Introduction :: Kenya


Founding president and liberation struggle icon Jomo KENYATTA led Kenya from independence in 1963 until his death 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 which 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 candidate of 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 accord 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.

Geography :: Kenya


Eastern Africa, bordering the Indian Ocean, between Somalia and Tanzania

Geographic coordinates

1 00 N, 38 00 E

Map references



total: 580,367 sq km

land: 569,140 sq km

water: 11,227 sq km

Area – comparative

Area comparison map

Land boundaries

total: 3,457 km

border countries (5): Ethiopia 867 km, Somalia 684 km, South Sudan 317 km, Tanzania 775 km, Uganda 814 km


536 km

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 12 nm

exclusive economic zone: 200 nm

continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation


varies from tropical along coast to arid in interior


low plains rise to central highlands bisected by Great Rift Valley; fertile plateau in west


mean elevation: 762 m

lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m

highest point: Mount Kenya 5,199 m

Natural resources

limestone, soda ash, salt, gemstones, fluorspar, zinc, diatomite, gypsum, wildlife, hydropower

Land use

agricultural land: 48.1% (2011 est.)

arable land: 9.8% (2011 est.) /** permanent crops:** 0.9% (2011 est.) /** permanent pasture:** 37.4% (2011 est.)

forest: 6.1% (2011 est.)

other: 45.8% (2011 est.)

Irrigated land

1,030 sq km (2012)

Population distribution

population heavily concentrated in the west along the shore of Lake Victoria; other areas of high density include the capital of Nairobi, and in the southeast along the Indian Ocean coast

Natural hazards

recurring drought; flooding during rainy seasons

volcanism: limited volcanic activity; the Barrier (1,032 m) last erupted in 1921; South Island is the only other historically active volcano

Environment – current 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

Environment – international agreements

party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands, Whaling

signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Geography – note

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; Lake Victoria, the world’s largest tropical lake and the second largest fresh water lake, is shared among three countries: Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda

People and Society :: Kenya


53,527,936 (July 2020 est.)

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, higher death rates, lower population growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected


noun: Kenyan(s)

adjective: Kenyan

Ethnic groups

Kikuyu 17.1%, Luhya 14.3%, Kalenjin 13.4%, Luo 10.7%, Kamba 9.8%, Somali 5.8%, Kisii 5.7%, Mijikenda 5.2%, Meru 4.2%, Maasai 2.5%, Turkana 2.1%, non-Kenyan 1%, other 8.2% (2019 est.)


English (official), Kiswahili (official), numerous indigenous languages


Christian 85.5% (Protestant 33.4%, Catholic 20.6%, Evangelical 20.4%, African Instituted Churches 7%, other Christian 4.1%), Muslim 10.9%, other 1.8%, none 1.6%, don’t know/no answer 0.2% (2019 est.)

Demographic profile

Kenya has experienced dramatic population growth since the mid-20th century as a result of its high birth rate and its declining mortality rate. More than 40% of Kenyans are under the age of 15 because of sustained high fertility, early marriage and childbearing, and an unmet need for family planning. Kenyas persistent rapid population growth strains the labor market, social services, arable land, and natural resources. Although Kenya in 1967 was the first Sub-Saharan country to launch a nationwide family planning program, progress in reducing the birth rate has largely stalled since the late 1990s, when the government decreased its support for family planning to focus on the HIV epidemic. Government commitment and international technical support spurred Kenyan contraceptive use, decreasing the fertility rate (children per woman) from about 8 in the late 1970s to less than 5 children twenty years later, but it has plateaued at just over 3 children today.

Kenya is a source of emigrants and a host country for refugees. In the 1960s and 1970s, Kenyans pursued higher education in the UK because of colonial ties, but as British immigration rules tightened, the US, the then Soviet Union, and Canada became attractive study destinations. Kenyas stagnant economy and political problems during the 1980s and 1990s led to an outpouring of Kenyan students and professionals seeking permanent opportunities in the West and southern Africa. Nevertheless, Kenyas relative stability since its independence in 1963 has attracted hundreds of thousands of refugees escaping violent conflicts in neighboring countries; Kenya shelters more than 300,000 Somali refugees as of April 2017.

