2008/9 Schools Wikipedia Selection. Related subjects: Africa; African Countries
|Jamhuri ya Kenya
Republic of Kenya
| Motto: " Harambee" ( Swahili)
"Let us all pull together"
| Anthem: Ee Mungu Nguvu Yetu
"O God of All Creation"
(and largest city)
|Official languages||Swahili (since 1963), English|
|-||Vice President||Kalonzo Musyoka|
|Independence||from the United Kingdom|
|-||Date||December 12, 1963|
|-||Republic declared||December 12, 1964|
|-||Total|| 580,367 km² ( 47th)
224,080 sq mi
|-||July 2005 estimate||34,707,8171 ( 34th)|
|-||8 February 2007 census||31,138,735|
|-||Density||59/km² ( 140th)
|GDP ( PPP)||2005 estimate|
|-||Total||$48.33 billion ( 76th)|
|-||Per capita||$1,445 ( 156th)|
|HDI (2007)||▲ 0.521 (medium) ( 148th)|
|Currency|| Kenyan shilling (
|Time zone||EAT ( UTC+3)|
|-||Summer ( DST)||not observed ( UTC+3)|
|Calling code||[[+254 2]]|
|2. 005 from Tanzania and Uganda.|
The Republic of Kenya is a country in Eastern Africa. It is bordered by Ethiopia to the north, Somalia to the east, Tanzania to the south, Uganda to the west, and Sudan to the northwest, with the Indian Ocean running along the southeast border. The country is named after Mount Kenya, a very significant landmark, and both were originally usually pronounced ˈkiːnjə in English although the native pronunciation and the one intended by the original transcription Kenia was ˈkenia. During the presidency of Jomo Kenyatta in the 1960s, the current pronunciation ˈkɛnjə became widespread in English too because his name was pronounced according to the original native pronunciation. Before 1920, the area now known as Kenya was known as the British East Africa Protectorate and so there was no need to mention mount when referring to the mountain.
Paleontologists have discovered many fossils of prehistoric animals in Kenya. At one of the rare dinosaur fossil sites in Africa, two hundred Cretaceous theropod and giant crocodile fossils have been discovered in Kenya, dating from the Mesozoic Era, over 200 million years ago. The fossils were found in an excavation conducted by a team from the University of Utah and the National Museums of Kenya in July-August 2004 at Lokitaung Gorge, near Lake Turkana.
Fossils found in East Africa suggest that primates roamed the area more than 20 million years ago. Recent finds near Kenya's Lake Turkana indicate that hominids such as Homo habilis (1.8 and 2.5 million years ago) and Homo erectus (1.8 million to 350,000 years ago) are possible direct ancestors of modern Homo sapiens and lived in Kenya during the Pleistocene epoch. In 1984 one particular discovery made at Lake Turkana by famous palaeoanthropologist Richard Leakey and Kamoya Kimeu was the skeleton of a Turkana boy belonging to Homo erectus from 1.6 million years ago. Previous research on early hominids is particularly identified to Louis Leakey and Mary Leakey, who are responsible for the preliminary archaeological research at Olorgesailie and Hyrax Hill. Later work at the former was undertaken by Glynn Isaac.
Cushitic- speaking people from northern Africa moved into the area that is now Kenya beginning around 2000 BC. Arab traders began frequenting the Kenya coast around the 1st century AD. Kenya's proximity to the Arabian Peninsula invited colonization, and Arab and Persian settlements sprouted along the coast by the 8th century. During the first millennium AD, Nilotic and Bantu peoples moved into the region, and the latter now comprise three-quarters of Kenya's population.
In the centuries preceding colonization, the Swahili coast of Kenya was part of the east African region which traded with the Arab world and India especially for ivory and slaves (the Ameru tribe is said to have originated from slaves escaping from Arab lands some time around the year 1700.). Initially these traders came mainly from Arab states, but later many also came from Zanzibar (such as Tippu Tip).
Swahili, a Bantu language with many Arabic loan words, developed as a lingua franca for trade between the different peoples.
