EtymologyThe Republic of Kenya is named after Mount Kenya. The earliest recorded version of the modern name was written by German explorer Johann Ludwig Krapf in the 19th century. While travelling with a Kamba caravan led by the legendary long-distance trader Chief Kivoi, Krapf spotted the mountain peak and asked what it was called. Kivoi told him "''Kĩ-Nyaa''" or "''Kĩĩma- Kĩĩnyaa''", probably because the pattern of black rock and white snow on its peaks reminded him of the feathers of the male ostrich. The Agikuyu, who inhabit the slopes of Mt. Kenya, call it Kĩrĩma Kĩrĩnyaga in Kikuyu language, Kikuyu, while the Embu call it "Kirenyaa". All three names have the same meaning. Ludwig Krapf recorded the name as both ''Kenia'' and ''Kegnia''. Some have said that this was a precise notation of the African pronunciation . An 1882 map drawn by Joseph Thompsons, a Scottish geologist and naturalist, indicated Mt. Kenya as Mt. Kenia. The mountain's name was accepted, pars pro toto, as the name of the country. It did not come into widespread official use during the early colonial period, when the country was referred to as the East Africa Protectorate, East African Protectorate. The official name was changed to the Kenya Colony, Colony of Kenya in 1920.
Human PrehistoryFossils found in Kenya have shown that primates inhabited the area for more than 20 million years. Recent findings near Lake Turkana indicate that hominids such as ''Homo habilis'' (1.8 to 2.5 million years ago) and ''Homo erectus'' (1.9 million to 350,000 years ago) are possible direct ancestors of modern ''Homo sapiens'', and lived in Kenya in the Pleistocene epoch. During excavations at Lake Turkana in 1984, paleoanthropologist Richard Leakey, assisted by Kamoya Kimeu, discovered the Turkana Boy, a 1.6-million-year-old ''Homo erectus'' fossil. Previous research on early hominids is particularly identified with Mary Leakey and Louis Leakey, who were responsible for the preliminary archaeological research at Olorgesailie and Hyrax Hill. Later work at the former site was undertaken by Glynn Isaac. East Africa, including Kenya, is one of the earliest regions where modern humans (''Homo sapiens'') are believed to have lived. Evidence was found in 2018, dating to about 320,000 years ago, at the Kenyan site of Olorgesailie, of the early emergence of Behavioral modernity, modern behaviours including: long-distance trade networks (involving goods such as obsidian), the use of pigments, and the possible making of projectile points. It is observed by the authors of three 2018 studies on the site, that the evidence of these behaviours is approximately contemporary to the earliest known ''Homo sapiens'' fossil remains (such as at Jebel Irhoud in Morocco and Florisbad Skull, Florisbad in South Africa), and they suggest that complex and modern behaviours had already begun in Africa around the time of the emergence of the species ''Homo sapiens''.
NeolithicThe first inhabitants of present-day Kenya were hunter-gatherer groups, akin to the modern Khoisan speakers.Ehret, C. (2002) ''The Civilizations of Africa: a History to 1800'', University Press of Virginia, . These people were later largely replaced by agropastoralist Cushitic (ancestral to Kenya's Cushitic speakers) from the Horn of Africa.Ehret, C. (1980) ''The historical reconstruction of Southern Cushitic phonology and vocabulary'', Kölner Beiträge zur Afrikanistik 5, Bd., Reimer, Berlin. During the early Holocene, the regional climate shifted from dry to wetter conditions, providing an opportunity for the development of cultural traditions such as agriculture and herding, in a more favourable environment. Around 500 BC, Nilotic-speaking pastoralists (ancestral to Kenya's Nilotic speakers) started migrating from present-day southern Sudan into Kenya.Ehret, C. (1983) ''Culture History in the Southern Sudan'', J. Mack, P. Robertshaw, Eds., British Institute in Eastern Africa, Nairobi, pp. 19–48, .Ambrose, S.H. (1982). "Archaeological and linguistic reconstructions of history in East Africa." In Ehert, C., and Posnansky, M. (eds.), ''The archaeological and linguistic reconstruction of African history'', University of California Press, .Ambrose, S.H. (1986) ''Sprache und Geschichte in Afrika'' 7.2, 11. Nilotic groups in Kenya include the Kalenjin people, Kalenjin, Samburu people, Samburu, Luo (family of ethnic groups), Luo, Turkana people, Turkana, and Maasai people, Maasai. By the first millennium AD, Bantu languages, Bantu-speaking farmers had moved into the region, initially along the coast.Ehret, C. (1998) ''An African Classical Age : Eastern and Southern Africa in World History, 1000 B.C. to A.D. 400.'', University Press of Virginia, Charlottesville, pp. xvii, 354, . The Bantus originated in West Africa along the Benue River in what is now eastern Nigeria and western Cameroon.Smith, C. Wayne (1995) ''Crop Production: Evolution, History, and Technology'', John Wiley & Sons, p. 132, . The Bantu migration brought new developments in agriculture and History of ferrous metallurgy, ironworking to the region. Bantu groups in Kenya include the Kikuyu people, Kikuyu, Luhya people, Luhya, Kamba people, Kamba, Gusii people, Kisii, Meru people, Meru, Kuria people, Kuria, Aembu, Ambeere, Wadawida-Watuweta, Wapokomo, and Mijikenda peoples, Mijikenda, among others. Notable prehistoric sites in the interior of Kenya include the (possibly archaeoastronomical) site Namoratunga on the west side of Lake Turkana and the walled settlement of Thimlich Ohinga in Migori County.
Swahili trade periodThe Kenyan coast had served host to communities of ironworkers and Bantu subsistence farmers, hunters, and fishers who supported the economy with agriculture, fishing, metal production, and trade with foreign countries. These communities formed the earliest city-states in the region, which were collectively known as Azania. By the 1st century CE, many of the city-states such as Mombasa, Malindi, and Zanzibar began to establish trading relations with Arabs. This led to increased economic growth of the Swahili states, the introduction of Islam, Arabic influences on the Swahili Bantu language, cultural diffusion, as well as the Swahili city-states becoming members of a larger trade network. Many historians had long believed that the city-states were established by Arab or Persian traders, but archaeological evidence has led scholars to recognise the city-states as an indigenous development which, though subjected to foreign influence due to trade, retained a Bantu cultural core. The Kilwa Sultanate was a medieval sultanate centred at Kilwa Kisiwani, Kilwa, in modern-day . At its height, its authority stretched over the entire length of the Swahili Coast, including Kenya. It was said to be founded in the 10th century by Ali ibn al-Hassan Shirazi, a Persian people, Persian Sultan from Shiraz in southern Iran. However, scholars have suggested that claims of Arab or Persian origin of city-states were attempts by the Swahili people, Swahili to legitimise themselves both locally and internationally. Since the 10th century, rulers of Kilwa would go on to build elaborate coral mosques and introduce copper coinage. Swahili, a Bantu language with Arabic language, Arabic, Persian language, Persian, and other Middle-Eastern and South Asian loanwords, later developed as a ''lingua franca'' for trade between the different peoples. Swahili now also has loanwords from English.
