About Kenya


With a population of 55 million, Kenya is the land of contrasts, as it is described, covers an area of 583,000 sq.Km which is roughly the size of France . Kenya , strategically located within easy reach of export markets in the African Region, Middle East & Asia is endowed with a rich heritage of flora, fauna and other natural resources

Kenya is believed to be the perfect combination of modern and natural beauty. Known worldwide for its wildlife and safari destination, it also boasts of the mighty Mount Kenya , several savannas, lakes and beaches, excellent climate & hospitable people. Kenya shares borders with five nations, which are Tanzania , Uganda , Sudan , Ethiopia and Somalia . Kenya major trading business partners are Britain , Tanzania , Korea , China , Italy , Germany , France , USA , Japan , U A E, Saudi Arabia , Uganda and India . Kenya has emerged as a significant player in regional trade, investment, infrastructure development and general economic growth. Situated on the East Coast of Africa facing the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean , It becomes the gateway to merchandise arriving from the Arab Countries, The Indian Sub Continent and the Far East Counties . Moreover, the lenient trade policies of the PTA (Preferential Trade Area), the regional trade bloc comprising them to trade comfortably amongest each other. The other 20 African Countries get yet another very good reason to import goods from Kenya since they are available with ease and economy. Kenya serves as the gateway to a vast African market of 400 million consumers.

Nairobi , capital of Kenya , situated at an elevation of about 1660 m (about 5450 ft) in the highlands of the southern part of the country. Nairobi is Kenya ‘s principal economic, administrative, and cultural center and is one of the largest and fastest growing cities in Africa.The city also has a large tourist industry. Nairobi National Park , a large wildlife preserve on the outskirts of the city, is a major tourist attraction. Other points of interest include the National Museum of Kenya, known for a display on early humans in Africa; the Parliament buildings; the law courts; City Hall; McMillan Memorial Library; the busy Municipal Market and nearby bazaar; the Kenya National Theater; and Sorsbie Art Gallery. Today Nairobi is an important economic center in East Africa .

Domestic trade through 3100 importers, 2990 wholesalers and distributors and retail through 62,000 shops and kiosks. Kenya industrial sector has growth substantially with its contribution to GDP rising from 8% in 1960 to nearly 28% in 1995. More than 1400 large and medium scale manufacturing enterprises operate in Kenya of which 645 are foreign multinationals, mostly from UK , USA , West Europe , Far East and India . Kenya is among the few countries in sub-Sahara with a well-developed industrial sector.

Facts & Figures

  • President: Uhuru Kenyatta
  • Land area: 224,788 sq mi (569,251 sq km); total area: 224,961 sq mi (582,650 sq km)
  • Population (2009 est.): 39,002,772 (growth rate: 2.7%); birth rate: 36.6/1000; infant mortality rate: 54.7/1000; life expectancy: 57.8; density per sq km: 66
  • Capital and largest city (2003 est.): Nairobi, 3,064,800 (metro. area), 2,411,900 (city proper)
  • Other large city: Mombasa, 712,600
  • Monetary unit: Kenya shilling

Kenya lies across the equator in east-central Africa, on the coast of the Indian Ocean. It is twice the size of Nevada. Kenya borders Somalia to the east, Ethiopia to the north, Tanzania to the south, Uganda to the west, and Sudan to the northwest. In the north, the land is arid; the southwest corner is in the fertile Lake Victoria Basin; and a length of the eastern depression of the Great Rift Valley separates western highlands from those that rise from the lowland coastal strip.

Paleontologists believe people may first have inhabited Kenya about 2 million years ago. In the 700s, Arab seafarers established settlements along the coast, and the Portuguese took control of the area in the early 1500s. More than 40 ethnic groups reside in Kenya. Its largest group, the Kikuyu, migrated to the region at the beginning of the 18th century.

The land became a British protectorate in 1890 and a Crown colony in 1920, called British East Africa. Nationalist stirrings began in the 1940s, and in 1952 the Mau Mau movement, made up of Kikuyu militants, rebelled against the government. The fighting lasted until 1956

More Facts & Figures

National name: Jamhuri ya Kenya
Current government officials
Languages: English (official), Swahili (national), and numerous indigenous languages
Ethnicity/race: Kikuyu 22%; Luhya 14%; Luo 13%; Kalenjin 12%; Kamba 11%; Kisii 6%; Meru 6%; other African 15%; Asian, European, and Arab 1%
Religions: Protestant 45%, Roman Catholic 33%, indigenous beliefs 10%, Islam 10%, others 2% (note: estimates vary widely)National Holiday: Independence Day, December 12
Literacy rate: 85% (2003 est.)

