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Flag of Kenya
Map of Kenya
Introduction Kenya
Founding president and liberation struggle icon Jomo KENYATTA led Kenya from independence until his death in 1978, when current President Daniel Toroitich arap MOI took power in a constitutional succession. The country was a de facto one-party state from 1969 until 1982 when the ruling Kenya African National Union (KANU) made itself the sole legal party in Kenya. MOI acceded to internal and external pressure for political liberalization in late 1991. The ethnically fractured opposition failed to dislodge KANU from power in elections in 1992 and 1997, which were marred by violence and fraud, but are viewed as having generally reflected the will of the Kenyan people. President MOI stepped down in December of 2002 following fair and peaceful elections. Mwai KIBAKI of the Democratic Party of Kenya defeated KANU candidate Uhuru KENYATTA and assumed the presidency following a campaign centered on an anticorruption platform.
Geography Kenya
Eastern Africa, bordering the Indian Ocean, between Somalia and Tanzania
Geographic coordinates:
1 00 N, 38 00 E
Map references:
total: 582,650 sq km
water: 13,400 sq km
land: 569,250 sq km
Area - comparative:
slightly more than twice the size of Nevada
Land boundaries:
total: 3,477 km
border countries: Ethiopia 861 km, Somalia 682 km, Sudan 232 km, Tanzania 769 km, Uganda 933 km
536 km
Maritime claims:
continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation
exclusive economic zone: 200 NM
territorial sea: 12 NM
varies from tropical along coast to arid in interior
low plains rise to central highlands bisected by Great Rift Valley; fertile plateau in west
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m
highest point: Mount Kenya 5,199 m
Natural resources:
gold, limestone, soda ash, salt barites, rubies, fluorspar, garnets, wildlife, hydropower
Land use:
arable land: 7.03%
permanent crops: 0.91%
other: 92.06% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land:
670 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards:
recurring drought; flooding during rainy seasons
Environment - current issues:
water pollution from urban and industrial wastes; degradation of water quality from increased use of pesticides and fertilizers; water hyacinth infestation in Lake Victoria; deforestation; soil erosion; desertification; poaching
Environment - international agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note:
the Kenyan Highlands comprise one of the most successful agricultural production regions in Africa; glaciers are found on Mount Kenya, Africa's second highest peak; unique physiography supports abundant and varied wildlife of scientific and economic value
People Kenya
note: estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to 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 (July 2002 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 41.1% (male 6,462,430; female 6,327,457)
15-64 years: 56.1% (male 8,769,546; female 8,694,329)
65 years and over: 2.8% (male 385,361; female 499,612) (2002 est.)
Population growth rate:
1.15% (2002 est.)
Birth rate:
27.61 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Death rate:
14.68 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Net migration rate:
-1.48 migrant(s)/1,000 population
note: according to UNHCR, by the end of 2001 Kenya was host to 220,000 refugees from neighboring countries, including: Somalia 145,000 and Sudan 68,000 (2002 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.77 male(s)/female
total population: 1.01 male(s)/female (2002 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
67.24 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 47.02 years
female: 47.85 years (2002 est.)
male: 46.2 years
Total fertility rate:
3.34 children born/woman (2002 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
13.5% (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
2.2 million (2000 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
180,000 (1999 est.)
noun: Kenyan(s)
adjective: Kenyan
Ethnic groups:
Kikuyu 22%, Luhya 14%, Luo 13%, Kalenjin 12%, Kamba 11%, Kisii 6%, Meru 6%, other African 15%, non-African (Asian, European, and Arab) 1%
Protestant 45%, Roman Catholic 33%, indigenous beliefs 10%, Muslim 10%, other 2%
note: a large majority of Kenyans are Christian, but estimates for the percentage of the population that adheres to Islam or indigenous beliefs vary widely
English (official), Kiswahili (official), numerous indigenous languages
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 78.1%
male: 86.3%
female: 70% (1995 est.)