Early Portuguese colonizationThe Swahili built Mombasa into a major port city and established trade links with other nearby city-states, as well as commercial centres in Persia, Arabia, and even India. By the 15th-century, Portuguese voyager Duarte Barbosa claimed that "Mombasa is a place of great traffic and has a good harbour in which there are always moored small craft of many kinds and also great ships, both of which are bound from Sofala and others which come from Cambay and Melinde and others which sail to the island of Zanzibar." In the 17th century, the Swahili coast was conquered and came under the direct rule of the Omani Arabs, who expanded the Indian Ocean slave trade, slave trade to meet the demands of plantations in Oman and Zanzibar. Initially, these traders came mainly from Oman, but later many came from Zanzibar (such as Tippu Tip). In addition, the Portuguese started buying slaves from the Omani and Zanzibari traders in response to the interruption of the transatlantic slave trade by British abolitionists. Throughout the centuries, the Kenyan coast has played host to many merchants and explorers. Among the cities that line the Kenyan coast is Malindi. It has remained an important Swahili settlement since the 14th century and once rivalled Mombasa for dominance in the African Great Lakes region. Malindi has traditionally been a friendly port city for foreign powers. In 1414, the Chinese trader and explorer Zheng He, representing the Ming Dynasty, visited the East African coast Treasure voyages, on one of his last 'treasure voyages'. Malindi authorities also welcomed the Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama in 1498.
British Kenya (1888–1962)The colonial history of Kenya dates from the establishment of a German Empire, 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. Imperial rivalry was prevented when Germany handed its coastal holdings to Britain in 1890. This was followed by the building of the Uganda Railway passing through the country.Encyclopædia Britannica The building of the railway was resisted by some ethnic groups—notably the Nandi people, Nandi, led by ''Orkoiyot'' Koitalel Arap Samoei for ten years from 1890 to 1900—however the British eventually built the railway. The ''Nandi'' were the first ethnic group 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 influx of Indian workers, who provided the bulk of the skilled manpower required for construction.R. Mugo Gatheru (2005) ''Kenya: From Colonization to Independence, 1888–1970'', McFarland, They and most of their descendants later remained in Kenya and formed the core of several distinct Indian communities such as the Ismailism, Ismaili Muslim and Sikh communities. While building the railway through Tsavo, a number of the Indian railway workers and local African labourers were attacked by two lions known as the Tsavo maneaters. At the outbreak of World War I in August 1914, the governors of British East Africa (as the protectorate was generally known) and German East Africa initially agreed on a truce in an attempt to keep the young colonies out of direct hostilities. Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck, 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, Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck, von Lettow conducted an effective guerrilla warfare campaign, living off the land, capturing British supplies, and remaining undefeated. He eventually surrendered in Northern Rhodesia (today Zambia) fourteen days after the Armistice was signed in 1918. To chase von Lettow, the British deployed the British Indian Army troops from British Raj, India but needed large numbers of porters to overcome the formidable logistics of transporting supplies far into the interior on foot. The Carrier Corps was formed and ultimately mobilised over 400,000 Africans, contributing to their long-term politicisation. In 1920, the East Africa Protectorate was turned into a colony and renamed Kenya after its highest mountain. During the early part of the 20th century, the interior central highlands were settled by British and other European farmers, who became wealthy farming coffee and tea. (one depiction of this period of change from one colonist's perspective is found in the memoir ''Out of Africa'' by Danish author Baroness Karen von Blixen-Finecke, published in 1937). By the 1930s, approximately 30,000 white settlers lived in the area and gained a political voice because of their contribution to the market economy. The central highlands were already home to over a million members of the Kikuyu people, most of whom had no land claims in European terms 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. By the 1950s, there were 80,000 Whites in Kenya, white settlers living in Kenya . Throughout World War II, Kenya in World War II, Kenya was an important source of manpower and agriculture for the United Kingdom. Kenya itself was the site of East African Campaign (World War II), fighting between Allied forces and Kingdom of Italy, Italian troops in 1940–41, when Italian forces invaded. Wajir and Malindi were bombed as well. In 1952, Queen Elizabeth II, Princess Elizabeth and her husband Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip were on holiday at the Treetops Hotel in Kenya when her father, King George VI, died in his sleep. The young princess cut short her trip and returned home immediately to assume the throne. She was crowned Queen Elizabeth II at Westminster Abbey in 1953 and as British hunter and conservationist Jim Corbett (who accompanied the royal couple) put it, she went up a tree in Africa a princess and came down a queen.
Mau Mau UprisingFrom October 1952 to December 1959, Kenya was in a state of emergency arising from the Mau Mau Uprising, Mau Mau rebellion against British rule. The Mau Mau, also known as the Kenya Land and Freedom Army, were primarily members of the Kikuyu ethnic group. The governor requested and obtained British and African troops, including the King's African Rifles. The British began counter-insurgency operations. In May 1953, General Sir George Erskine took charge as commander-in-chief of the colony's armed forces, with the personal backing of Winston Churchill.Maloba, Wunyabari O. (1993) ''Mau Mau and Kenya: An Analysis of Peasant Revolt'', Indiana University Press, 0852557450. The capture of Waruhiu Itote (nom de guerre ''"General China"'') on 15 January 1954 and the subsequent interrogation led to a better understanding of the Mau Mau command structure for the British. Mau Mau Uprising#British gain the initiative, 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. Nairobi's occupants were screened and the suspected Mau Mau supporters moved to detention camps. More than 80,000 members of the Kikuyu people, Kikuyu ethnic group were List of British Detention Camps during the Mau Mau Uprising, held in detention camps without trial, often subject to brutal treatment. The Home Guard formed the core of the government's strategy as it was composed of loyalist Africans, not foreign forces such as 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. During this period, substantial governmental changes to land tenure occurred. The most important of these was the Swynnerton Plan, which was used to both reward loyalists and punish Mau Mau.
Somalis of Kenya referendum, 1962Before Kenya got its independence, Somalis in Kenya, Somali ethnic people in the present-day Kenya in the areas of Northern Frontier Districts petitioned Her Majesty's Government not to be included in Kenya. The colonial government decided to hold Kenya's first referendum in 1962 to check the willingness of Somalis in Kenya to join The result of the referendum showed that 86% of Somalis in Kenya wanted to join , but the British colonial administration rejected the result and the Somalis remained in Kenya.
IndependenceThe first direct elections for native Kenyans to the Legislative Council took place in 1957. Despite British hopes of handing power to "moderate" local rivals, it was the Kenya African National Union (KANU) of Jomo Kenyatta that formed a government. The Colony of Kenya and the Protectorate of Kenya each came to an end on 12 December 1963, with independence being conferred on all of Kenya. The United Kingdom ceded sovereignty over the Colony of Kenya. The Sultan of Zanzibar agreed that simultaneous with independence for the colony, the sultan would cease to have sovereignty over the Protectorate of Kenya so that all of Kenya would become one sovereign state."Commonwealth and Colonial Law" by Kenneth Roberts-Wray, London, Stevens, 1966. P. 762 In this way, Kenya became an independent country under the Kenya Independence Act 1963 of the United Kingdom. Exactly 12 months later on 12 December 1964, Kenya became a republic under the name "Republic of Kenya". Concurrently, the Kenyan army fought the Shifta War against ethnic Somali people, Somali rebels inhabiting the Northern Frontier District who wanted to join their kin in the Somali Republic to the north. A ceasefire was eventually reached with the signature of the Arusha Memorandum in October 1967, but relative insecurity prevailed through 1969. To discourage further invasions, Kenya signed a defence pact with in 1969, which is still in effect.