Economic summary: GDP/PPP (2007 est.): $58.88 billion; per capita $1,700. Real growth rate: 7%. Inflation: 9.8%. Unemployment: 40% (2001 est.). Arable land: 8%. Agriculture: tea, coffee, corn, wheat, sugarcane, fruit, vegetables; dairy products, beef, pork, poultry, eggs. Labor force: 11.85 million; agriculture 75%, industry and services 25% (2003 est.). Industries: small-scale consumer goods (plastic, furniture, batteries, textiles, soap, cigarettes, flour), agricultural products, oil refining; aluminum, steel, lead; cement, commercial ship repair, tourism. Natural resources: limestone, soda ash, salt, gemstones, fluorspar, zinc, diatomite, gypsum, wildlife, hydropower. Exports: $3.76 billion f.o.b. (2007 est.): tea, horticultural products, coffee, petroleum products, fish, cement. Imports: $7.602 billion f.o.b. (2007 est.): machinery and transportation equipment, petroleum products, motor vehicles, iron and steel, resins and plastics. Major trading partners: Uganda, UK, U.S., Netherlands, Egypt, Tanzania, Pakistan, UAE, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, India, China, Japan (2004).

Member of Commonwealth of Nations
Communications: Telephones: main lines in use: 293,400 (2006); mobile cellular: 6.485 million (2006). Radio broadcast stations: AM 24, FM 18, shortwave 6 (2001). Radios: 3.07 million (1997). Television broadcast stations: 8 (2002). Televisions: 730,000 (1997). Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 2,120 (2007). Internet users: 2.77 million (2006).

Transportation: Railways: total: 2,778 km (2006). Highways: total: 63,265 km; paved: 8,933 km; unpaved: 54,332 km (2004). Waterways: part of the Lake Victoria system is within the boundaries of Kenya. Ports and harbors: Kisumu, Lamu, Mombasa. Airports: 225 (2007).

International disputes: Kenya’s administrative boundary still extends into the Sudan, creating the �Ilemi triangle.�

Kenya Wins Independence After a Long Struggle
On Dec. 12, 1963, Kenya achieved full independence. Jomo Kenyatta, a nationalist leader during the fight to win independence who had been jailed by the British, was its first president.

From 1964 to 1992, the country was ruled as a one-party state by the Kenya African National Union (KANU), first under Kenyatta, and then under Daniel arap Moi. Demonstrations and riots put pressure on Moi to allow multiparty elections in 1992.

fter the formation of the new government in Kenya , there has been ZERO TOLERANCE on corruption. In addition, the World Bank and IMF, has welcomed developments in Kenya and is preparing to release funds that had been withheld. An ambitious road repairing and building programmed has been announced, including a double – carriageway from the coast to the border with Uganda . Liberalization of the Kenyan economy has brought about very easy trading terms, especially for the importers. East Africa Int�l Trade Fair will provide the exhibitors with the best platform to launch themselves in this market which covers the whole of East Africa region & beyond. This would just be the right time to explore this giant market since the Government of Kenya has firmly gained both economical and political stability. Recent economic liberalization measures adopted by the government which includes removing of import restrictions on most items., abolishing import license, lowering import duty tariffs on most goods and removing foreign exchange restrictions has amazingly contributed to Kenya�s buying power.

The UN system devotes 80% of its work to helping developing countries build the capacity to help themselves. This includes promoting and protecting democracy and human rights; countering global crime, drugs and disease; and assisting countries devastated by war and the long-term threat of landmines. The United Nations and its agencies, funds and programmes – mainly UNICEF, UNDP, UNFPA, WFP and WHO – have $4.8 billion a year to spend on economic and social development, to assist countries in such areas as healthcare, sanitation, agriculture and food distribution. More and more companies recognize that they too can access the business opportunities that can be realized by contributing to peacekeeping solutions and the provision of emergency and development aid, as competition for contracts from governments, development banks, UN Agencies and NGOs increases.

