Founding president and liberation struggle icon Jomo KENYATTA led Kenya from independence in 1963 until his death in 1978, when President Daniel 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 were viewed as having generally reflected the will of the Kenyan people. President MOI stepped down in December 2002 following fair and peaceful elections. Mwai KIBAKI, running as the candidate of the multiethnic, united opposition group, the National Rainbow Coalition (NARC), defeated KANU candidate Uhuru KENYATTA and assumed the presidency following a campaign centered on an anticorruption platform. KIBAKI’s NARC coalition splintered in 2005 over a constitutional review process. Government defectors joined with KANU to form a new opposition coalition, the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM), which defeated the government’s draft constitution in a popular referendum in November 2005. KIBAKI’s reelection in December 2007 brought charges of vote rigging from ODM candidate Raila ODINGA and unleashed two months of violence in which as many as 1,500 people died. African Union-sponsored mediation led by former UN Secretary General Kofi ANNAN in late February 2008 resulted in a power-sharing accord bringing ODINGA into the government in the restored position of prime minister. The power sharing accord included a broad reform agenda, the centerpiece of which was constitutional reform. In August 2010, Kenyans overwhelmingly adopted a new constitution in a national referendum.

The new constitution introduced additional checks and balances to executive power and significant devolution of power and resources to 47 newly created counties. It also eliminated the position of prime minister following the first presidential election under the new constitution, which occurred on 4 March 2013. Uhuru KENYATTA, the son of founding president Jomo KENYATTA, won the March elections in the first round by a close margin and was sworn into office on 9 April 2013

Kenyan Flag

Kenyan Flag


Eastern Africa, bordering the Indian Ocean, between Somalia and Tanzania

Geographic coordinates:
1 00 N, 38 00 E

Map references:

total: 580,367 sq km
country comparison to the world: 49
land: 569,140 sq km
water: 11,227 sq km

Area – comparative:
Area comparison map:

Land boundaries:
total: 3,477 km
border countries: Ethiopia 861 km, Somalia 682 km, South Sudan 232 km, Tanzania 769 km, Uganda 933 km

536 km

Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 m depth or to the depth of exploitation

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:
limestone, soda ash, salt, gemstones, fluorspar, zinc, diatomite, gypsum, wildlife, hydropower

Land use:
arable land: 9.48%
permanent crops: 1.12%
other: 89.4% (2011)

Irrigated land:
1,032 sq km (2003)

Total renewable water resources:
30.7 cu km (2011)

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):
total: 2.74 cu km/yr (17%/4%/79%)
per capita: 72.96 cu m/yr (2003)

Natural hazards:
recurring drought; flooding during rainy seasons
volcanism: limited volcanic activity; the Barrier (elev. 1,032 m) last erupted in 1921; South Island is the only other historically active volcano

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, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, 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

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People & Society

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%

English (official), Kiswahili (official), numerous indigenous languages

Christian 82.5% (Protestant 47.4%, Catholic 23.3%, other 11.8%), Muslim 11.1%, Traditionalists 1.6%, other 1.7%, none 2.4%, unspecified 0.7% (2009 census)

country comparison to the world: 31
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, higher death rates, lower population growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2014 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 42.1% (male 9,494,983/female 9,435,795)
15-24 years: 18.7% (male 4,197,382/female 4,202,399)
25-54 years: 32.8% (male 7,458,665/female 7,302,534)
55-64 years: 3.7% (male 751,296/female 910,523)
65 years and over: 2.7% (male 548,431/female 708,048) (2014 est.)

Dependency ratios:
total dependency ratio: 81 %
youth dependency ratio: 76.1 %
elderly dependency ratio: 4.9 %
potential support ratio: 20.4 (2014 est.)

Median age:
total: 19.1 years
male: 18.9 years
female: 19.2 years (2014 est.)

Population growth rate:
2.11% (2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 47

Birth rate:
28.27 births/1,000 population (2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 45

Death rate:
7 deaths/1,000 population (2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 132

Net migration rate:
-0.22 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 121

urban population: 24% of total population (2011)
rate of urbanization: 4.36% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major urban areas – population:
NAIROBI (capital) 3.363 million; Mombassa 972,000 (2011)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.02 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 1 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.79 male(s)/female
total population: 1 male(s)/female (2014 est.)

Mother’s mean age at first birth:
note: median age at first birth among women 25-29 (2008-09 est.)

