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 Transnational Issues

This page was last updated on 18 January, 2007

Map of Kenya

Legend: DefinitionDefinition Field ListingField Listing Rank OrderRank Order
   Introduction    Kenya Top of Page
Definition Field Listing
Founding president and liberation struggle icon Jomo KENYATTA led Kenya from independence in 1963 until his death in 1978, when 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 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 the constitutional review process. Government defectors joined with KANU to form a new opposition coalition, the Orange Democratic Movement, which defeated the government's draft constitution in a popular referendum in November 2005.
   Geography    Kenya Top of Page
Definition Field Listing
Eastern Africa, bordering the Indian Ocean, between Somalia and Tanzania
Geographic coordinates:
Definition Field Listing
1 00 N, 38 00 E
Map references:
Definition Field Listing
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 582,650 sq km
land: 569,250 sq km
water: 13,400 sq km
Area - comparative:
Definition Field Listing
slightly more than twice the size of Nevada
Land boundaries:
Definition Field Listing
total: 3,477 km
border countries: Ethiopia 861 km, Somalia 682 km, Sudan 232 km, Tanzania 769 km, Uganda 933 km
Definition Field Listing
536 km
Maritime claims:
Definition Field Listing
territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 m depth or to the depth of exploitation
Definition Field Listing
varies from tropical along coast to arid in interior
Definition Field Listing
low plains rise to central highlands bisected by Great Rift Valley; fertile plateau in west
Elevation extremes:
Definition Field Listing
lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m
highest point: Mount Kenya 5,199 m
Natural resources:
Definition Field Listing
limestone, soda ash, salt, gemstones, fluorspar, zinc, diatomite, gypsum, wildlife, hydropower
Land use:
Definition Field Listing
arable land: 8.01%
permanent crops: 0.97%
other: 91.02% (2005)
Irrigated land:
Definition Field Listing
1,030 sq km (2003)
Natural hazards:
Definition Field Listing
recurring drought; flooding during rainy seasons
Environment - current issues:
Definition Field Listing
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:
Definition Field Listing
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:
Definition Field Listing
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 Top of Page
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
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 2006 est.)
Age structure:
Definition Field Listing
0-14 years: 42.6% (male 7,454,765/female 7,322,130)
15-64 years: 55.1% (male 9,631,488/female 9,508,068)
65 years and over: 2.3% (male 359,354/female 432,012) (2006 est.)
Median age:
Definition Field Listing
total: 18.2 years
male: 18.1 years
female: 18.3 years (2006 est.)
Population growth rate:
Definition Field Listing
2.57% (2006 est.)
Birth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
39.72 births/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Death rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
14.02 deaths/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Net migration rate:
Definition Field Listing
0 migrant(s)/1,000 population
note: according to the UNHCR, by the end of 2005 Kenya was host to 233,778 refugees from neighboring countries, including Somalia 153,627, Sudan 67,556, Ethiopia 12,595 (2006 est.)
Sex ratio:
Definition Field Listing
at birth: 1.02 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.83 male(s)/female
total population: 1.01 male(s)/female (2006 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 59.26 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 61.92 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 56.54 deaths/1,000 live births (2006 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total population: 48.93 years
male: 49.78 years
female: 48.07 years (2006 est.)
Total fertility rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
4.91 children born/woman (2006 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
6.7% (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
1.2 million (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
150,000 (2003 est.)
Major infectious diseases:
Definition Field Listing
degree of risk: very high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne disease: malaria is a high risk in some locations
water contact disease: schistosomiasis (2005)
Definition Field Listing
noun: Kenyan(s)
adjective: Kenyan
Ethnic groups:
Definition Field Listing
Kikuyu 22%, Luhya 14%, Luo 13%, Kalenjin 12%, Kamba 11%, Kisii 6%, Meru 6%, other African 15%, non-African (Asian, European, and Arab) 1%
Definition Field Listing
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
Definition Field Listing
English (official), Kiswahili (official), numerous indigenous languages
Definition Field Listing
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 85.1%
male: 90.6%
female: 79.7% (2003 est.)