The first president of KenyaOn 12 December 1964, the Republic of Kenya was proclaimed, and Jomo Kenyatta became Kenya's first president. Under Kenyatta, corruption became widespread throughout the government, civil service, and business community. Kenyatta and his family were tied up with this corruption as they enriched themselves through the mass purchase of property after 1963. Their acquisitions in the Central, Rift Valley, and Coast Provinces aroused great anger among landless Kenyans. His family used his presidential position to circumvent legal or administrative obstacles to acquiring property. The Kenyatta family also heavily invested in the coastal hotel business, with Kenyatta personally owning the Leonard Beach Hotel. President Jomo Kenyatta's mixed legacy was highlighted at the 10 year anniversary of Kenya's independence. An article published in the New York Times in December 1973 praised Kenyatta's leadership and Kenya for emerging as a model of pragmatism and conservatism. Kenya's GDP had increased at a rate of 6.6 per cent a year, higher than the population growth rate of more than 3 per cent. However, Amnesty International responded to this article by stating the cost of the stability in terms of human rights abuses. The opposition party started by Oginga Odinga - Kenya People's Union (KPU) - was banned in 1969 following the Kisumu Massacre and KPU leaders were still in detention without trial in gross violation of the U.N. Declaration of Human Rights. The Kenya Students Union, Jehovah Witnesses and all opposition parties were outlawed. Kenyatta ruled until his death on 22 August 1978.
Moi eraFollowing Kenyatta's death in 1978, Daniel arap Moi became president. He retained the presidency, running 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 1982 Kenyan coup d'état attempt, a failed military coup on 2 August 1982. The 1982 coup was masterminded by a low-ranking Air Force serviceman, Senior Private Hezekiah Ochuka, and was staged mainly by enlisted men of the Air Force. It was quickly suppressed by forces commanded by Chief of General Staff Mahamoud Mohamed, a veteran Somali military official. They included the General Service Unit (GSU)—a paramilitary wing of the police—and later the regular police. On the heels of the Garissa Massacre of 1980, Kenyan troops committed the Wagalla massacre in 1984 against thousands of civilians in Wajir County. An official probe into the atrocities was later ordered in 2011. 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 casting a 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 that allowed for only one political party, were changed in the following years.
Transition to multiparty democracyIn 1991, Kenya transitioned to a multiparty political system after 26 years of single-party rule. On 28 October 1992, president Moi dissolved parliament, five months before the end of his term. As a result, preparations began for all elective seats in parliament as well as the president. The elections were scheduled to take place on 7 December 1992, but delays led to its postponement to 29 December the same year. Apart from KANU, the ruling party, other parties represented in the elections included Forum for the Restoration of Democracy, FORD Kenya and FORD Asili. This election was marked by large-scale intimidation of opponents, as well as harassment of election officials. It resulted in an economic crisis propagated by ethnic violence as the president was accused of rigging electoral results to retain power. This election was a turning point for Kenya as it signified the beginning of the end of Moi's leadership and the rule of KANU. Moi retained the presidency and George Saitoti became the vice-president. Although it held on to power, KANU won 100 seats and lost 88 seats to the six opposition parties. The elections of 1992 marked the beginning of multiparty politics after more than 25 years of rule by KANU. Following skirmishes in the aftermath of the elections, 5,000 people were killed and a further 75,000 others displaced from their homes. In the next five years, many political alliances were formed in preparation for the next elections. In 1994, Jaramogi Oginga Odinga died and several coalitions joined his FORD Kenya party to form a new party called United National Democratic Alliance. However, this party was plagued with disagreements. In 1995, Richard Leakey formed the Safina party, but it was denied registration until November 1997. In 1996, KANU revised the constitution to allow Moi to remain president for another term. Subsequently, Moi stood for re-election and won a 5th term in 1997. His win was strongly criticised by his major opponents, Mwai Kibaki, Kibaki and Raila Odinga, Odinga, as being fraudulent. Following this win, Moi was constitutionally barred from vying for another presidential term. Beginning in 1998, Moi attempted to influence the country's succession politics to have Uhuru Kenyatta elected in the upcoming 2002 elections.
President Kibaki and the road to a new constitutionMoi's plan to be replaced by Uhuru Kenyatta failed, and Mwai Kibaki, running for the opposition coalition "National Rainbow Coalition" (National Rainbow Coalition, NARC), was elected president. David Anderson (2003) reports the elections were judged free and fair by local and international observers, and seemed to mark a turning point in Kenya's democratic evolution. In 2005, Kenyans rejected a plan to replace the 1963 independence constitution with a new one. As a result, the elections of 2007 took place following the procedure set by the old constitution. Kibaki was re-elected in highly contested elections marred by 2007–08 Kenyan crisis, political and ethnic violence. The main opposition leader, Raila Odinga, claimed that the election results were rigged and that he was the rightfully elected president. In the ensuing violence, 1,500 people were killed and another 600,000 were internally displaced, making it the worst Civil unrest, post-election violence in Kenya. To stop the death and displacement of people, Kibaki and Odinga agreed to work together, with the latter taking the position of a prime minister. This made Odinga Prime Minister of Kenya, the second prime minister of Kenya. In July 2010, Kenya partnered with other East African countries to form the new East African Common Market within the East African Community. In August 2010, Kenyans held a 2010 Kenyan constitutional referendum, referendum and passed Constitution of Kenya, a new constitution, which limited presidential powers and devolved the central government.
Devolution of government and separation of powersFollowing the passage of the new constitution, Kenya became a Presidential system, presidential Representative democracy, representative democratic republic, whereby the President of Kenya is both head of state and head of government, and of a multi-party system. The new constitution also states that executive powers are exercised by the executive branch of government, headed by the president, who chairs the cabinet that is composed of people chosen from outside parliament. Legislative power is vested exclusively in Parliament of Kenya, Parliament. The judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature. Mwai Kibaki became the first president to serve under this new constitution while Uhuru Kenyatta became the first president elected under this constitution. In 2011, Operation Linda Nchi, Kenya began sending troops to Somalia to fight the Islamic terror group Al-Shabaab (militant group), Al-Shabaab. In mid-2011, two consecutive missed rainy seasons precipitated the worst 2011 East Africa drought, drought in East Africa seen in 60 years. The northwestern Turkana District, Turkana region was especially affected, with local schools shut down as a result. The crisis was reportedly over by early 2012 because of coordinated relief efforts. Aid agencies subsequently shifted their emphasis to recovery initiatives, including digging irrigation canals and distributing plant seeds.Gettleman, Jeffrey (3 February 2012
After 2018 Kenya handshakeThe historical 2018 Kenya handshake, handshake in March 2018 between president Uhuru Kenyatta and his long-time opponent Raila Odinga meant reconciliation followed by economic growth and increased stability.
GeographyAt , Kenya is the world's forty-seventh largest country (after Madagascar). It lies between latitudes 5th parallel north, 5°N and 5th parallel south, 5°S, and longitudes 34th meridian east, 34° and 42nd meridian east, 42°E. From the coast on the Indian Ocean, the low plains rise to central highlands. The highlands are bisected by the Kenyan Rift Valley, Great Rift Valley, with a fertile plateau lying to the east. The Kenyan Highlands are 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 peak on the continent: Mount Kenya, which reaches a height of and is the site of glaciers. Mount Kilimanjaro () can be seen from Kenya to the south of the Tanzanian border.