The Luo of Kenya descend from early agricultural and herding communities from western Kenya's early pre-colonial history. The Luo people and dialects of their language have historic roots across the Lake Victoria region. Chief among the powerful families to which the Luo trace their ancestry were the Sahkarias of Kano, the Jaramogis of Ugenya, and the Owuors of Kisumo, whose clans married several wives and had multitudes of grandchildren and heirs to various chieftainships. Leaders of these lineages typically had multiple wives and intermarried with their neighbours in Uganda and Sudan. The Luo tribe, through intermarriages and wars, are part of the genetic admixture that includes all modern East African ethnic groups as well as members of Buganda Kingdom, the Toro Kingdom, and the Nubians of modern day Sudan. In recent times, the Luo have had many enemies with whom they fought for access to water, cattle, and land including the Nandi, Kipsigis and the Kisii. As a result of these wars were peace treaties and intermarriages were resolved resulting in a mixture of cultural ideals and practices. As with all so-called tribes of modern day East Africa, Luo history is intricately interwoven with the histories of their friends, enemies and neighbors and attest to the complexity of East African precolonial history.
The Portuguese were the first Europeans to explore the region of current-day Kenya, Vasco da Gama having visited Mombasa in 1498. Gama's voyage was successful in reaching India and this permitted the Portuguese to trade with the Far East directly by sea, thus challenging older trading networks of mixed land and sea routes, such as the Spice trade routes that utilized the Persian Gulf, Red Sea and caravans to reach the eastern Mediterranean. The Republic of Venice had gained control over much of the trade routes between Europe and Asia. Portugal hoped to use the route pioneered by Gama to break the Venetian trading monopoly. Portuguese rule in East Africa focused mainly on a coastal strip centred in Mombasa. The Portuguese presence in East Africa officially began after 1505, when flagships under the command of Don Francisco De Almeida conquered Kilwa, an island located in what is now southern Tanzania. In March 1505, having received from Manuel I the appointment of viceroy of the newly conquered territory in India, he set sail from Lisbon in command of a large and powerful fleet, and arrived in July at Quiloa ( Kilwa), which yielded to him almost without a struggle. A much more vigorous resistance was offered by the Moors of Mombasa, but the town was taken and destroyed, and its large treasures went to strengthen the resources of Almeida. Attacks followed on Hoja (now known as Ungwana, located at the mouth of the Tana River), Barawa, Angoche, Pate and other coastal towns until the western Indian Ocean was a safe haven for Portuguese commercial interests. At other places on his way, such as the island of Angediva, near Goa, and Cannanore, the Portuguese built forts, and adopted measures to secure the Portuguese supremacy. Portugal's main goal in the east coast of Africa was took control of the spice trade from the Arabs. At this stage, the Portuguese presence in East Africa served the purpose of control trade within the Indian Ocean and secure the sea routes linking Europe to Asia. Portuguese naval vessels were very disruptive to the commerce of Portugal's enemies within the western Indian Ocean and were able to demand high tariffs on items transported through the sea due to their strategic control of ports and shipping lanes. The construction of Fort Jesus in Mombasa in 1593 was meant to solidify Portuguese hegemony in the region, but their influence was clipped by the British, Dutch and Omani Arab incursions into the region during the 17th century. The Omani Arabs posed the most direct challenge to Portuguese influence in East Africa and besieged Portuguese fortresses, openly attacked naval vessels and expelled the Portuguese from the Kenyan and Tanzanian coasts by 1730.
Omani Arab colonization of the Kenyan and Tanzanian coasts brought the once independent city-states under closer foreign scrutiny and domination than was experienced during the Portuguese period. Like their predecessors, the Omani Arabs were primarily able only to control the coastal areas, not the interior. However, the creation of clove plantations, intensification of the slave trade and relocation of the Omani capital to Zanzibar in 1839 by Seyyid Said had the effect of consolidating the Omani power in the region. Arab governance of all the major ports along the East African coast continued until British interests aimed particularly at ending the slave trade and creation of a wage-labour system began to put pressure on Omani rule. By the late nineteenth century, the slave trade on the open seas had been completely outlawed by the British and the Omani Arabs had little ability to resist the British navy’s ability to enforce the directive. The Omani presence continued in Zanzibar and Pemba until the 1964 revolution, but the official Omani Arab presence in Kenya was checked by German and British seizure of key ports and creation of crucial trade alliances with influential local leaders in the 1880s. However, the Omani Arab legacy in East Africa is currently found through their numerous descendants found along the coast that can directly trace ancestry to Oman and are typically the wealthiest and most politically influential members of the Kenyan coastal community.