   Government    Kenya Top of Page
Country name:
Definition Field Listing
conventional long form: Republic of Kenya
conventional short form: Kenya
local long form: Republic of Kenya/Jamhuri y Kenya
local short form: Kenya
former: British East Africa
Government type:
Definition Field Listing
Definition Field Listing
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:
Definition Field Listing
7 provinces and 1 area*; Central, Coast, Eastern, Nairobi Area*, North Eastern, Nyanza, Rift Valley, Western
Definition Field Listing
12 December 1963 (from UK)
National holiday:
Definition Field Listing
Independence Day, 12 December (1963)
Definition Field Listing
12 December 1963; amended as a republic 1964; reissued with amendments 1979, 1982, 1986, 1988, 1991, 1992, 1997, 2001; note - a new draft constitution was defeated by popular referendum in 2005
Legal system:
Definition Field Listing
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
Definition Field Listing
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
Definition Field Listing
chief of state: President Mwai KIBAKI (since 30 December 2002); Vice President Moody AWORI (since 25 September 2003); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Mwai KIBAKI (since 30 December 2002); Vice President Moody AWORI (since 25 September 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 (eligible for a second 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 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:
Definition Field Listing
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 December 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:
Definition Field Listing
Court of Appeal (chief justice is appointed by the president); High Court
Political parties and leaders:
Definition Field Listing
Forum for the Restoration of Democracy-Kenya or FORD-Kenya [Musikari KOMBO or Soita SHITANDA, disputed]; Forum for the Restoration of Democracy-People or FORD-People [Simeon NYACHAE]; Kenya African National Union or KANU [Nicholas BIWOTT or Uhuru KENYATTA, disputed]; National Rainbow Coalition-Kenya or NARC-K [Mwai KIBAKI, unofficially, since the break-up of Kibaki's original coalition]; Orange Democratic Movement-Kenya or ODM-Kenya [Raila ODINGA, unofficially]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Definition Field Listing
human rights groups; labor unions; Muslim organizations; National Convention Executive Council or NCEC, a proreform coalition of political parties and nongovernment organizations [Ndung'u WAINANA]; 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]
International organization participation:
Definition Field Listing
Diplomatic representation in the US:
Definition Field Listing
chief of mission: Ambassador Peter Rateng Oginga OGEGO
chancery: 2249 R Street NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 387-6101
FAX: [1] (202) 462-3829
consulate(s) general: Los Angeles
Diplomatic representation from the US:
Definition Field Listing
chief of mission: Ambassador Michael RANNEBERGER
embassy: US Embassy, United Nations Ave., Gigiri; P. O. Box 606 Village Market Nairobi
mailing address: Box 21A, Unit 64100, APO AE 09831
telephone: [254] (20) 537-800
FAX: [254] (20) 537-810
Flag description:
Definition Field Listing
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 Top of Page
Economy - overview:
Definition Field Listing
The regional hub for trade and finance in East Africa, Kenya has been hampered by corruption and by reliance upon several primary goods whose prices have remained low. 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 0.2% 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 1.2%. Growth lagged at 1.1% in 2002 because of erratic rains, low investor confidence, meager donor support, and political infighting up to the elections. In the key December 2002 elections, Daniel Arap MOI's 24-year-old reign ended, and a new opposition government took on the formidable economic problems facing the nation. In 2003, progress was made in rooting out corruption and encouraging donor support. Since then, however, the KIBAKI government has been rocked by high-level graft scandals. The World Bank suspended aid for most of 2006, and the IMF has delayed loans pending further action by the government on corruption. The scandals have not seemed to affect growth, with GDP growing more than 5% in 2006.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$40.77 billion (2006 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate):
Definition Field Listing
$17.39 billion (2006 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
5.5% (2006 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$1,200 (2006 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture: 16.3%
industry: 18.8%
services: 65% (2004 est.)
Labor force:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
1.955 million (2006 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture: 75%
industry and services: 25% (2003 est.)
Unemployment rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
40% (2001 est.)
Population below poverty line:
Definition Field Listing
50% (2000 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
Definition Field Listing
lowest 10%: 2%
highest 10%: 37.2% (2000)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
Definition Field Listing
44.5 (1997)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
10.5% (2006 est.)
Investment (gross fixed):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
19.2% of GDP (2006 est.)
Definition Field Listing
revenues: $4.448 billion
expenditures: $5.377 billion; including capital expenditures of $NA (2006 est.)
Public debt:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
50.5% of GDP (2006 est.)
Agriculture - products:
Definition Field Listing
tea, coffee, corn, wheat, sugarcane, fruit, vegetables; dairy products, beef, pork, poultry, eggs
Definition Field Listing
small-scale consumer goods (plastic, furniture, batteries, textiles, soap, cigarettes, flour), agricultural products, oil refining; aluminum, steel, lead; cement, commercial ship repair, tourism
Industrial production growth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
6.3% (2006 est.)
Electricity - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
5.709 billion kWh (2004)
Electricity - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
5.459 billion kWh (2004)
Electricity - exports:
Definition Field Listing
0 kWh (2004)
Electricity - imports:
Definition Field Listing
150 million kWh (2004)
Oil - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
0 bbl/day (2004 est.)
Oil - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
55,000 bbl/day (2004 est.)
Oil - exports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
NA bbl/day (2001)
Oil - imports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
NA bbl/day (2001)
Natural gas - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
0 cu m (2004 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
0 cu m (2004 est.)