ClimateKenya's climate varies from tropical along the coast to temperate inland to arid in the north and northeast parts of the country. The area receives a great deal of sunshine every month. It is usually cool at night and early in the morning inland at higher elevations. The "long rains" season occurs from March/April to May/June. The "short rains" season occurs from October to November/December. The rainfall is sometimes heavy and often falls in the afternoons and evenings. Climate change is altering the natural pattern of the rainfall period, causing an extension of the short rains, which has begat floods, and reducing the drought cycle from every ten years to annual events, producing strong droughts such as the 2008-09 Kenya Drought. The temperature remains high throughout these months of tropical rain. The hottest period is February and March, leading into the season of the long rains, and the coldest is in July, until mid-August.
WildlifeKenya has considerable land area devoted to wildlife habitats, including the Masai Mara, where Blue Wildebeest, blue wildebeest and other bovids participate in a large-scale Wikt:migration, annual migration. More than 1 million wildebeest and 200,000 zebras participate in the migration across the Mara River. The Big Five Game, "Big Five" game animals of Africa, that is the lion, leopard, African buffalo, buffalo, rhinoceros, and African elephant, elephant, can be found in Kenya and in the Masai Mara in particular. A significant population of other wild animals, reptiles, and birds can be found in the List of national parks of Kenya, national parks and game reserves in the country. The annual animal migration occurs between June and September, with millions of animals taking part, attracting valuable foreign tourism. Two million wildebeest migrate a distance of from the Serengeti in neighbouring to the Masai Mara in Kenya, in a constant clockwise fashion, searching for food and water supplies. This Serengeti Migration of the wildebeest is listed among the Seven Natural Wonders of Africa. Kenya had a 2019 Forest Landscape Integrity Index mean score of 4.2/10, ranking it 133rd globally out of 172 countries.
Government and politicsKenya is a presidential system, presidential representative democracy, representative democratic republic with a multi-party system. The president is both the head of state and head of government. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the National Assembly of Kenya, National Assembly and the Senate of Kenya, Senate. The Judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature. There has been growing concern, especially during former president Daniel arap Moi's tenure, that the executive was increasingly meddling with the affairs of the judiciary. Kenya has high levels of corruption according to Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), a metric which attempts to gauge the prevalence of public sector, public-sector corruption in various countries. In 2019, the nation placed 137th out of 180 countries in the index, with a score of 28 out of 100. However, there are several rather significant developments with regards to curbing corruption from the Kenyan government, for instance, the establishment of a new and independent Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission, Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC). Following general elections held in 1997, the Constitution of Kenya Review Act, designed to pave the way for more comprehensive amendments to the Kenyan constitution, was passed by the national parliament. In December 2002, Kenya held democratic and open elections, which were judged free and fair by most 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 National 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. In 2007, the government issued a statement declaring that from 2008, secondary education would be heavily subsidised, with the government footing all tuition fees.
2013 elections and new governmentUnder the new constitution and with President Kibaki prohibited by term limits from running for a third term, Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta ran for office. He won with 50.51% of the vote in March 2013. In December 2014, President Uhuru Kenyatta signed a Security Laws Amendment Bill, which supporters of the law suggested was necessary to guard against armed groups. Opposition politicians, human rights groups, and nine Western countries criticised the security bill, arguing that it infringed on democratic freedoms. The governments of the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, and France also collectively issued a press statement cautioning about the law's potential impact. Through the Jubilee Coalition, the Bill was later passed on 19 December in the National Assembly under acrimonious circumstances.
Foreign relationsKenya has close ties with its fellow Swahili language, Swahili-speaking neighbours in the African Great Lakes region. Relations with Uganda and Tanzania are generally strong, as the three nations work toward economic and social integration through common membership in the East African Community. Relations with Somalia have historically been tense, although there has been some military co-ordination against Islamist insurgents. Kenya has good relations with the United Kingdom.Kenya – Foreign Relations
Armed forcesThe Kenya Defence Forces are the armed forces of the Republic of Kenya. The Kenya Army, Kenya Navy, and Kenya Air Force compose the National Defence Forces. The current Kenya Defence Forces were established, and its composition laid out, in Article 241 of the 2010 Constitution of Kenya; the KDF is governed by the Kenya Defence Forces Act of 2012. The President of Kenya is the commander-in-chief of all the armed forces. The armed forces are regularly deployed in peacekeeping missions around the world. Further, in the aftermath of the national elections of December 2007 and the violence that subsequently engulfed the country, a commission of inquiry, the Waki Commission, commended its readiness and adjudged it to "have performed its duty well." Nevertheless, there have been serious allegations of human rights violations, most recently while conducting counter-insurgency operations in the Mt Elgon area and also in the district of Mandera central. Kenya's armed forces, like many government institutions in the country, have been tainted by Corruption in Kenya, corruption allegations. Because the operations of the armed forces have been traditionally cloaked by the ubiquitous blanket of "state security", the corruption has been hidden from public view, and thus less subject to public scrutiny and notoriety. This has changed recently. In what are by Kenyan standards unprecedented revelations, in 2010, credible claims of corruption were made with regard to recruitment and procurement of armoured personnel carriers. Further, the wisdom and prudence of certain decisions of procurement have been publicly questioned.
Administrative divisionsKenya is divided into Counties of Kenya, 47 semi-autonomous counties that are headed by governors. These 47 counties form the first-order divisions of Kenya. The smallest administrative units in Kenya are called Locations of Kenya, locations. Locations often coincide with electoral wards. Locations are usually named after their central villages/towns. Many larger towns consist of several locations. Each location has a chief, appointed by the state. Constituencies are an electoral subdivision, with each county comprising a whole number of constituencies. An interim boundaries commission was formed in 2010 to review the constituencies and in its report, it recommended the creation of an additional 80 constituencies. Previous to the 2013 elections, there were 210 Constituencies of Kenya, constituencies in Kenya.
Human rightsHomosexuality, Homosexual acts are illegal in Kenya and punishable by up to 14 years in prison, though the state often turns a blind eye to prosecuting gay people. According to a 2013 survey by the Pew Research Center, 90% of Kenyans believe that homosexuality should not be accepted by society."The Global Divide on Homosexuality."