Age structure

population pyramid

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 69.8

youth dependency ratio: 65.5

elderly dependency ratio: 4.3

potential support ratio: 23.5 (2020 est.)

Median age

total: 20 years

male: 19.9 years

female: 20.1 years (2020 est.)

Population growth rate

2.2% (2020 est.)

Birth rate

27.2 births/1,000 population (2020 est.)

Death rate

5.2 deaths/1,000 population (2020 est.)

Net migration rate

-0.2 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2020 est.)

Population distribution

population heavily concentrated in the west along the shore of Lake Victoria; other areas of high density include the capital of Nairobi, and in the southeast along the Indian Ocean coast


urban population: 28% of total population (2020)

rate of urbanization: 4.23% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)

Major urban areas – population

4.735 million NAIROBI (capital), 1.296 million Mombassa (2020)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.02 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.96 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.84 male(s)/female

total population: 1 male(s)/female (2020 est.)

Mother’s mean age at first birth

20.3 years (2014 est.)

note: median age at first birth among women 25-29

Maternal mortality rate

342 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)

Infant mortality rate

total: 29.8 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 33 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 26.6 deaths/1,000 live births (2020 est.)

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 69 years

male: 67.3 years

female: 70.6 years (2020 est.)

Total fertility rate

3.43 children born/woman (2020 est.)

Contraceptive prevalence rate

60.5% (2017)

Drinking water source

improved:** urban:** 89% of population

rural: 60.4% of population

total: 68% of population

unimproved:** urban:** 11% of population

rural: 39.6% of population

total: 32% of population (2017 est.)

Current Health Expenditure

4.8% (2017)

Physicians density

0.2 physicians/1,000 population (2014)

Hospital bed density

1.4 beds/1,000 population (2010)

Sanitation facility access

improved:** urban:** 78.8% of population

rural: 41.2% of population

total: 51.2% of population

unimproved:** urban:** 21.2% of population

rural: 58.8% of population

total: 48.8% of population (2017 est.)

HIV/AIDS – adult prevalence rate

4.7% (2018 est.)

HIV/AIDS – people living with HIV/AIDS

1.6 million (2018 est.)

HIV/AIDS – deaths

25,000 (2018 est.)

Major infectious diseases

degree of risk: very high (2020)

food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever

vectorborne diseases: malaria, dengue fever, and Rift Valley fever

water contact diseases: schistosomiasis

animal contact diseases: rabies

Obesity – adult prevalence rate

7.1% (2016)

Children under the age of 5 years underweight

11.2% (2014)

Education expenditures

5.2% of GDP (2017)


definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 81.5%

male: 85%

female: 78.2% (2018)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 11 years

male: 11 years

female: 11 years (2009)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24

total: 7.4%

male: 7.3%

female: 7.4% (2016)

Government :: Kenya

Country name

conventional long form: Republic of Kenya

conventional short form: Kenya

local long form: Republic of Kenya/Jamhuri ya Kenya

local short form: Kenya

former: British East Africa

etymology: 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”

Government type

presidential republic


name: Nairobi

geographic coordinates: 1 17 S, 36 49 E

time difference: UTC+3 (8 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

etymology: the name derives from the Maasai expression meaning “cool waters” and refers to a cold water stream that flowed through the area in the late 19th century

Administrative divisions

47 counties; Baringo, Bomet, Bungoma, Busia, Elgeyo/Marakwet, Embu, Garissa, Homa Bay, Isiolo, Kajiado, Kakamega, Kericho, Kiambu, Kilifi, Kirinyaga, Kisii, Kisumu, Kitui, Kwale, Laikipia, Lamu, Machakos, Makueni, Mandera, Marsabit, Meru, Migori, Mombasa, Murang’a, Nairobi City, Nakuru, Nandi, Narok, Nyamira, Nyandarua, Nyeri, Samburu, Siaya, Taita/Taveta, Tana River, Tharaka-Nithi, Trans Nzoia, Turkana, Uasin Gishu, Vihiga, Wajir, West Pokot


