OFFICIAL NAME: Republic of Kenya
CAPITAL: Nairobi
SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT: Unitary Multiparty Republic
AREA: 582,646 Sq Km (224,961 Sq Mi)
ESTIMATED 2000 POPULATION 34,728,100


Direct Link to Political MapDirect Link to Physical MapLOCATION & GEOGRAPHY: Kenya is located in East Africa. It is bound by Tanzania to the south, Uganda to the west, Sudan to the northwest, Ethiopia to the north, Somalia to the northeast and the Indian Ocean to the east. The country can be divided into seven topographical regions. (1.) the coastal strip or Temborari. (2.) The Nyika and Tana Plains which are thorn scrub bush lands with the latter containing the Lorian Swamp. (3.) The eastern plateau which includes the Amboseli, Serengeti and the Aruba Plains as well as the Chyulu Range and Taita Hills. (4.) The vast northern plains that account for 60% of the land area and are a series of arid plains, it also includes Kenya's only true desert, the Chalbi Desert. (5.) The Kenya Highlands or White Highlands. This region includes Mt. Kenya, Mt. Niandarawa, Mt. Elgon and the Aberdare Range. (6.) The Rift Valley with the basin consisting of a series of extinct volcanoes and the lakes of Naivasha, Elmenteita, Nakuri, Hannington or Bogoria and Magadi. (7.) The western plateau which descends into Lake Victoria. The principal rivers are the Tana and Galana or Athi. Major Cities (pop. est.); Nairobi 1,500,000, Mombasa 465,000, Kisumu 185,100, Nakuru 162,800 (1989). Land Use; forested 30%, pastures 37%, agricultural-cultivated 8%, other 25% (1993).


CLIMATE: Kenya's climate varies from a tropical climate on the coast characterized by hot and humid conditions to a temperate climate inland and to a dry climate in the north. Over 70% of the country is arid receiving less than 510 mm (20 inches) of annual precipitation while rainfall is greatest in the highlands. Altitude is a major factor in variations in temperature between the different regions of the country. Average temperature ranges in Nairobi are from 11 to 21 degrees Celsius (52 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit) in July to 13 to 26 degrees Celsius (55 to 79 degrees Fahrenheit) in February.


PEOPLE: Kenya has 32 major indigenous African groups, of which the five largest constitute 70% of the population and are the Kikuyu, Luo, Luhya, Kamba and the Kalenjin. The principal ethnic minorities are the Arabs and Asians.


DEMOGRAPHIC/VITAL STATISTICS: Density; 45 persons per sq km (117 persons per sq mi) (1991). Urban-Rural; 25.3% urban, 74.7% rural (1991). Sex Distribution; 49.9% male, 50.1% female (1991). Life Expectancy at Birth; 56.5 years male, 60.5 years female (1990). Age Breakdown; 51% under 15, 26% 15 to 29, 13% 30 to 44, 6.5% 45 to 59, 3% 60 to 74, 0.5% 75 and over (1991). Birth Rate; 47.0 per 1,000 (1990). Death Rate; 11.3 per 1,000 (1990). Increase Rate; 35.7 per 1,000 (1990). Infant Mortality Rate; 72.0 per 1,000 live births (1990).


RELIGIONS: Mostly Christians with 27% of the population Protestant while 26% are Roman Catholic. Around 19% of the population follow local native tribal beliefs and 6% are Muslims.


LANGUAGES: The official languages are English and Swahili. Although over 30 distinct languages and dialects are spoken throughout the territory, with the Bantu family of languages spoken by 65% of the population.


EDUCATION: Aged 25 or over and having attained: no formal schooling 58.6%, primary 32.2%, incomplete secondary 7.9%, secondary and higher 1.3% (1979). Literacy; literate population aged 15 or over 5,758,000 or 59.2% (1985).