EconomyKenya's Macroeconomics, macroeconomic outlook has steadily posted robust growth over the past few decades, mostly from road and rail infrastructure projects. However, much of this growth has come from cash flows diverted from ordinary Kenyan pockets at the Microeconomics, microeconomic level through targeted Monetary policy, monetary and Fiscal policy, fiscal measures coupled with poor management, corruption, massive theft of public funds, Freedom and the law, overlegislation, and an ineffective judiciary, resulting in diminished incomes in ordinary households and small businesses, unemployment, underemployment, and general discontent across multiple sectors. Kenya ranks poorly on the List of countries by Fragile States Index, Fragile States Index at number 25 out of 178 countries, ranked in 2019, and is placed in the ALERT category. In 2014, the country's macroeconomic indicators were re-based, causing the GDP to shift upwards to low-middle-income country status. Kenya has a Human Development Index (HDI) of 0.555 (medium), ranked 145 out of 186 in the world. , 17.7% of Kenyans lived on less than $1.25 a day. In 2017, Kenya ranked 92nd in the World Bank Ease of doing business index, ease of doing business rating from 113rd in 2016 (of 190 countries). The important agricultural sector is one of the least developed and largely inefficient, employing 75% of the workforce compared to less than 3% in the food security, food secure developed countries. Kenya is usually classified as a frontier market or occasionally an emerging market, but it is not one of the least developed countries. The economy has seen much expansion, seen by strong performance in tourism, higher education, and Telecommunications in Kenya, telecommunications, and decent post-drought results in agriculture, especially the vital tea sector. Kenya's economy grew by more than 7% in 2007, and its foreign debt was greatly reduced. This changed immediately after the disputed presidential election of December 2007, following the chaos which engulfed the country. Telecommunications and financial activity over the last decade now comprise 62% of GDP. 22% of GDP still comes from the unreliable agricultural sector which employs 75% of the labour force (a consistent characteristic of under-developed economies that have not attained food security—an important catalyst of economic growth). A small portion of the population relies on food aid. Industry and manufacturing is the smallest sector, accounting for 16% of GDP. The service, industry and manufacturing sectors only employ 25% of the labour force but contribute 75% of GDP. Kenya also exports textiles worth over $400 million under AGOA. Privatisation of state corporations like the defunct Kenya Post and Telecommunications Company, which resulted in East Africa's most profitable company—Safaricom, has led to their revival because of massive private investment. , economic prospects are positive with 4–5% GDP growth expected, largely because of expansions in tourism, telecommunications, transport, construction, and a recovery in agriculture. The World Bank estimated growth of 4.3% in 2012. In March 1996, the presidents of Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda re-established the East African Community (EAC). The EAC's objectives include harmonising tariffs and customs regimes, free movement of people, and improving regional infrastructures. In March 2004, the three East African countries signed a Customs union, Customs Union Agreement. Kenya has a more developed financial services sector than its neighbours. The Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) is ranked 4th in Africa in terms of market capitalisation. The Kenyan banking system is supervised by the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK). As of late July 2004, the system consisted of 43 commercial banks (down from 48 in 2001) and several non-bank financial institutions including mortgage companies, four savings and loan associations, and several core foreign-exchange bureaus.
TourismTourism in Kenya is the second-largest source of foreign exchange revenue following agriculture. The Kenya Tourism Board is responsible for maintaining information pertaining to tourism in Kenya. The main tourist attractions are photo safaris through the List of national parks of Kenya, 60 national parks and game reserves. Other attractions include the wildebeest migration at the Masaai Mara, which is considered to be the 7th wonder of the world; historical mosques, and colonial-era forts at Mombasa, Malindi, and Lamu; renowned scenery such as the white-capped Mount Kenya and the Great Rift Valley, Kenya, Great Rift Valley; tea plantations at Kericho; coffee plantations at Thika; a splendid view of Mount Kilimanjaro across the border into ; and the beaches along the Swahili Coast, in the . Tourists, the largest number being from Germany and the United Kingdom, are attracted mainly to the coastal beaches and the game reserves, notably, the expansive Tsavo East National Park, East and Tsavo West National Park, to the southeast.
AgricultureAgriculture is the second largest contributor to Kenya's gross domestic product (GDP) after the service sector. In 2005, agriculture, including forestry and fishing, accounted for 24% of GDP, as well as for 18% of wage employment and 50% of revenue from exports. The principal cash crops are tea, horticultural produce, and coffee. Horticultural produce and tea are the main growth sectors and the two most valuable of all of Kenya's exports. The production of major food staples such as Maize, corn is subject to sharp weather-related fluctuations. Production downturns periodically necessitate food aid—for example in 2004, due to one of Kenya's intermittent droughts. A consortium led by the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) has had some success in helping farmers grow new pigeon pea varieties instead of maize, in particularly dry areas. Pigeon peas are very drought-resistant, so can be grown in areas with less than 650 mm annual rainfall. Successive projects encouraged the commercialisation of legumes by stimulating the growth of local seed production and agro-dealer networks for distribution and marketing. This work, which included linking producers to wholesalers, helped to increase local producer prices by 20–25% in Nairobi and Mombasa. The commercialisation of the pigeon pea is now enabling some farmers to buy assets ranging from mobile phones to productive land and livestock, and is opening pathways for them to move out of poverty. Tea, coffee, sisal, pyrethrum, corn, and wheat are grown in the fertile highlands, one of the most successful agricultural production regions in Africa. Livestock predominates in the semi-arid savanna to the north and east. Coconuts, pineapples, cashew nuts, cotton, sugarcane, sisal, and corn are grown in the lower-lying areas. Kenya has not attained the level of investment and efficiency in agriculture that can guarantee food security, and coupled with resulting poverty (53% of the population lives below the poverty line), a significant portion of the population regularly starves and is heavily dependent on food aid. Poor roads, an inadequate railway network, under-used water transport, and expensive air transport have isolated mostly arid and semi-arid areas, and farmers in other regions often leave food to rot in the fields because they cannot access markets. This was last seen in August and September 2011, prompting the Kenyans for Kenya initiative by the Red Cross. Kenya's irrigation sector is categorised into three organizational types: smallholding, smallholder schemes, centrally-managed public schemes, and private/commercial irrigation schemes. The smallholder schemes are owned, developed, and managed by individuals or groups of farmers operating as water users or self-help groups. Irrigation is carried out on individual or on group farms averaging 0.1–0.4 ha. There are about 3,000 smallholder irrigation schemes covering a total area of 47,000 ha. The country has seven large, centrally managed irrigation schemes, namely Mwea, Bura irrigation and Settlement Project (Kenya), Bura, Hola, Kenya, Hola, Perkerra River, Perkera, West Kano, Bunyala, and Ahero, covering a total area of 18,200 ha and averaging 2,600 ha per scheme. These schemes are managed by the National Irrigation Board and account for 18% of irrigated land area in Kenya. Large-scale private commercial farms cover 45,000 hectares, accounting for 40% of irrigated land. They utilise high technology and produce high-value crops for the export market, especially flowers and vegetables. Kenya is the world's 3rd largest exporter of cut flowers. Roughly half of Kenya's 127 flower farms are concentrated around Lake Naivasha, 90 kilometres northwest of Nairobi. To speed their export, Nairobi airport has a terminal dedicated to the transport of flowers and vegetables.
Industry and manufacturingAlthough Kenya is a low middle-income country, manufacturing accounts for 14% of the GDP, with industrial activity concentrated around the three largest urban centres of , Mombasa, and Kisumu, and is dominated by food-processing industries such as grain milling, beer production, sugarcane crushing, and the fabrication of consumer goods, e.g., vehicles from kits. Kenya also has a cement production industry. Kenya has an oil refinery that processes imported crude petroleum into petroleum products, mainly for the domestic market. In addition, a substantial and expanding informal sector commonly referred to as ''jua kali'' engages in small-scale manufacturing of household goods, auto parts, and farm implements. Kenya's inclusion among the beneficiaries of the US Government's African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) has given a boost to manufacturing in recent years. Since AGOA took effect in 2000, Kenya's clothing sales to the United States increased from US$44 million to US$270 million (2006). Other initiatives to strengthen manufacturing have been the new government's favourable tax measures, including the removal of duty on capital equipment and other raw materials.
TransportThe country has an extensive network of paved and unpaved roads. Kenya's railway system links the nation's ports and major cities, connecting it with neighbouring Uganda. There are 15 airports which have paved runways.