12 December 1963 (from the UK)

National holiday

Jamhuri Day (Independence Day), 12 December (1963); note – Madaraka Day, 1 June (1963) marks the day Kenya attained internal self-rule


history: previous 1963, 1969; latest drafted 6 May 2010, passed by referendum 4 August 2010, promulgated 27 August 2010

amendments: proposed by either house of Parliament or by petition of at least one million eligible voters; passage of amendments by Parliament requires approval by at least two-thirds majority vote of both houses in each of two readings, approval in a referendum by majority of votes cast by at least 20% of eligible voters in at least one half of Kenyas counties, and approval by the president; passage of amendments introduced by petition requires approval by a majority of county assemblies, approval by majority vote of both houses, and approval by the president

Legal system

mixed legal system of English common law, Islamic law, and customary law; judicial review in the new Supreme Court established by the new constitution

International law organization participation

accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction


citizenship by birth: no

citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of Kenya

dual citizenship recognized: yes

residency requirement for naturalization: 4 out of the previous 7 years


18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: President Uhuru KENYATTA (since 9 April 2013); Deputy President William RUTO (since 9 April 2013); note – the president is both chief of state and head of government

head of government: President Uhuru KENYATTA (since 9 April 2013); Deputy President William RUTO (since 9 April 2013); note – position of the prime minister was abolished after the March 2013 elections

cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president, subject to confirmation by the National Assembly

elections/appointments: president and deputy president directly elected on the same ballot by qualified majority popular vote for a 5-year term (eligible for a second term); in addition to receiving an absolute majority popular vote, the presidential candidate must also win at least 25% of the votes cast in at least 24 of the 47 counties to avoid a runoff; election last held on 26 October 2017 (next to be held in 2022)
election results: Uhuru KENYATTA reelected president; percent of vote – Uhuru KENYATTA (Jubilee Party) 98.3%, Raila ODINGA (ODM) 1%, other 0.7%; note – Kenya held a previous presidential election on 8 August 2017, but Kenya’s Supreme Court on 1 September 2017 nullified the results, citing irregularities; the political opposition boycotted the October vote

Legislative branch

description: bicameral Parliament consists of:

Senate (67 seats; 47 members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by simple majority vote and 20 directly elected by proportional representation vote – 16 women, 2 representing youth, and 2 representing the disabled; members serve 5-year terms)
National Assembly (349 seats; 290 members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by simple majority vote, 47 women in single-seat constituencies elected by simple majority vote, and 12 members nominated by the National Assembly – 6 representing youth and 6 representing the disabled; members serve 5-year terms)
elections: Senate – last held on 8 August 2017 (next to be held in August 2022)

National Assembly – last held on 8 August 2017 (next to be held in August 2022)
election results: Senate – percent of vote by party/coalition – NA; seats by party/coalition – Jubilee Party 24; National Super Alliance 28, other 14, independent 1; composition – men 46, women 41, percent of women is 31.3%

National Assembly – percent of vote by party/coalition – NA; seats by party/coalition – Jubilee Party 165, National Super Alliance 119, other 51, independent 13; composition – men 273, women 76, percent of women 21.8%; note – total Parliament percent of women is 23%

Judicial branch

highest courts: Supreme Court (consists of chief and deputy chief justices and 5 judges)

judge selection and term of office: chief and deputy chief justices nominated by Judicial Service Commission (JSC) and appointed by the president with approval of the National Assembly; other judges nominated by the JSC and appointed by president; chief justice serves a nonrenewable 10-year term or until age 70, whichever comes first; other judges serve until age 70

subordinate courts: High Court; Court of Appeal; military courts; magistrates’ courts; religious courts

