Kenya General Facts

Land area: 582,646 square kilometres
Population: 28.7 million (1999 census)
Population density: 5 people per square kilometre
Population growth rate: 2.7% per year
Currency: Kenya shilling (Ksh.)
Exchange rate: For updated information on exchange rates contact:
National language: Kiswahili
Official language: English
GDP per capita: Ksh. 22,943
Value of exports:
(Domestic + re-exports)
Ksh. 117,461,120,000
(Year 2001, January-September)
Value of imports:
(Private + Government imports)
Ksh. 219,158,380,000
(Year 2001, January-September)
Main exports: Tea, coffee, horticultural products, pyrethrum, soda ash
Capital city: Nairobi
Other cities: Mombasa, Kisumu
Other commercial towns: Nakuru, Eldoret, Thika, Athi River

Kenya is strategically located within easy reach of export markets in the African region, the Middle East, Europe and Asia. In addition, it has a common border with Ethiopia, Sudan, Somalia, Uganda and Tanzania.

The country lies across the equator on the Eastern seaboard of Africa. Endowed with a rich heritage of flora, fauna and other natural resources, Kenya enjoys a wide range of economic activities. The Great Rift Valley, which bisects the country from North to South and is clotted with lakes and extinct volcanoes, is one of Kenya's fascinating physical features.

Since independence in 1963, Kenya has enjoyed uninterrupted political stability. This, together with the modern infrastructure, has made Kenya the natural base for the administration of relief assistance to troubled neighbouring countries where she has actively participated in several peace making missions.

The pragmatic economic approach that the Government has followed, coupled with political stability, have encouraged foreign and local investment leading to remarkable development in various sectors. Agriculture, which is the backbone of Kenya's economy, accounts for about 24% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and approximately 60% of exports. Manufacturing, commerce and tourism, which collectively account for an additional one-third of GDP, supplement agriculture.

Kenya has a benign climate, wildlife reserves, spectacular scenery, unlimited opportunities for recreation and sports; luxury hotels, game lodges and resorts; and comfortable housing that are available in secure verdant suburbs. Kenya espouses freedom of worship and believers of various faiths will readily find places of worship.

Kenya has an abundant supply of well-educated and skilled labour force available at internationally competitive rates. A cordial system of industrial relations has been developed over the years. Trade unions are organised by the industry rather than craft. Union membership is voluntary and there is a well-established industrial court for settling labour disputes.

The country has a well-established telecommunication system. Thirty internet service providers are currently licensed to operate in Kenya, while other applications are being considered. The Parastatal Reform Programme has created enormous investment opportunities for private sector participation and there exist opportunities to be exploited.

Electricity is supplied at 240 volts, 50 cycles single phase and at 415 volts, 50 cycles three-phase. The Government is encouraging private sector participation in the production of electricity.

Kenya has more than 30 monthly, bi-monthly and quarterly magazines and journals published locally. There are four English language dailies, as well as a large selection of foreign newspapers and magazines. The local television network is linked to the international networks such as the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), Cable News Network (CNN) and Reuters. Kenya hosts an International Press Centre serving over 150 international journalists.