EnergyThe largest share of Kenya's electricity supply comes from geothermal energy, followed by hydroelectric stations at dams along the upper Tana River (Kenya), Tana River, as well as the Turkwel Gorge Dam in the west. A petroleum-fired plant on the coast, Geothermal power in Kenya, geothermal facilities at Olkaria (near Nairobi), and electricity imported from make up the rest of the supply. A Sodo–Moyale–Suswa High Voltage Power Line, 2,000 MW powerline from Ethiopia is nearing completion. Kenya's installed capacity increased from 1,142 megawatts between 2001 and 2003 to 2,341 in 2016. The state-owned Kenya Electricity Generating Company, Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen), established in 1997 under the name of Kenya Power Company, handles the generation of electricity, while Kenya Power handles the electricity transmission and distribution system in the country. Shortfalls of electricity occur periodically, when drought reduces water flow. To become energy sufficient, Kenya has installed Wind power in Kenya, wind power and Solar power in Kenya, solar power (over 300 MW each), and aims to build a nuclear power plant by 2027. Kenya has proven deposits of oil in Turkana County, Turkana. Tullow Oil estimates the country's oil reserves to be around one billion barrels. Exploration is still continuing to determine if there are more reserves. Kenya currently imports all crude petroleum requirements. The country has no strategic reserves and relies solely on oil marketers' 21-day oil reserves required under industry regulations. Petroleum accounts for 20% to 25% of the national import bill.
Chinese investment and tradePublished comments on Kenya's 98.4 Capital FM, Capital FM website by Liu Guangyuan, Chinese Ambassador to Kenya, China's ambassador to Kenya, at the time of President Kenyatta's 2013 trip to Beijing, said, "Chinese investment in Kenya ... reached $474 million, representing Kenya's largest source of foreign direct investment, and ... bilateral trade ... reached $2.84 billion" in 2012. Kenyatta was "[a]ccompanied by 60 Kenyan business people [and hoped to] ... gain support from China for a planned $2.5 billion railway from the southern Kenyan port of Mombasa to neighboring , as well as a nearly $1.8 billion dam", according to a statement from the president's office, also at the time of the trip. Base Titanium, a subsidiary of Base resources of Australia, shipped its first major consignment of minerals to China. About 25,000 tonnes of ilmenite was flagged off the Kenyan coastal town of Kilifi. The first shipment was expected to earn Kenya about KSh1520 billion in earnings. In 2014, the Chinese contracted railway project from Nairobi to Mombasa was suspended due to a dispute over compensation for land acquisition.
Vision 2030In 2007, the Kenyan government unveiled Kenya Vision 2030, Vision 2030, an economic development programme it hopes will put the country in the same league as the Four Asian Tigers, Asian Economic Tigers by the year 2030. In 2013, it launched a National Climate Change Action Plan, having acknowledged that omitting climate as a key development issue in Vision 2030 was an oversight failure. The 200-page Action Plan, developed with support from the Climate & Development Knowledge Network, sets out the Government of Kenya's vision for a 'low-carbon climate resilient development pathway'. At the launch in March 2013, the Secretary of the Ministry of Planning, National Development, and Vision 2030 emphasised that climate would be a central issue in the renewed Medium-Term Plan that would be launched in the coming months. This would create a direct and robust delivery framework for the Action Plan and ensure climate change is treated as an economy-wide issue.
Oil explorationKenya has proven oil deposits in Turkana County. President Mwai Kibaki announced on 26 March 2012 that Tullow Oil, an Anglo-Irish oil exploration firm, had struck oil, but its commercial viability and subsequent production would take about three years to confirm. Early in 2006, Chinese president Hu Jintao signed an oil exploration contract with Kenya, part of a series of deals designed to keep Africa's natural resources flowing to China's rapidly expanding economy. The deal allowed for China's state-controlled offshore oil and gas company, China National Offshore Oil Corporation, CNOOC, to prospect for oil in Kenya, which is just beginning to drill its first exploratory wells on the borders of Sudan and the disputed area of North Eastern Province, Kenya, North Eastern Province, on the border with and in coastal waters. There are formal estimates of the possible reserves of oil discovered.
Child labour and prostitutionChild labour is common in Kenya. Most working children are active in agriculture. In 2006, UNICEF estimated that up to 30% of girls in the coastal areas of Malindi, Mombasa, Kilifi, and Diani were subject to prostitution. Most of the prostitutes in Kenya are aged 9–18. The Ministry of Gender and Child Affairs employed 400 child protection officers in 2009. The causes of child labour include poverty, the lack of access to education, and weak government institutions. Kenya has ratified Convention No. 81 on labour inspection in industries and Convention No. 129 on labour inspection in agriculture.
Microfinance in Kenya24 institutions offer business loans on a large scale, specific agriculture loans, education loans, and loans for all other purposes. Additionally, there are: *emergency loans, which are more expensive in respect to interest rates, but are quickly available *group loans for smaller groups (4–5 members) and larger groups (up to 30 members) *women's loans, which are also available to groups of women Out of approximately 40 million Kenyans, about 14 million are not able to receive financial service through formal loan application services, and an additional 12 million have no access to financial service institutions at all. Further, 1 million Kenyans are reliant on informal groups for receiving financial aid. Conditions for microfinance products *Eligibility criteria: the general criteria might include gender as in the case of special women's loans; being at least 18 years old; owning a valid Kenyan ID; having a business; demonstrating the ability to repay the loan; and being a customer of the institution. *Credit scoring: there is no advanced credit scoring system and the majority has not stated any official loan distribution system. However, some institutions require applicants to have an existing business for at least 3 months, own a small amount of cash, provide the institution with a business plan or proposal, have at least one guarantor, or to attend group meetings or training. For group loans, almost half of the institutions require group members to guarantee for each other. *Interest rate: mostly calculated on a flat basis and some at a declining balance. More than 90% of the institutions require monthly interest payments. The average interest rate is 30–40% for loans up to KSh500,000. For loans above KSh500,000, interest rates go up to 71%.
DemographicsKenya had a population of approximately 48 million people in January 2017. The country has a young population, with 73% of residents aged below 30 years because of rapid population growth, from 2.9 million to 40 million inhabitants over the last century. Kenya's capital, Nairobi, is home to Kibera, one of the world's largest Shanty town, slums. The shantytown is believed to house between 170,000 and 1 million people. The UNHCR base in Dadaab in the north also currently houses around 500,000 people.The UN Refugee Agency
Ethnic groupsKenya has a diverse population that includes many of the major ethnoracial and linguistic groups found in Africa. Although there is no official list of Kenyan ethnic groups, the number of ethnic categories and sub-categories recorded in the country's census has changed significantly over time, expanding from 42 in 1969, to more than 120 in 2019. The majority of local resident are made up of Bantu peoples, Bantus (60%) and Nilotic peoples, Nilotes (30%). Cushitic languages, Cushitic groups also form a small ethnic minority, as do Arabs, Indians, and Europeans. According to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS), In 2019, Kenya had a total population of 47,564,296 inhabitants. The largest native ethnic groups were the Kikuyu people, Kikuyu (8,148,668), Luhya people, Luhya (6,823,842), Kalenjin people, Kalenjin (6,358,113), Luo people, Luo (5,066,966), Kamba people, Kamba (4,663,910), Somalis (2,780,502), Kisii people, Kisii (2,703,235), Mijikenda peoples, Mijikenda (2,488,691), Meru people, Meru (1,975,869), Maasai people, Maasai (1,189,522), and Turkana people, Turkana (1,016,174). The North Eastern Province, Kenya, North Eastern Province of Kenya, formerly known as NFD, is predominantly inhabited by the indigenous ethnic Somalis. Foreign-rooted populations include Somalis (from ), Omanis, Arabs, Indians in Kenya, Asians, and White people in Kenya, Europeans.