Current account balance:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$-1.119 billion (2006 est.)
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$3.614 billion f.o.b. (2006 est.)
Exports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
tea, horticultural products, coffee, petroleum products, fish, cement
Exports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
Uganda 14.2%, UK 10.8%, US 9.7%, Netherlands 8.3%, Egypt 5.2%, Pakistan 4.8%, Tanzania 4.8% (2005)
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$6.602 billion f.o.b. (2006 est.)
Imports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
machinery and transportation equipment, petroleum products, motor vehicles, iron and steel, resins and plastics
Imports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
UAE 20.9%, US 9.2%, India 7.7%, South Africa 6.7%, China 6.6%, Saudi Arabia 6.5%, UK 5.1% (2005)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$2.35 billion (2006 est.)
Debt - external:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$6.675 billion (2006 est.)
Economic aid - recipient:
Definition Field Listing
$453 million (1997)
Currency (code):
Definition Field Listing
Kenyan shilling (KES)
Exchange rates:
Definition Field Listing
Kenyan shillings per US dollar - 72.7649 (2006), 75.554 (2005), 79.174 (2004), 75.936 (2003), 78.749 (2002)
Fiscal year:
Definition Field Listing
1 July - 30 June
   Communications    Kenya Top of Page
Telephones - main lines in use:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
281,800 (2005)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
4.612 million (2005)
Telephone system:
Definition Field Listing
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: country code - 254; satellite earth stations - 4 Intelsat
Radio broadcast stations:
Definition Field Listing
AM 24, FM 18, shortwave 6 (2001)
Television broadcast stations:
Definition Field Listing
8 (2002)
Internet country code:
Definition Field Listing
Internet hosts:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
13,274 (2006)
Internet users:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
1,054,900 (2005)
   Transportation    Kenya Top of Page
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
225 (2006)
Airports - with paved runways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 15
over 3,047 m: 4
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 4
914 to 1,523 m: 5
under 914 m: 1 (2006)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 210
1,524 to 2,437 m: 11
914 to 1,523 m: 115
under 914 m: 84 (2006)
Definition Field Listing
refined products 894 km (2006)
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 2,778 km
narrow gauge: 2,778 km 1.000-m gauge (2005)
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 63,265 km (interurban roads)
paved: 8,933 km
unpaved: 54,332 km
note: there also are 100,000 km of rural roads and 14,500 km of urban roads for a national total of 177,765 km (2004)
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
part of Lake Victoria system is within boundaries of Kenya (2003)
Merchant marine:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 3 ships (1000 GRT or over) 6,049 GRT/7,082 DWT
by type: passenger/cargo 2, petroleum tanker 1
registered in other countries: 6 (Bahamas 1, Comoros 1, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 2, Tuvalu 1, unknown 1) (2006)
Ports and terminals:
Definition Field Listing
   Military    Kenya Top of Page
Military branches:
Definition Field Listing
Kenyan Army, Kenyan Navy, Kenyan Air Force (2006)
Military service age and obligation:
Definition Field Listing
18 years of age (est.) (2004)
Manpower available for military service:
Definition Field Listing
males age 18-49: 7,303,153
females age 18-49: 7,083,726 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:
Definition Field Listing
males age 18-49: 3,963,532
females age 18-49: 3,471,926 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
1.6% (2005 est.)
   Transnational Issues    Kenya Top of Page
Disputes - international:
Definition Field Listing
Kenya served as an important mediator in brokering Sudan's north-south separation in February 2005; Kenya provides shelter to approximately a quarter of a million refugees including Ugandans who flee across the border periodically to seek protection from Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) rebels; the Kenya-Somalia border is open to pastoralists and is susceptible to cross-border clan insurgencies; Kenya's administrative limits extend beyond the treaty border into the Sudan, creating the Ilemi Triangle
Refugees and internally displaced persons:
Definition Field Listing
refugees (country of origin): 153,627 (Somalia) 12,595 (Ethiopia) 67,556 (Sudan)
IDPs: 360,000 (KANU attacks on opposition tribal groups in 1990s) (2005)
Trafficking in persons:
Definition Field Listing
current situation: Kenya is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children trafficked for forced labor and sexual exploitation; children are trafficked within the country for domestic servitude, street vending, agricultural labor, and sexual exploitation; men, women, and girls are trafficked to the Middle East, other African nations, Western Europe, and North America for domestic servitude, enslavement in massage parlors and brothels, and manual labor; Chinese women trafficked for sexual exploitation reportedly transit Nairobi and Bangladeshis may transit Kenya for forced labor in other countries
tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List - Kenya is placed on the Tier 2 Watch List due to a lack of evidence of increasing efforts to combat severe forms of trafficking
Illicit drugs:
Definition Field Listing
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 18 January, 2007

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