Kenya

 

Founding president and liberation struggle icon Jomo KENYATTA led Kenya from independence in 1963 until his death in 1978, when President Daniel Toroiticharap 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 cantered on an anticorruption platform. KIBAKI’s NARC coalition splintered in 2005 over the constitutional review process.

 

Geography:
Location: Eastern Africa, bordering the Indian Ocean, between Somalia and Tanzania
Geographic coordinates: 1 00 N, 38 00 E
People:
Population:  43,013,341 (July 2012 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

Age structure: 0-14 years: 42.2% (male 8,730,845/female 8,603,270)

15-64 years: 55.1% (male 11,373,997/female 11,260,402)

65 years and over: 2.7% (male 497,389/female 605,031) (2011 est.)

Government:
Country name: conventional long form: Republic of Kenya

conventional short form: Kenya

local long form: Republic of Kenya/Jamhuri y Kenya

local short form: Kenya

former: British East Africa

Government type: republic
Capital: name: Nairobi

geographic coordinates: 1 17 S, 36 49 E

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

Communications:
Telephones – main lines in use: 460,100 (2009)
Telephones – mobile cellular: 24.969 million (2009)
Transportation:
Airports: 194 (2012)
Airports – with paved runways: total: 15

over 3,047 m: 4

2,438 to 3,047 m: 2

1,524 to 2,437 m: 3

914 to 1,523 m: 5

under 914 m: 1 (2012)

Military:
Military branches: Kenyan Army, Kenyan Navy, Kenyan Air Force (2010)
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); applicants must be Kenyan citizens and provide a national identity card (obtained at age 18) and a school-leaving certificate; women serve under the same terms and conditions as men; mandatory retirement at age 55 (2010)

Economy:

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. A severe drought from 1999 to 2000 compounded Kenya’s problems, causing water and energy rationing and reducing agricultural output. As a result, GDP contracted by 0.2% in 2000. The IMF, which had resumed loans in 2000 to help Kenya through the drought, again halted lending in 2001 when the government failed to institute several anticorruption measures. Despite the return of strong rains in 2001, weak commodity prices, endemic corruption, and low investment limited Kenya’s economic growth to 1.2%.

Transnational Issues:

Kenya served as an important mediator in brokering Sudan’s north-south separation in February 2005; Kenya provides shelter to almost a quarter of a million refugees, including Ugandans who flee across the border periodically to seek protection from Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) 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.