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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 4 March 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.

Kenya has been hampered by corruption and by reliance upon several primary goods whose prices have remained low. Low infrastructure investment threatens Kenya’s long-term position as the largest East African economy, although the Kenyatta administration has prioritized infrastructure development. International financial lenders and donors remain important to Kenya’s economic growth and development.

Unemployment is high at around 40%. The country has chronic budget deficits and is in the process of devolving state revenues and responsibilities to the counties. Inflationary pressures and sharp currency depreciation peaked in early 2012 but have since abated following low global food and fuel prices and monetary interventions by the Central Bank. Recent terrorism in Kenya and the surrounding region threatens Kenya’s important tourism industry.

Kenya issued its first sovereign bond offering in mid-2014, generating $2 billion at 6% interest; the funds are slated to be used for infrastructure projects. Nairobi has contracted with a Chinese company to begin construction of a new standard gauge railway, but the project allegedly has been beset by corruption and fraud.

GDP (purchasing power parity):
$134.7 billion (2014 est.)
$127.9 billion (2013 est.)
$122.3 billion (2012 est.)
note: data are in 2014 US dollars
country comparison to the world: 75

GDP (official exchange rate):
$62.72 billion (2014 est.)

GDP – real growth rate:
5.3% (2014 est.)
4.6% (2013 est.)
4.6% (2012 est.)
* country comparison to the world: 48

GDP – per capita (PPP):
$3,100 (2014 est.)
$3,100 (2013 est.)
$3,000 (2012 est.)
note: data are in 2013 US dollars
country comparison to the world: 187

Gross national saving:
11.6% of GDP (2014 est.)
9.6% of GDP (2013 est.)
10.7% of GDP (2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 139

GDP – composition, by end use:
household consumption: 81.1%
government consumption: 14%
investment in fixed capital: 20.5%
investment in inventories: -0.5%
exports of goods and services: 16.9%
imports of goods and services: -32.1%
(2014 est.)

GDP – composition, by sector of origin:
agriculture: 29.3%
industry: 17.7%
services: 53%
(2014 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

Industrial production growth rate:
4.7% (2014 est.)
* country comparison to the world: 56

Labor force:
17.7 million (2014 est.)
* country comparison to the world: 35

Labor force – by occupation:
agriculture: 75%
industry and services: 25%
(2007 est.)

Unemployment rate:
40% (2013 est.)
40% (2001 est.)
* country comparison to the world: 191

Population below poverty line:
43.4% (2009 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 1.8%
highest 10%: 37.8% (2005)

Distribution of family income – Gini index:
42.5 (2008 est.)
44.9 (1997)
country comparison to the world: 48

revenues: $11.78 billion
expenditures: $15.05 billion
(2014 est.)

Taxes and other revenues:
18.8% of GDP (2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 173

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-):
-5.2% of GDP (2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 172

Public debt:
58.9% of GDP (2014 est.)
55.6% of GDP (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 57

Fiscal year:
1 July – 30 June

Inflation rate (consumer prices):
7.2% (2014 est.)
5.7% (2013 est.)

Central bank discount rate:
7% (31 December 2010)
* country comparison to the world: 45

Commercial bank prime lending rate:
16.5% (31 December 2014 est.)
17.31% (31 December 2013 est.)
* country comparison to the world: 30

Stock of narrow money:
$11.3 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
$9.134 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 76

Stock of broad money:
$24.02 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
$18.92 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
* country comparison to the world: 83

Stock of domestic credit:
$34 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
$23.61 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 72

Market value of publicly traded shares:
$14.79 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
$10.2 billion (31 December 2011)
$14.46 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
* country comparison to the world: 69

Current account balance:
-$5.01 billion (2014 est.)
-$4.788 billion (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 169

$6.271 billion (2014 est.)
$5.796 billion (2013 est.)
* country comparison to the world: 109

Exports – partners:
Uganda 13%, Tanzania 8.9%, Netherlands 7.1%, US 6.6%, UK 6.3%, UAE 5.9%, Pakistan 4.6%, Egypt 4.1% (2013)

Exports – commodities:
tea, horticultural products, coffee, petroleum products, fish, cement

$16.47 billion (2014 est.)
$15.53 billion (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 85

Imports – commodities:
machinery and transportation equipment, petroleum products, motor vehicles, iron and steel, resins and plastics

Imports – partners:
India 19.9%, China 17.8%, UAE 8.8%, Japan 5% (2013)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$9.259 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
$6.599 billion (31 December 2013 est.).)
country comparison to the world: 77

Debt – external:
$16.77 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
$13.18 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 90

Stock of direct foreign investment – at home:
$4.171 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
$3.39 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 96

Stock of direct foreign investment – abroad:
$350.5 million (31 December 2014 est.)
$335.5 million (31 December 2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 86

Exchange rates:
Kenyan shillings (KES) per US dollar –
87.63 (2014 est.)
86.123 (2013 est.)
84.53 (2012 est.)
88.811 (2011 est.)
79.233 (2010 est.)

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
* country comparison to the world: 49

Area – comparative:
five times the size of Ohio; slightly more than twice the size of Nevada

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

Elevation extremes:
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%
arable land 9.8%; permanent crops 0.9%; permanent pasture 37.4%
forest: 6.1%
other: 45.8% (2011 est.)

Irrigated land:
1,032 sq km (2003)

Total renewable water resources:
30.7 cu km (2011)

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):
total: 2.74 cu km/yr (17%/4%/79%)
per capita: 72.96 cu m/yr (2003)

Natural hazards:
recurring drought; flooding during rainy seasons
volcanism: limited volcanic activity; the Barrier (elev. 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; degradation of water quality from increased use of pesticides and fertilizers; 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

Kenya, Reports & Workshops May 30, 2016

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