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Kenya Country Guide

Explore Kenya in Africa

Kenya with the capital city Nairobi is located in Africa (Eastern Africa, bordering the Indian Ocean). It covers some 582,651 square kilometres (slightly more than twice the size of Nevada) with 37,953,000 citizens.

Map of the area of  in

The landscape offers low plains rise to central highlands bisected by Great Rift Valley and fertile plateau in west. The average density of population is approximately 65 per km². The notable climate conditions in Kenya can be described as varying from tropical along coast to arid in interior. Potential threats by nature are recurring drought or flooding during rainy seasons.

To reach someone in Kenya dial +254 prior to a number. There are 664,100 installed telephones. And there are 19,365,000 registered mobile phones. The cellular networks commonly support frequencies of 900 Mhz. Websites registered in this country end with the top level domain ".ke". If you want to bring electric equipment on your trip (e.g. laptop power supply), note the local power outlet of 240V - 50Hz.

About the flag and history of Kenya

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.

Founding president and liberation struggle icon Jomo KENYATTA led Kenya from independence in 1963 until his death in 1978, when President Daniel 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 were viewed as having generally reflected the will of the Kenyan people. 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 and assumed the presidency following a campaign centered on an anticorruption platform. KIBAKI's NARC coalition splintered in 2005 over a constitutional review process. Government defectors joined with KANU to form a new opposition coalition, the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM), which defeated the government's draft constitution in a popular referendum in November 2005. KIBAKI's reelection in December 2007 brought charges of vote rigging from ODM candidate Raila ODINGA and unleashed two months of violence in which as many as 1,500 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 significant devolution of power and resources to 47 newly created counties. It also eliminated the position of prime minister following the first presidential election under the new constitution, which occurred on March 4, 2013. Uhuru KENYATTA, the son of founding president Jomo KENYATTA, won the March elections in the first round by a close margin and was sworn into office on 9 April 2013.

Geography Quick-Facts

Summary Continent: Africa
Neighbours: Ethiopia, Tanzania, Sudan, Somalia, Uganda
Capital: Nairobi
Size 582,650 square kilometers (km² or sqkm) or 224,962 square miles (mi² or sqmi)
slightly more than twice the size of Nevada
Population 37,953,000
Currency Name: Shilling, Currency Code: KES
Country Top Level Domain (cTLD) .ke
Telephone Country Prefix +254
Mobile Phone Connections 19,365,000
Landline Phone Connections 664,100

Country Position in World Rankings

Information about single country attributes and how these compare against the rest of the world. The information below is compiled with data from 2013. As such, it may differ a bit to the Information above in the text (which is from 2010).


Value name Value World Rank
Area 580,367 (sq km) 49

People and Society

Value name Value World Rank
Population 44,037,656 31
Population growth rate 2.27 (%) 39
Birth rate 30.08 (births/1,000 population) 43
Death rate 7.12 (deaths/1,000 population) 126
Net migration rate -0.23 (migrant(s)/1,000 population) 119
Maternal mortality rate 360.00 (deaths/100,000 live births) 29
Infant mortality rate 42.18 (deaths/1,000 live births) 51
Life expectancy at birth 63.29 (years) 180
Total fertility rate 3.76 (children born/woman) 43
Health expenditures 4.80 (% of GDP) 149
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate 6.30 (%) 11
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS 1,500,000 4
HIV/AIDS - deaths 80,000 6
Obesity - adult prevalence rate 4.20 (%) 171
Children under the age of 5 years underweight 16.40 (%) 47
Education expenditures 6.70 (% of GDP) 25


