Odinga (expected to seek the presidency), but a boon to Odinga's future presidential-election rival, Ruto. On 20 August 2021, Kenya's Court of Appeal again upheld the High Court Judgment of May 2021, which was appealed by the BBI Secretariat.


Ruto presidency

In August 2022, Deputy President William Ruto narrowly won the presidential election. He took 50.5% of the vote. His main rival, Raila Odinga, got 48.8% of the vote. On 13 September 2022, William Ruto was sworn in as Kenya's fifth president.


Geography

At , Kenya is the world's 47th-largest country (after
Madagascar Madagascar (; mg, Madagasikara, ), officially the Republic of Madagascar ( mg, Repoblikan'i Madagasikara, links=no, ; french: République de Madagascar), is an island country in the Indian Ocean, approximately off the coast of East Afric ...
). 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 The Great Rift Valley is a series of contiguous geographic trenches, approximately in total length, that runs from Lebanon in Asia to Mozambique in Southeast Africa. While the name continues in some usages, it is rarely used in geology as it i ...
, with a fertile plateau 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 Mount Kenya (Kikuyu language, Kikuyu: ''Kĩrĩnyaga'', Kamba language, Kamba, ''Ki Nyaa'') is the highest mountain in Kenya and the Highest mountain peaks of Africa, second-highest in Africa, after Mount Kilimanjaro, Kilimanjaro. The highest pea ...

Mount Kenya
, which reaches a height of and is the site of glaciers.
Mount Kilimanjaro Mount Kilimanjaro () is a Volcano#Dormant, dormant volcano in Tanzania. It has three volcanic cones: Kibo, Mawenzi, and Shira. It is the highest African mountains, mountain in Africa and the highest free-standing mountain above sea level in ...
() can be seen from Kenya to the south of the Tanzanian border.


Climate

Kenya's climate varies from tropical along the coast to temperate inland to
arid A region is arid when it severely lacks available water, to the extent of hindering or preventing the growth and morphogenesis, development of plant and animal life. Regions with arid climates tend to lack vegetation and are called Deserts and ...
in the north and northeast parts of the country. The area receives a great deal of sunshine every month. 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. Climate change is altering the natural pattern of the rainfall period, causing an extension of the short rains, which has begat floods, and reducing the drought cycle from every ten years to annual events, producing strong droughts such as the 2008-09 Kenya Drought. 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.


Wildlife

Kenya has considerable land area devoted to
wildlife Wildlife refers to domestication, undomesticated animal species (biology), species, but has come to include all organisms that grow or live wilderness, wild in an area without being species, introduced by humans. Wildlife was also synonymous ...
habitats, including the Masai Mara, where
blue wildebeest The blue wildebeest (''Connochaetes taurinus''), also called the common wildebeest, white-bearded gnu or brindled gnu, is a large antelope and one of the two species of wildebeest. It is placed in the genus ''Connochaetes'' and Family (biology), ...
and other
bovid The Bovidae comprise the family (biology), biological family of cloven-hoofed, ruminant mammals that includes Bos, cattle, bison, Bubalina, buffalo, antelopes, and Caprinae, caprines. A member of this family is called a bovid. With 143 Extant ta ...
s participate in a large-scale annual migration. More than one million wildebeest and 200,000 zebras participate in the migration across the
Mara River The Mara River is a river in that begins in Narok County (Kenya) and in ends in Mara Region (Tanzania), and lies across the migration path of ungulates in the Maasai Mara/Serengeti National Park, Serengeti ecosystem. The River's Flow The Mara ...
. The "Big Five" game animals of Africa, that is the
lion The lion (''Panthera leo'') is a large Felidae, cat of the genus ''Panthera'' native to Africa and India. It has a muscular, broad-chested body; short, rounded head; round ears; and a hairy tuft at the end of its tail. It is sexually dimorphi ...
,
leopard The leopard (''Panthera pardus'') is one of the five extant species in the Genus (biology), genus ''Panthera'', a member of the cat family (biology), family, Felidae. It occurs in a wide range in sub-Saharan Africa, in some parts of Western As ...
, buffalo,
rhinoceros A rhinoceros (; ; ), commonly abbreviated to rhino, is a member of any of the five extant taxon, extant species (or numerous extinct species) of odd-toed ungulates in the family (biology), family Rhinocerotidae. (It can also refer to a member ...
, and
elephant Elephants are the Largest and heaviest animals, largest existing land animals. Three living species are currently recognised: the African bush elephant, the African forest elephant, and the Asian elephant. They are the only surviving members ...
, 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 A national park is a nature park, natural park in use for conservation (ethic), conservation purposes, created and protected by national governments. Often it is a reserve of natural, semi-natural, or developed land that a sovereign state dec ...
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 from the
Serengeti The Serengeti ( ) ecosystem is a Geography of Africa, geographical region in Africa, spanning northern Tanzania. The protected area within the region includes approximately of land, including the Serengeti National Park and several game res ...
in neighbouring 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 listed among the Seven Natural Wonders of Africa. Kenya had a 2019 Forest Landscape Integrity Index mean score of 4.2/10, ranking it 133rd globally out of 172 countries.


Government and politics

Kenya is a presidential representative democratic republic with a
multi-party system In political science, a multi-party system is a political system in which multiple political parties across the political spectrum run for national elections, and all have the capacity to gain control of government offices, separately or in coal ...
. The president is both the
head of state A head of state (or chief of state) is the public persona who officially embodies a state (polity), state#Foakes, Foakes, pp. 110–11 "
he head of state He or HE may refer to: Language * He (pronoun), an English pronoun * He (kana), the romanization of the Japanese kana へ * He (letter) He is the fifth Letter (alphabet), letter of the Semitic abjads, including Phoenician alphabet, Phoenic ...
being an embodiment of the State itself or representatitve of its international p ...
and
head of government The head of government is the highest or the second-highest official in the Executive (government), executive branch of a sovereign state, a federated state, or a self-governing colony, autonomous region, or other government who often presid ...
.
Executive power The Executive, also referred as the Executive branch or Executive power, is the term commonly used to describe that part of government which enforces the law, and has overall responsibility for the governance of a State (polity), state. In poli ...
is exercised by the government.
Legislative power A legislature is an deliberative assembly, assembly with the authority to make laws for a Polity, political entity such as a Sovereign state, country or city. They are often contrasted with the Executive (government), executive and Judiciary, ...
is vested in both the government and the
National Assembly In politics, a national assembly is either a unicameral legislature, the lower house of a bicameral legislature, or both houses of a bicameral legislature together. In the English language it generally means "an assembly composed of the repre ...
and the
Senate A senate is a deliberative assembly, often the upper house An upper house is one of two Debate chamber, chambers of a bicameralism, bicameral legislature, the other chamber being the lower house.''Bicameralism'' (1997) by George Tseb ...
. The
Judiciary The judiciary (also known as the judicial system, judicature, judicial branch, judiciative branch, and court or judiciary system) is the system of courts that adjudication, adjudicates legal disputes/disagreements and interprets, defends, and app ...
is independent of the executive and the legislature. There has been growing concern, especially during former president Daniel arap Moi's tenure, that the executive was increasingly meddling with the affairs of the judiciary. Kenya has high levels of corruption according to
Transparency International Transparency International e.V. (TI) is a German registered association founded in 1993 by former employees of the World Bank. Based in Berlin, its nonprofit and non-governmental purpose is to take action to combat global corruption with civi ...
's
Corruption Perceptions Index The Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) is an index which ranks countries "by their perceived levels of public sector corruption, as determined by expert assessments and opinion surveys." The CPI generally defines corruption as an "abuse of entru ...
(CPI), a metric which attempts to gauge the prevalence of public-sector corruption in various countries. In 2019, the nation placed 137th out of 180 countries in the index, with a score of 28 out of 100. But there are several rather significant developments with regard to curbing corruption from the Kenyan government, for instance the establishment of a new and independent Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC). 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, Kenya held democratic and open elections, which were judged free and fair by most 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 The Kenya African National Union (KANU) is a Kenyan political party that ruled for nearly 40 years after Kenya's independence from United Kingdom, British Kenya Colony, colonial rule in 1963 until its electoral loss in 2002. It was known as Kenya ...
(KANU), which had ruled the country since independence, to the
National Rainbow Coalition The National Rainbow Coalition (NARC) is a political party in Kenya. As an alliance, it was in power from 2002 and 2005 when it collapsed due to disagreements between members over a constitutional referendum. Formation In preparation of the 2002 ...
(NARC), a coalition of political parties. Under the presidency of
Mwai Kibaki Emilio Stanley Mwai Kibaki (15 November 1931 – 21 April 2022) was a Kenyan politician who served as the third President of Kenya from December 2002 until April 2013 and is regarded as one of Kenya's founding fathers. He had previously ser ...
, 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

Under the new constitution and with President Kibaki prohibited by term limits from running for a third term, Deputy Prime Minister
Uhuru Kenyatta Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta (born 26 October 1961) is a Kenyan politician who served as the fourth president of Kenya from 2013 to 2022. Kenyatta was chosen by Daniel Arap Moi as his preferred successor, but Kenyatta was defeated by opposition le ...
ran for office. He won with 50.51% of the vote in March 2013. In December 2014, President 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 the
United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a Washington, D.C., ...
, the
United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain, is a country in Europe, off the north-western coast of the European mainland, continental mainland. It comprises England, Scotlan ...

United Kingdom
,
Germany Germany,, officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is a country in Central Europe. It is the second most populous country in Europe after Russia, and the most populous member state of the European Union. Germany is situated between ...
, and
France France (), officially the French Republic ( ), is a country primarily located in Western Europe. It also comprises of Overseas France, overseas regions and territories in the Americas and the Atlantic Ocean, Atlantic, Pacific Ocean, Pac ...
also 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 circumstances.


