Kenya

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PAGE LAST UPDATED ON NOVEMBER 10, 2011
Flag of Kenya
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Location of Kenya
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OF KENYA
 

Introduction

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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 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.
 
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Geography

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Eastern Africa, bordering the Indian Ocean, between Somalia and Tanzania
 
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1 00 N, 38 00 E
 
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total: 580,367 sq km
country comparison to the world: 49
land: 569,140 sq km
water: 11,227 sq km
 
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slightly more than twice the size of Nevada
 
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total: 3,477 km
border countries: Ethiopia 861 km, Somalia 682 km, South Sudan 232 km, Tanzania 769 km, Uganda 933 km
 
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536 km
 
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territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 m depth or to the depth of exploitation
 
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varies from tropical along coast to arid in interior
 
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low plains rise to central highlands bisected by Great Rift Valley; fertile plateau in west
 
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lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m
highest point: Mount Kenya 5,199 m
 
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limestone, soda ash, salt, gemstones, fluorspar, zinc, diatomite, gypsum, wildlife, hydropower
 
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arable land: 8.01%
permanent crops: 0.97%
other: 91.02% (2005)
 
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1,030 sq km (2008)
 
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30.2 cu km (1990)
 
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total: 1.58 cu km/yr (30%/6%/64%)
per capita: 46 cu m/yr (2000)
 
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recurring drought; flooding during rainy seasons
volcanism: Kenya experiences limited volcanic activity; the Barrier (elev. 1,032 m) last erupted in 1921; South Island is the only other historically active volcano
 
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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
 
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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
 
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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
 
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People and Society

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noun: Kenyan(s)
adjective: Kenyan
 
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Kikuyu 22%, Luhya 14%, Luo 13%, Kalenjin 12%, Kamba 11%, Kisii 6%, Meru 6%, other African 15%, non-African (Asian, European, and Arab) 1%
 
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English (official), Kiswahili (official), numerous indigenous languages
 
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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
 
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41,070,934 (July 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 33
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
 
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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.)
 
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total: 18.9 years
male: 18.8 years
female: 19 years (2011 est.)
 
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2.462% (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 29
 
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33.54 births/1,000 population (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 34
 
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8.93 deaths/1,000 population (July 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 72
 
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0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 94
 
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urban population: 22% of total population (2010)
rate of urbanization: 4.2% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
 
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NAIROBI (capital) 3.375 million; Mombassa 966,000 (2009)
 
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at birth: 1.02 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.83 male(s)/female
total population: 1.01 male(s)/female (2011 est.)
 
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530 deaths/100,000 live births (2008)
country comparison to the world: 26
 
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total: 52.29 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 44
male: 55.03 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 49.49 deaths/1,000 live births (2011 est.)
 
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total population: 59.48 years
country comparison to the world: 189
male: 58.91 years
female: 60.07 years (2011 est.)
 
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4.19 children born/woman (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 38
 
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12.2% of GDP (2009)
country comparison to the world: 9
 
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0.14 physicians/1,000 population (2002)
country comparison to the world: 159
 
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1.4 beds/1,000 population (2006)
country comparison to the world: 125
 
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improved:
urban: 83% of population
rural: 52% of population
total: 59% of population
unimproved:
urban: 17% of population
rural: 48% of population
total: 41% of population (2008)
 
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improved:
urban: 27% of population
rural: 32% of population
total: 31% of population
unimproved:
urban: 73% of population
rural: 68% of population
total: 69% of population (2008)
 
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6.3% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 11
 
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1.5 million (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 4
 
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80,000 (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 6
 
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degree of risk: high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne disease: malaria and Rift Valley fever
water contact disease: schistosomiasis
animal contact disease: rabies (2009)
 
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16.5% (2003)
country comparison to the world: 50
 
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7% of GDP (2006)
country comparison to the world: 16
 
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definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 85.1%
male: 90.6%
female: 79.7% (2003 est.)
 