Political parties and leaders

Alliance Party of Kenya or APK [Kiraitu MURUNGI]
Amani National Congress or ANC [Musalia MUDAVADI]
Federal Party of Kenya or FPK [Cyrus JIRONGA]
Forum for the Restoration of Democracy-Kenya or FORD-K [Moses WETANGULA]
Forum for the Restoration of Democracy-People or FORD-P [Henry OBWOCHA]
Jubilee Party [Uhuru KENYATTA]
Kenya African National Union or KANU [Gideon MOI]
National Rainbow Coalition or NARC [Charity NGILU]
Orange Democratic Movement Party of Kenya or ODM [Raila ODINGA]
Wiper Democratic Movement-K or WDM-K (formerly Orange Democratic Movement-Kenya or ODM-K) [Kalonzo MUSYOKA]

International organization participation


Diplomatic representation in the US

Ambassador Lazarus Ombai AMAYO (since 17 July 2020)
chancery: 2249 R Street NW, Washington, DC 20008

telephone: 1 387-6101

FAX: 1 462-3829
consulate(s) general: Los Angeles

consulate(s): New York

Diplomatic representation from the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Kyle MCCARTER (since 12 March 2019)

telephone: 254 363-6000

embassy: United Nations Avenue, Nairobi; P.O. Box 606 Village Market, Nairobi 00621

mailing address: American Embassy Nairobi, U.S. Department of State, Washington, DC 20521-8900

FAX: 254 363-6157

Flag description

three equal horizontal bands of black (top), red, and green; the red band is edged in white; a large Maasai warrior’s shield covering crossed spears is superimposed at the center; black symbolizes the majority population, red the blood shed in the struggle for freedom, green stands for natural wealth, and white for peace; the shield and crossed spears symbolize the defense of freedom

National symbol(s)

lion; national colors: black, red, green, white

National anthem


Economy :: Kenya

Economy – overview

Kenya is the economic, financial, and transport hub of East Africa. Kenyas real GDP growth has averaged over 5% for the last decade. Since 2014, Kenya has been ranked as a lower middle income country because its 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 extremely high, and could be near 40% of the population. In 2013, the country adopted a devolved system of government with the creation of 47 counties, and is 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 Kenyas 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 Kenyas economy. In spite of political turmoil throughout the second half of 2017, tourism was up 20%, showcasing the strength of this sector. 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 Nairobis Westgate Mall and Garissa University) affected the tourism industry severely, but the sector rebounded strongly in 2016-2017 and appears poised to continue growing.

Inadequate infrastructure continues to hamper Kenyas efforts to improve its annual growth so that it can meaningfully address poverty and unemployment. The KENYATTA administration has been successful in courting external investment for infrastructure development. International financial institutions and donors remain important to Kenya’s growth and development, but 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 that banks must 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 positive. The credit and drought-related impediments were temporary. Now 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.

GDP (purchasing power parity)

$163.7 billion (2017 est.)
$156 billion (2016 est.)
$147.4 billion (2015 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

GDP (official exchange rate)

$79.22 billion (2017 est.)

GDP – real growth rate

4.9% (2017 est.)
5.9% (2016 est.)
5.7% (2015 est.)

GDP – per capita (PPP)

$3,500 (2017 est.)
$3,400 (2016 est.)
$3,300 (2015 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

Gross national saving

10.4% of GDP (2017 est.)
11% of GDP (2016 est.)
11.4% of GDP (2015 est.)

GDP – composition, by end use

household consumption: 79.5% (2017 est.)

government consumption: 14.3% (2017 est.)

investment in fixed capital: 18.9% (2017 est.)

investment in inventories: -1% (2017 est.)

exports of goods and services: 13.9% (2017 est.)

imports of goods and services: -25.5% (2017 est.)

GDP – composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 34.5% (2017 est.)

industry: 17.8% (2017 est.)

services: 47.5% (2017 est.)

Agriculture – products

tea, coffee, corn, wheat, sugarcane, fruit, vegetables; dairy products, beef, fish, pork, poultry, eggs


small-scale consumer goods (plastic, furniture, batteries, textiles, clothing, soap, cigarettes, flour), agricultural products, horticulture, oil refining; aluminum, steel, lead; cement, commercial ship repair, tourism, information technology

Industrial production growth rate

3.6% (2017 est.)