Foreign relations

Kenya has close ties with its fellow Swahili-speaking neighbours in the
African Great Lakes The African Great Lakes ( sw, Maziwa Makuu; rw, Ibiyaga bigari) are a series of lakes constituting the part of the Rift Valley lakes in and around the East African Rift. They include Lake Victoria, the List of lakes by area, second-largest fres ...
region. Relations with Uganda and Tanzania are generally strong, as the three nations work toward economic and social integration through common membership in the
East African Community The East African Community (EAC) is an intergovernmental organisation composed of seven countries in the African Great Lakes, Great Lakes region of East Africa: the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the United Republic of Tanzania, the Republi ...
. Relations with 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 – Foreign Relations
. Retrieved on 16 January 2015.
Kenya is one of the most pro-American nations in Africa, and the wider world. With
International Criminal Court The International Criminal Court (ICC or ICCt) is an intergovernmental organization and International court, international tribunal seated in The Hague, Netherlands. It is the first and only permanent international court with jurisdiction to pro ...
trial dates scheduled in 2013 for both President Kenyatta and Deputy President
William Ruto William Kipchirchir Samoei Arap Ruto (born 21 December 1966) is a Kenyan politician who is serving as the fifth and current president of Kenya since 13 September 2022. Prior to becoming president, he served as the 11th Deputy President of Keny ...
related to the 2007 election aftermath, US president
Barack Obama Barack Hussein Obama II ( ; born August 4, 1961) is an American politician who served as the 44th president of the United States from 2009 to 2017. A member of the Democratic Party (United States), Democratic Party, Obama was the first Af ...
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 Xi Jinping ( ; ; ; born 15 June 1953) is a Chinese politician who has served as the General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party, general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and Chairman of the Central Military Commission (Ch ...
after a stop in Russia and not having visited the United States as president.Raghavan, Sudarsan
"In snub to Washington, Kenyan president visits China, Russia first"
, ''Washington Post'', 17 August 2013. Ambassador Liu's comments at capitalfm.co.ke linked t
capitalfm.co.ke
. Retrieved 18 August 2013.
In July 2015, Obama visited Kenya, the first American president to visit the country while in office. The
British Army Training Unit Kenya The British Army Training Unit Kenya (BATUK) is a training support unit of the British Army The British Army is the principal land warfare force of the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commo ...
(BATUK) is used for the training of
British British may refer to: Peoples, culture, and language * British people British people or Britons, also known colloquially as Brits, are the citizens of the United Kingdom, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the Britis ...
infantry battalions in the arid and rugged terrain of the
Great Rift Valley The Great Rift Valley is a series of contiguous geographic trenches, approximately in total length, that runs from Lebanon in Asia to Mozambique in Southeast Africa. While the name continues in some usages, it is rarely used in geology as it i ...
.


Armed forces

The Kenya Defence Forces are the
armed forces A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force primarily intended for warfare. It is typically authorized and maintained by a sovereign state, with its members identifiable by their distinc ...
of Kenya. The
Kenya Army The Kenya Army is the land arm of the Kenya Defence Forces. History The origin of the present day Kenya Army lie with the British Army The British Army is the principal land warfare force of the United Kingdom The United Kingdom ...
,
Kenya Navy The Kenya Navy is the navy, naval branch of the Kenya Defence Forces. It is headquartered in Mombasa. Kenya Navy has two major bases for its fleet with it being headquartered in Mtongwe Naval Base, Mombasa and Manda Bay (part of Lamu Archipela ...
, and
Kenya Air Force The Kenya Air Force (KAF) or sw, Jeshi la Wanahewa is the national aerial warfare service branch of the Republic of Kenya. The main airbase operating fighters is Laikipia Air Base in Nanyuki, while Moi Air Base in Eastleigh, Nairobi is th ...
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 Constitution of Kenya is the onstitution, supreme lawof the Republic of Kenya. There have been three significant versions of the constitution, with the most recent redraft being enabled in 2010. The 2010 edition replaced the Constitutio ...
; the KDF is governed by the Kenya Defence Forces Act of 2012. The
President of Kenya The president of the Republic of Kenya () is the head of state and head of government of the Republic of Kenya. The President is also the head of the Executive (government), executive branch of the Government of Kenya and is the commander-in-ch ...
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 armed forces, like many government institutions in the country, have been tainted by
corruption Corruption is a form of dishonesty or a criminal offense which is undertaken by a person or an organization which is entrusted in a position of authority, in order to acquire illicit benefits or abuse power for one's personal gain. Corruption m ...
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.


Administrative divisions

Kenya is divided into 47 semi-autonomous counties that are headed by governors. These 47 counties form the first-order divisions of Kenya. The smallest administrative units in Kenya are called
locations In geography Geography (from Ancient Greek, Greek: , ''geographia''. Combination of Greek words ‘Geo’ (The Earth) and ‘Graphien’ (to describe), literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the la ...
. 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 2010 to review the constituencies and in its report, it recommended the creation of an additional 80 constituencies. Previous to the 2013 elections, there were 210 constituencies in Kenya.


Human rights

Homosexual acts are illegal in Kenya and punishable by up to 14 years in prison, though the state often turns a blind eye to prosecuting gay people. According to a 2020 survey by the
Pew Research Center The Pew Research Center is a nonpartisanism in the United States, nonpartisan American think tank (referring to itself as a "fact tank") based in Washington, D.C. It provides information on social issues, public opinion, and demographic trends ...
, 83% of Kenyans believe that homosexuality should not be accepted by society. While addressing a joint press conference together with President
Barack Obama Barack Hussein Obama II ( ; born August 4, 1961) is an American politician who served as the 44th president of the United States from 2009 to 2017. A member of the Democratic Party (United States), Democratic Party, Obama was the first Af ...
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 WikiLeaks () is an international Nonprofit organization, non-profit organisation that published news leaks and classified media provided by anonymous Source (journalism), sources. Julian Assange, an Australian Internet activism, Internet acti ...
brought wide international attention to ''The Cry of Blood'' report, which documents the extrajudicial killing of gangsters by the Kenyan police. In the report, the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) reported these in their key finding "e)", stating that the
forced disappearance An enforced disappearance (or forced disappearance) is the secret abduction or imprisonment of a person by a State (polity), state or political organization, or by a third party with the authorization, support, or acquiescence of a state or po ...
s and
extrajudicial killing An extrajudicial killing (also known as extrajudicial execution or extralegal killing) is the deliberate homicide, killing of a person without the lawful authority granted by a Judiciary, judicial proceeding. It typically refers to government ...
s appeared to be official policy sanctioned by the political leadership and the police.


