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Country Profiles: Kenya


Flag, map and facts courtesy of CIA World Factbook 2002

Background Founding president and liberation struggle icon Jomo Kenyatta led Kenya from independence until his death in 1978, when current President Daniel Toroitich arap Moi took power in a constitutional succession. The country was a de facto one-party state from 1969 until 1982 when the ruling Kenya African National Union (KANU) made itself the sole legal party in Kenya. Moi acceded to internal and external pressure for political liberalization in late 1991. The ethnically fractured opposition failed to dislodge Kanu from power in elections in 1992 and 1997, which were marred by violence and fraud, but are viewed as having generally reflected the will of the Kenyan people. The country faces a period of political uncertainty because Moi is constitutionally required to step down at the next election that has to be held by early 2003.
Location
Map of Kenya
Eastern Africa, bordering the Indian Ocean, between Somalia and Tanzania
Area total: 582,650 sq km
land: 569,250 sq km
water: 13,400 sq km
Area - comparative slightly more than twice the size of Nevada
Climate varies from tropical along coast to arid in interior
Terrain low plains rise to central highlands bisected by Great Rift Valley; fertile plateau in west
Elevation extremes lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m
highest point: Mount Kenya 5,199 m
Natural resources gold, limestone, soda ash, salt barites, rubies, fluorspar, garnets, wildlife, hydropower
Land use arable land: 7%
permanent crops: 1%
other: 92% (1998 est.)
Natural hazards recurring drought; flooding during rainy seasons
Environment - current issues water pollution from urban and industrial wastes; degradation of water quality from increased use of pesticides and fertilizers; water hyacinth infestation in Lake Victoria; deforestation; soil erosion; desertification; poaching
Geography - note the Kenyan Highlands comprise one of the most successful agricultural production regions in Africa; glaciers are found on Mount Kenya, Africa's second highest peak; unique physiography supports abundant and varied wildlife of scientific and economic value
Population 31,138,735
note: estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality and death rates, lower population and growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2002 est.)
Age structure 0-14 years: 41.1% (male 6,462,430; female 6,327,457)
15-64 years: 56.1% (male 8,769,546; female 8,694,329)
65 years and over: 2.8% (male 385,361; female 499,612) (2002 est.)
Population growth rate 1.15% (2002 est.)
Infant mortality rate 67.24 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)
Life expectancy at birth total population: 47.02 years
female: 47.85 years (2002 est.)
male: 46.2 years
Ethnic groups Kikuyu 22%, Luhya 14%, Luo 13%, Kalenjin 12%, Kamba 11%, Kisii 6%, Meru 6%, other African 15%, non-African (Asian, European, and Arab) 1%
Religions Protestant 45%, Roman Catholic 33%, indigenous beliefs 10%, Muslim 10%, other 2% note: a large majority of Kenyans are Christian, but estimates for the percentage of the population that adheres to Islam or indigenous beliefs vary widely
Languages English (official), Kiswahili (official), numerous indigenous languages
Literacy definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 78.1%
male: 86.3%
female: 70% (1995 est.)
Government type republic
Capital Nairobi
Independence 12 December 1963 (from UK)
Legal system based on Kenyan statutory law, Kenyan and English common law, tribal law, and Islamic law; judicial review in High Court; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations; constitutional amendment of 1982 making Kenya a de jure one-party state repealed in 1991
Suffrage 18 years of age; universal
Flag description three equal horizontal bands of black (top), red, and green; the red band is edged in white; a large warrior's shield covering crossed spears is superimposed at the center

Flag of Kenya
Economy - overview Kenya, the regional hub for trade and finance in East Africa, is hampered by corruption and reliance upon several primary goods whose prices continue to decline. Following strong economic growth in 1995 and 1996, Kenya's economy has stagnated, with GDP growth failing to keep up with the rate of population growth. In 1997, the IMF suspended Kenya's Enhanced Structural Adjustment Program due to the government's failure to maintain reforms and curb corruption. A severe drought from 1999 to 2000 compounded Kenya's problems, causing water and energy rationing and reducing agricultural output. As a result, GDP contracted by 0.3% in 2000. The IMF, which had resumed loans in 2000 to help Kenya through the drought, again halted lending in 2001 when the government failed to institute several anticorruption measures. Despite the return of strong rains in 2001, weak commodity prices, endemic corruption, and low investment limited Kenya's economic growth to 1%, and Kenya is unlikely to see growth above 2% in 2002. Substantial IMF and other foreign support is essential to prevent a further decline in real per capita output.
GDP - per capita purchasing power parity - $1,000 (2001 est.)
Population below poverty line 50% (2000 est.)
Labor force 10 million (2001 est.)
Unemployment rate 40% (2001 est.)
Industries small-scale consumer goods (plastic, furniture, batteries, textiles, soap, cigarettes, flour), agricultural products processing; oil refining, cement; tourism
Agriculture - products coffee, tea, corn, wheat, sugarcane, fruit, vegetables; dairy products, beef, pork, poultry, eggs
Exports - commodities tea, horticultural products, coffee, petroleum products, fish, cement
Imports - commodities machinery and transportation equipment, petroleum products, motor vehicles, iron and steel, resins and plastics

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Plan B: Mobilizing to Save Civilization | State of the Planet's Oceans | State of the Ocean's Animals
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