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Background: Ethnic divisions account for many of Kenya's problems. During the early 1990s, tribal clashes killed thousands and left tens of thousands homeless. Ethnically split opposition groups allowed the regime of Daniel Toroitich arap MOI, in power since 1978, to be reelected for a fourth term in 1997 in balloting marred by violence and fraud.


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

Geographic coordinates: 1 00 N, 38 00 E

Map references: Africa

  total: 582,650 sq km
  land: 569,250 sq km
  water: 13,400 sq km

Area - comparative: slightly more than twice the size of Nevada

Land boundaries
  total: 3,446 km
  border countries: Ethiopia 830 km, Somalia 682 km, Sudan 232 km, Tanzania 769 km, Uganda 933 km

Coastline: 536 km

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

Climate: varies from tropical along coast to arid in interior

Terrain: 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%
  permanent crops: 1%
  permanent pastures: 37%
  forests and woodland: 30%
  other: 25% (1993 est.)

Irrigated land: 660 sq km (1993 est.)

Natural hazards: recurring drought in northern and eastern regions; 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; deforestation; soil erosion; desertification; poaching

Environment - international agreements
  party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, 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 on Mt. Kenya; unique physiography supports abundant and varied wildlife of scientific and economic value


Population: 30,339,770 (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 2000 est.))

Age structure
  0-14 years: 43% (male 6,566,424; female 6,419,034)
  15-64 years: 54% (male 8,284,719; female 8,238,121)
  65 years and over: 3% (male 366,200; female 465,272) (2000 est.)

Population growth rate: 1.53% (2000 est.)

Birth rate: 29.35 births/1,000 population (2000 est.)

Death rate: 14.08 deaths/1,000 population (2000 est.)

Net migration rate: 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2000 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: 0.79 male(s)/female
  total population: 1.01 male(s)/female (2000 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 68.74 deaths/1,000 live births (2000 est.)

Life expectancy at birth
  total population: 47.98 years
  male: 46.95 years
  female: 49.04 years (2000 est.)

Total fertility rate: 3.66 children born/woman (2000 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%

Religions: Protestant 38%, Roman Catholic 28%, indigenous beliefs 26%, Muslim 7%, other 1%

Languages: 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.)


Country name
  conventional long form: Republic of Kenya
  conventional short form: Kenya
  former: British East Africa

Data code: KE

Government type: republic

Capital: Nairobi

Administrative divisions: 7 provinces and 1 area*; Central, Coast, Eastern, Nairobi Area*, North Eastern, Nyanza, Rift Valley, Western

Independence: 12 December 1963 (from UK)

National holiday: Independence Day, 12 December (1963)

Constitution: 12 December 1963, amended as a republic 1964; reissued with amendments 1979, 1983, 1986, 1988, 1991, 1992, and 1997

Legal system: based on 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

Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

Executive branch
  chief of state: President Daniel Toroitich arap MOI (since 14 October 1978); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
  head of government: President Daniel Toroitich arap MOI (since 14 October 1978); 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 from among the members of the National Assembly for a five-year term; election last held 29 December 1997 (next to be held by early 2003); vice president appointed by the president
  election results: President Daniel Toroitich arap MOI reelected; percent of vote - Daniel T. arap MOI (KANU) 40.6%, Mwai KIBAKI (DP) 31.5%, Raila ODINGA (NDP) 11.1%, Michael WAMALWA (FORD-K) 8.4%, Charity NGILU (SDP) 7.8%

Legislative branch: unicameral National Assembly or Bunge (222 seats, 12 appointed by the president, 210 members elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
  elections: last held 29 December 1997 (next to be held between 1 December 2002 and 30 April 2003)
  election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - KANU 107, FORD-A 1, FORD-K 17, FORD-People 3, DP 39, NDP 21, SDP 15, SAFINA 5, smaller parties 2; seats appointed by the president - KANU 6, FORD-K 1, DP 2, SDP 1, NDP 1, SAFINA 1

Judicial branch: Court of Appeal, chief justice is appointed by the president; High Court

Political parties and leaders: Democratic Party of Kenya or DP [Mwai KIBAKI]; Forum for the Restoration of Democracy-Asili or FORD-A [Martin SHIKUKU, chairman]; Forum for the Restoration of Democracy-Kenya or FORD-K [Michael Kijana WAMALWA]; Forum for the Restoration of Democracy-People or FORD-People [Raymond MATIBA]; Kenya African National Union or KANU [President Daniel Toroitich arap MOI] - the governing party; National Development Party or NDP [Raila ODINGA, president, Dr. Charles MARANGA, secretary general]; SAFINA [Farah MAALIM, chairman, Mghanga MWANDAWIRO, secretary general]; Social Democratic Party or SDP [Anyang N'YANGO, secretary general]

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 Kenyan Muslims or SUPKEM [Shaykh Abdul Gafur al-BUSAIDY, chairman]


Diplomatic representation in the US
  chief of mission: Ambassador Samuel K. CHEMAI (recalled in November 1999)
  chancery: 2249 R Street NW, Washington, DC 20008
  telephone: [1] (202) 387-6101
  FAX: [1] (202) 462-3829
  consulate(s) general: Los Angeles and New York