Economy

Kenya's
macroeconomic Macroeconomics (from the Greek prefix ''makro-'' meaning "large" + ''economics'') is a branch of economics dealing with performance, structure, behavior, and decision-making of an economy as a whole. For example, using interest rates, taxes, and ...
outlook has steadily posted robust growth over the past few decades mostly from
road A road is a linear way for the conveyance of traffic that mostly has an road surface, improved surface for use by vehicles (motorized and non-motorized) and pedestrians. Unlike streets, the main function of roads is transportation. There are ro ...
,
rail Rail or rails may refer to: Rail transport *Rail transport and related matters *Rail (rail transport) or railway lines, the running surface of a railway Arts and media Film *Rails (film), ''Rails'' (film), a 1929 Italian film by Mario Camerini ...
,
air The atmosphere of Earth is the layer of gases, known collectively as air, retained by Earth's gravity that surrounds the planet and forms its planetary atmosphere. The atmosphere of Earth protects life on Earth by creating pressure allowing fo ...
and
water transport Maritime transport (or ocean transport) and hydraulic effluvial transport, or more generally waterborne transport, is the transport of people (passengers) or goods (cargo) via waterways. Freight transport by sea has been widely used throug ...
infrastructure projects as well as massive investments in
Information and Communication Technology Information and communications technology (ICT) is an extensional term for information technology Information technology (IT) is the use of computers to create, process, store, retrieve, and exchange all kinds of Data (computing), data . ...
. However, much of this growth has come from cash flows diverted from ordinary Kenyan pockets at the
microeconomic Microeconomics is a branch of mainstream economics that studies the behavior of individuals and Theory of the firm, firms in making decisions regarding the allocation of scarcity, scarce resources and the interactions among these individuals a ...
level through targeted
monetary Money is any item or verifiable record that is generally accepted as payment for goods and services and repayment of debts, such as taxes, in a particular country or socio-economic context. The primary functions which distinguish money are as ...
and fiscal measures coupled with poor management,
corruption Corruption is a form of dishonesty or a criminal offense which is undertaken by a person or an organization which is entrusted in a position of authority, in order to acquire illicit benefits or abuse power for one's personal gain. Corruption m ...
, massive theft of public funds, overlegislation and an ineffective
judiciary The judiciary (also known as the judicial system, judicature, judicial branch, judiciative branch, and court or judiciary system) is the system of courts that adjudication, adjudicates legal disputes/disagreements and interprets, defends, and app ...
resulting in diminished incomes in ordinary households and
small business Small businesses are types of corporations, partnerships, or sole proprietorships which have fewer employees and/or less annual revenue than a regular-sized business or corporation. Businesses are defined as "small" in terms of being able to ap ...
es,
unemployment Unemployment, according to the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development), is people above a specified age (usually 15) not being in paid employment or self-employment but currently available for Work (human activity), w ...
,
underemployment Underemployment is the underuse of a worker because a employment, job does not use the worker's skills, is part-time, or leaves the worker idle. Examples include holding a part-time job despite desiring full-time work, and overqualification, in ...
and general discontent across multiple sectors. Kenya ranks poorly on the
Fragile States Index The Fragile States Index (FSI; formerly the Failed States Index) is an annual report published by the United States think tank A think tank, or policy institute, is a research institute that performs research and advocacy concerning topics ...
at number 25 out of 178 countries, ranked in 2019, and is placed in the ALERT category. In 2014, the country's macroeconomic indicators were re-based, causing the
GDP Gross domestic product (GDP) is a money, monetary Measurement in economics, measure of the market value of all the final goods and services produced and sold (not resold) in a specific time period by countries. Due to its complex and subjec ...
to shift upwards to low-middle-income country status. Despite government assurances to the contrary, the Kenyan government is currently broke and struggling to meet its financial obligations. Junior government employees at both national and county levels are the hardest hit and have not received their monthly salaries, benefits and deductions for up to six months or more. There is conflicting data on the state of the economy from different government agencies with official data not reflecting record inflation and very high prices of food and other basic commodities. Kenya has a
Human Development Index The Human Development Index (HDI) is a statistic composite index of life expectancy, Education Index, education (mean years of schooling completed and expected years of schooling upon entering the Educational system, education system), ...
(HDI) of 0.555 (medium), ranked 145 out of 186 in the world. , 17.7% of Kenyans lived on less than $1.25 a day. In 2017, Kenya ranked 92nd in the World Bank
ease of doing business The ease of doing business index was an index created jointly by Simeon Djankov Simeon Dyankov ( bg, Симеон Дянков, also Djankov; born July 13, 1970) is a Bulgarian economist. From 2009 to 2013, he was the Deputy Prime Minister A ...
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 A developed country (or industrialized country, high-income country, more economically developed country (MEDC), advanced country) is a sovereign state that has a high quality of life, developed economy and advanced technological infrastruct ...
. Kenya is usually classified as a frontier market or occasionally an
emerging market An emerging market (or an emerging country or an emerging economy) is a market that has some characteristics of a developed market, but does not fully meet its standards. This includes markets that may become developed markets in the future or were ...
, but it is not one of the least developed countries. The economy has seen much expansion, seen by strong performance in tourism, higher education, and
telecommunications Telecommunication is the transmission of information by various types of technologies over wire, radio Radio is the technology of signaling and telecommunication, communicating using radio waves. Radio waves are electromagnetic waves of ...
, and decent 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. This changed immediately after the disputed presidential election of December 2007, following the chaos which engulfed the country. Telecommunications and financial activity over the last decade now comprise 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 Food security speaks to the availability of food in a country (or geography) and the ability of individuals within that country (geography) to access, afford, and source adequate foodstuffs. According to the United Nations' Committee on World Fo ...
—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. Kenya also exports textiles worth over $400 million under AGOA. Privatisation of state corporations like the defunct Kenya Post and Telecommunications Company, which resulted in East Africa's most profitable company—
Safaricom Safaricom PLC is a listed Kenyan mobile network A cellular network or mobile network is a communication network where the link to and from end nodes is wireless. The network is distributed over land areas called "cells", each served by at le ...
, has led to their revival because of massive private investment. , economic prospects are positive with 4–5% GDP growth expected, largely because of expansions in
tourism Tourism is travel for pleasure or business; also the theory and practice of touring (disambiguation), touring, the business of attracting, accommodating, and entertaining tourists, and the business of operating tour (disambiguation), tours. Th ...
,
telecommunications Telecommunication is the transmission of information by various types of technologies over wire, radio Radio is the technology of signaling and telecommunication, communicating using radio waves. Radio waves are electromagnetic waves of ...
, transport, construction, and a recovery in
agriculture Agriculture or farming is the practice of cultivating Plant, plants and livestock. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of Sedentism, sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of Domestication, domesticated species created food ...
. The
World Bank The World Bank is an international financial institution that provides loans and Grant (money), grants to the governments of Least developed countries, low- and Developing country, middle-income countries for the purpose of pursuing capital pro ...
estimated growth of 4.3% in 2012. In March 1996, the presidents of Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda re-established the
East African Community The East African Community (EAC) is an intergovernmental organisation composed of seven countries in the African Great Lakes, Great Lakes region of East Africa: the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the United Republic of Tanzania, the Republi ...
(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 has a more developed financial services sector than its neighbours. The
Nairobi Securities Exchange The Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) was established in 1954 as the Nairobi Stock Exchange, based in Nairobi the capital of Kenya. It was a voluntary association of stockbrokers in the European community registered under the Societies Act in ...
(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) and several
non-bank financial institution A non-banking financial institution (NBFI) or non-bank financial company (NBFC) is a financial institution Financial institutions, sometimes called banking institutions, are business entities that provide services as intermediaries for differe ...
s including mortgage companies, four savings and loan associations, and several core foreign-exchange bureaus.


Tourism

Tourism in Kenya Tourism in Kenya is the second-largest source of foreign exchange revenue, following agriculture. ThKenya Tourism Boardis responsible for maintaining information pertaining to tourism in Kenya. History
is the second-largest source of foreign exchange revenue following agriculture. The Kenya Tourism Board is responsible for maintaining information pertaining to tourism in Kenya. The main tourist attractions are photo safaris through the 60 national parks and game reserves. Other attractions include the
wildebeest Wildebeest ( , , ), also called gnu ( or ), are antelope The term antelope is used to refer to many species of even-toed ruminant that are indigenous (ecology), indigenous to various regions in Africa and Eurasia. Antelope comprise a ...
migration at the Masaai Mara, which is considered to be the 7th wonder of the world; historical mosques, and colonial-era forts at
Mombasa Mombasa ( ; ) is a coastal city in southeastern Kenya along the Indian Ocean. It was the first capital of the British East Africa, before Nairobi was elevated to capital city status. It now serves as the capital of Mombasa County. The town is ...

Mombasa
,
Malindi Malindi is a town on Malindi Bay at the mouth of the Sabaki River, lying on the Indian Ocean coast of Kenya. It is 120 kilometres northeast of Mombasa. The population of Malindi was 119,859 as of the 2019 census. It is the largest urban centre ...
, and
Lamu Lamu or Lamu Town is a small town on Lamu Island, which in turn is a part of the Lamu Archipelago in Kenya. Situated by road northeast of Mombasa that ends at Mokowe Jetty, from where the sea channel has to be crossed to reach Lamu Island. ...
; renowned scenery such as the white-capped
Mount Kenya Mount Kenya (Kikuyu language, Kikuyu: ''Kĩrĩnyaga'', Kamba language, Kamba, ''Ki Nyaa'') is the highest mountain in Kenya and the Highest mountain peaks of Africa, second-highest in Africa, after Mount Kilimanjaro, Kilimanjaro. The highest pea ...

Mount Kenya
and the
Great Rift Valley The Great Rift Valley is a series of contiguous geographic trenches, approximately in total length, that runs from Lebanon in Asia to Mozambique in Southeast Africa. While the name continues in some usages, it is rarely used in geology as it i ...
; tea plantations at
Kericho Kericho is the biggest town in Kericho County Kericho County is one of the 47 Counties of Kenya, counties in Kenya. The county seats between longitude 35°02' and 35°40' East and between the equator and latitude 0°23' South with an alti ...
; coffee plantations at Thika; a splendid view of
Mount Kilimanjaro Mount Kilimanjaro () is a Volcano#Dormant, dormant volcano in Tanzania. It has three volcanic cones: Kibo, Mawenzi, and Shira. It is the highest African mountains, mountain in Africa and the highest free-standing mountain above sea level in ...
across the border into Tanzania; and the beaches along the Swahili Coast, in the
Indian Ocean The Indian Ocean is the third-largest of the world's five oceanic divisions, covering or ~19.8% of the water on Earth's surface. It is bounded by Asia to the north, Africa to the west and Australia (continent), Australia to the east. To the so ...

Indian Ocean
. Tourists, the largest number being from
Germany Germany,, officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is a country in Central Europe. It is the second most populous country in Europe after Russia, and the most populous member state of the European Union. Germany is situated between ...
and the
United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain, is a country in Europe, off the north-western coast of the European mainland, continental mainland. It comprises England, Scotlan ...

United Kingdom
, are attracted mainly to the coastal beaches and the
game reserve A game reserve (also known as a wildlife preserve or a game park) is a large area of land where wild animals live safely or are hunted in a controlled way for sport. If hunting is prohibited, a game reserve may be considered a nature reserve; ...
s, notably, the expansive
East East or Orient is one of the four cardinal direction The four cardinal directions, or cardinal points, are the four main compass directions: north, east, south, and west, commonly denoted by their initials N, E, S, and W respectively. Relat ...
and
Tsavo West National Park Tsavo West National Park is located in the Coast Province of Kenya. The park covers an area of 9,065 square kilometres. The A109 road (Kenya), A109 road Nairobi-Mombasa and a railway divides it from the adjoining Tsavo East National Park. Toget ...
, to the southeast.