Maternal mortality rate:
360 deaths/100,000 live births (2010)
country comparison to the world: 30

Infant mortality rate:
total: 40.71 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 52
male: 45.33 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 35.99 deaths/1,000 live births (2014 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 63.52 years
country comparison to the world: 180
male: 62.06 years
female: 65.01 years (2014 est.)

Total fertility rate:
3.54 children born/woman (2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 45

Contraceptive prevalence rate:
45.5% (2008/09)

Health expenditures:
4.5% of GDP (2011)
country comparison to the world: 151

Physicians density:
0.18 physicians/1,000 population (2011)

Hospital bed density:
1.4 beds/1,000 population (2010)

Drinking water source:
urban: 82.3% of population
rural: 55.1% of population
total: 61.7% of population
urban: 17.7% of population
rural: 44.9% of population
total: 38.3% of population (2012 est.)

Sanitation facility access:
urban: 31.3% of population
rural: 29.1% of population
total: 29.6% of population
urban: 68.7% of population
rural: 70.9% of population
total: 70.4% of population (2012 est.)

HIV/AIDS – adult prevalence rate:
6.1% (2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 12

HIV/AIDS – people living with HIV/AIDS:
1.646 million (2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 4

HIV/AIDS – deaths:
57,500 (2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 7

Major infectious diseases:
degree of risk: high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne disease: malaria, dengue fever, and Rift Valley fever
water contact disease: schistosomiasis
animal contact disease: rabies (2013)

Obesity – adult prevalence rate:
4.2% (2008)
country comparison to the world: 171

Children under the age of 5 years underweight:
16.4% (2009)
country comparison to the world: 42

Education expenditures:
6.7% of GDP (2010)
country comparison to the world: 28

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 87.4%
male: 90.6%
female: 84.2% (2010 est.)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
total: 11 years
male: 11 years
female: 11 years (2009)

Child labor – children ages 5-14:
total number: 2,146,058
percentage: 26 % (2000 est.)

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Country name:
conventional long form: Republic of Kenya
conventional short form: Kenya
local long form: Republic of Kenya/Jamhuri ya Kenya
local short form: Kenya
former: British East Africa

Government type:

name: Nairobi
geographic coordinates: 1 17 S, 36 49 E
time difference: UTC+3 (8 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

Administrative divisions:
47 counties; Baringo, Bomet, Bungoma, Busia, Elgeyo/Marakwet, Embu, Garissa, Homa Bay, Isiolo, Kajiado, Kakamega, Kericho, Kiambu, Kilifi, Kirinyaga, Kisii, Kisumu, Kitui, Kwale, Laikipia, Lamu, Machakos, Makueni, Mandera, Marsabit, Meru, Migori, Mombasa, Murang’a, Nairobi City, Nakuru, Nandi, Narok, Nyamira, Nyandarua, Nyeri, Samburu, Siaya, Taita/Taveta, Tana River, Tharaka-Nithi, Trans Nzoia, Turkana, Uasin Gishu, Vihiga, Wajir, West Pokot

12 December 1963 (from the UK)

National holiday:
Independence Day, 12 December (1963); Madaraka Day, 1 June (1963); Mashujaa Day, 20 October (2010)

previous 1963, 1969; latest drafted 6 May 2010, passed by referendum 4 August 2010, promulgated 27 August 2010 (2013)

Legal system:
mixed legal system of English common law, Islamic law, and customary law; judicial review in a new Supreme Court established pursuant to the new constitution

International law organization participation:
accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction

18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:
chief of state: President Uhuru KENYATTA (since 9 April 2013); Deputy President William RUTO (since 9 April 2013); note – the president is both chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Uhuru KENYATTA (since 9 April 2013); Deputy President William RUTO (since 9 April 2013); note – according to the 2008 power sharing agreement the position of prime minister was created though not well defined; consistent with the new constitution, the position was abolished after the March 2013 elections
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president
(For more information visit the World Leaders website Opens in New Window)
elections: president and deputy president elected on the same ticket by popular vote for a five-year term (eligible for a second term); in addition to receiving a simple majority of votes, the presidential candidate must also win 25% or more of the votes cast in each of more than half of the 47 counties to avoid a runoff; election last held on 4 March 2013 (next to be held in 2017 or 2018); note – the new constitution had set elections for August 2011 but elections were delayed to 2013
election results: President Uhuru KENYATTA elected in first round; percent of vote – Uhuru KENYATTA 50.1%, Raila ODINGA 43.7%, Musalia MUDAVADI 4.0%, other 2.2%