Labor force

19.6 million (2017 est.)

Labor force – by occupation

agriculture: 61.1%

industry: 6.7%

services: 32.2% (2005 est.)

Unemployment rate

40% (2013 est.)
40% (2001 est.)

Population below poverty line

36.1% (2016 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 1.8%
highest 10%: 37.8% (2005)


revenues: 13.95 billion (2017 est.)

expenditures: 19.24 billion (2017 est.)

Taxes and other revenues

17.6% (of GDP) (2017 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)

-6.7% (of GDP) (2017 est.)

Public debt

54.2% of GDP (2017 est.)
53.2% of GDP (2016 est.)

Fiscal year

1 July – 30 June

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

8% (2017 est.)
6.3% (2016 est.)

Current account balance

-$5.021 billion (2017 est.)
-$3.697 billion (2016 est.)


$5.792 billion (2017 est.)
$5.695 billion (2016 est.)

Exports – partners

Uganda 10.8%, Pakistan 10.6%, US 8.1%, Netherlands 7.3%, UK 6.4%, Tanzania 4.8%, UAE 4.4% (2017)

Exports – commodities

tea, horticultural products, coffee, petroleum products, fish, cement, apparel


$15.99 billion (2017 est.)
$13.41 billion (2016 est.)

Imports – commodities

machinery and transportation equipment, oil, petroleum products, motor vehicles, iron and steel, resins and plastics

Imports – partners

China 22.5%, India 9.9%, UAE 8.7%, Saudi Arabia 5.1%, Japan 4.5% (2017)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$7.354 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$7.256 billion (31 December 2016 est.)

Debt – external

$27.59 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$37.7 billion (31 December 2016 est.)

Exchange rates

Kenyan shillings (KES) per US dollar –
102.1 (2017 est.)
101.5 (2016 est.)
101.504 (2015 est.)
98.179 (2014 est.)
87.921 (2013 est.)

Energy :: Kenya

Electricity access

population without electricity: 13 million (2017)

electrification – total population: 56% (2016)
electrification – urban areas: 77.6% (2016)
electrification – rural areas: 39.3% (2016)

Electricity – production

9.634 billion kWh (2016 est.)

Electricity – consumption

7.863 billion kWh (2016 est.)

Electricity – exports

39.1 million kWh (2016 est.)

Electricity – imports

184 million kWh (2016 est.)

Electricity – installed generating capacity

2.401 million kW (2016 est.)

Electricity – from fossil fuels

33% of total installed capacity (2016 est.)

Electricity – from nuclear fuels

0% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)

Electricity – from hydroelectric plants

34% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)

Electricity – from other renewable sources

33% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)

Crude oil – production

0 bbl/day (2018 est.)

Crude oil – exports

0 bbl/day (2015 est.)

Crude oil – imports

12,550 bbl/day (2015 est.)

Crude oil – proved reserves

0 bbl (1 January 2018 est.)

Refined petroleum products – production

13,960 bbl/day (2015 est.)

Refined petroleum products – consumption

109,000 bbl/day (2016 est.)

Refined petroleum products – exports

173 bbl/day (2015 est.)

Refined petroleum products – imports

90,620 bbl/day (2015 est.)

Natural gas – production

0 cu m (2017 est.)

Natural gas – consumption

0 cu m (2017 est.)

Natural gas – exports

0 cu m (2017 est.)

Natural gas – imports

0 cu m (2017 est.)

Natural gas – proved reserves

0 cu m (1 January 2014 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy

17.98 million Mt (2017 est.)

Communications :: Kenya

Telephones – fixed lines

total subscriptions: 65,644

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: less than 1 (2018 est.)

Telephones – mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 49,501,430

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 97 (2018 est.)