Agriculture

Agriculture is the second largest contributor to Kenya's gross domestic product (GDP) after the service sector. In 2005, agriculture, including
forestry Forestry is the science and craft of creating, managing, planting, using, conserving and repairing forests, woodlands, and associated resources for human and environmental benefits. Forestry is practiced in plantations and natural Stand level ...
and fishing, accounted for 24% of GDP, as well as for 18% of wage employment and 50% of revenue from exports. The principal
cash crop A cash crop or profit crop is an Agriculture, agricultural crop which is grown to sell for profit. It is typically purchased by parties separate from a farm. The term is used to differentiate marketed crops from staple crop (or "subsistence crop") ...
s 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 Maize ( ; ''Zea mays'' subsp. ''mays'', from es, maíz after tnq, mahiz), also known as corn ( North American and Australian English Australian English (AusE, AusEng, AuE, AuEng, en-AU) is the set of variety (linguistics), varieties ...
is subject to sharp weather-related fluctuations. Production downturns periodically necessitate food aid—for example in 2004, due to one of Kenya's intermittent
droughts A drought is defined as drier than normal conditions.Douville, H., K. Raghavan, J. Renwick, R.P. Allan, P.A. Arias, M. Barlow, R. Cerezo-Mota, A. Cherchi, T.Y. Gan, J. Gergis, D.  Jiang, A.  Khan, W.  Pokam Mba, D.  Rosenfeld, J. Tierney, an ...
. A consortium led by the
International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) is an international organization which conducts agricultural research for rural development, headquartered in Patancheru Patancheru is located in the north west ...
( ICRISAT) has had some success in helping farmers grow new
pigeon pea The pigeon pea (''Cajanus cajan'') is a perennial legume from the family (biology), family Fabaceae native to the Old World. The pigeon pea is widely cultivated in tropical and semitropical regions around the world, being commonly consumed in Sou ...
varieties instead of maize, in particularly dry areas. Pigeon peas are very drought-resistant, so can be grown in areas with less than 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 20–25% in 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 The coconut tree (''Cocos nucifera'') is a member of the palm tree The Arecaceae is a family (biology), family of Perennial plant, perennial flowering plants in the Monocotyledon, monocot order (biology), order Arecales. Their growth ...
,
pineapples The pineapple (''Ananas comosus'') is a tropical plant with an edible fruit; it is the most economically significant plant in the family Bromeliaceae. The pineapple is indigenous to South America South America is a continent entirel ...
,
cashew nuts The cashew tree (''Anacardium occidentale'') is a tropical evergreen tree native to South America South America is a continent entirely in the Western Hemisphere and mostly in the Southern Hemisphere, with a relatively small portion ...
, cotton,
sugarcane Sugarcane or sugar cane is a species of (often hybrid) tall, Perennial plant, perennial grass (in the genus ''Saccharum'', tribe Andropogoneae) that is used for sugar Sugar industry, production. The plants are 2–6 m (6–20 ft) tall with ...
,
sisal Sisal (, ) (''Agave sisalana'') is a species of flowering plant native to southern Mexico, but widely cultivated and naturalized in many other countries. It yields a stiff fiber, fibre used in making rope and various other products. The term si ...
, 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 A region is arid when it severely lacks available water, to the extent of hindering or preventing the growth and morphogenesis, development of plant and animal life. Regions with arid climates tend to lack vegetation and are called Deserts and ...
and
semi-arid A semi-arid climate, semi-desert climate, or steppe climate is a dry climate sub-type. It is located on regions that receive precipitation below Evapotranspiration#Potential evapotranspiration, potential evapotranspiration, but not as low as a des ...
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 The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement is a Humanitarianism, humanitarian movement with approximately 97 million Volunteering, volunteers, members and staff worldwide. It was founded to protect human life and health, to ensure re ...
. Kenya's
irrigation Irrigation (also referred to as watering) is the practice of applying controlled amounts of water to land to help grow Crop, crops, Landscape plant, landscape plants, and Lawn, lawns. Irrigation has been a key aspect of agriculture for over 5,00 ...
sector is categorised into three organizational types:
smallholder A smallholding or smallholder is a small farm operating under a small-scale agriculture model. Definitions vary widely for what constitutes a smallholder or small-scale farm, including factors such as size, food production technique or technology ...
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 groups. 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 In molecular biology, the δ (delta) subunit of DNA polymerase III is encoded by the holA gene in ''E. coli'' and other bacteria. Along with the γ, δ', χ, and ψ subunits that make up the core polymerase, and the β accessory proteins, the ...
, Perkera, West Kano, Bunyala, and
Ahero Ahero is a town in the city of Kisumu, the third largest city in Kenya. It is an agriculture town in Kenya that is part of Kisumu County. The town has a retail market serving as a main trading center for food and goods coming from Kisii, Homabay, ...
, covering a total 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 utilise 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 Cut flowers are flowers or flower buds (often with some Plant stem, stem and leaf) that have been cut from the plant bearing it. It is usually removed from the plant for decorative use. Typical uses are in vase displays, wreaths and garlands. M ...
. Roughly half of Kenya's 127 flower farms are concentrated around
Lake Naivasha Lake Naivasha is a freshwater Rift Valley lakes, lake in Kenya, outside the town of Naivasha in Nakuru County, which lies north west of Nairobi. It is part of the Great Rift Valley, Kenya, Great Rift Valley. The name derives from the local Maa ...
, 90 kilometres northwest of Nairobi. To speed their export, Nairobi airport has a terminal dedicated to the transport of flowers and vegetables.


Industry and manufacturing

Although Kenya is a low middle-income country, manufacturing accounts for 14% of the GDP, with industrial activity concentrated around the three largest urban centres of
Nairobi Nairobi ( ) is the Capital city, capital and largest city of Kenya. The name is derived from the Maasai language, Maasai phrase ''Enkare Nairobi'', which translates to "place of cool waters", a reference to the Nairobi River which flows throug ...

Nairobi
,
Mombasa Mombasa ( ; ) is a coastal city in southeastern Kenya along the Indian Ocean. It was the first capital of the British East Africa, before Nairobi was elevated to capital city status. It now serves as the capital of Mombasa County. The town is ...

Mombasa
, and
Kisumu Kisumu ( ) is the List of cities and towns in Kenya by population, third-largest city in Kenya after the capital, Nairobi, and the coastal city of Mombasa (census 2019). It is the third-largest city after Kampala and Mwanza in the Lake Victor ...
, and is dominated by food-processing industries such as grain milling, beer production, sugarcane crushing, and the fabrication of consumer goods, e.g., vehicles from kits. Kenya also has a cement production industry. Kenya has an
oil refinery An oil refinery or petroleum refinery is an industrial processes, industrial process Factory, plant where petroleum (crude oil) is transformed and refining, refined into useful products such as gasoline (petrol), diesel fuel, asphalt, asphalt ...
that processes imported crude petroleum into petroleum products, mainly for the domestic market. In addition, a substantial and expanding
informal sector An informal economy (informal sector or grey economy) is the part of any economy An economy is an area of the Production (economics), production, Distribution (economics), distribution and trade, as well as Consumption (economics), consump ...
commonly referred to as ''jua kali'' engages in small-scale manufacturing of household goods, auto parts, and farm implements. 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

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

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 }), is a landlocked country in East Africa. The country is bordered to the east by Kenya, to the north by South Sudan, to the west by the Democratic Republic of the Congo, to the south-west by Rwanda, and to the south by Tanzania. The souther ...

Uganda
make up the rest of the supply. A 2,000 MW powerline from Ethiopia is nearing completion. Kenya's installed capacity increased from 1,142
megawatts The watt (symbol: W) is the unit of Power (physics), power or radiant flux in the International System of Units, International System of Units (SI), equal to 1 joule per second or 1 kg⋅m2⋅s−3. It is used to quantification (science), ...
between 2001 and 2003 to 2,341 in 2016. The state-owned Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen), established in 1997 under the name of Kenya Power Company, handles the generation of electricity, while Kenya Power 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 has installed
wind power Wind power or wind energy is mostly the use of wind turbines to electricity generation, generate electricity. Wind power is a popular, sustainable energy, sustainable, renewable energy source that has a much smaller Environmental impact of wi ...
and
solar power Solar power is the conversion of energy from sunlight into electricity, either directly using photovoltaics (PV) or indirectly using concentrated solar power. Photovoltaic cells convert light into an electric current using the photovoltaic ef ...
(over 300 MW each), and aims to build a nuclear power plant by 2027. Kenya has proven deposits of oil in Turkana.
Tullow Oil Tullow Oil plc is a multinational petroleum, oil and natural gas, gas Hydrocarbon exploration, exploration company founded in Tullow, Ireland, with its headquarters in London, United Kingdom. The company is listed on the London Stock Exchange a ...
estimates the country's oil reserves to be around one billion barrels. Exploration is still continuing to determine whether there are more reserves. Kenya currently imports all crude petroleum requirements. It 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.


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 " companied by 60 Kenyan business people nd hoped to... gain support from China for a planned $2.5 billion railway from the southern Kenyan port of Mombasa to neighbouring 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 Ilmenite is a titanium-iron oxide mineral with the idealized formula . It is a weakly magnetic black or steel-gray solid. Ilmenite is the most important ore of titanium and the main source of titanium dioxide, which is used in paints, printing ...
was flagged off the Kenyan coastal town of Kilifi. The first shipment was expected to earn Kenya about KSh.1520 billion/= in earnings. In 2014, the Chinese contracted railway project from Nairobi to Mombasa was suspended due to a dispute over compensation for land acquisition.


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 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 failure. The 200-page Action Plan, developed with support from the Climate & Development Knowledge Network, sets out the Government of Kenya's vision for a 'low-carbon climate resilient development pathway'. At the launch in March 2013, the Secretary of the Ministry of Planning, National Development, and Vision 2030 emphasized that climate would be a central issue in the renewed Medium-Term Plan that would be launched in the coming months. This would create a direct and robust delivery framework for the Action Plan and ensure climate change is treated as an economy-wide issue. Furthermore, Kenya submitted an updated, more ambitious NDC on December 24, 2020, with a commitment to abate greenhouse gases by 32 percent by 2030 relative to the business-as-usual scenario and in line with its sustainable development agenda and national circumstances.


Oil exploration

Kenya has proven oil deposits in
Turkana County Turkana County is a Counties of Kenya, county in the former Rift Valley Province, Kenya, Rift Valley Province of Kenya. It is Kenya's largest county by land area (followed by Marsabit County), and also its northwesternmost. It is bordered by the ...
. President Mwai Kibaki announced on 26 March 2012 that
Tullow Oil Tullow Oil plc is a multinational petroleum, oil and natural gas, gas Hydrocarbon exploration, exploration company founded in Tullow, Ireland, with its headquarters in London, United Kingdom. The company is listed on the London Stock Exchange a ...
, 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 Hu Jintao (born 21 December 1942) is a Chinese politician who served as the 16–17th General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party, general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) from 2002 to 2012, the 6th president of the Peopl ...
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 economy. The deal allowed for China's state-controlled offshore oil and gas company,
CNOOC China National Offshore Oil Corporation, or CNOOC Group (Chinese language, Chinese: 中国海洋石油总公司 Pinyin: ''Zhōngguó Háiyáng Shíyóu Zǒnggōngsī''), is one of the largest national oil companies in China, and the third-larg ...
, to prospect for oil in Kenya, which is just beginning to drill its first exploratory wells on the borders of Sudan and the disputed area of North Eastern Province, on the border with
Somalia Somalia, , Osmanya script: 𐒈𐒝𐒑𐒛𐒐𐒘𐒕𐒖; ar, الصومال, aṣ-Ṣūmāl officially the Federal Republic of SomaliaThe ''Federal Republic of Somalia'' is the country's name per Article 1 of thProvisional Constitut ...