However, most historians consider that the colonial history of Kenya dates from the establishment of a German protectorate over the Sultan of Zanzibar's coastal possessions in 1885, followed by the arrival of the Imperial British East Africa Company in 1888. Incipient imperial rivalry was forestalled when Germany handed its coastal holdings to Britain in 1890. This followed the building of the Kenya-Uganda railway passing through the country. This was resisted by some tribes, notably the Nandi led by Orkoiyot Koitalel Arap Samoei for ten years from 1895 to 1905, the British eventually built the railway. It is believed that the Nandi were the first tribe to be put in a native reserve to stop them from disrupting the building of the railway. During the railway construction era, there was a significant inflow of Indian peoples who provided the bulk of the skilled manpower required for construction. These people remained in Kenya and formed the core of several distinct Indian communities such as the Ismaili muslim and Sikh communities.
At the outbreak of the First World War in August 1914, the governors of British East Africa (as the Protectorate was generally known) and German East Africa agreed a truce in an attempt to keep the young colonies out of direct hostilities. However Lt Col Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck took command of the German military forces, determined to tie down as many British resources as possible. Completely cut off from Germany by the British Navy, von Lettow conducted an effective guerrilla warfare campaign, living off the land, capturing British supplies, and remaining undefeated. He eventually surrendered in Zambia eleven days after the Armistice was signed in 1918. To chase von Lettow the British deployed Indian Army troops from India and then needed large numbers of porters to overcome the formidable logistics of transporting supplies far into the interior by foot. The Carrier Corps was formed and ultimately mobilised over 400,000 Africans, contributing to their long-term politicisation.
During the early part of the twentieth century, the interior central highlands were settled by British and other European farmers, who became wealthy farming coffee and tea. By the 1930s, approximately 30,000 white settlers lived in the area and were offered undue political powers because of their effects on the economy. The area was already home to over a million members of the Kikuyu tribe, most of whom had no land claims in European terms (but the land belonged to the ethnic group), and lived as itinerant farmers. To protect their interests, the settlers banned the growing of coffee, introduced a hut tax, and the landless were granted less and less land in exchange for their labour. A massive exodus to the cities ensued as their ability to provide a living from the land dwindled.
In 1951, Sir Horace Hector Hearne became Chief Justice in Kenya (coming from Ceylon, where he had also been Chief Justice) and sat in the Supreme Court in Nairobi. He held that position until 1954 when he became an Appeal Justice of the West African Court of Appeal. On the night of the death of King George VI, 5 February 1952, Hearne escorted The Princess Elizabeth, Duchess of Edinburgh, as she then was, to a state dinner at the Treetops Hotel, which is now a very popular tourist retreat. It was there that she "went up a princess and came down a Queen". She returned immediately to England, accompanied by Hearne.
From October 1952 to December 1959, Kenya was under a state of emergency arising from the Mau Mau rebellion against British rule. The governor requested and obtained British and African troops, including the King's African Rifles. In January 1953, Major General Hinde was appointed as director of counter-insurgency operations. The situation did not improve for lack of intelligence, so General Sir George Erskine was appointed commander-in-chief of the colony's armed forces in May 1953, with the personal backing of Winston Churchill.
The capture of Warũhiũ Itote (a.k.a. General China) on 15 January 1954 and the subsequent interrogation led to a better understanding of the Mau Mau command structure. Operation Anvil opened on 24 April 1954 after weeks of planning by the army with the approval of the War Council. The operation effectively placed Nairobi under military siege, and the occupants were screened and the Mau Mau supporters moved to detention camps. May 1953 also saw the Home Guard officially recognized as a branch of the Security Forces. The Home Guard formed the core of the government's anti-Mau Mau strategy as it was composed of loyalist Africans, not foreign forces like the British Army and King's African Rifles. By the end of the emergency the Home Guard had killed 4,686 Mau Mau, amounting to 42% of the total insurgents. The capture of Dedan Kimathi on 21 October 1956 in Nyeri signified the ultimate defeat of the Mau Mau and essentially ended the military offensive.