Government Kenya
Country name:
conventional long form: Republic of Kenya
conventional short form: Kenya
former: British East Africa
Government type:
Administrative divisions:
7 provinces and 1 area*; Central, Coast, Eastern, Nairobi Area*, North Eastern, Nyanza, Rift Valley, Western
12 December 1963 (from UK)
National holiday:
Independence Day, 12 December (1963)
12 December 1963, amended as a republic 1964; reissued with amendments 1979, 1983, 1986, 1988, 1991, 1992, 1997, and 2001
Legal system:
based on Kenyan statutory law, Kenyan and English common law, tribal law, and Islamic law; judicial review in High Court; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations; constitutional amendment of 1982 making Kenya a de jure one-party state repealed in 1991
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
chief of state: President Mwai KIBAKI (since 30 December 2002) and Vice President Michael Kijana WAMALWA (since 3 January 2003) note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Mwai KIBAKI (since 30 December 2002) and Vice President Michael Kijana WAMALWA (since 3 January 2003) note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president
elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term; in addition to receiving the largest number of votes in absolute terms, the presidential candidate must also win 25% or more of the vote in at least five of Kenya's seven provinces and one area to avoid a runoff; election last held 27 December 2002 (next to be held NA December 2007); vice president appointed by the president
election results: President Mwai KIBAKI elected; percent of vote - Mwai KIBAKI 63%, Uhuru KENYATTA 30%
Legislative branch:
unicameral National Assembly or Bunge (224 seats; 210 members elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms, 12 so-called "nominated" members who are appointed by the president but selected by the parties in proportion to their parliamentary vote totals, 2 ex-officio members)
elections: last held 27 December 2002 (next to be held by early 2007)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - NARC 125, KANU 64, FORD-P 14, other 7; ex-officio 2; seats appointed by the president - NARC 7, KANU 4, FORD-P 1
Judicial branch:
Court of Appeal (chief justice is appointed by the president); High Court
Political parties and leaders:
Forum for the Restoration of Democracy-People or FORD-People [Kimaniwa NYOIKE, chairman]; Kenya African National Union or KANU [Uhuru KENYATTA]; National Rainbow Coalition or NARC [Mwai KIBAKI] - the governing party
Political pressure groups and leaders:
human rights groups; labor unions; Muslim organizations; National Convention Executive Council or NCEC, a proreform coalition of political parties and nongovernment organizations [Kivutha KIBWANA]; Protestant National Council of Churches of Kenya or NCCK [Mutava MUSYIMI]; Roman Catholic and other Christian churches; Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims or SUPKEM [Shaykh Abdul Gafur al-BUSAIDY, chairman]
International organization participation:
Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Yusuf Abdulraham NZIBO
consulate(s) general: offices in Los Angeles and New York are closed; mission to the UN remains open
FAX: [1] (202) 462-3829
telephone: [1] (202) 387-6101
chancery: 2249 R Street NW, Washington, DC 20008
Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Johnnie CARSON
embassy: US Embassy, P. O. Box 30137 Mombasa Road (near St. James Hospital), Nairobi
mailing address: Box 21A, Unit 64100, APO AE 09831
telephone: [254] (2) 537-800
FAX: [254] (2) 537-810
Flag description:
three equal horizontal bands of black (top), red, and green; the red band is edged in white; a large warrior's shield covering crossed spears is superimposed at the center
Economy Kenya
Economy - overview:
Kenya, the regional hub for trade and finance in East Africa, is hampered by corruption and reliance upon several primary goods whose prices continue to decline. Following strong economic growth in 1995 and 1996, Kenya's economy has stagnated, with GDP growth failing to keep up with the rate of population growth. In 1997, the IMF suspended Kenya's Enhanced Structural Adjustment Program due to the government's failure to maintain reforms and curb corruption. A severe drought from 1999 to 2000 compounded Kenya's problems, causing water and energy rationing and reducing agricultural output. As a result, GDP contracted by 0.3% in 2000. The IMF, which had resumed loans in 2000 to help Kenya through the drought, again halted lending in 2001 when the government failed to institute several anticorruption measures. Despite the return of strong rains in 2001, weak commodity prices, endemic corruption, and low investment limited Kenya's economic growth to 1%, and Kenya is unlikely to see growth above 2% in 2002. Substantial IMF and other foreign support is essential to prevent a further decline in real per capita output.
purchasing power parity - $31 billion (2001 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
1% (2001 est.)
