Full Name
Republic of Kenya
Jamhuri ya Kenya
Origins of name: Kenya is named after a mountain of the same name. The Kikuyu people who lived around present day Mt Kenya referred to it as Kirinyaga or Kerenyaga, meaning ‘mountain of whiteness’ because of its snow capped peak
Former name: British East Africa

Kenya was formerly a British colony and gained independence on December 12, 1963
Deemed the ‘Cradle of Mankind’ as some of the remnants of the earliest man have been found here
Kenya is famous for its abundance and variety of wildlife

Current Leader

Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta

Form of Government
Head of state is the President who is elected every five years
The President is eligible for a second term

Government structure
Head of State is the President, Vice-President; elected as president's running mate, constitutionally charged with coordinating government business and the Cabinet.

Military Statistics
Manpower fit for service: Male - 9,044,685, Female - 8,805,736
Expenditures: 2.8% GDP
Branches: Kenyan Army, Kenyan Navy, Kenyan Air Force

Former Rulers
1964 – 1978 Jomo Kenyatta
1978 - 2002 Daniel Toroitich Arap Moi
2002 – 2013 Mwai Kibaki

Altitude: 1670 metres
Population: 3.375 million (2009)

Size: 43,013,341 (2012)
Life expectancy: 57.9 years
Gender make-up: Male – 50.12, Female – 49.88%

GDP per capita
$1,800 (2011)

$1,700 (2010)

Area: 580,367sqkm
Land boundaries: Ethiopia 861km, Somalia 682km, Sudan 232km, Tanzania 769km, Uganda 933km

Major Languages
Kiswahili, English

Religious portfolio
Protestant 45%, Roman Catholic 33%, Muslim 10%, Indigenous beliefs 10%, other 2%

National Make-up
Kikuyu 22%, Luhya 14%, Luo 13%, Kalenjin 12%, Kamba 11%, Kisii 6%, Meru 6%, other African 15%, Non-African (Asian, European, and Arab) 1%

Natural Resources
Limestone, Soda ash, Salt, Gemstones, Fluorspar, Zinc, Diatomite, Gypsum, Wildlife, Hydropower

Main exports
Tea, Coffee, Horticultural products, Petroleum products

Land Use
Arable land: 8.01%
Permanent crops: 0.97%
Other: 91.02%

Monetary Unit/Currency
Kenya Shilling

Dialling Code

Internet Code

Main port: Mombasa
Airport: Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) is located 18km from Nairobi’s CBD

Modern issues

Mau Forest crisis: the Mau forest is Kenya’s largest water tower. However during the past 15 years, more than 100,000 hectares - one quarter of the protected forest reserve - have been settled and cleared causing drought in surrounding valleys
Drought due to failed long rains in East Africa
Water pollution from urban and industrial wastes
Degradation of water quality from increased use of pesticides and fertilisers
Water hyacinth infestation in Lake Victoria
Soil erosion
The locally growing moringa tree is being presented at an international conference as one of the few herbal cures for malaria

President. Kibaki launched an open data portal ( which means that Kenyan citizens will be knowledgeable on the affairs of their state. It ushers in a new age of transparency and is an attempt to prevent the hoarding of information in government circles

Several of Kenya's high profilers faced crimes against humanity, specifically murder, deportation or forcible transfer, persecution and rape following the 2007-2008 post-election violence. Mr Ruto and Mr Sang are accused of having organised attacks against PNU supporters in Rift Valley following the controversial announcement of President Mwai Kibaki as the winner of the 2007 elections. Mr Kenyatta and Mr Muthaura were accused of having organised the Mungiki and pro-PNU youth to carry out revenge attacks on ODM supporters in Nairobi and Rift Valley.

Following the March 4 elections, the Interim Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) announced Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta the winner and president elect with 50.2 per cent of the vote. Prime Minister Raila Odinga however disputed the results and filed a petition with the Supreme Court of Kenya challenging it

There is a high level of income inequality within Kenya with the richest 10 per cent of the population controlling almost half of the nation’s wealth, while the poorest 10 per cent hold less than 1 per cent
The Nairobi Stock Exchange has had a negative performance due to fraud allegations, leading to a confidence crisis

In 2011, the lack of rains in part of the country resulted in drought and famine. There was also a dramatic increase in refugees entering the country – at one point around 1,500 a day. This resulted in a row between the Kenyan government, international aid agencies and the United Nations over the opening of an extension camp for Somalia refugees

There has been widespread dissatisfaction with the government this year which have manifested numerous public protests. There have been strikes by teaching staff, medical staff and protests over the rising cost of living and security
HIV/Aids continues to be a problem – this has led to a higher number of orphans, ageing populations that must look after children and misinformation about the virus has led to shocking crimes such as the rape of children
Following the post-election violence in 2008, approximately 600,000 people were listed as Internally Displaced People (IDP) by the Internally Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC). Efforts to resettle the IDPs continue with the government seeking to give handouts for compensation

Foreign Affairs
Kenya declared war on Al-Shabaab in October 2011. Kenya's internal security minister made the announcement that the military would pursue Somali gunmen, who they said were responsible for a spate of kidnappings of foreigners, across the frontier

The UK continues to be a strong trading partner with Kenya and a major source of foreign assistance

The Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) announced on 31st August 2012 that they had taken over Kismayu from Al Shabaab militants. Despite the victory, there are fears of retaliatory attacks from the Al-Qaeda linked group

The Major Conflicts

Mau Mau Conflict
When: Early 1950s – Early 1960s
Who: Mau Mau guerrilla fighters vs British colonial government
Why: Was primarily a conflict over land lost to the British colonial government that evolved into a fight for independence
Outcome: Mau Mau movement became a catalyst for independence and subsided with British reforms and eventually ended with Kenyan independence

Attempted Coup d’etat
When: 1982
Who: Group from the Kenyan Air Force (although politicians, lawyers and students were accused of playing a part) vs Daniel Arap Moi’s Government
Why: Disenchantment with the Moi regime
Outcome: After the announcement on the national radio, the Voice of Kenya, that the government had been overthrown, the General Service Unit (GSU) and loyalist forces were able to suppress the coup. Hezekiah Ochuka, a Senior Private Grade-I (the second lowest rank in Kenya’s military) ruled Kenya for a few hours before escaping to Tanzania. After being extradited to Kenya, he was tried and found guilty for leading the coup and hanged in 1987 along with 12 others convicted of treason. Several hundred others were jailed.

What to see?
The Great Migration: a semi-annual occurrence of, predominantly, wildebeest that migrate in a circle from Tanzania to Kenya and back
The Great Rift Valley
The Maasai Mara: One of Africa’s jewel game reserves

Popular Sports

Famous sportsmen and sportswomen

David Rudisha: - World 800M record holder

Pamela Jelimo: – 2008 Beijing Olympics gold medallist. The first Kenyan woman to win an Olympic gold medal and also the Golden League Jackpot in 2008
Samuel Kamau Wanjiru: – Winner of the 2008 Beijing Olympics and an Olympics record. Wanjiru was the first Kenyan to win the Olympic gold in the marathon

The ‘Lunatic Express’ was the name given to the railroad from Mombasa to Uganda built by the British in East Africa. It was called thus because of its wild nature. It had shaky looking wooden trestle bridges, enormous chasms, prohibitive costs, men dropping by the hundreds from diseases, and man-eating lions pulling railway workers out of carriages at night

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