LanguagesKenya's various ethnic groups typically speak their mother tongues within their own communities. The two official languages, English and Swahili language, Swahili, are used in varying degrees of fluency for communication with other populations. English is widely spoken in commerce, schooling, and government. Peri-urbanisation, Peri-urban and rural dwellers are less multilingual, with many in rural areas speaking only their native languages. British English is primarily used in Kenya. Additionally, a distinct local dialect, Kenyan English, is used by some communities and individuals in the country, and contains features unique to it that were derived from local Bantu languages such as Kiswahili and Gikuyu language, Kikuyu. It has been developing since colonisation and also contains certain elements of American English. Sheng slang, Sheng is a Kiswahili-based cant (language), cant spoken in some urban areas. Primarily consisting of a mixture of Kiswahili and English, it is an example of linguistic code-switching. There are a total of 69 languages spoken in Kenya. Most belong to two broad language families: Niger-Congo languages, Niger-Congo (Bantu languages, Bantu branch) and Nilo-Saharan languages, Nilo-Saharan (Nilotic languages, Nilotic branch), spoken by the country's Bantu and Nilotic populations respectively. The Cushitic and Arab ethnic minorities speak languages belonging to the separate Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic family, with the Indian and European residents speaking languages from the Indo-European languages, Indo-European family.Languages of Kenya
ReligionThe majority of Kenyans are Christians, Christian (85.5%), of whom 53.9% are Protestant and 20.6% are Catholic Church in Kenya, Roman Catholic. The Presbyterian Church of East Africa has 3 million followers in Kenya and surrounding countries. There are smaller conservative Reformed churches, the Africa Evangelical Presbyterian Church, the Independent Presbyterian Church in Kenya, and the Reformed Church of East Africa. Orthodox Christianity counts 621,200 adherents. Kenya has by far the highest number of Quakers of any country in the world, with around 146,300 members. The only Jewish synagogue in the country is located in Nairobi. Islam is the Islam in Kenya, second largest religion, comprising 10.9% of the population. Sixty percent of Kenyan Muslims live in the Coast Province, Coastal Region, comprising 50% of the total population there, while the upper part of Kenya's Eastern Province (Kenya), Eastern Region is home to 10% of the country's Muslims, where they constitute the majority religious group. African traditional religion, Indigenous beliefs are practised by 0.7% of the population, although many self-identifying Christians and Muslims Religious syncretism, maintain some traditional beliefs and customs. Nonreligious Kenyans make up 1.6% of the population. There are Hindus living in Kenya. The numbers are estimated to be around 60,287 people or 0.13% of the population.
HealthPrivate health facilities are diverse, highly dynamic, and difficult to classify, unlike public health facilities, which are easily grouped in classes that consist of community-based (level I) services, run by community health workers; dispensaries (level II facilities) run by nurses; health centers (level III facilities), run by clinical officers; sub-county hospitals (level IV facilities), which may be run by a clinical officer or a General practitioner, medical officer; county hospitals (level V facilities), which may be run by a General practitioner, medical officer or a Consultant (medicine), medical practitioner; and national referral hospitals (level VI facilities), which are run by fully qualified Consultant (medicine), medical practitioners. Nurses are by far the largest group of front-line health care providers in all sectors, followed by clinical officers, General practitioner, medical officers, and Consultant (medicine), medical practitioners. According to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics, in 2011 there were 65,000 qualified nurses registered in the country, 8,600 clinical officers, and 7,000 doctors, for the population of 43 million people (these figures from official registers include those who have died or left the profession, hence the actual number of these workers may be lower). Traditional healers (herbalists, witch doctors, and faith healers) are readily available, trusted, and widely consulted as practitioners of first or last choice by both rural and urban dwellers. Despite major achievements in the health sector, Kenya still faces many challenges. The estimated life expectancy dropped in 2009 to approximately 55 years — five years below the 1990 level. The infant mortality rate was high at approximately 44 deaths per 1,000 children in 2012. The WHO estimated in 2011 that only 42% of births were attended by a skilled health professional. Diseases of poverty directly correlate with a country's economy, economic performance and wealth distribution: Half of Kenyans live below the poverty level. Preventable diseases like malaria, HIV/AIDS, pneumonia, diarrhoea, and malnutrition are the biggest burden, major child-killers, and responsible for much morbidity; weak policies, corruption, inadequate health workers, weak management, and poor leadership in the public health sector are largely to blame. According to 2009 estimates, List of countries by HIV/AIDS adult prevalence rate, HIV/AIDS prevalence is about 6.3% of the adult population. However, the 2011 UNAIDS Report suggests that the HIV epidemic may be improving in Kenya, as HIV prevalence is declining among young people (ages 15–24) and pregnant women. Kenya had an estimated 15 million cases of malaria in 2006.
WomenThe total fertility rate in Kenya was estimated to be 4.49 children per woman in 2012. According to a 2008–09 survey by the Kenyan government, the total fertility rate was 4.6% and the contraception usage rate among married women was 46%. Maternal mortality is high, partly because of female genital cutting, female genital mutilation, with about 27% of women having undergone it. This practice is however on the decline as the country becomes more modernised, and in 2011 it was banned in Kenya. Women were economically empowered before colonialisation. By colonial land alienation, women lost access and control of land. They became more economically dependent on men. A colonial order of gender emerged where males dominated females. Median age at first marriage increases with increasing education. Rape, defilement, and battering are not always seen as serious crimes. Reports of sexual assault are not always taken seriously.
EducationChildren attend nursery school, or kindergarten in the private sector until they are five years old. This lasts one to three years (KG1, KG2 and KG3) and is financed privately because there has been no government policy on pre-schooling until recently. Basic formal education starts at age six and lasts 12 years, consisting of eight years in primary school and four in high school or secondary. Primary school is free in public schools and those attending can join a vocational youth/village polytechnic, or make their own arrangements for an apprenticeship program and learn a trade such as tailoring, carpentry, motor vehicle repair, brick-laying and masonry for about two years. Those who complete high school can join a Institute of technology, polytechnic or other technical college and study for three years, or proceed directly to university and study for four years. Graduates from the polytechnics and colleges can then join the workforce and later obtain a specialised higher diploma qualification after a further one to two years of training, or join the university—usually in the second or third year of their respective course. The higher diploma is accepted by many employers in place of a bachelor's degree and direct or accelerated admission to post-graduate studies is possible in some universities. Public universities in Kenya are highly commercialised institutions and only a small fraction of qualified high school graduates are admitted on limited government-sponsorship into programs of their choice. Most are admitted into the social sciences, which are cheap to run, or as self-sponsored students paying the full cost of their studies. Most qualified students who miss out opt for middle-level diploma programs in public or private universities, colleges, and polytechnics. In 2018, 18.5 percent of the Kenyan adult population was illiterate, which was the highest rate of literacy in East Africa. There are very wide regional disparities: for example, Nairobi had the highest level of literacy at 87.1 per cent, compared to North Eastern Province, the lowest, at 8.0 per cent. Preschool, 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. The result of this examination is needed for placement at secondary school. Primary school is for students aged 6/7-13/14 years. For those who proceed to the 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. Students sit examinations in eight subjects of their choosing. However, English, Kiswahili, and mathematics are compulsory subjects. The Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement Service (KUCCPS), formerly the Joint Admissions Board (JAB), is responsible for selecting students joining the public universities. Other than the public schools, there are many private schools, mainly in urban areas. Similarly, there are a number of international schools catering to various overseas educational systems. Despite its impressive commercial approach and interests in the country, Kenya's academia and higher education system is notoriously rigid and disconnected from the needs of the local labour market and is widely blamed for the high number of unemployable and "half-baked" university graduates who struggle to fit in the modern workplace.
