Kenya (GPS: 1 00 N, 38 00 E) located in Eastern Africa, bordering the Indian Ocean, between Somalia and Tanzania. The country’s area measurements are total: 580,367 sq km; land: 569,140 sq km, water: 11,227 sq km. This sovereign state is five times the size of Ohio, slightly more than twice the Nevada size. The total irrigated land is 1,030 sq km (2012).
One of Kenya’s essential features: The Kenyan Highlands comprise one of the most successful agricultural production regions in Africa. Glaciers found on Mount Kenya, Africa’s second-highest peak. Unique physiography supports abundant and varied wildlife of scientific and economic value. Lake Victoria, the world’s largest tropical lake and the second-largest freshwater lake, is shared among three countries: Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda.
It’s significant, and at the same time, the principal city, Nairobi’s GPS coordinates are 1 17 S 36 49 E. Nairobi’s local time is 8 hours ahead of Washington DC during Standard Time. The capital’s time difference: UTC+3.
Founding president and liberation struggle icon Jomo KENYATTA led Kenya from independence in 1963 until he died in 1978 when Vice President Daniel Arap MOI took power in a constitutional succession. The country was a de facto one-party state from 1969 until 1982. After that time, the ruling Kenya African National Union (KANU) changed the constitution to make 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. President MOI stepped down in December 2002 following fair and peaceful elections. Mwai KIBAKI, running as the multiethnic, united opposition group, the National Rainbow Coalition (NARC), defeated KANU candidate Uhuru KENYATTA, the son of founding president Jomo KENYATTA, and assumed the presidency following a campaign centered on an anticorruption platform.
KIBAKI’s reelection in December 2007 brought charges of vote-rigging from Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) candidate Raila ODINGA and unleashed two months of violence in which approximately 1,100 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 agreement 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 devolved power and resources to 47 newly created counties. It also eliminated the position of prime minister. Uhuru KENYATTA won the first presidential election under the new constitution in March 2013 and was sworn into office the following month; He began a second term in November 2017 following a contentious, repeat election.
Kenya’s names conventional long form: the Republic of Kenya, traditional short form: Kenya, local long form: Republic of Kenya/Jamhuri ya Kenya, local short form: Kenya, former: British East Africaetymolgy: named for Mount Kenya; the meaning of the name is unclear but may derive from the Kikuyu, Embu, and Kamba words “kirinyaga,” “kirenyaa,” and “kiinyaa” – all of which mean “God’s resting place.” Named for Mount Kenya; The meaning of the Name is unclear but may derive from the Kikuyu, Embu, and Kamba words “kirinyaga,” “kirenyaa,” and “kiinyaa” – all of which mean “God’s resting place.”
Kenya’s terrain is typically low plains rise to central highlands bisected by Great Rift Valley; fertile plateau in the west. The country’s mean elevation: 762 m, elevation extremes; lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m, highest point: Mount Kenya 5,199 m.
The general climate in the country; varies from tropical along the coast to arid in the interior.
The total number of border countries is 5, Ethiopia 867 km, Somalia 684 km, South Sudan 317 km, Tanzania 775 km, Uganda 814 km are the neighboring nations with the indicated border lengths. Kenya’s coastline is 536 km, while its marital claims are: territorial sea: 12 nautical miles, exclusive economic zone: 200 nautical miles, continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation. Waterways: none specifically; the only significant inland waterway is the part of Lake Victoria within the boundaries of Kenya; Kisumu is the main port and has ferry connections to Uganda and Tanzania (2011). Land use: agricultural land: 48.1%; arable land 9.8%; permanent crops 0.9%; permanent pasture 37.4%; forest: 6.1%; other: 45.8% (2011 estimate).
The population in Kenya 48,397,527 (July 2018 estimate), urban population: 25.6% of total population (2015), major urban area’s population: NAIROBI (capital) 3.915 million; Mombassa 1.104 million (2015), while Kenya has N/A. Their spoken languages are English (official language), Kiswahili (official language), numerous indigenous languages. Main religions in Kenya are Christian 83% (Protestant 47.7%, Catholic 23.4%, other Christian 11.9%), Muslim 11.2%, Traditionalists 1.7%, other 1.6%, none 2.4%, unspecified 0.2% (2009 estimate). The nation uses mixed legal system of English common law, Islamic law, and customary law; judicial review in a new Supreme Court established according to the new constitution. It is a(n) presidential republic, National holiday(s) Independence Day, 12 December (1963); Madaraka Day, 1 June (1963); Mashujaa Day (or Heroes’ Day), 20 October (2010).