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total: 11 years
male: 11 years
female: 11 years (2009)
 
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Government

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conventional long form: Republic of Kenya
conventional short form: Kenya
local long form: Republic of Kenya/Jamhuri ya Kenya
local short form: Kenya
former: British East Africa
 
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republic
 
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name: Nairobi
geographic coordinates: 1 17 S, 36 49 E
time difference: UTC+3 (8 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
 
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7 provinces and 1 area*; Central, Coast, Eastern, Nairobi Area*, North Eastern, Nyanza, Rift Valley, Western; note - the constitution promulgated in August 2010 designates 47 yet-to-be-defined counties as first-order administrative units
 
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12 December 1963 (from the UK)
 
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Independence Day, 12 December (1963); Madaraka Day, 1 June; Mashujaa Day, 20 October
 
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27 August 2010; the new constitution abolishes the position of prime minister and establishes a bicameral legislature; many details have yet to be finalized and will require significant legislative action
 
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mixed legal system of English common law, Islamic law, and customary law; judicial review in High Court
 
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accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
 
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18 years of age; universal
 
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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 Opens in New Window)
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%
 
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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
 
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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
 
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Forum for the Restoration of Democracy-Kenya or FORD-Kenya [Musikari KOMBO]; Forum for the Restoration of Democracy-People or FORD-People [Reuben OYONDI]; Kenya African National Union or KANU [Uhuru KENYATTA]; National Rainbow Coalition-Kenya or NARC-Kenya [Martha KARUA]; Orange Democratic Movement or ODM [Raila ODINGA]; Orange Democratic Movement-Kenya or ODM-K [Kalonzo MUSYOKA]; Party of National Unity or PNU [Mwai KIBAKI]; Shirikisho Party of Kenya or SPK [Chirau Ali MWAKWERE]
 
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Council of Islamic Preachers of Kenya or CIPK [Sheikh Idris MOHAMMED]; Kenya Human Rights Commission [L. Muthoni WANYEKI]; Muslim Human Rights Forum [Ali-Amin KIMATHI]; National Muslim Leaders Forum or NAMLEF [Abdullahi ABDI]; Protestant National Council of Churches of Kenya or NCCK [Canon Peter Karanja MWANGI]; Roman Catholic and other Christian churches; Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims or SUPKEM [Shaykh Abdul Gafur al-BUSAIDY]
other: labor unions
 
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ACP, AfDB, AU, C, COMESA, EAC, EADB, FAO, G-15, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IGAD, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, MIGA, MONUSCO, NAM, OPCW, PCA, UN, UNAMID, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNMISS, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
 
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chief of mission: Ambassador Elkanah ODEMBO Absalom
chancery: 2249 R Street NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 387-6101
FAX: [1] (202) 462-3829
consulate(s) general: Los Angeles
consulate(s): New York
 
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chief of mission: Ambassador J. Scott GRATION
embassy: US Embassy, United Nations Avenue, Nairobi; P. O. Box 606 Village Market, Nairobi 00621
mailing address: Box 21A, Unit 64100, APO AE 09831
telephone: [254] (20) 363-6000
FAX: [254] (20) 363-410
 
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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
 
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lion
 
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name: "Ee Mungu Nguvu Yetu" (Oh God of All Creation)
lyrics/music: Graham HYSLOP, Thomas KALUME, Peter KIBUKOSYA, Washington OMONDI, and George W. SENOGA-ZAKE/traditional, adapted by Graham HYSLOP, Thomas KALUME, Peter KIBUKOSYA, Washington OMONDI, and George W. SENOGA-ZAKE
note: adopted 1963; the anthem is based on a traditional Kenyan folk song
 
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Economy

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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 2009-10.
 
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$66.03 billion (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 83
$62.9 billion (2009 est.)
$61.31 billion (2008 est.)
note: data are in 2010 US dollars
 
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$32.16 billion (2010 est.)
 
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5% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 73
2.6% (2009 est.)
1.6% (2008 est.)
 
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$1,600 (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 198
$1,600 (2009 est.)
$1,600 (2008 est.)
note: data are in 2010 US dollars
 
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agriculture: 22%
industry: 16%
services: 62% (2010 est.)
 
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17.9 million (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 33
 
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agriculture: 75%
industry and services: 25% (2007 est.)
 
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40% (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 184
40% (2001 est.)
 
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50% (2000 est.)
 
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lowest 10%: 1.8%
highest 10%: 37.8% (2005)
 
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42.5 (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 49
44.9 (1997)
 
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19.8% of GDP (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 118
 
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revenues: $7.016 billion
expenditures: $9.043 billion (2010 est.)
 
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21.8% of GDP (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 142
 
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-6.3% of GDP (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 168
 
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47.7% of GDP (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 56
47.1% of GDP (2009 est.)
 
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4% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 132
9.2% (2009 est.)
 