Value name Value World Rank
GDP (purchasing power parity) 77,140,000,000 84
GDP - real growth rate 4.70 (%) 69
GDP - per capita (PPP) 1,800 198
Labor force 18,890,000 31
Unemployment rate 40.00 (%) 187
Distribution of family income - Gini index 43 49
Investment (gross fixed) 21.90 (% of GDP) 75
Taxes and other revenues 17.9 (% of GDP) 178
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-) -4.70 (% of GDP) 153
Public debt 50.00 (% of GDP) 64
Inflation rate (consumer prices) 10.10 (%) 198
Commercial bank prime lending rate 15.05 (%) 41
Stock of narrow money 9,279,000,000 79
Stock of broad money 21,230,000,000 85
Stock of domestic credit 20,030,000,000 84
Market value of publicly traded shares 14,460,000,000 67
Industrial production growth rate 3.10 (%) 87
Current account balance -3,948,000,000 158
Exports 5,942,000,000 106
Imports 14,390,000,000 89
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold 5,396,000,000 88
Debt - external 9,526,000,000 99
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home 3,018,000,000 90
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad 320,000,000 82


Value name Value World Rank
Electricity - production 6,573,000,000 (kWh) 106
Electricity - consumption 5,516,000,000 (kWh) 111
Electricity - exports 27,000,000 (kWh) 81
Electricity - imports 38,000,000 (kWh) 101
Electricity - installed generating capacity 1706000 (kW) 107
Electricity - from fossil fuels 43.3 (% of total installed capacity) 167
Electricity - from hydroelectric plants 43.8 (% of total installed capacity) 50
Electricity - from other renewable sources 12.9 (% of total installed capacity) 16
Crude oil - imports 32,560 (bbl/day) 63
Refined petroleum products - production 30,960 (bbl/day) 92
Refined petroleum products - consumption 79,410 (bbl/day) 88
Refined petroleum products - exports 1,065 (bbl/day) 108
Refined petroleum products - imports 34,990 (bbl/day) 81
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy 12,250,000 (Mt) 96


Value name Value World Rank
Telephones - main lines in use 283,500 120
Telephones - mobile cellular 28,080,000 36
Internet hosts 71,018 88
Internet users 3,996,000 59


Value name Value World Rank
Airports 194 31
Railways 2,066 (km) 71
Roadways 160,886 (km) 30
Merchant marine 5 125


Value name Value World Rank
Military expenditures 1.80 (% of GDP) 78

Data based on CIA facts book 2010 & 2013, wikipedia, national statistical offices and their census releases

List of current world heritage sites

Name Since
Fort Jesus, Mombasa
The Fort, built by the Portuguese in 1593-1596 to the designs of Giovanni Battista Cairati to protect the port of Mombasa, is one of the most outstanding and well preserved examples of 16th Portuguese military fortification and a landmark in the hist ...
Kenya Lake System in the Great Rift Valley
The Kenya Lake System in the Great Rift Valley , a natural property of outstanding beauty, comprises three inter-linked relatively shallow lakes (Lake Bogoria, Lake Nakuru and Lake Elementaita) in the Rift Valley Province of Kenya and covers a total ...
Lamu Old Town
Lamu Old Town is the oldest and best-preserved Swahili settlement in East Africa, retaining its traditional functions. Built in coral stone and mangrove timber, the town is characterized by the simplicity of structural forms enriched by such features ...
Mount Kenya National Park/Natural Forest
At 5,199 m, Mount Kenya is the second highest peak in Africa. It is an ancient extinct volcano, which during its period of activity (3.1-2.6 million years ago) is thought to have risen to 6,500 m. There are 12 remnant glaciers on the mountain, all re ...
Protection and management requirements
The most saline of Africa's large lakes, Turkana is an outstanding laboratory for the study of plant and animal communities. The three National Parks serve as a stopover for migrant waterfowl and are major breeding grounds for the Nile crocodile, hip ...
Sacred Mijikenda Kaya Forests
The Mijikenda Kaya Forests consist of 11 separate forest sites spread over some 200 km along the coast containing the remains of numerous fortified villages, known as kayas, of the Mijikenda people. The kayas, created as of the 16th century but aband ...