Legislative branch:
bicameral parliament consists of a Senate (67 seats of which 47 are elected and 20 are appointed) and a National Assembly (349 seats of which 290 are elected and 59 are appointed); members to serve five-year terms
elections: last held on 4 March 2013 (next to be held in 2017 or 2018)
election results: Senate – percent of vote by party – NA; seats by party – Jubilee coalition TNA 17, URP 12, NARC 1; CORD coalition ODM 17, Ford-K 5, WDM 5, FPK 1; Amani coalition KANU 3, UDF 3; unaffiliated APK 3; National Assembly – percent of vote by party – NA; seats by party – ODM 96, TNA 89, URP 75, WDM-K 26, UDF 12, FORD-K 10, KANU 6, NFK 6, APK 5, FORD-P 4, independents 4, other 16

Judicial branch:
highest court(s): Supreme Court (consists of chief and deputy chief justices and five judges)
judge selection and term of office: chief and deputy chief justices nominated by Judicial Service Commission (JSC) and appointed by president with approval of the National Assembly; other judges nominated by the JSC and appointed by president; chief justice serves nonrenewable 10-year terms or till age 70 whichever comes first; other judges serve till age 70
subordinate courts: High Court; Court of Appeal; courts martial; magistrates’ courts; religious courts

Political parties and leaders:
Federal Party of Kenya or FPK [Cyrus JIRONGO]
Kenya African National Union or KANU [Gideon MOI]
The National Party Alliance or TNA [Uhuru KENYATTA]
National Rainbow Coalition-Kenya or NARC-Kenya [Martha KARUA]
Orange Democratic Movement of Kenya or ODM [Raila ODINGA]
United Democratic Forum Party or UDF [Musalia MUDAVADI]
United Republican Party or URP [William RUTO]
Wiper Democratic Movement or WDM (formerly Orange Democratic Movement or ODM-K) [Kalonzo MUSYOKA]

Political pressure groups and leaders:
Council of Islamic Preachers of Kenya or CIPK [Sheikh Idris MOHAMMED]
Kenya Human Rights Commission [L. Muthoni WANYEKI]
Muslim Human Rights Forum [Ali-Amin KIMATHI]
National Muslim Leaders Forum or NAMLEF [Abdullahi ABDI]
Protestant National Council of Churches of Kenya or NCCK [Canon Peter Karanja MWANGI]
Roman Catholic and other Christian churches
Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims or SUPKEM [Shaykh Abdul Gafur al-BUSAIDY]
other: labor unions, Kenya Association of Manufacturers, Kenya Private Sector Alliance

International organization participation:

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d’Affaires Jean KAMAU
chancery: 2249 R Street NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 387-6101
FAX: [1] (202) 462-3829
consulate(s) general: Los Angeles
consulate(s): New York

Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Robert F. GODEC (since 16 January 2013)
embassy: US Embassy, United Nations Avenue, Nairobi; P. O. Box 606 Village Market, Nairobi 00621
mailing address: American Embassy Nairobi, U.S. Department of State, Washington, DC 20521-8900
telephone: [254] (20) 363-6000
FAX: [254] (20) 363-6157

Flag description:
three equal horizontal bands of black (top), red, and green; the red band is edged in white; a large Maasai warrior’s shield covering crossed spears is superimposed at the center; black symbolizes the majority population, red the blood shed in the struggle for freedom, green stands for natural wealth, and white for peace; the shield and crossed spears symbolize the defense of freedom

National symbol(s):

National anthem:
name: “Ee Mungu Nguvu Yetu” (Oh God of All Creation)

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Economy – overview:
Kenya has been hampered by corruption and by reliance upon several primary goods whose prices have remained low. Low infrastructure investment threatens Kenya’s long-term position as the largest East African economy, although the Kenyatta administration has prioritized infrastructure development. International financial lenders and donors remain important to Kenya’s economic growth and development.