Kenya , a melting port of opportunities is a thriving business center. With a growing economy, stable sociopolitical Government and a developed infrastructure in place, Kenya offers corporations the ideal avenue for investments. Kenya , the cradle of mankind with a recorded history of 3000 years. It is strategically located in the Horn of Africa. Its proximity to the Middle East , Gulf and Europe , together with its easy access to the major ports of the region, enhances its international trade. Covering an area of approximately 1.14 million square Km. The country�s economic policy is a free market-oriented one. It aims at paving the way for faster economic development of the country through private enterprise and individual initiatives. The annual population growth rate is about 3%. It has a heritage dating back to first century AD. Traders from Greece , Rome , Persia and Egypt knew of the riches of what is now Kenya . The natural beauty of Kenya amazes the first-time visitor. Kenya is 3 hours ahead of GMT. Kenyan culture and tradition have been much influenced by both Christian and Muslim religions. It has a significant contribution to employment (close to 90% of the population) and GDP as well as foreign trade. Kenya is also one of the known countries in the world with great potential for tourist attraction. It has rich historical wonders. The available infrastructure is however inadequate to serve the growing tourist traffic. First class hotels and resorts add a plus incentive towards its beauty. Thus, great opportunities exist for private investments in hotels, lodges etc.

Since 1991, over 2300 enterprises of various sizes have committed in excess of US$4.5 billion in actual investment into the country for projects that range from agriculture, manufacturing to transportation. Kenya has to extent successes in attracting an increasing flow of foreign private sector investment. Government policy reforms have led to the restructuring of the economy leading to the strengthening of the private sector and shrinkage of the public sector. These reforms have led to a more competitive business environment and above average growth rates. Foreign private sector investment inflows have increased and the country�s investment promotion efforts are now more focused and result oriented. Kenya �s economy holds enormous development potential and possibilities. Efforts towards East African integration and the recent launce of the East African Community (EAC) will lead to greater policy co-ordination and the consolidation of the region into an attractive single investment area of over 85 million people. For many investors, Kenya is an attractive investment location in Africa for the following reasons:


     * A predictable environment
     * A fully liberalized economy
     * Market access both within the region and to international markets like the European Union
     * Abundant opportunities and natural resource base
     * Availability of English speaking labour force
     * Heavy government investment in supportive infrastructure
     * Government commitment and support to the private sector

The quality and cost of living in Kampala and other major towns in the country compares favourably with what investors may hope to find elsewhere in Africa . Modern first class hotels, serviced apartments are to be found in the urban centres. Leisure facilities exist for such pass-times as golf, horse riding and equestrian sports, tennis, white water rafting and sailing on the Lake Victoria . Kenya ‘s education system is still among the best in Africa and provides good quality education at different levels. Foreign investors and their expatriates can enroll their children at a number of reputable international schools in the country. Unfurnished housing accommodation in Kampala goes for between US$500 and US$2000 per month.

Kenya is a member of following Int�l Trade & Business Communities such as Commonwealth, GATT, ILO, IMF, NAM, UN, WB, WHO, African Development Bank, Common Market for East and Southern Africa (COMESA) OAU, Southern African Development Community (SADC), Preferential Trade Area (PTA) and East African Community.

Almost all cities and town banks have a �Bureau de Change�.There are 24 Hour banking facilities at both international airports. Kenya has a well-developed financial market with a reserve bank, 44 commercial banks, 37 financial institutions, 3 re-insurance, 41 insurance companies and a stock exchange with 60 quoted securities.

Kenya has two main airports.Joho Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi is 16Km from the city center and Moi International Airport in Mombassa is just 12Km from the city. Mombassa, The main principle seaport of Kenya , has served as a major distribution hub for the lucrative East African market providing connections to landlocked neighboring nations. The port of Mombassa is linked to the world�s major ports with over 210 sailing per week to ports in Europe , North and South America , Asia , Middle East , Australia and rest of Africa .

The Transafrica Highway connects all the East African countries. The road transport network is extensive and fully developed with roads connecting to all major commercial cities. The railway system is single track, connecting Nairobi , Mombassa and Dar-es-salam.

Industrial Machinery and Transportation equipment, Petroleum & Petroleum products, Chemicals, Motor Vehicles & Auto Parts, Computer & Accessories, IT, Electronics, Telecommunications, Satellite Systems & equipment�s, Raw Materials, Iron & Steel, Pharmaceutical, Cosmetics, Garments & Textiles, Food, Electrical, Lighting & Cables and Paper & Converting Products

Tea, Coffee, Horticulture, Handicrafts, Petroleum Products, Sisal and Soda ash

All visitors must be in possession of a valid passport. Citizens of commonwealth countries do not require visa. All incoming visitors to Kenya (except East African Citizens) will now require a visa, irrespective of nationality. Citizens of the following countries need to have a visa prior to arrival in Kenya such as Afghanistan , Somalia , Iran , Lebanon , Iraq , Syria , Libya , Sudan , Nigeria , Yemen , Pakistan & Senegal . It is advisable to obtain the visa from the Kenyan Embassies/High Commissions abroad prior to departure.