CultureThe culture of Kenya consists of multiple traditions. Kenya has no single prominent culture that identifies it. It instead consists of the various cultures of the country's different communities. Notable populations include the Swahili people, Swahili on the coast, several other Bantu peoples, Bantu communities in the central and western regions, and Nilotic communities in the northwest. The Maasai people, Maasai culture is well known to tourism, despite constituting a relatively small part of Kenya's population. They are renowned for their elaborate upper-body adornment and jewellery. Additionally, Kenya has an extensive music, television, and theatre scene.
MediaKenya has a number of media outlets that broadcast domestically and globally. They cover news, business, sports, and entertainment. Popular Kenyan newspapers include: * ''Daily Nation, The Daily Nation''; part of the Nation Media Group, Nation Media Group (NMG) (largest market share) * ''The Standard (Kenya), The Standard'' * ''The Star'' * ''The People'' * ''East Africa Weekly'' * ''Taifa Leo'' Television stations based in Kenya include: * Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC) * Citizen TV * Kenya Television Network (KTN) * NTV (Kenya), NTV (part of the Nation Media Group (NMG)) * Kiss Television * K24 (Kenya), K24 Television * Kass-TV All of these terrestrial channels are transmitted via a DVB T2 digital TV signal.
LiteratureNgũgĩ wa Thiong'o is one of the best known writers in Kenya. His novel, ''Weep Not, Child'', is an illustration of life in Kenya during the British occupation. The story details the effects of the Mau Mau on the lives of Kenyans. Its combination of themes—colonialism, education, and love—helped 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 Scotiabank Giller Prize, 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. Additionally, Kenya has also been nurturing emerging versatile authors such as Paul Kipchumba (Kipwendui, Kibiwott) who demonstrate a pan-African outlook (see ''Africa in China's 21st Century: In Search of a Strategy'' (2017).
MusicKenya has a diverse assortment of popular music forms, in addition to multiple types of folk music based on the variety of over 40 regional languages. Drums are the most dominant musical instrument, instrument in popular Kenyan music. Drum beats are very complex and include both native rhythms and imported ones, especially the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Congolese cavacha rhythm. Popular Kenyan music usually involves the interplay of multiple parts, and more recently, showy guitar solos as well. There are also a number of local hip-hop artists, including Jua Cali; Afro-pop bands such as Sauti Sol; and musicians who play local genres like Benga, such as Akothee. Lyrics are most often in Kiswahili or English. There is also some emerging aspect of Lingala language, Lingala borrowed from Democratic Republic of the Congo, Congolese musicians. Lyrics are also written in local languages. Urban radio generally only plays English music, though there also exist a number of vernacular radio stations. Zilizopendwa is a genre of local urban music that was recorded in the 1960s, 70s, and 80s by musicians such as Daudi Kabaka, Fadhili William, and Sukuma Bin Ongaro, and is particularly enjoyed by older people—having been popularised by the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation's Kiswahili service (formerly called Voice of Kenya or VOK). The Isukuti is a vigorous dance performed by the Luhya people, Luhya sub-tribes to the beat of a traditional drum called the Isukuti during many occasions such as the birth of a child, marriage, or funeral. Other traditional dances include the Ohangla among the Luo peoples, Luo, Nzele among the Mijikenda peoples, Mijikenda, Mugithi among the Kikuyu people, Kikuyu, and Taarab among the Swahili people, Swahili. Additionally, Kenya has a growing Christian gospel music scene. Prominent local gospel musicians include the Kenyan Boys Choir. Benga music has been popular since the late 1960s, especially in the area around . The word ''benga'' is occasionally used to refer to any kind of pop music. Bass, guitar, and percussion are the usual instruments.
SportsKenya is active in several sports, among them cricket, rallying, Association football, football, rugby union, rugby, field hockey, and boxing. The country is known chiefly for its dominance in middle-distance running, middle-distance and long-distance running, long-distance athletics, having consistently produced Olympic Games, Olympic and Commonwealth Games champions in various distance events, especially in 800 m, 1,500 m, 3,000 m steeplechase, 5,000 m, 10,000 m, and the marathon. Kenyan athletes (particularly Kalenjin people, Kalenjin), continue to dominate the world of distance running, although competition from Morocco and has reduced this supremacy. Kenya's best-known athletes include the four-time women's Boston Marathon winner and two-time world champion Catherine Ndereba, 800m world record holder David Rudisha, former Marathon (sport), marathon world record-holder Paul Tergat, and John Ngugi. Kenya won several medals during the Beijing Olympics: six gold, four silver, and four bronze, making it Africa's most successful nation in the 2008 Olympics. New athletes gained attention, such as Pamela Jelimo, the women's 800m gold medalist who went on to win the IAAF Golden League jackpot, and Samuel Wanjiru, who won the men's marathon. Retired Olympic and Commonwealth Games champion Kipchoge Keino helped usher in Kenya's ongoing distance dynasty in the 1970s and was followed by Commonwealth Champion Henry Rono's spectacular string of world record performances. Lately, there has been controversy in Kenyan athletics circles, with the defection of a number of Kenyan athletes to represent other countries, chiefly Bahrain and Qatar.IAAF
CuisineKenyans generally have three meals in a day—breakfast (''kiamsha kinywa''), lunch (''chakula cha mchana''), and supper (''chakula cha jioni'' or simply ''chajio''). In between, they have the 10-o'clock tea (''chai ya saa nne'') and 4 p.m. tea (''chai ya saa kumi''). Breakfast is usually tea or porridge with bread, chapati, mahamri, boiled sweet potatoes, or Yam (vegetable), yams. Githeri is a common lunchtime dish in many households, while Ugali with vegetables, sour milk (mursik), meat, fish, or any other stew is generally eaten by much of the population for lunch or supper. Regional variations and dishes also exist. In western Kenya, among the Luo (Kenya and Tanzania), Luo, fish is a common dish; among the Kalenjin people, Kalenjin, who dominate much of the Rift Valley Region, mursik—sour milk—is a common drink. In cities such as , there are fast-food restaurants, including Steers, KFC, and Subway (restaurant), Subway. There are also many fish-and-chips shops. Cheese in Kenya, Cheese is becoming more popular in Kenya, with consumption increasing particularly among the middle class.
See also* Foreign relations of Kenya * Index of Kenya-related articles * Outline of Kenya * Water supply and sanitation in Kenya
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