Somalia
and in coastal waters. There are formal estimates of the possible reserves of oil discovered.


Child labour and prostitution

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

More than 20 institutions offer business loans on a large scale, specific agriculture loans, education loans, and loans for other purposes. Additionally, there are: * emergency loans, which are more expensive in respect to interest rates, but are quickly available * group loans for smaller groups (four to five members) and larger groups (up to 30 members) * women's loans, which are also available to groups of women Out of approximately 40 million Kenyans, about 14 million are unable to receive financial service through formal loan application services, and an additional 12 million have no access to financial service institutions at all. Further, one million Kenyans are reliant on informal groups for receiving financial aid. To mitigate this problem, the mobile banking service M-Pesa was launched in 2007 by
Vodafone Vodafone Group Public limited company, plc () is a British Multinational corporation, multinational Telephone company, telecommunications company. Its registered office and Headquarters, global headquarters are in Newbury, Berkshire, England. It ...
and
Safaricom Safaricom PLC is a listed Kenyan mobile network A cellular network or mobile network is a communication network where the link to and from end nodes is wireless. The network is distributed over land areas called "cells", each served by at le ...
, in collaboration from the Financial Deepening Challenge Fund competition established by the UK government's Department for International Development. M-Pesa, as an application that allows users to deposit, withdraw, transfer money, pay for goods and services (Lipa na M-Pesa), access credit and savings, all with a mobile device, has provided access to digital transactions to millions of Kenyans in poverty situation. Conditions for microfinance products * Eligibility criteria: the general criteria might include gender as in the case of special women's loans; being at least 18 years old; owning a valid Kenyan ID; having a business; demonstrating the ability to repay the loan; and being a customer of the institution. *
Credit scoring A credit score is a numerical expression based on a level analysis of a person's credit files, to represent the creditworthiness of an individual. A credit score is primarily based on a credit report :''This article deals with the general con ...
: there is no advanced credit scoring system and the majority has not stated any official loan distribution system. However, some institutions require applicants to have an existing business for at least three months, own a small amount of cash, provide the institution with a business plan or proposal, have at least one
guarantor In finance Finance is the study and discipline of money, currency and capital assets. It is related to, but not synonymous with economics, the study of Production (economics), production, Distribution (economics), distribution, and Consumpti ...
, 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 An interest rate is the amount of interest due per period, as a proportion of the amount lent, deposited, or borrowed (called the principal sum). The total interest on an amount lent or borrowed depends on the principal sum, the interest rate, th ...
: 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 KSh.500,000/=. For loans above KSh.500,000/=, interest rates go up to 71%.


Demographics

Kenya had a population of approximately 48 million in January 2017. The country has a young population, with 73% of residents under 30 because of rapid
population growth Population growth is the increase in the number of people in a population or dispersed group. Actual global human population growth amounts to around 83 million annually, or 1.1% per year. The World population, global population has grown from 1 b ...
, from 2.9 million to 40 million inhabitants over the last century. Nairobi is home to
Kibera Kibera (Kinubi language, Kinubi: ''Forest'' or ''Jungle'') is a division of Nairobi Area, Kenya, and neighbourhood of the city of Nairobi, from the city centre. Kibera is the largest slum in Nairobi, and the largest urban slum in Africa.http ...
, one of the world's largest slums. The shantytown is believed to house between 170,000 and one million people. The UNHCR base in Dadaab in the north houses around 500,000.The UN Refugee Agency
. Unhcr.org.


Ethnic groups

Kenya has a diverse population that includes many of Africa's major ethnoracial and linguistic groups. Although there is no official list of Kenyan ethnic groups, the number of ethnic categories and sub-categories recorded in the country's census has changed significantly over time, expanding from 42 in 1969 to more than 120 in 2019. Most residents are Bantus (60%) or
Nilotes The Nilotic peoples are people Indigenous peoples of Africa, indigenous to the Nile Valley who speak Nilotic languages. They inhabit South Sudan, Sudan, Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania. ...
(30%).
Cushitic The Cushitic languages are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family. They are spoken primarily in the Horn of Africa The Horn of Africa (HoA), also known as the Somali Peninsula, is a large peninsula and Geopolitics, geopolitical region ...
groups also form a small ethnic minority, as do Arabs, Indians, and Europeans. According to the
Kenya National Bureau of Statistics The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) is a department in Kenya's Ministry of Planning which collects and compiles regular cross-sectoral data for the government. The Bureau was established through the Statistics Act of 2006 and initiated ...
(KNBS), in 2019, Kenya had a total population of 47,564,296. The largest native ethnic groups were the Kikuyu (8,148,668), Luhya (6,823,842), Kalenjin (6,358,113), Luo (5,066,966), Kamba (4,663,910), Somali (2,780,502), Kisii (2,703,235), Mijikenda (2,488,691), Meru (1,975,869), Maasai (1,189,522), and Turkana (1,016,174). The North Eastern Province of Kenya, formerly known as NFD, is predominantly inhabited by the indigenous ethnic
Somalis The Somalis ( so, Soomaalida 𐒈𐒝𐒑𐒛𐒐𐒘𐒆𐒖, ar, صوماليون) are an ethnic group native to the Horn of Africa who share a common ancestry, culture and history. The Lowland East Cushitic Somali language is the shared mo ...
. Foreign-rooted populations include
Arabs The Arabs (singular: Arab; singular ar, عَرَبِيٌّ, DIN 31635: , , plural ar, عَرَب, DIN 31635: , Arabic pronunciation: ), also known as the Arab people, are an ethnic group An ethnic group or an ethnicity is a grouping o ...
,
Asians Asian people (or Asians, sometimes referred to as Asiatic people)United States National Library of Medicine. Medical Subject Headings. 2004. November 17, 200Nlm.nih.gov: ''Asian Continental Ancestry Group'' is also used for categorical purpos ...
, and
Europeans Europeans are the focus of European ethnology, the field of anthropology related to the various ethnic groups that reside in the List of sovereign states and dependent territories in Europe, states of Europe. Groups may be defined by common gen ...
.


Languages

Kenya's various ethnic groups typically speak their mother tongues within their own communities. The two
official language An official language is a language given supreme status in a particular country, state, or other jurisdiction. Typically the term "official language" does not refer to the language used by a people or country, but by its government (e.g. judiciary, ...
s, 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 languages.
British English British English (BrE, en-GB, or BE) is, according to Oxford Dictionaries, " English as used in Great Britain, as distinct from that used elsewhere". More narrowly, it can refer specifically to the English language in England, or, more broa ...
is primarily used in Kenya. Additionally, a distinct local dialect, 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 The Bantu languages (English: , Proto-Bantu: *bantʊ̀) are a large Language family, family of languages spoken by the Bantu peoples, Bantu people of Central Africa, Central, Southern Africa, Southern, Eastern africa and Southeast Africa, Southea ...
such as Kiswahili and Kikuyu. It has been developing since colonisation and also contains certain elements of
American English American English, sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of variety (linguistics), varieties of the English language native to the United States. English is the Languages of the United States, most widely spoken lan ...
. Sheng is a Kiswahili-based
cant Cant, CANT, canting, or canted may refer to: Language * Cant (language), a secret language * Beurla Reagaird, a language of the Scottish Highland Travellers * Scottish Cant, a language of the Scottish Lowland Travellers * Shelta or the Cant, a lan ...
spoken in some urban areas. Primarily a mixture of Swahili and English, it is an example of linguistic
code-switching In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of human language. It is called a scientific study because it entails a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise analysis of all aspects of language, particularly its nature and ...
. 69 languages are spoken in Kenya. Most belong to two broad language families: Niger-Congo ( Bantu branch) and
Nilo-Saharan The Nilo-Saharan languages are a proposed family of African languages spoken by some 50–60 million people, mainly in the upper parts of the Chari and Nile The Nile, , Bohairic , lg, Kiira , Nobiin language, Nobiin: Áman Dawū is a m ...
( Nilotic branch), spoken by the country's Bantu and Nilotic populations respectively. The Cushitic and Arab ethnic minorities speak languages belonging to the separate
Afroasiatic The Afroasiatic languages (or Afro-Asiatic), also known as Hamito-Semitic, or Semito-Hamitic, and sometimes also as Afrasian, Erythraean or Lisramic, are a language family of about 300 languages that are spoken predominantly in the geographic su ...
family, with the Indian and European residents speaking languages from the
Indo-European The Indo-European languages are a language family native to the languages of Europe, overwhelming majority of Europe, the Iranian plateau, and the northern Indian subcontinent. Some European languages of this family, English language, Englis ...
family.Languages of Kenya
. Ethnologue.com.


Urban centres


Religion

Most Kenyans are
Christian Christians () are people who follow or adhere to Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic Monotheism, monotheistic religion based on the Life of Jesus in the New Testament, life and Teachings of Jesus, teachings of ...
(85.5%), with 53.9%
Protestant Protestantism is a branch of Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic Monotheism, monotheistic religion based on the Life of Jesus in the New Testament, life and Teachings of Jesus, teachings of Jesus, Jesus of Na ...
and 20.6%
Roman Catholic Roman or Romans most often refers to: *Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus (Romulus and Remus, legendary) , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan c ...
. The Presbyterian Church of East Africa has 3 million followers in Kenya and surrounding countries. There are smaller conservative Reformed churches, the Africa Evangelical Presbyterian Church, the Independent Presbyterian Church in Kenya, and the Reformed Church of East Africa.
Orthodox Christianity Orthodoxy (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ) is adherence to correct or accepted creeds, especially in religion. Orthodoxy within Christianity refers to acceptance of the doctrines defined by various creeds and ecumenical councils in Late antiquity, A ...
has 621,200 adherents. Kenya has by far the highest number of
Quaker Quakers are people who belong to a historically Protestant Christian set of Christian denomination, denominations known formally as the Religious Society of Friends. Members of these movements ("theFriends") are generally united by a belie ...
s of any country in the world, with around 146,300. The only Jewish synagogue in the country is in Nairobi. Islam is the second largest religion, comprising 10.9% of the population. 60% of Kenyan Muslims live in the Coastal Region, comprising 50% of the total population there, while the upper part of Kenya's Eastern Region is home to 10% of the country's Muslims, where they are the majority religious group. Indigenous beliefs are practised by 0.7% of the population, although many self-identifying Christians and Muslims maintain some traditional beliefs and customs. Nonreligious Kenyans are 1.6% of the population. Some Hindus also live in Kenya. The numbers are estimated to be around 60,287, or 0.13% of the population.