GDP - per capita:
purchasing power parity - $1,000 (2001 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 24%
industry: 13%
services: 63% (2000 est.)
Population below poverty line:
50% (2000 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 2%
highest 10%: 37% (2000)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
45 (1994)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
3.3% (2001 est.)
Labor force:
10 million (2001 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture 75%-80%
Unemployment rate:
40% (2001 est.)
revenues: $2.91 billion
expenditures: $2.97 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (2000 est.) (2000 est.)
small-scale consumer goods (plastic, furniture, batteries, textiles, soap, cigarettes, flour), agricultural products processing; oil refining, cement; tourism
Industrial production growth rate:
-0.7% (2001 est.)
Electricity - production:
4.616 billion kWh (2000)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 22%
hydro: 70%
other: 8% (2000)
nuclear: 0%
Electricity - consumption:
4.433 billion kWh (2000)
Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2000)
Electricity - imports:
140 million kWh (2000)
Agriculture - products:
coffee, tea, corn, wheat, sugarcane, fruit, vegetables; dairy products, beef, pork, poultry, eggs
$1.8 billion f.o.b. (2001 est.)
Exports - commodities:
tea, horticultural products, coffee, petroleum products, fish, cement
Exports - partners:
UK 13.5%, Tanzania 12.5%, Uganda 12.0%, Germany 5.5% (2000)
$3.1 billion f.o.b. (2001 est.)
Imports - commodities:
machinery and transportation equipment, petroleum products, motor vehicles, iron and steel, resins and plastics
Imports - partners:
UK 12%, UAE 9.8%, Japan 6.5%, India 4.4% (2000)
Debt - external:
$8 billion (2001 est.)
Economic aid - recipient:
$457 million (1997) (1997)
Kenyan shilling (KES)
Currency code:
Exchange rates:
Kenyan shillings per US dollar - 78.597 (January 2002), 78.563 (2001), 76.176 (2000), 70.326 (1999), 60.367 (1998), 58.732 (1997)
Fiscal year:
1 July - 30 June
Communications Kenya
Telephones - main lines in use:
310,000 (2001)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
540,000 (2001)
Telephone system:
general assessment: unreliable; little attempt to modernize except for service to business
domestic: trunks are primarily microwave radio relay; business data commonly transferred by a very small aperture terminal (VSAT) system
international: satellite earth stations - 4 Intelsat
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 24, FM 18, shortwave 6 (2001)
3.07 million (1997)
Television broadcast stations:
8 (2002)
730,000 (1997)
Internet country code:
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
65 (2001)
Internet users:
500,000 (2002)
Transportation Kenya
total: 2,778 km
narrow gauge: 2,778 km 1.000-m gauge
note: the line connecting Nairobi with the port of Mombasa is the most important in the country
total: 63,300 km
paved: 8,940 km
unpaved: 54,360 km (2001)
note: part of the Lake Victoria system is within the boundaries of Kenya
petroleum products 483 km
Ports and harbors:
Kisumu, Lamu, Mombasa
Merchant marine:
total: 2 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 4,893 GRT/6,320 DWT
ships by type: petroleum tanker 1, roll on/roll off 1 (2002 est.)
231 (2001)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 19
over 3,047 m: 4
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 3
914 to 1,523 m: 10
under 914 m: 1 (2002)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 211
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 14
914 to 1,523 m: 113
under 914 m: 83 (2002)
Military Kenya
Military branches:
Army, Navy, Air Force
Military manpower - availability:
males age 15-49: 7,938,865 (2002 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service:
males age 15-49: 4,915,090 (2002 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
$179.2 million (FY01)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
1.8% (FY01)
Transnational Issues Kenya
Disputes - international:
since colonial times, Kenya's administrative boundary has extended beyond its treaty boundary into Sudan creating the "Ilemi Triangle"; arms smuggling and Oromo rebel activities prompt strict border regime with Somalia
Illicit drugs:
widespread harvesting of small plots of marijuana; transit country for South Asian heroin destined for Europe and North America; Indian methaqualone also transits on way to South Africa; significant potential for money-laundering activity given the country's status as a regional financial center, massive corruption, and relatively high levels of narcotics-associated activities

This page was last updated on 19 March 2003