The first direct elections for Africans to the Legislative Council took place in 1957. Despite British hopes of handing power to "moderate" African rivals, it was the Kenya African National Union (KANU) of Jomo Kenyatta, that formed a government shortly before Kenya became independent on 12 December 1963. In the same year the Kenyan army fought the Shifta War against Somali ethnics determined to see NFD join with the Republic of Somalia, the Shifta's inflicted heavy casualties on the Kenyan armed forces but were defeated in 1967.
Kenya, fearing an invasion from militarily stronger Somalia, signed a defence pact with Ethiopia in 1969 which is still intact . Suffering from droughts and floods NFD is the least developed region in Kenya. However, throughout the 1990s wealthy Somali refugees turned businessmen have transformed Eastleigh from a residential community to the commercial centre of Eastlands, and increasingly much of Nairobi.
In 1964, Kenyatta became Kenya's first president. At Kenyatta's death in 1978, Daniel arap Moi became President. Daniel arap Moi retained the Presidency, being unopposed in elections held in 1979, 1983 ( snap elections) and 1988, all of which were held under the single party constitution. The 1983 elections were held a year early, and were a direct result of an abortive military coup attempt on August 1, 1982.
The abortive coup was masterminded by a lowly ranked Air Force serviceman, Senior Private Hezekiah Ochuka and was staged mainly by enlisted men in the Air Force. The attempt was quickly suppressed by Loyalist forces led by the Army, the General Service Unit (GSU) — paramilitary wing of the police — and later the regular police, but not without civilian casualties. This event led to the disbanding of the entire Air Force and a large number of its former members were either dismissed or court-martialled.
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 secret ballot. This was seen as the climax of a very undemocratic regime and it led to widespread agitation for constitutional reform. Several contentious clauses, including the one allowing only one political party were changed in the following years. In democratic, multiparty elections in 1992 and 1997, Daniel arap Moi won re-election. In 2002, Moi was constitutionally barred from running, and Mwai Kǐbakǐ, running for the opposition coalition "National Rainbow Coalition" — NARC, was elected President. The elections, judged free and fair by local and international observers, marked a turning point in Kenya's democratic evolution. This year we expect another showdown between the incumbent and ODM presidential aspirant Raila Odinga. Kenya is one of the most politically distinguished countries in Africa.
Origins of the country's name
Politics of Kenya takes place in a framework of a presidential representative democratic republic, whereby the President of Kenya is both head of state and head of government, and of a pluriform multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the National Assembly. The Judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature.
Since independence, Kenya has maintained remarkable stability despite changes in its political system and crises in neighbouring countries. A cross-party parliamentary reform initiative in the fall of 1997 revised some oppressive laws inherited from the colonial era that had been used to limit freedom of speech and assembly. This improved public freedoms and contributed to generally credible national elections in December 1997.
In December 2002, Kenyans held democratic and open elections, most of which were judged free and fair by international observers. The 2002 elections marked an important turning point in Kenya’s democratic evolution in that power was transferred peacefully from the Kenya African Union (KANU), which had ruled the country since independence to the National Rainbow Coalition (Narc), a coalition of political parties.
Under the presidency of Mwai Kibaki, the new ruling coalition promised to focus its efforts on generating economic growth, combating corruption, improving education, and rewriting its constitution. A few of these promises have been met. There is free primary education. From next year, secondary education will be almost free, with the government footing all tuition fees. Under president Kibaki, the democratic space has expanded. The media is freer than before. Kenyans can associate and express themselves without fearing being harassed by security agents as it used to be the case during the Moi administration. In November 2005, the Kenyan electorate resoundingly defeated a new draft constitution supported by Parliament and President Kibaki. Kibaki responded by dismissing his entire cabinet. Kibaki eventually appointed a new slate of ministers.