Health

Health care is largely funded by private individuals, families and employers through direct payments to
health care provider A health care provider is an individual health professional A health professional, healthcare professional, or healthcare worker (sometimes abbreviated HCW) is a provider of health care treatment and advice based on formal training and experience ...
s, the National Health Insurance Fund, and private health insurance firms. Additional funding comes from local, international and some government
social safety net The social safety net (SSN) consists of non-contributory assistance existing to improve lives of vulnerable families and individuals experiencing poverty and destitution. Examples of SSNs are previously-contributory social pensions, in-kind and fo ...
schemes. Public hospitals are
fee-for-service Fee-for-service (FFS) is a payment model where services are unbundled and paid for separately. In health care, it gives an incentive for physicians to provide more treatments because payment is dependent on the quantity of care, rather than qualit ...
establishments that generate a large portion of county and national government revenues, making them highly political enterprises. Minimum and maximum fees that health care providers may charge are determined and controlled by the government through the regulatory bodies. Kenya is currently grappling with a large number of unemployed health care providers (including health facilities) many of whom are under-utilised, underemployed or not practicing. A large thriving
black market A black market, underground economy, or shadow economy is a clandestine market or series of transactions that has some aspect of illegality or is characterized by noncompliance with an institutional set of rules. If the rule defines the ...
for counterfeit medicines and health services exists and is largely controlled by quacks and
charlatan A charlatan (also called a swindler or mountebank) is a person practicing quackery or a similar confidence trick in order to obtain money, power, fame, or other advantages through false pretenses, pretense or deception. Synonyms for ''charlatan ...
s. Kenya is a major regional transit route and destination for
counterfeit medications A counterfeit medication or a counterfeit drug is a medication or pharmaceutical item which is produced and sold with the intent to deceptively represent its origin, authenticity, or effectiveness. A counterfeit drug may contain inappropriate qua ...
and other health products. The corporate practice of medicine is a deeply entrenched vice that has not been subjected to
judicial review Judicial review is a process under which executive, legislative and administrative actions are subject to review by the judiciary The judiciary (also known as the judicial system, judicature, judicial branch, judiciative branch, and cou ...
resulting in widespread sharing of medical practice incomes with non-medical persons and, more recently, in the actual trading of patients and health care providers in
financial market A financial market is a market (economics), market in which people trade financial Security (finance), securities and derivative (finance), derivatives at low transaction costs. Some of the securities include stocks and Bond (finance), bonds, ...
s. Private health facilities are diverse, highly dynamic, and difficult to classify, unlike public health facilities, which are easily grouped in classes that consist of community-based (level I) services, run by
community health worker A community health officer is a member of a community who is chosen by community members or organizations to provide basic health care, health and medical care within their community, and is capable of providing preventive, promotional and rehabilit ...
s; dispensaries (level II facilities) run by
nurse Nursing is a profession within the health care sector focused on the care of individuals, families, and communities so they may attain, maintain, or recover optimal health and quality of life (healthcare), quality of life. Nurses may be diffe ...
s; health centres (level III facilities), run by
clinical officer A clinical officer (CO) is a Gazetted Officer (Kenya), gazetted officer who is qualified and licensed to practice medicine. In Kenya the basic training for clinical officers starts after high school and takes four or five years ending on success ...
s; sub-county hospitals (level IV facilities), which may be run by a
clinical officer A clinical officer (CO) is a Gazetted Officer (Kenya), gazetted officer who is qualified and licensed to practice medicine. In Kenya the basic training for clinical officers starts after high school and takes four or five years ending on success ...
or a medical officer; county hospitals (level V facilities), which may be run by a medical officer or a
medical practitioner A physician (American English), medical practitioner (English in the Commonwealth of Nations, Commonwealth English), medical doctor, or simply doctor, is a health professional who practices medicine, which is concerned with promoting, mai ...
; and national referral hospitals (level VI facilities), which are run by fully qualified
medical practitioner A physician (American English), medical practitioner (English in the Commonwealth of Nations, Commonwealth English), medical doctor, or simply doctor, is a health professional who practices medicine, which is concerned with promoting, mai ...
s.
Nurses Nursing is a profession within the health care sector focused on the care of individuals, families, and communities so they may attain, maintain, or recover optimal health and quality of life (healthcare), quality of life. Nurses may be diffe ...
are by far the largest group of front-line health care providers in all sectors, followed by clinical officers, medical officers, and medical practitioners. These are absorbed and deployed into government service in accordance with the Scheme of Service for Nursing Personnel (2014), the Revised Scheme of Service for Clinical Personnel (2020) and the Revised Scheme of Service for Medical Officers and Dental Officers (2016).
Traditional healer A folk healer is an unlicensed person who practices the art of healing using traditional medicine, traditional practices, herbal medicine, herbal remedies and the power of suggestion. The healer may be a highly trained person who pursues their sp ...
s (
herbalist Herbal medicine (also herbalism) is the study of pharmacognosy Pharmacognosy is the study of medicinal plants and other natural substances as sources of drugs. The American Society of Pharmacognosy defines pharmacognosy as "the study of the ...
s,
witch doctor A witch doctor (also spelled witch-doctor) was originally a type of Folk healer, healer who treated ailments believed to be caused by witchcraft. The term is now more commonly used to refer to Alternative medicine, healers, particularly in region ...
s, and
faith healer Faith healing is the practice of prayer and gestures (such as laying on of hands) that are believed by some to elicit miracle, divine intervention in spiritual and physical healing, especially the Christian practice. Believers assert that the ...
s) 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 estimated
life expectancy Life expectancy is a statistical measure of the average time an organism is expected to live, based on the year of its birth, current age, and other demographic factors like sex. The most commonly used measure is life expectancy at birth ...
dropped in 2009 to approximately 55 years — five years below the 1990 level. The
infant mortality Infant mortality is the death of young children under the age of 1. This death toll is measured by the infant mortality rate (IMR), which is the probability of deaths of children under one year of age per 1000 live births. The under-five morta ...
rate was 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 Diseases of poverty (also known as poverty-related diseases) are diseases that are more prevalent in low-income populations. They include infectious diseases, as well as diseases related to malnutrition and poor health behaviour. Poverty is one o ...
directly correlate with a country's economic performance and
wealth distribution The distribution of wealth is a comparison of the wealth of various members or groups in a society. It shows one aspect of economic inequality or heterogeneity in economics, economic heterogeneity. The distribution of wealth differs from the i ...
: 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/AIDS 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 Malaria is a Mosquito-borne disease, mosquito-borne infectious disease that affects humans and other animals. Malaria causes Signs and symptoms, symptoms that typically include fever, fatigue (medical), tiredness, vomiting, and headaches. In se ...
in 2006.


Women

The
total fertility rate The total fertility rate (TFR) of a population is the average number of children that would be born to a woman over her lifetime if: # she were to experience the exact current age-specific fertility rates (ASFRs) through her lifetime # she were t ...
in Kenya was 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 Maternal death or maternal mortality is defined in slightly different ways by several different health organizations. The World Health Organization The World Health Organization (WHO) is a list of specialized agencies of the United Nations ...
is high, partly because of
female genital mutilation Female genital mutilation (FGM), also known as female genital cutting, female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) and female circumcision, is the ritual cutting or removal of some or all of the Vulva, external female genitalia. The practice is ...
, with about 27% of women having undergone it. This practice is however on the decline as the country becomes more modernised, and in 2011 it was banned in Kenya. Women were economically empowered before colonialisation. 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 males dominated females. 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.


Youth

Article 260 of the Kenyan Constitution of 2010 defines youth as those between the ages of 18 and 34. According to the 2019 Population and Census results, 75 percent of the 47.6 million population is under the age of 35, making Kenya a country of the
youth Youth is the time of life when one is young. The word, youth, can also mean the time between childhood and adulthood (Maturity (psychological), maturity), but it can also refer to one's peak, in terms of health or the period of life known as b ...
. Youth unemployment and underemployment in Kenya has become a problem. According to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS), approximately 1.7 million people lost their jobs as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, which eliminated some informal jobs and caused the economy to slow. The Kenyan government has made progress in addressing the high youth unemployment by implementing various affirmative action programs and projects which include; the National Youth Service, The National Youth Enterprise Development Fund, The Women Enterprise Fund, Kazi Mtaani, Ajira Digital, Kikao Mtaani, Uwezo fund, Future Bora and Studio mashinani that empower the youth, offer job opportunities and to raise one's standard of living.


