Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content
National Computer Board


Founding president and liberation struggle icon Jomo KENYATTA led Kenya from independence in 1963 until his death in 1978, when 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 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, 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. UN-sponsored talks in late February produced a powersharing accord bringing ODINGA into the government in the restored position of prime minister. Kenya in August 2010 adopted a new constitution that eliminates the role of prime minister after the next presidential election.

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

total: 580,367 sq km
country comparison to the world: 49
land: 569,140 sq km
water: 11,227 sq km

varies from tropical along coast to arid in interior

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

Population: 43,013,341 (July 2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 31

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%.

Protestant 45%, Roman Catholic 33%, Muslim 10%, indigenous beliefs 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 .

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

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 85.1%
male: 90.6%
female: 79.7% (2003 est.)

Government type: republic

name: Nairobi
geographic coordinates: 1 17 S, 36 49 E
time difference: UTC+3 (8 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

12 December 1963 (from the UK)

Legal system:
mixed legal system of English common law, Islamic law, and customary law; judicial review in High Court

Executive branch:
chief of state: President Mwai KIBAKI (since 30 December 2002); Vice President Stephen Kalonzo MUSYOKA (since 10 January 2008);
head of government: President Mwai KIBAKI (since 30 December 2002); Vice President Stephen Kalonzo MUSYOKA (since 10 January 2008); Prime Minister Raila Amolo ODINGA (since 17 April 2008); note - according to the 2008 powersharing agreement the role of the prime minister was not well defined; constitutionally, the president remains chief of state and head of government, but the prime minister is charged with coordinating government business

cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president and chaired by the prime minister, who is the leader of the largest party in parliament
(For more information visit the World Leaders website)

elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term (eligible for a second term); in addition to receiving the largest number of votes in absolute terms, the presidential candidate must also win 25% or more of the vote in at least five of Kenya's seven provinces and one area to avoid a runoff; election last held on 27 December 2007 (next to be held in December 2012); vice president appointed by the president; note - the new constitution sets elections for August 2011 but this date is expected to slip

election results: President Mwai KIBAKI reelected; percent of vote - Mwai KIBAKI 46%, Raila ODINGA 44%, Kalonzo MUSYOKA 9%, other 3.4%

Legislative branch:

unicameral National Assembly or Bunge usually referred to as Parliament (224 seats; 210 members elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms, 12 nominated members appointed by the president but selected by the parties in proportion to their parliamentary vote totals, 2 ex-officio members); note - the constitution promulgated in August 2010 changes the legislature to a bicameral parliament consisting of a 290 member National Assembly and a 94 member Senate; parliament members will serve five year terms

elections: last held on 27 December 2007 (next to be held in December 2012)

election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - ODM 99, PNU 46, ODM-K 16, KANU 14 other 35; ex-officio 2; seats appointed by the president - ODM 6, PNU 3, ODM-K 2, KANU 1

Judicial branch:
Court of Appeal (chief justice is appointed by the president); High Court; note - the constitution promulgated in August 2010 specifies three superior courts consisting of a Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, and High Court, and three subordinate courts consisting of Magistrate courts, Kadhis courts (sentences according to Muslim law), and Courts Martial 

Economy Overview
Although the regional hub for trade and finance in East Africa, Kenya has been hampered by corruption and by reliance upon several primary goods whose prices have remained low. In 1997, the IMF suspended Kenya's Enhanced Structural Adjustment Program due to the government's failure to maintain reforms and curb corruption. The IMF, which had resumed loans in 2000 to help Kenya through a drought, again halted lending in 2001 when the government failed to institute several anticorruption measures. In the key December 2002 elections, Daniel Arap MOI's 24-year-old reign ended, and a new opposition government took on the formidable economic problems facing the nation. After some early progress in rooting out corruption and encouraging donor support, the KIBAKI government was rocked by high-level graft scandals in 2005 and 2006. In 2006, the World Bank and IMF delayed loans pending action by the government on corruption. The international financial institutions and donors have since resumed lending, despite little action on the government's part to deal with corruption. Post-election violence in early 2008, coupled with the effects of the global financial crisis on remittance and exports, reduced GDP growth to 1.7 in 2008, but the economy rebounded in 2009-11.

Key Economic Indicators
GDP – real growth rate:
5.3% (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 63
5.6% (2010 est.)
2.6% (2009 est.)

GDP – per capita (PPP):
$1,700 (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 192
$1,700 (2010 est.)
$1,700 (2009 est.)
note:data are in 2011 US dollars

GDP – composition by sector

industry: 16.4%
services: 64.6% (2011 est.)

Labor force:
18.39 million (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 32

revenues: $7.038 billion
expenditures: $9.11 billion (2011 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):
11% (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 195
4% (2010 est.)

Agriculture – products:
tea, coffee, corn, wheat, sugarcane, fruit, vegetables; dairy products, beef, 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

$5.443 billion (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 112
$5.22 billion (2010 est.)

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

Exports - partners
Uganda 10.1%, Tanzania 9.8%, UK 8.8%, Netherlands 8.2%, US 5.8%, Egypt 4.7%, Democratic Republic of the Congo 4.3% (2010)
$11.87 billion (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 91
$11.2 billion (2010 est.)

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

Imports – Partners
China 13.6%, India 13.4%, UAE 9.7%, South Africa 8.4%, Saudi Arabia 6.8%, Japan 4.7% (2010)

Exchange rates:

Kenyan shillings (KES) per US dollar -
86.23 (2011 est.)
79.233 (2010 est.)
77.352 (2009)
68.358 (2008)
68.309 (2007)

Telephones – main lines in use
460,100 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 101

Telephones – mobile cellular:
24.969 million (2010)
country comparison to the world: 36

Telephone system:

general assessment: inadequate; fixed-line telephone system is small and inefficient; trunks are primarily microwave radio relay; business data commonly transferred by a very small aperture terminal (VSAT) system

domestic: sole fixed-line provider, Telkom Kenya, is slated for privatization; multiple providers in the mobile-cellular segment of the market fostering a boom in mobile-cellular telephone usage with teledensity reaching 60 per 100 persons in 2010

international: country code - 254; The East Africa Marine System (TEAMS) and the SEACOM undersea fiber-optic cable systems; satellite earth stations - 4 Intelsat

Internet country code: .ke

Internet hosts: 47,676 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 90

Internet Users: 3.996 million (2009)

country comparison to the world
: 59

Source: CIA World Factbook