Economic overview for the country: Kenya is the economic, financial, and transport hub of East Africa. Kenya’s real GDP growth has averaged over 5% for the last decade. Since 2014, Kenya has been ranked as a lower middle-income country because it’s per capita GDP crossed a World Bank threshold. While Kenya has a growing entrepreneurial middle class and steady growth, its economic development has been impaired by weak governance and corruption. Although reliable numbers are hard to find, unemployment and under-employment are excessively high and could be near 40% of the population. In 2013, the country adopted a devolved government system with the creation of 47 counties and was in the process of devolving state revenues and responsibilities to the counties. Agriculture remains the backbone of the Kenyan economy, contributing one-third of GDP.
About 75% of Kenya’s population of roughly 48.5 million work at least part-time in the agricultural sector, including livestock and pastoral activities. Over 75% of agricultural output is from small-scale, rain-fed farming or livestock production. Tourism also holds a significant place in Kenya’s economy. Despite political turmoil throughout the second half of 2017, tourism was up 20%, showcasing this sector’s strength. Kenya has long been a target of terrorist activity and has struggled with instability along its northeastern borders. Some high visibility terrorist attacks during 2013-2015 (e.g., at Nairobi’s Westgate Mall and Garissa University) affected the tourism industry severely. Still, the sector rebounded strongly in 2016-2017 and appeared poised to continue growing. Inadequate infrastructure continues to hamper Kenya’s efforts to improve its annual growth to address poverty and unemployment meaningfully.
The KENYATTA administration has been successful in courting external investment for infrastructure development. International financial institutions and donors remain critical to Kenya’s growth and development. Still, Kenya has also successfully raised capital in the global bond market, issuing its first sovereign bond offering in mid-2014, with a second occurring in February 2018. The first phase of a Chinese-financed and constructed standard gauge railway connecting Mombasa and Nairobi opened in May 2017. In 2016 the government was forced to take over three small and undercapitalized banks when underlying weaknesses were exposed. The government also enacted legislation that limits interest rates banks can charge on loans and set a rate for banks to pay their depositors. This measure led to a sharp shrinkage of credit in the economy. A prolonged election cycle in 2017 hurt the economy, drained government resources, and slowed GDP growth. Drought-like conditions in parts of the country pushed 2017 inflation above 8%, but the rate had fallen to 4.5% in February 2018. The economy, however, is well placed to resume its decade-long 5%-6% growth rate.
While fiscal deficits continue to pose risks in the medium term, other economic indicators, including foreign exchange reserves, interest rates, current account deficits, remittances, and FDI, are favorable. The credit and drought-related impediments were temporary. In his second term, President KENYATTA has pledged to make economic growth and development a centerpiece of his second administration, focusing on his “Big Four” initiatives of universal healthcare, food security, affordable housing, and expansion of manufacturing.
Natural resources of Kenya: limestone, soda ash, salt, gemstones, fluorspar, zinc, diatomite, gypsum, wildlife, hydropower.
The main export partners for Kenya, Africa are Uganda 11.2%, US 8.3%, Tanzania 8.1%, Netherlands 7.4%, UK 6%, Pakistan 4.2% (2015) for tea, horticultural products, coffee, petroleum products, fish, cement, while the main import partners for the country are: China 30%, India 15.5%, UAE 5.7%, US 4.8%, Japan 4.7% (2015) for machinery and transportation equipment, petroleum products, motor vehicles, iron and steel, resins and plastics.
When you visit this country in Africa, consider the natural hazards in Kenya: Recurring drought, flooding during rainy seasons, volcanism: limited volcanic activity, the Barrier (elevation 1,032 m) last erupted in 1921, South Island is the only other historically active volcano, while infectious diseases are the degree of risk: very 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 (2016). Also, note that Kenya faces the following environmental issues: Water pollution from urban and industrial wastes, water shortage, and degraded water quality from increased use of pesticides and fertilizers, Flooding, water hyacinth infestation in Lake Victoria, Deforestation, Soil erosion, Desertification, Poaching.