Education

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 on pre-schooling until recently. Basic formal education starts at age six and lasts 12 years, consisting of eight years in primary school and four in high school or secondary. 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 university and study for four years. Graduates from the polytechnics and colleges can then join the workforce and later obtain a specialised 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 A higher diploma is an academic award in Iraq, Libya, the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, Republic of Ireland, Ireland and Oman. In Iraq, it's one year after bachelor's degree (i.e., not equivalent to a bachelor's degree). In Ireland it is a postgradua ...
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. Public universities in Kenya are highly commercialised 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 polytechnics. In 2018, 18.5 percent of the Kenyan adult population was illiterate, which was the highest rate of literacy in East Africa. There are very wide regional disparities: for example, Nairobi had the highest level of literacy at 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 The Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) is a certificate awarded to students after completing the approved eight-year course in primary education Primary education or elementary education is typically the first stage of Education, f ...
(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 The Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) is an academic qualification taken at the completion of secondary education Secondary education or post-primary education covers two phases on the International Standard Classification of Educa ...
(KCSE), which determines those proceeding to the universities, other professional training, or employment. Students sit
examinations An examination (exam or evaluation) or test is an educational assessment Educational assessment or educational evaluation is the systematic process of documenting and using empirical data on the knowledge, skill, attitudes, aptitude an ...
in eight subjects of their choosing. However, English, Kiswahili, and mathematics are compulsory subjects. The 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 school An international school is an school, institution that promotes international education, education in an international environment or framework. Although there is no uniform definition or criteria, international schools are usually characterized by ...
s catering to various overseas educational systems. Despite its impressive commercial approach, Kenya's
academia An academy (Attic Greek Attic Greek is the Greek language, Greek dialect of the regions of ancient Greece, ancient region of Attica, including the ''polis'' of classical Athens, Athens. Often called classical Greek, it was the prestige (socio ...
and higher education system is somehow rigid. However, Kenyan University Graduates are highly skilled, and they are accepted in the job market domestically as well as internationally. Kenay was ranked 85th in the
Global Innovation Index The Global Innovation Index is an annual ranking of countries by their capacity for, and success in, innovation Innovation is the practical implementation of ideas that result in the introduction of new goods or service (economics), servi ...
in 2021.


Culture

The culture of Kenya comprises multiple traditions. Kenya has no single prominent culture. 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 and jewellery. Additionally, Kenya has an extensive music, television, and theatre scene.


Media

Kenya has a number of media outlets that broadcast domestically and globally. They cover news, business, sports, and entertainment. Popular Kenyan newspapers include: * '' The Daily Nation''; part of the Nation Media Group (NMG) (largest market share) * '' The Standard'' * ''The Star'' * ''The People'' * ''East Africa Weekly'' * ''
Taifa Leo ''Taifa Leo'' is the only Swahili-language newspaper published from Kenya ) , national_anthem = "Ee Mungu Nguvu Yetu"() , image_map = , map_caption = , image_map2 = , capital = ...
'' Television stations based in Kenya include: *
Kenya Broadcasting Corporation Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC) is the state-run media organisation of Kenya ) , national_anthem = "Ee Mungu Nguvu Yetu"() , image_map = , map_caption = , image_map2 = , capital ...
(KBC) * Citizen TV *
Kenya Television Network Kenya Television Network (KTN) is a Kenyan free-to-air Free-to-air (FTA) services are television Television, sometimes shortened to TV, is a telecommunication medium for transmitting moving images and sound. The term can refer to ...
(KTN) * NTV (part of the
Nation Media Group Nation Media Group (abbreviated as NMG) is a Kenyan media group listed on the Nairobi Stock Exchange. NMG was founded by Aga Khan IV Shāh Karim al-Husayni (born 13 December 1936), known by the religious title Mawlānā Hazar Imam by his ...
(NMG)) * Kiss Television * K24 Television * Kass-TV All these terrestrial channels are transmitted via a DVB T2 digital TV signal.


Literature

Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o (; born James Ngugi; 5 January 1938) is a Kenyan ) , national_anthem = "Ee Mungu Nguvu Yetu"() , image_map = , map_caption = , image_map2 = , capital = Nair ...
is one of Kenya's best-known writers. His novel '' Weep Not, Child depicts'' life in Kenya during the British occupation. The story details the effects of the Mau Mau on the lives of Kenyans. Its combination of themes—
colonialism Colonialism is a practice or policy of control by one people or power over other people or areas, often by establishing colonies and generally with the aim of economic dominance. In the process of colonisation, colonisers may impose their relig ...
, education, and love—helped make it one of the best-known African novels. M.G. Vassanji's 2003 novel ''The In-Between World of Vikram Lall'' won the
Giller Prize The Giller Prize (sponsored as the Scotiabank Giller Prize), is a literary award A literary award or literary prize is an award presented in recognition of a particularly lauded Literature, literary piece or body of work. It is normally presente ...
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. Kenya has also nurtured emerging versatile authors such as Paul Kipchumba (Kipwendui, Kibiwott) who demonstrate a pan-African outlook.


Music

Kenya has a diverse assortment of popular music forms, in addition to multiple types of
folk music Folk music is a music genre that includes #Traditional folk music, traditional folk music and the Contemporary folk music, contemporary genre that evolved from the former during the 20th-century folk revival. Some types of folk music may be c ...
based on the variety of over 40 regional languages. Drums are the most dominant instrument in popular Kenyan music. Drum beats are very complex and include both native rhythms 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 Paul Julius Nunda (born 12 September 1979), better known by his stage name Jua Cali, is a Kenyan Kenyan hip hop, hip hop artist. In 2000, together with record producer Clemo, he founded Calif Records where he has been ever since. Jua Cali perfo ...
; Afro-pop bands such as Sauti Sol; and musicians who play local genres like Benga, such as Akothee. Lyrics are most often in Kiswahili or English. There is also some emerging aspect of
Lingala Lingala (Ngala) (Lingala: ''Lingála'') is a Bantu languages, Bantu language spoken in the northwest of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the northern half of the Republic of the Congo, in their capitals, Kinshasa and Brazzaville, and to a ...
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 stations. 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 enjoyed by older people—having been popularised by the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation's Kiswahili service (formerly called Voice of Kenya or VOK). 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, or funeral. Other traditional dances include the Ohangla among the Luo, Nzele among the Mijikenda, Mugithi among the Kikuyu, and
Taarab Taarab is a music genre popular in Tanzania and Kenya. It is influenced by the musical traditions of the African Great Lakes, North Africa, the Middle East, and the Indian subcontinent. Taarab rose to prominence in 1928 with the advent of the ...
among the Swahili. Additionally, Kenya has a growing Christian gospel music scene. Prominent local gospel musicians include the Kenyan Boys Choir.
Benga music Benga is a musical genre, genre of Kenyan popular music. It evolved between the late 1940s and late 1960s, in Kenya's capital city of Nairobi. In the 1940s, the African Broadcasting Service in Nairobi aired a steady stream of soukous, South A ...
has been popular since the late 1960s, especially in the area around
Lake Victoria Lake Victoria is one of the African Great Lakes. With a surface area of approximately , Lake Victoria is Africa's largest lake by area, the world's largest tropics, tropical lake, and the world's second-largest fresh water lake by surface are ...

Lake Victoria
. The word ''benga'' is occasionally used to refer to any kind of pop music. Bass, guitar, and percussion are the usual instruments.


Sports

Kenya is active in several sports, among them
cricket Cricket is a Bat-and-ball games, bat-and-ball game played between two teams of eleven players on a cricket field, field at the centre of which is a cricket pitch, pitch with a wicket at each end, each comprising two Bail (cricket), bails b ...
,
rallying Rally is a wide-ranging form of motorsport with various competitive motoring elements such as speed tests (often called ''rally racing),'' navigation tests, or the ability to reach waypoints or a destination at a prescribed time or average speed. ...
,
football Football is a family of team sports that involve, to varying degrees, Kick (football), kicking a Football (ball), ball to score a Goal (sport), goal. Unqualified, Football (word), the word ''football'' normally means the form of football tha ...
, rugby,
field hockey Field hockey is a team sport structured in standard hockey format, in which each team plays with ten outfield players and a goalkeeper. Teams must drive a round hockey ball by hitting it with a hockey stick towards the rival team's shootin ...
, and
boxing Boxing (also known as "Western boxing" or "pugilism") is a combat sport in which two people, usually wearing protective gloves and other protective equipment such as hand wraps and mouthguards, throw punches at each other for a predetermine ...
. The country is known chiefly for its dominance in middle-distance and long-distance athletics, having consistently produced Olympic and
Commonwealth Games The Commonwealth Games, often referred to as the Friendly Games or simply the Comm Games, are a quadrennial international multi-sport event among athletes from the Commonwealth of Nations. The event was first held in 1930 British Empire Game ...
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
Morocco Morocco (),, ) officially the Kingdom of Morocco, is the westernmost country in the Maghreb region of North Africa. It overlooks the Mediterranean Sea to the north and the Atlantic Ocean to the west, and has land borders with Algeria to A ...
and
Ethiopia Ethiopia, , om, Itiyoophiyaa, so, Itoobiya, ti, ኢትዮጵያ, Ítiyop'iya, aa, Itiyoppiya officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, is a landlocked country in the Horn of Africa. It shares borders with Eritrea to the ...