Diplomatic representation from the US
  chief of mission: Ambassador Johnnie CARSON
  embassy: US Embassy, Mombasa Road, Nairobi
  mailing address: P. O. Box 30137, 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 - overview: Kenya is well placed to serve as an engine of growth in East Africa, but its economy is stagnating because of poor management and uneven commitment to reform. In 1993, the government of Kenya implemented a program of economic liberalization and reform that included the removal of import licensing, price controls, and foreign exchange controls. With the support of the World Bank, IMF, and other donors, the reforms led to a brief turnaround in economic performance following a period of negative growth in the early 1990s. Kenya's real GDP grew 5% in 1995 and 4% in 1996, and inflation remained under control. Growth slowed in 1997-99 however. Political violence damaged the tourist industry, and Kenya's Enhanced Structural Adjustment Program lapsed due to the government's failure to maintain reform or address public sector corruption. A new economic team was put in place in 1999 to revitalize the reform effort, strengthen the civil service, and curb corruption, but wary donors continue to question the government's commitment to sound economic policy. Long-term barriers to development include electricity shortages, the government's continued and inefficient dominance of key sectors, endemic corruption, and the country's high population growth rate.

GDP: purchasing power parity - $45.1 billion (1999 est.)

GDP - real growth rate: 1.5% (1999 est.)

GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $1,600 (1999 est.)

GDP - composition by sector
  agriculture: 26%
  industry: 18%
  services: 56% (1999 est.)

Population below poverty line: 42% (1992 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share
  lowest 10%: 1.2%
  highest 10%: 47.7% (1992)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 6% (1999 est.)

Labor force: 9.2 million (1998 est.)

Labor force - by occupation: agriculture 75%-80%

Unemployment rate: 50% (1998 est.)

  revenues: $2.91 billion
  expenditures: $2.97 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (2000 est.)

Industries: small-scale consumer goods (plastic, furniture, batteries, textiles, soap, cigarettes, flour), agricultural products processing; oil refining, cement; tourism

Industrial production growth rate: 1% (1999 est.)

Electricity - production: 4.23 billion kWh (1998)

Electricity - production by source
  fossil fuel: 8.27%
  hydro: 82.74%
  nuclear: 0%
  other: 8.99% (1998)

Electricity - consumption: 4.078 billion kWh (1998)

Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (1998)

Electricity - imports: 144 million kWh (1998)

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

Exports: $2.2 billion (f.o.b., 1999 est.)

Exports - commodities: tea, coffee, horticultural products, petroleum products (1995)

Exports - partners: Uganda 16%, UK 13%, Tanzania 13%, Egypt 5%, Germany 5% (1998)

Imports: $3.3 billion (f.o.b., 1999 est.)

Imports - commodities: machinery and transportation equipment, petroleum products, iron and steel

Imports - partners: UK 12%, UAE 9%, US 8%, Japan 8%, Germany 6%, India 4% (1998)

Debt - external: $6.5 billion (1998)

Economic aid - recipient: $457 million (1997)

Currency: 1 Kenyan shilling (KSh) = 100 cents

Exchange rates: Kenyan shillings (KSh) per US$1 - 73.943 (December 1999), 70.326 (1999), 60.367 (1998), 58.732 (1997), 57.115 (1996), 51.430 (1995)

Fiscal year: 1 July - 30 June


Telephones - main lines in use: 290,000 (1998)

Telephones - mobile cellular: 6,000 (1999)

Telephone system: unreliable; little attempt to modernize
  domestic: trunks are primarily microwave radio relay; data commonly transferred by a very small aperature terminal (VSAT)
  international: satellite earth stations - 4 Intelsat

Radio broadcast stations: AM 24, FM 8, shortwave 6 (1999)

Radios: 3.07 million (1997)

Television broadcast stations: 8 (1997)

Televisions: 730,000 (1997)

Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 7 (1999)


  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: 63,800 km
  paved: 8,868 km
  unpaved: 54,932 km (1996 est.)

Waterways: part of the Lake Victoria system is within the boundaries of Kenya

Pipelines: petroleum products 483 km

Ports and harbors: Kisumu, Lamu, Mombasa

Merchant marine
  total: 2 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 4,893 GRT/6,255 DWT
  ships by type: petroleum tanker 1, roll-on/roll-off 1 (1999 est.)

Airports: 230 (1999 est.)

Airports - with paved runways
  total: 21
  over 3,047 m: 4
  2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
  1,524 to 2,437 m: 2
  914 to 1,523 m: 14 (1999 est.)

Airports - with unpaved runways
  total: 209
  2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
  1,524 to 2,437 m: 14
  914 to 1,523 m: 110
  under 914 m: 84 (1999 est.)


Military branches: Army, Navy, Air Force, paramilitary General Service Unit of the Police

Military manpower - availability
  males age 15-49: 7,482,095 (2000 est.)

Military manpower - fit for military service
  males age 15-49: 4,631,987 (2000 est.)

Military expenditures - dollar figure: $197 million (FY98/99)

Military expenditures - percent of GDP: 1.9% (FY98/99)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international: administrative boundary with Sudan does not coincide with international boundary

Illicit drugs: widespread harvesting of small, wild plots of marijuana and qat (chat); transit country for South Asian heroin destined for Europe and, sometimes, North America; Indian methaqualone also transits on way to South Africa


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