The last general elections were held on December 27, 2007. In them, President Kibaki under the Party of National Unity ran for re-election against the main opposition party, the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM). After a split which would take a crucial 8% of the votes away from the ODM to the newly formed Orange Democratic Movement-Kenya (ODM-K)'s candidate, Kalonzo Musyoka, the race tightened between ODM candidate Raila Odinga and Kibaki. As the count came in to the Kenyan Election Commission, Odinga was shown to have a slight, and then substantial lead. However, as the ECK Electoral Commission of Kenya continued to count the votes, Kibaki closed the gap and then overtook his opponent by a substantial margin amid largely substantiated claims of rigging (notably by the EU Observers). This led to protests and riots, open discrediting of the ECK for complicity and to Odinga declaring himself the "people's president" and calling for a recount and Kibaki to resign. More information is available in clashes in Kenya (2007–present).
Kenya comprises 8 provinces each headed by a Provincial Commissioner (centrally appointed by the president). The provinces (mkoa singular mikoa plural in Swahili) are subdivided into districts ( wilaya). There were 69 districts as of 1999 census. Districts are then subdivided into 497 divisions (taarafa). The divisions are then subdivided into 2,427 locations (kata) and then 6,612 sublocations (kata ndogo) . The City of Nairobi enjoys the status of a full administrative province. The government supervises administration of districts and provinces. The provinces are:
- North Eastern
- Rift Valley
Local governance in Kenya is practised through local authorities. Many urban centres host city, municipal or town councils. Local authorities in rural areas are known as county councils. Local councillors are elected by civic elections, held alongside general elections.
Constituencies are an electoral subdivision. There are 210 Constituencies in Kenya .
Population of major cities
At 224,961 square miles (582,646 km²), Kenya is the world's forty-seventh largest country (after Madagascar). From the coast on the Indian Ocean the Low plains rise to central highlands. The highlands are bisected by the Great Rift Valley; a fertile plateau in the west. The Kenyan Highlands comprise 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 in Africa): Mount Kenya, which reaches 5,199 meters (17,057 ft) and is also the site of glaciers. Climate varies from tropical along the coast to arid in the interior. There is also Mount Kilimanjaro (19,341 ft) which is located on the Kenya- Tanzania border.
Kenya has considerable land area of wildlife habitat, including the Masai Mara, where blue wildebeest and other bovids participate in a large scale annual migration. Up to 250,000 blue wildebeest perish each year in the long and arduous movement to find forage in the dry season. The "Big Five" animals of Africa can also be found in Kenya: the lion, leopard, buffalo, rhinoceros and elephant. A significant population of other wild animals, reptiles and birds can be found in the national parks and game reserves in the country. The environment of Kenya is threatened by high population growth and its side effects.
Kenya enjoys a tropical climate. It is hot and humid at the coast, temperate inland and very dry in the north and northeast parts of the country. There is however a lot of rain between the months March and May.The temperature does remain high throughout these months.
|City||Elevation (m)||Max (°C)||Min (°C)|
|Lodwar||dry north plainlands||506||34.8||23.7|
|Mandera||dry north plainlands||506||34.8||25.7|
The country receives a great deal of sunshine all the year round and summer clothes are worn throughout the year. However, it is usually cool at night and early in the morning.
The long rain season occurs from April to June. The short rain season occurs from October to December. The rainfall is sometimes heavy and often falls in the afternoons and evenings. The hottest period is from February to March and coldest in July to August.
The annual migration occurs between June and September with millions of wildlife taking part. It has been a popular event for filmmakers to capture.
After independence, Kenya promoted rapid economic growth through public investment, encouragement of smallholder agricultural production, and incentives for private (often foreign) industrial investment. Gross domestic product (GDP) grew at an annual average of 6.6% from 1963 to 1973. Agricultural production grew by 4.7% annually during the same period, stimulated by redistributing estates, diffusing new crop strains, and opening new areas to cultivation.
Between 1974 and 1990, however, Kenya's economic performance declined. Inappropriate agricultural policies, inadequate credit, and poor international terms of trade contributed to the decline in agriculture. Kenya's inward-looking policy of import substitution and rising oil prices made Kenya's manufacturing sector uncompetitive. The government began a massive intrusion in the private sector. Lack of export incentives, tight import controls, and foreign exchange controls made the domestic environment for investment even less attractive.