MODERN HISTORY - WWII TO 1993: In 1952 the Mau Mau or the Land and Freedom Army was formed at the peak of African rebellion against colonial rule. The Mau Mau, largely a Kikuyuled campaign, began launching attacks on the White Highlanders or Europeans and a State of Emergency was declared. Many of the leaders were jailed while the guerrilla leader Dedan Kimathi was hung. By 1960 around 80,000 Kikuyu were imprisoned in concentration camps and in 1960 Jomo Kenyatta was elected President of the Kenya African National Union (KANU). In 1961 Kenyatta demanded Kenya's independence after leading a delegation to London. On Dec. 12, 1963 Kenya gained independence from Britain and its new constitution provided for a constitutional monarchy. In 1964 Kenya became a republic and Kenyatta was elected President. In 1966 the Kenya People's Union (KPU) was formed under the leadership of Oginga Odinga the former Vice President, although it was banned in 1969. In 1967 Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda formed the East African Community to promote trade among the three nations, although in June 1977 the East African Community broke up. In 1978 Kenyatta died and Vice President Daniel Arap Moi assumed power until he was elected in Nov. 1979. Pres. Moi embarked on a program of anti-corruption and anti-tribalism. In Aug. 1982 the Air Force attempted an unsuccessful coup while in 1985 and 1987 student riots erupted resulting in the closure of Nairobi University. In 1987 Muslims rioted in Mombasa and in 1988 Moi was re-elected as President. Upon his reelection he amended the constitution, gave himself power to dismiss judges and widened police powers. On New Years Day 1990, Rev. Timothy Njhoya called on all Africans to demand a multiparty system of government. In Feb. 1990 anti-government riots erupted after the murder of Foreign Affairs Minister Robert Ouko, which resulted in the government banning all demonstrations. Several days of skirmishing followed and around 20 people were killed. In Nov. 1990 Pres. Moi ordered that a bill be drafted to restore the security of tenure to judges, the auditor-general and the controller, all of which had been withdrawn some year earlier. In Jan. 1991 the executive committee of the Kenya African National Union (KANU) adopted George Saitoti, the country's Vice President, recommendation that critics of the party not be expelled but suspended for one or two years. In March 1991 Gitobu Imanyara, the editor of The Nairobi Law Monthly, was arrested for suggesting that member's of Pres. Moi's own Kalenjin tribe were given a disproportionate number of public jobs. In July 1991 the boys of a coed boarding school attacked the girls for refusing to join in a protest against the schools administration with 71 being raped and 19 killed. On Nov. 26, 1991 Pres. Moi dismissed a public inquiry into Foreign Affairs Minister Ouko's murder in which two of Moi's close associates had been charged and later dropped due to lack of evidence. On Dec. 3, 1991 a multiparty system of government was approved by Pres. Moi who also in late Dec. 1991 dismissed the KANU Chairman, Peter Oloo Aringo, who called for further reforms. By the end of 1991 five ministers had also resigned from the government in protest claiming the government rigged elections and had badly mismanaged the economy. On Jan. 8, 1992 Mwai Kibaki one of the five ministers who resigned in Dec. 1991 formed the Democratic Party. Also in Jan. 1992 the Forum for Restoration of Democracy (FORD), led by Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, held a mass meeting in Nairobi with some 100,000 people attending and called for Pres. Moi to dissolve the National Assembly and to hold elections immediately. In Mar. 1992 riots erupted after police attempted to break up a hunger strike held by the mothers of political prisoners. In April 1992 US-based Lawyers Committee for Human Rights called on the Kenyan government to end the harassment of lawyers and urged that periodicals be allowed to circulate freely in accordance with the constitution. In May 1992 full diplomatic relations were opened with South Africa and Pres. Moi became the first African head-of-state to visit the country in 21 years. In June 1992 Pres. Moi called for international assistance in feeding the country's drought victims as well as the tens of thousands of refugees from Somalia, The Sudan and Ethiopia with the UN responding with airdrops of wheat to the affected areas. On Oct. 28, 1992 Pres. Moi dissolved the National Assembly and announced legislative and presidential elections for Dec. 29, 1992 that resulted in his re-election as President and his KANU party in legislative elections. Also during 1992 there was an insurgence of fighting in the west of the country between the Kalenjin, Kisii and Luo groups. On Feb. 12, 1993 the government agreed as a precondition to the resumption of foreign financial aid, to implement a number of drastic austerity measures that included the devaluation of the currency by 25%. In March 1993 Pres. Moi requested its foreign creditors to resume monthly payments of their aid package, although it was denied. In response, Pres. Moi scrapped the austerity measures citing they had caused further economic hardship. In May 1993 a national strike demanding the release of union leaders led to serious rioting in the capital while in the same month the government announced a new set of austerity measures including the further devaluation of the currency and removal of import restrictions to facilitate the offer of 57 million pounds sterling from the World Bank and the IMF. In Aug. 1993 following the resignation of the governor of the central bank and allegations of financial scandals the Finance Minister, Musalia Mudavadi announced an inquiry into the operations of the central bank and other institutions. In Oct. 1993 both Germany and Japan announced additional aid grants. During 1993 spasmodic fighting between the Kalenjin, allegedly with government support, and Kikuyus and other groups continued, resulting in the death of some 2,000 people.


CURRENCY: The official currency is the Shilling (KSh) divided into 100 Cents.


ECONOMY: Gross National Product; USD $6,743,000,000 (1993). Public Debt; USD $5,121,000,000 (1993). Imports; K Pound 5,056,420,000 (1993). Exports; K Pound 3,678,250,000 (1993). Tourism Receipts; USD $413,000,000 (1993). Balance of Trade; KSh -16,738,000,000 (1994). Economically Active Population; 10,633,000 or 41.1% of total population (1992). Unemployed; N/A.


MAIN TRADING PARTNERS: Its main trading partners are the UK, Japan, Germany, Iran, the USA, Tanzania, Zambia, the Netherlands and Saudi Arabia.

MAIN PRIMARY PRODUCTS: Beans, Cattle, Cassava, Coffee, Cotton, Maize, Millet, Potatoes, Pyrethrum, Sisal, Sugar, Sweet Potatoes, Tea.

MAJOR INDUSTRIES: Agriculture, Beer, Cement, Food Processing, Light Manufacturing, Oil Refining, Tourism.

MAIN EXPORTS: Cement, Chemicals, Coffee, Fruit and Vegetables, Hides and Skins, Petroleum Products, Soda Ash, Sugar, Tea, Wattle Extracts.


TRANSPORT: Railroads; route length 2,733 km (1,885 mi) (1987), passenger-km 752,000,000 (467,271,000 passenger-mi) (1989), cargo ton-km 1,910,000,000 (1,308,000,000 short ton-mi) (1989). Roads; length 54,700 km (33,989 mi) (1988). Vehicles; cars 133,000 (1989), trucks and buses 149,000 (1989). Merchant Marine; vessels 26 (1990), deadweight tonnage 4,218 (1990). Air Transport; passenger-km 2,108,675,000 (1,310,269,000 passenger-mi) (1990), cargo ton-km 250,831,000 (171,794,000 short ton-mi) (1990).


COMMUNICATIONS: Daily Newspapers; total of 5 with a total circulation for 4 of 324,000 (1993). Radio; receivers 2,200,000 (1994). Television; receivers 260,000 (1994). Telephones; units 214,800 (1993).


MILITARY: 24,200 (1995) total active duty personnel with 84.7% army, 5.0% navy and 10.3% air force while military expenditure accounts for 3.5% (1993) of the Gross National Product (GNP).


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