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7% (31 December 2010 est.)
NA% (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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14.37% (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 59
14.8% (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$7.148 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 79
$5.833 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$15.82 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 90
$13.77 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$16.12 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 87
$13.44 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$14.46 billion (31 December 2010)
country comparison to the world: 68
$10.76 billion (31 December 2009)
$10.92 billion (31 December 2008)
 
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tea, coffee, corn, wheat, sugarcane, fruit, vegetables; dairy products, beef, pork, poultry, eggs
 
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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
 
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4% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 104
 
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6.79 billion kWh (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 103
 
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5.738 billion kWh (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 110
 
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41 million kWh (2008 est.)
 
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16 million kWh (2008 est.)
 
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136 bbl/day (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 117
 
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78,000 bbl/day (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 86
 
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8,061 bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 98
 
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80,160 bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 73
 
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0 bbl (1 January 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 148
 
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0 cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 146
 
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0 cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 193
 
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0 cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 123
 
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0 cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 83
 
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0 cu m (1 January 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 152
 
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-$2.024 billion (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 159
-$1.661 billion (2009 est.)
 
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$5.22 billion (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 109
$4.502 billion (2009 est.)
 
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tea, horticultural products, coffee, petroleum products, fish, cement
 
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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)
 
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$11.2 billion (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 86
$9.492 billion (2009 est.)
 
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machinery and transportation equipment, petroleum products, motor vehicles, iron and steel, resins and plastics
 
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China 13.6%, India 13.4%, UAE 9.7%, South Africa 8.4%, Saudi Arabia 6.8%, Japan 4.7% (2010)
 
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$4.321 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 91
$3.85 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$8.465 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 96
$8.005 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$2.262 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 88
$2.129 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$306.4 million (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 77
$288.4 million (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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Kenyan shillings (KES) per US dollar -
79.217 (2010)
77.352 (2009)
68.358 (2008)
68.309 (2007)
72.101 (2006)
 
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Communications

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460,100 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 101
 
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24.969 million (2010)
country comparison to the world: 36
 
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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 50 per 100 persons in 2009
international: country code - 254; The East Africa Marine System (TEAMS) and the SEACOM undersea fiber-optic cable systems; satellite earth stations - 4 Intelsat
 
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about a half-dozen privately-owned TV stations and a state-owned television broadcaster that operates 2 channels; satellite and cable TV subscription services are available; state-owned radio broadcaster operates 2 national radio channels and provides regional and local radio services in multiple languages; a large number of private radio broadcasters, including provincial stations broadcasting in local languages; transmissions of several international broadcasters are available (2007)
 
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.ke
 
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47,676 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 90
 
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3.996 million (2009)
country comparison to the world: 59
 
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Transportation

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191 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 33
 
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total: 17
over 3,047 m: 4
2,438 to 3,047 m: 2
1,524 to 2,437 m: 4
914 to 1,523 m: 6
under 914 m: 1 (2010)
 
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total: 174
1,524 to 2,437 m: 12
914 to 1,523 m: 107
under 914 m: 55 (2010)
 
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oil 4 km; refined products 928 km (2010)
 
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total: 2,066 km
country comparison to the world: 71
narrow gauge: 2,066 km 1.000-m gauge (2010)
 
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total: 160,886 km
country comparison to the world: 31
paved: 11,197 km
unpaved: 149,689 km (2008)
 
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(the only significant inland waterway in the country is the part of Lake Victoria within the boundaries of Kenya; Kisumu is the main port and has ferry connections to Uganda and Tanzania) (2010)
 
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total: 1
country comparison to the world: 156
by type: petroleum tanker 1
registered in other countries: 5 (Comoros 1, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 2, Tuvalu 1, unknown 1) (2010)
 
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Kisumu, Mombasa
 
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Military

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Kenya Armed Services: Kenya Army, Kenya Navy, Kenya Air Force (2011)
 
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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 (2011)
 
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males age 16-49: 9,768,140
females age 16-49: 9,466,257 (2010 est.)
 
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males age 16-49: 6,361,268
females age 16-49: 6,106,870 (2010 est.)
 
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male: 422,104
female: 416,927 (2010 est.)
 
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2.8% of GDP (2006)
country comparison to the world: 49
 
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Transnational Issues

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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
 
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refugees (country of origin): 173,702 (Somalia); 73,004 (Sudan); 16,428 (Ethiopia)
IDPs: 250,000-400,000 (2007 post-election violence; KANU attacks on opposition tribal groups in 1990s) (2007)
 
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widespread harvesting of small plots of marijuana; transit country for South Asian heroin destined for Europe and North America; Indian methaqualone also transits on way to South Africa; significant potential for money-laundering activity given the country's status as a regional financial center; massive corruption, and relatively high levels of narcotics-associated activities
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