From 1991 to 1993, Kenya had its worst economic performance since independence. Growth in GDP stagnated, and agricultural production shrank at an annual rate of 3.9%. Inflation reached a record 100% in August 1993, and the government's budget deficit was over 10% of GDP. As a result of these combined problems, bilateral and multilateral donors suspended programme aid to Kenya in 1991.
In 1993, the Government of Kenya began a major programme of economic reform and liberalization. A new minister of finance and a new governor of the Central Bank of Kenya undertook a series of economic measures with the assistance of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). As part of this programme, the government eliminated price controls and import licensing, removed foreign exchange controls, privatized a range of publicly owned companies, reduced the number of civil servants, and introduced conservative fiscal and monetary policies. From 1994-96, Kenya's real GDP growth rate averaged just over 4% a year.
In 1997, however, the economy entered a period of slowing or stagnant growth, due in part to adverse weather conditions and reduced economic activity prior to general elections in December 1997. In 2000, GDP growth was negative, but improved slightly in 2001 as rainfall returned closer to normal levels. Economic growth continued to improve slightly in 2002 and reached 1.4% in 2003; it was 4.3% in 2004 and 5.8% in 2005.
In July 1997, the Government of Kenya refused to meet commitments made earlier to the IMF on governance reforms. As a result, the IMF suspended lending for 3 years, and the World Bank also put a $90-million structural adjustment credit on hold. Although many economic reforms put in place in 1993-94 remained, conservative economists believe that Kenya needs further reforms, particularly in governance, in order to increase GDP growth and combat the poverty that afflicts more than 57% of its population.
The Government of Kenya took some positive steps on reform, including the 1999 establishment of the Kenya Anti- Corruption Authority (KACA), and measures to improve the transparency of government procurements and reduce the government payroll. In July 2000, the IMF signed a $150 million Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF), and the World Bank followed suit shortly after with a $157 million Economic and Public Sector Reform credit. The Anti-Corruption Authority was declared unconstitutional in December 2000, and other parts of the reform effort faltered in 2001. The IMF and World Bank again suspended their programs. Various efforts to restart the programme through mid-2002 were unsuccessful.
Under the leadership of President Kibaki, who took over on December 30, 2002, the Government of Kenya began an ambitious economic reform programme and has resumed its cooperation with the World Bank and the IMF. The new National Rainbow Coalition (NARC) government enacted the Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes Act and Public Officers Ethics Act in May 2003 aimed at fighting graft in public offices. Other reforms especially in the judiciary, public procurement etc., have led to the unlocking of donor aid and a renewed hope at economic revival. In November 2003, following the adoption of key anti-corruption laws and other reforms by the new government, donors reengaged as the IMF approved a three-year $250 million Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility and donors committed $4.2 billion in support over 4 years. The renewal of donor involvement has provided a much-needed boost to investor confidence.
The Privatization Bill has been enacted although the setting up of a privatization commission is yet to be finalized, civil service reform has been implemented and in the year 2007 the country won the UN Public Service reform award . However a lot of work need to be done to make the country catch up with the rest of economic giants especially the Far East. The main challenges include taking candid action on corruption, enacting anti-terrorism and money laundering laws, bridging budget deficits, rehabilitating and building infrastructure. This hopefully will help in maintaining sound macroeconomic policies, and speed up the rapidly accelerating economic growth, which is projected to grow to 7.2% in 2007. However all this is tied to the outcome of the forthcoming General Election in 2007.
Nairobi continues to be the primary communication and financial hub of East Africa. It enjoys the region's best transportation linkages, communications infrastructure, and trained personnel, although these advantages are less prominent than in past years. A wide range of foreign firms maintain regional branch or representative offices in the city. In March 1996, the Presidents of Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda re-established the East African Community (EAC). The EAC's objectives include harmonizing 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.
|GDP||$17.43 billion (2005) at Market Price. $ 41.36 billion (Purchasing Power Parity, 2006)
There also exists a large, informal economy that is never counted as part of the official GDP figures.