Telecommunication systems

general assessment: the mobile-cellular system is generally good with a mobile subscriber base of 47 million, especially in urban areas; fixed-line telephone system is small and inefficient; trunks are primarily microwave radio relay; to encourage advancement of the LTE services the govt. has fostered an open-access approach and pushed for a national broadband strategy; more licensing being awarded has led to competition which is good for growth; govt. commits KE 300 million to its free Wi-Fi project (2020)

domestic: fixed-line subscriptions stand at less than 1 per 100 persons; multiple providers in the mobile-cellular segment of the market fostering a boom in mobile-cellular telephone usage with teledensity reaching 97 per 100 persons (2018)

international: country code – 254; landing point for the EASSy, TEAMS, LION2, DARE1, PEACE Cable, and SEACOM fiber-optic submarine cable systems covering East, North and South Africa, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia; satellite earth stations – 4 Intelsat; launched first micro satellites in 2018 (2019)

note: the COVID-19 outbreak is negatively impacting telecommunications production and supply chains globally; consumer spending on telecom devices and services has also slowed due to the pandemic’s effect on economies worldwide; overall progress towards improvements in all facets of the telecom industry – mobile, fixed-line, broadband, submarine cable and satellite – has moderated

Broadcast media

about a half-dozen large-scale privately owned media companies with TV and radio stations, as well as a state-owned TV broadcaster, provide service nationwide; satellite and cable TV subscription services available; state-owned radio broadcaster operates 2 national radio channels and provides regional and local radio services in multiple languages; many private radio stations broadcast on a national level along with over 100 private and non-profit regional stations broadcasting in local languages; TV transmissions of all major international broadcasters available, mostly via paid subscriptions; direct radio frequency modulation transmissions available for several foreign government-owned broadcasters (2019)

Internet country code


Internet users

total: 9,129,243

percent of population: 17.83% (July 2018 est.)

Broadband – fixed subscriptions

total: 371,498

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 1 less than 1 (2018 est.)

Military and Security :: Kenya

Military and security forces

Kenya Defence Forces: Kenya Army, Kenya Navy, Kenya Air Force (2019)

note: the National Police Service includes a paramilitary General Service Unit

Military expenditures

1.3% of GDP (2019)
1.2% of GDP (2018)
1.3% of GDP (2017)
1.3% of GDP (2016)
1.3% of GDP (2015)

Military and security service personnel strengths

the Kenyan Defense Forces (KDF) are comprised of approximately 24,000 personnel (20,000 Army; 1,500 Navy; 2,500 Air Force); 5,000 Police General Services Unit (2019 est.)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the KDF’s inventory traditionally carried mostly older or second-hand Western weapons systems, particularly from France, the UK, and the US; however, since the 2000s it has sought to modernize and diversify its imports; the top suppliers since 2010 are China, Italy, Jordan, Serbia, South Africa, Spain, Ukraine, and the US (2019 est.)

Military deployments

3,300 Somalia (AMISOM) (June 2020)

Military service age and obligation

18-26 years of age for male and female voluntary service (under 18 with parental consent), with a 9-year obligation (7 years for Kenyan Navy) and subsequent 3-year reenlistments; applicants must be Kenyan citizens and provide a national identity card (obtained at age 18) and a school-leaving certificate, and undergo a series of mental and physical examinations; women serve under the same terms and conditions as men; mandatory retirement at age 55 but personnel leaving before this age remain in a reserve status until they reach age 55 unless they were removed for disciplinary reasons; there is no active military reserve, although the Ministry of Defence has stated its desire to create one as recently as 2017 (2019)

Maritime threats

The International Maritime Bureau reports that shipping in territorial and offshore waters in the Indian Ocean remain at risk for piracy and armed robbery against ships, especially as Somali-based pirates extend their activities south; numerous commercial vessels have been attacked and hijacked both at anchor and while underway; crews have been robbed and stores or cargoes stolen.