Unemployment is high at around 40%. The country has chronic budget deficits. Inflationary pressures and sharp currency depreciation peaked in early 2012 but have since abated following low global food and fuel prices and monetary interventions by the Central Bank. Recent terrorism in Kenya and the surrounding region threatens Kenya’s important tourism industry. Kenya, in conjunction with neighboring Ethiopia and South Sudan, intends to begin construction on a transport corridor and oil pipeline into the port of Lamu in 2014.

GDP (purchasing power parity):
$79.9 billion (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 82
$76.03 billion (2012 est.)
$72.71 billion (2011 est.)
note: data are in 2013 US dollars

GDP (official exchange rate):
$45.31 billion (2013 est.)

GDP – real growth rate:
5.1% (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 56
4.6% (2012 est.)
4.4% (2011 est.)

GDP – per capita (PPP):
$1,800 (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 197
$1,700 (2013 est.)
$1,700 (2011 est.)
note: data are in 2013 US dollars

Gross national saving:
10.6% of GDP (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 131
9.5% of GDP (2012 est.)
10.8% of GDP (2011 est.)

GDP – composition, by end use:
household consumption: 79.2%
government consumption: 18.2%
investment in fixed capital: 21.3%
investment in inventories: -0.3%
exports of goods and services: 28.5%
imports of goods and services: -47%
(2013 est.)

GDP – composition, by sector of origin:
agriculture: 29.3%
industry: 17.4%
services: 53.3% (2013 est.)

Agriculture – products:
tea, coffee, corn, wheat, sugarcane, fruit, vegetables; dairy products, beef, fish, pork, poultry, eggs

small-scale consumer goods (plastic, furniture, batteries, textiles, clothing, soap, cigarettes, flour), agricultural products, horticulture, oil refining; aluminum, steel, lead; cement, commercial ship repair, tourism

Industrial production growth rate:
5.1% (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 55

Labor force:
19.67 million (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 31

Labor force – by occupation:
agriculture: 75%
industry and services: 25% (2007 est.)

Unemployment rate:
40% (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 190
40% (2001 est.)

Population below poverty line:
43.4% (2012 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 1.8%
highest 10%: 37.8% (2005)

Distribution of family income – Gini index:
42.5 (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 48
44.9 (1997)

revenues: $7.866 billion
expenditures: $9.742 billion (2013 est.)

Taxes and other revenues:
17.4% of GDP (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 179

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-):
-4.1% of GDP (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 151

Public debt:
53.5% of GDP (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 59
52.5% of GDP (2012 est.)

Fiscal year:
1 July – 30 June

Inflation rate (consumer prices):
5.8% (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 169
9.4% (2012 est.)

Central bank discount rate:
7% (31 December 2010 est.)
NA% (31 December 2009 est.)

Commercial bank prime lending rate:
17.1% (31 December 2013 est.)
NA% (31 December 2012 est.)

Stock of narrow money:
$9.198 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 80
$8.264 billion (31 December 2012 est.)

Stock of broad money:
$19.37 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 88
$17.08 billion (31 December 2012 est.)

Stock of domestic credit:
$23.1 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 75
$20.93 billion (31 December 2012 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares:
$14.79 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
$NA (31 December 2011)
$14.46 billion (31 December 2010 est.)

Current account balance:
-$4.495 billion (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 164
-$4.31 billion (2012 est.)

$6.58 billion (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 106
$6.228 billion (2012 est.)

Exports – commodities:
tea, horticultural products, coffee, petroleum products, fish, cement

Exports – partners:
Uganda 10.3%, Tanzania 10%, Netherlands 7.7%, UK 7.2%, US 6.3%, Egypt 4.8%, Democratic Republic of the Congo 4.4% (2012)

$15.86 billion (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 86
$15.1 billion (2011 est.)

Imports – commodities:
machinery and transportation equipment, petroleum products, motor vehicles, iron and steel, resins and plastics

Imports – partners:
India 20.9%, China 15.4%, UAE 9.8%, Saudi Arabia 6.9% (2012)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$5.541 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 91
$5.712 billion (31 December 2012 est.)

Debt – external:
$11.96 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 96
$11.06 billion (31 December 2012 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment – at home:
$3.273 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 95
$2.877 billion (31 December 2012 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment – abroad:
$335.4 million (31 December 2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 81
$315.4 million (31 December 2012 est.)

Exchange rates:
Kenyan shillings (KES) per US dollar –
86.73 (2013 est.)
84.53 (2012 est.)
79.233 (2010 est.)
77.352 (2009)
68.358 (2008)

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