|Annual growth rate||5.8% (2005): 2006 = 6.1% : Estimate for 2007 = 7.2%|
|Per capita income||Per Capita Income (PPP)= $1,200|
|Natural resources||Wildlife, land (5% arable)|
|Agricultural produce||tea, coffee, sugarcane, horticultural products, corn, wheat, rice, sisal, pineapples, pyrethrum, dairy products, meat and meat products, hides, skins|
|Industry||petroleum products, grain and sugar milling, cement, beer, soft drinks, textiles, vehicle assembly, paper and light manufacturing, tourism|
|Exports||$2.2 billion||tea, coffee, horticultural products, petroleum products, cement, pyrethrum, soda ash, sisal, hides and skins, fluorspar|
|Major markets||Uganda, Tanzania, United Kingdom, Germany, Netherlands, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Egypt, South Africa, United States|
|Imports||$3.2 billion||machinery, vehicles, crude petroleum, iron and steel, resins and plastic materials, refined petroleum products, pharmaceuticals, paper and paper products, fertilizers, wheat|
|Major suppliers||United Kingdom, Japan, South Africa, Germany, United Arab Emirates, Italy, India, France, United States, Saudi Arabia|
Early in 2006 Chinese President Hu Jintao signed an oil exploration contract with Kenya; the latest in a series of deals designed to keep Africa's natural resources flowing to China's booming economy.
The deal allowed for China's state-controlled offshore oil and gas company, CNOOC Ltd., to prospect for oil in Kenya, which is just beginning to drill its first exploratory wells on the borders of Sudan and Somalia and in coastal waters. No oil has been produced yet, and there has been no formal estimate of the possible reserves.
Kenya is a country of great ethnic diversity.
- Ethnic groups
- Kikuyu 23%, Luhya 14%, Luo 13%, Kalenjin 11%, Kamba 10%, Kisii 6%, Meru 5%, Maasai 1.8%, Turkana 1.5%, Embu 1.2%, other African (including Somali, Taita, Swahili, Samburu, Pokomo, Giriama, Rabai, Duruma, Chonyi, Digo, Kauma, Orma, Oromo Wasanye, Wanyoyaya, Borana, Rendille, El Moran, Malakote, Teso, Gabra, Ndorobo) 15%, non-African ( Asian/ Desi, Anglo-African/European, and Arab) 1%.
- Religious affiliation
- Protestant and Quaker 45%, Roman Catholic 25%, Islam 10%, Traditional Religions 10%. Others include Hinduism, Sikhism, Jainism and the Bahá'í Faith. Kenya contains the largest body of Quakers in a single nation (see: Quakers in Kenya).
- Largest cities
- Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu, Nakuru and Eldoret.
- See also: List of cities in Kenya
Kenya’s education system consists of early childhood education, primary, secondary and college. Early childhood education takes at least three years, primary eight years, secondary four and university four or six years depending on the course. Preschooling, which targets children from age three to five, is an integral component of the education system and is a key requirement for admission to Standard One (First Grade). At the end of primary education, pupils sit the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE), which determines those who proceed to secondary school or vocational training. Primary school age is 6/7-13/14 years. For those who proceed to secondary level, there is a national examination at the end of Form Four – the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE), which determines those proceeding to the universities, other professional training or employment. The Joint Admission Board (JAB) is responsible for selecting students joining the public universities. The minimum university entry grade is C+ at KCSE. However, due to stiff competition, only those with higher grades such as B+ and above are guaranteed admission. Private universities admit students on their own but are guided by the rules and regulations provided by the Commission for Higher Education. Other than the public schools, there are many private schools in the country, mainly in urban areas. Similarly, there are a number of international schools catering for various educational systems such as American, British, French, German, Japanese and Swedish.
Ngugi wa Thiong'o is one of the best known writers of Kenya. His book, Weep Not, Child is an illustration of life in Kenya during the British occupation. This is a story about the effects of the Mau Mau on the lives of black Kenyans. Its combination of themes - colonialism, education, and love - help to make it one of the best-known novels in Africa.
M.G. Vassanji's 2003 novel The In-Between World of Vikram Lall won the Giller Prize in 2003. It is the fictional memoir of a Kenyan of Indian heritage and his family as they adjust to the changing political climates in colonial and post-colonial Kenya.
Since 2003, the literary journal Kwani? has been publishing Kenyan contemporary literature.