Ethiopia
has reduced this supremacy. Kenya's best-known athletes include the four-time women's
Boston Marathon The Boston Marathon is an annual marathon race hosted by several cities and towns in greater Boston in eastern Massachusetts, United States. It is traditionally held on Patriots' Day, the third Monday of April. Begun in 1897, the event was i ...
winner and two-time world champion Catherine Ndereba, 800m world record holder
David Rudisha David Lekuta Rudisha, State Commendations of Kenya, MBS (born 17 December 1988) is a Kenyan Middle-distance running, middle-distance runner who specialized in the 800 metres. He is a two-time back-to-back Olympic champion from the Athletics at ...
, former
marathon The marathon is a long-distance foot race with a distance of , usually run as a road running, road race, but the distance can be covered on trail routes. The marathon can be completed by running or with a run/walk strategy. There are also w ...
world record-holder
Paul Tergat Paul Kibii Tergat (born 17 June 1969) is a Kenyan former professional long distance runner. He became the first Kenyan man to set the world record A world record is usually the best global and most important performance that is ever recorded ...
, and
John Ngugi John Ngugi Kamau (born 10 May 1962), is a former Kenya ) , national_anthem = "Ee Mungu Nguvu Yetu"() , image_map = , map_caption = , image_map2 = , capital = Nairobi , coordin ...
. 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 Pamela Jelimo (born 5 December 1989) is a Kenyan middle-distance runner, specialising in the 800 metres. She won the gold medal in 800 metres at the Athletics at the 2008 Summer Olympics, 2008 Olympics in Beijing at the age of 18. She is the fir ...
, the women's 800m gold medalist who went on to win the
IAAF Golden League The IAAF Golden League was an annual series of outdoor track and field meetings organised by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF). Athletes who won specific events at all of the series meetings were awarded a jackpot prize, ...
jackpot, and
Samuel Wanjiru Samuel Kamau Wanjiru (10 November 1986 – 15 May 2011) was a Kenyan long-distance runner who won the 2008 Summer Olympics, 2008 Beijing Olympics Marathon in an List of Olympic records in athletics, Olympic record time of 2:06:32; becoming the fi ...
, 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
Bahrain Bahrain ( ; ; ar, البحرين, al-Bahrayn, locally ), officially the Kingdom of Bahrain, ' is an island country in Western Asia. It is situated on the Arab states of the Persian Gulf, Persian Gulf, and comprises a small archipelago made u ...
and
Qatar Qatar (, ; ar, قطر, Qaṭar ; local vernacular pronunciation: ), officially the State of Qatar,) is a country in Western Asia. It occupies the Qatar Peninsula on the northeastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula in the Middle East; it sha ...
.IAAF
Changes of Allegiance 1998 to 2005
The Kenyan Ministry of Sports has tried to stop the defections, but they have continued anyway, with Bernard Lagat being 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 motivating factor. Some elite Kenyan runners who cannot qualify for their country's strong national team find it easier to qualify by running for other countries. 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 A world championship is generally an international competition open to elite competitors from around the world, representing their nations, and winning such an event will be considered the highest or near highest achievement in the sport, game, ...
, though without any notable success. Cricket is another popular sport, also ranking as the most successful team sport.
Kenya ) , national_anthem = "Ee Mungu Nguvu Yetu"() , image_map = , map_caption = , image_map2 = , capital = Nairobi , coordinates = , largest_city = Nairobi , ...
has competed in the
Cricket World Cup The Cricket World Cup (officially known as ICC Men's Cricket World Cup) is the World cup competition, international championship of One Day International (ODI) cricket. The event is organised by the sport's governing body, the International Cr ...
since
1996 File:1996 Events Collage.png, From left, clockwise: A Centennial Olympic Park bombing, bomb explodes at Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta, set off by a radical Anti-abortion violence, anti-abortionist; The center fuel tank explodes on TWA Flight 8 ...
. 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 The 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup was the tenth Cricket World Cup. It was played in India, Sri Lanka, and for the first time in Bangladesh. India national cricket team, India won the tournament, defeating Sri Lanka by 6 wickets in the 2011 Cricket ...
. Their current captain is Rakep Patel. Kenya is represented by Lucas Onyango as a professional rugby league player who plays with the English club
Oldham Oldham is a large town in Greater Manchester, England, amid the Pennines and between the rivers River Irk, Irk and River Medlock, Medlock, southeast of Rochdale and northeast of Manchester. It is the administrative centre of the Metropolita ...
. Besides the former
Super League The Super League (officially known as the Betfred Super League due to sponsorship from Betfred and legally known as Super League Europe), is the top-level of the British rugby league system. At present the league consists of twelve teams, of wh ...
team, he has played for the
Widnes Vikings The Widnes Vikings are an English rugby league Rugby league football, commonly known as just rugby league and sometimes football, footy, rugby or league, is a contact sport, full-contact sport played by two teams of thirteen players on a ...
and with the
Sale Sharks Sale Sharks is a professional rugby union Rugby union, commonly known simply as rugby, is a Contact sport#Terminology, close-contact team sport that originated at Rugby School in the first half of the 19th century. One of the Comparison o ...
. Rugby is increasing in popularity, especially with the annual Safari Sevens tournament. The Kenya Sevens team ranked 9th in the 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 championship.
Kenya ) , national_anthem = "Ee Mungu Nguvu Yetu"() , image_map = , map_caption = , image_map2 = , capital = Nairobi , coordinates = , largest_city = Nairobi , ...
was once also a regional powerhouse in football. However, its dominance has been eroded by wrangles within the now defunct Kenya Football Federation, leading to a suspension by
FIFA FIFA (; stands for ''Fédération Internationale de Football Association'' (French language, French), meaning International Association Football Federation ) is the international governing body of association football, beach football and futsa ...
which was lifted in March 2007. In the motor rallying arena, Kenya is home to the world-famous
Safari Rally The Safari Rally is a rally held in Kenya ) , national_anthem = "Ee Mungu Nguvu Yetu"() , image_map = , map_caption = , image_map2 = , capital = Nairobi , coordinates ...
, commonly acknowledged as one of the toughest rallies in the world. First held in 1953, it was a part of the
World Rally Championship The World Rally Championship (abbreviated as WRC) is the highest level of global competition in the motorsport discipline of rallying, owned and governed by the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile, FIA. There are separate championships ...
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 Hannu Olavi Mikkola (24 May 1942 − 25 February 2021) was a Finns, Finnish champion world rallying, rally driver. He was a seven-time winner of the 1000 Lakes Rally in Finland and won the RAC Rally in Great Britain four times. Career Mikkola ...
, Tommi Mäkinen,
Shekhar Mehta Chandra Shekhar Mehta (20 June 1945 – 12 April 2006) was a Kenyan rally driver. He was born in Uganda }), is a landlocked country in East Africa. The country is bordered to the east by Kenya, to the north by South Sudan, to the west b ...
, Carlos Sainz, and
Colin McRae Colin Steele McRae, (5 August 1968 – 15 September 2007) was a Scottish rallying, rally driver. He was the 1991 and 1992 British Rally Championship, British Rally Champion, and in 1995 World Rally Championship season, 1995 became the first B ...
. The Safari Rally returned to the world championship in
2021 File:2021 collage V2.png, From top left, clockwise: the James Webb Space Telescope was launched in 2021; Protesters in Yangon, Myanmar following the 2021 Myanmar coup d'état, coup d'état; A civil demonstration against the October–November 2021 ...
, after the 2003–2019 events ran as part of the African Rally Championship. Nairobi has hosted several major continental sports events, including the FIBA Africa Championship 1993, where Kenya's national basketball team finished in the top four, its best performance to date. Kenya also has its own
ice hockey Ice hockey (or simply hockey) is a team sport played on ice skates, usually on an Ice rink, ice skating rink with Ice hockey rink, lines and markings specific to the sport. It belongs to a family of sports called hockey. In ice hockey, two o ...
team, the Kenya Ice Lions. The team's home ground is the Solar Ice Rink at the Panari Sky Centre in Nairobi, which is the first and largest
ice rink An ice rink (or ice skating rink) is a frozen body of water and/or an artificial sheet of ice created using hardened chemicals where people can Ice skating, ice skate or play winter sports. Ice rinks are also used for exhibitions, contests and ice ...
in all of Africa.


Cuisine

Kenyans generally have three meals in a day—breakfast (''kiamsha kinywa''), lunch (''chakula cha mchana''), and supper (''chakula cha jioni'' or simply ''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 Chapati (alternatively spelled chapatti, chappati, chapathi, or chappathi; pronounced as IAST: ), also known as ''roti'', ''rotli'', ''safati'', ''shabaati'', ''phulka'', (in East Africa) ''chapo'', (in Marathi language, Marathi) ''poli'', and ...
, mahamri, boiled sweet potatoes, or yams. Githeri is a common lunchtime dish in many households, while
Ugali Ugali or Posho or sima (for others, see ) is a type of maize meal made from maize or corn flour in several countries in Africa. Sima is sometimes made from other flours, such as Finger millet, millet or sorghum flour, and is sometimes mixed with ...
with vegetables, sour milk (
mursik Mursik is a traditional fermented milk variant of the Kalenjin people of Kenya. It can be made from cow or goat milk and is fermented in a specially made calabash gourd locally known as a ''sotet''. The gourd is lined with soot from specific trees ...
), 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 common drink. In cities such as Nairobi, there are fast-food restaurants, including
Steers Steers is one of South Africa South Africa, officially the Republic of South Africa (RSA), is the Southern Africa, southernmost country in Africa. It is bounded to the south by of coastline that stretch along the Atlantic Ocean, South At ...
, KFC, and Subway. There are also many fish-and-chips shops.
Cheese Cheese is a dairy product produced in wide ranges of flavors, Mouthfeel, textures, and forms by coagulation (milk), coagulation of the milk protein casein. It comprises proteins and fat from milk, usually the milk of cows, Water buffalo, bu ...
is becoming more popular in Kenya, with consumption increasing particularly among the middle class.Entrepreneur grows her hobby into a successful cheese making business
, howwemadeitinafrica.com, August 23, 2013.


See also

* Foreign relations of Kenya * Index of Kenya-related articles * Outline of Kenya *
Water supply and sanitation in Kenya Water supply and sanitation in Kenya is characterised by low levels of access to water and sanitation Sanitation refers to public health conditions related to clean drinking water and treatment and disposal of Human waste, human excreta and ...


References


Sources

*


External links

* *
Kenya
''
The World Factbook ''The World Factbook'', also known as the ''CIA World Factbook'', is a reference resource produced by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) with almanac-style information about the countries of the world. The official print version is availab ...
''.
Central Intelligence Agency The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA ), known informally as the Agency and historically as the Company, is a civilian intelligence agency, foreign intelligence service of the federal government of the United States, officially tasked with gat ...
.
Kenya
profile from Africa.com
Kenya Corruption Profile
from the Business Anti-Corruption Portal
World Bank Summary Trade Statistics Kenya
2010 * {{Authority control Republics in the Commonwealth of Nations English-speaking countries and territories G15 nations Member states of the African Union Member states of the Commonwealth of Nations Member states of the United Nations East African countries States and territories established in 1963 Swahili-speaking countries and territories 1963 establishments in Africa Countries in Africa