The official currency is the Kenya Shilling.The written abbreviation is KSh ). Available Notes are 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1000 shillings. Available coins are 5, 10 and 20 shillings. Visitors to Kenya should change foreign currency at banks, bureaux de change or authorized hotels. The easiest currencies to exchange are US Dollars, Pounds sterling and Deutschmarks. Travellers Cheques are widely accepted. Major hotels, travel agencies, safari companies and restaurants accept Credit Cards. Most Banks in Kenya are equipped to advance cash on credit cards. There are no restrictions on the amount of foreign currency that can be brought into Kenya . Before departure, travellers are advised to convert any excess Kenya shillings into foreign currency at a bank or bureau de change before departure. Departure taxes can be paid in local or foreign currency. Anyone wishing to take more than 500,000 Kenya Shillings out of the country will require written authorization from the Central Bank.

Kenya has good Internet Service Providers. Email and Internet services are offered by many hotels and lodges. In most towns, there are plenty of private business centres and cyber cafes offering email and internet access.

Kenya has several English language newspapers. The most popular are the Daily Nation (www.nation.co.ke) and the East African Standard (www.eastandard.net). The East African is a weekly newspaper sold throughout Kenya , Tanzania and Uganda . There are two seperate Swahili newspapers, Taifa Leo and Kenya Leo. There is also locally produced television and radio media. International newspapers and magazines are widely available in Kenya . Digital Satellite Television has become widespread throughout Kenya . Many hotels provide this South African based service, offering a range of channels.

Kenya ‘s most famous and all around the world know attractions are the several national parks and reserves with their plenty of wildlife. From the coast the nearest and the most visited national parks are the Tsavo and the Amboseli national parks. The symbol of Tsavo National Park are its red elephants whose red colour is a reflection of the red earth found in the Taita Hills and its environs. Tsavo is the biggest national park in Kenya and offers a variety of animal species. Recommended in Tsavo are camping sites like Westermann’s and the Crocodile Camp of the African Safari Club, both are not congested like the big logdes. Exceptional are the sunrises and sunsets in Africa and no film can capture the magic of these moments. The best advice is to experience them for yourself. The lodges normally located in or near the parks give one the feeling of being back in the Africa of the game hunters. The Kilaguni Lodge has a watering hole a few meters away from the building and one can get to observe the animals when they visit to drink. Take care of the monkeys that are after your meals! The Red Elephants Lodge only few hundred meters from a gate to the Tsavo Park is a basic starting point for adventurous safaris within the park, with a little luck you will even see huge buffalo herds and lions hunting and catching them for breakfast. The Amboseli National Park has an exceptional dense animal population. If the skys are clear from here you even get to see Tanzania ‘s Kilamanjaro as a bonus.The Salt Lick Lodge built on sitcks has a watering hole next to it and visitors get to see animals at night when they come to drink. The Kimana Lodge offers some meat to a leopard every evening tied to a tree.

Kenya Travel

Kenya is regarded by many as the jewel of East Africa’, and has some of the continent’s finest beaches, most magnificent wildlife and scenery, and an incredibly sophisticated tourism infrastructure. It is a startlingly beautiful land, from the coral reefs and white sand beaches of the coast to the summit of Mount Kenya, crowned with clouds and bejewelled by strange giant alpine plants. 

Between these two extremes is the acacia-studded rolling savannah, which is home to game parks such as Amboseli, the Masai Mara, Samburu and Tsavo; the lush, agricultural highlands with their sleek green coat of coffee and tea plantations; and the most spectacular stretch of the Great Rift Valley, the giant scar across the face of Africa.

Above all, Kenya is a place for safaris, and one-tenth of all land in Kenya is designated as national parks and reserves. Just about every African plains animal is present. Over 50 parks and reserves cover all habitats from desert to mountain forest, and there are even six marine parks in the Indian Ocean.

Kenya also has a fascinatingly diverse population with around 40 different tribes, all with their own languages and cultures. Major tribes include the Kikuyu, the Luyia and the Luo, but the most famous are the tall, proud, beautiful red-clad Masai, who still lead a traditional semi-nomadic lifestyle of cattle-herding along the southern border.

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