Military – note

The Kenya Coast Guard Service (established 2018) is separate from the Defence Forces, but led by a military officer and comprised of personnel from the military, as well as the National Police Service, intelligence services, and other government agencies. (2019)

Transportation :: Kenya

National air transport system

number of registered air carriers: 25 (2020)

inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 188

annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 5,935,831 (2018)

annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 294.97 million mt-km (2018)

Civil aircraft registration country code prefix

5Y (2016)


197 (2013)

Airports – with paved runways

total: 16 (2017)

over 3,047 m: 5 (2017)

2,438 to 3,047 m: 2 (2017)

1,524 to 2,437 m: 2 (2017)

914 to 1,523 m: 6 (2017)

under 914 m: 1 (2017)

Airports – with unpaved runways

total: 181 (2013)

1,524 to 2,437 m: 14 (2013)

914 to 1,523 m: 107 (2013)

under 914 m: 60 (2013)


4 km oil, 1,432 km refined products (2018)


total: 3,819 km (2018)

standard gauge: 485 km 1.435-m gauge (2018)

narrow gauge: 3,334 km 1.000-m gauge (2018)


total: 177,800 km (2018)

paved: 14,420 km (8,500 km highways, 1,872 urban roads, and 4,048 rural roads) (2017)

unpaved: 147,032 km (2017)


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)

Merchant marine

total: 24

by type: oil tanker 2, other 22 (2019)

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Kisumu, Mombasa

LNG terminal(s) (import): Mombasa

Terrorism :: Kenya

Terrorist groups – foreign based

al-Shabaab: aim(s): establish Islamic rule in Kenyas northeastern border region and coast; avenge Kenya’s past intervention in Somalia against al-Shabaab and its ongoing participation in the African Union mission; compel Kenya to withdraw troops from Somalia; attract Kenyan recruits to support operations in Somalia

area(s) of operation: maintains an operational and recruitment presence, mostly along the coast and the northeastern border region (2018)

Transnational Issues :: Kenya

Disputes – international

Kenya served as an important mediator in brokering Sudan’s north-south separation in February 2005; as of March 2019, Kenya provides shelter to nearly 475,000 refugees and asylum seekers, including Ugandans who flee across the border periodically to seek protection from Lord’s Resistance Army rebels; Kenya works hard to prevent the clan and militia fighting in Somalia from spreading across the border, which has long been open to nomadic pastoralists; the boundary that separates Kenya’s and Sudan’s sovereignty is unclear in the “Ilemi Triangle,” which Kenya has administered since colonial times; in 2018, Kenya signed an MoU with Uganda and South Sudan to help demarcate their borders

Refugees and internally displaced persons

refugees (country of origin): 265,911 (Somalia) (refugees and asylum seekers), 122,256 (South Sudan) (refugees and asylum seekers), 44,670 (Democratic Republic of the Congo) (refugees and asylum seekers), 28,836 (Ethiopia) (refugees and asylum seekers), 16,010 (Burundi) (refugees and asylum seekers), 10,007 (Sudan) (refugees and asylum seekers) (2020)

IDPs: 162,000 (election-related violence, intercommunal violence, resource conflicts, al-Shabaab attacks in 2017 and 2018) (2019)
stateless persons: 18,500 (2018); note – the stateless population consists of Nubians, Kenyan Somalis, and coastal Arabs; the Nubians are descendants of Sudanese soldiers recruited by the British to fight for them in East Africa more than a century ago; Nubians did not receive Kenyan citizenship when the country became independent in 1963; only recently have Nubians become a formally recognized tribe and had less trouble obtaining national IDs; Galjeel and other Somalis who have lived in Kenya for decades are included with more recent Somali refugees and denied ID cards

Illicit drugs

widespread harvesting of small plots of marijuana; transit country for South Asian heroin destined for Europe and North America; Indian methaqualone also transits on way to South Africa; significant potential for money-laundering activity given the country’s status as a regional financial center; massive corruption, and relatively high levels of narcotics-associated activities


Leave a Reply

Next Post


Mon Jul 26 , 2021
Introduction :: Slovakia Background Slovakia traces its roots to the 9th century state of Great Moravia. Subsequently, the Slovaks became part of the Hungarian Kingdom, where they remained for the next 1,000 years. After the formation of the dual Austro-Hungarian monarchy in 1867, backlash to language and education policies favoring […]

You May Like