The Republic of Kenya is a country in East Africa. The country is named after Mount Kenya, a very significant landmark and the second among the highest mountain peaks of Africa. Kenya is a presidential representative democratic republic, whereby the President was both the head of state and head of government, and of a multi-party system. After the 2007 elections, Kenya got its’ second Prime Minister, Raila Amolo Odinga, the governing of the country is now shared between these two officials.
Nairobi continues to be the primary communication and financial hub of East Africa. It enjoys the region’s best transportation linkages, communications infrastructure, and trained personnel, although these advantages are less prominent than in past years. A wide range of foreign firms maintain regional branch or representative offices in the city. In 2000, GDP growth was negative, but improved slightly in 2001 as rainfall returned closer to normal levels. Economic growth continued to improve slightly in 2002 and reached 1.4% in 2003. it was 4.3% in 2004 and 5.8% in 2005.
KENYA is the world’s favourite safari destination. The economic giant of the Eastern and Central African region and the main gateway to Africa, Kenya is a hospitable and friendly country, with a thriving economy and unmatched natural attractions.
It boasts picturesque landscapes adorned by the Great Rift Valley, the snow-capped Mount Kenya and numerous tropical forests, rivers, lakes and coastal beaches. Kenya is home to the largest species of wildlife in the world.
The Kenyan people besides being warm-hearted and friendly are renowned for their hard work and determination to succeed. The numerous athletes and medalists give a true testimony of the resilience of the people of Kenya.
In terms of trade, industry and investment, Kenya has some of the most competitive and attractive incentives and resources in Africa. This young African democracy, which has been a haven of peace since its independence in 1963 is arguably one of the best places in the world to visit, live and invest.
Kenya – A holistic indescribable experience.
Kenya at a Glance
Kenya is located in Equatorial East Africa and shares borders with Uganda to the west, Tanzania to the south, Sudan to the northwest, Somalia to the northeast and Ethiopia to the north.
The country covers an area of approximately 58,650 square kilometres. The topologically is diverse: The eastern region slopes gently to the coral-backed seashore; the western portion rises more abruptly through a series of hills and plateaus to the rift valley, and then slopes westward to the lowest part occupied by Lake Victoria.
The country’s coastline is approximately 536 kilometres at the Indian Ocean with a series of beautiful beach hotels offering world class accommodation. There are two rainy seasons, the long rains from March to May and the short rains in October and November. On the plateau, the weather is hot and dry with temperatures during the day of between 25 degrees and 30 degrees Celsius.
The Kenyan people, the Bantus, Nilotes and Cushites migrated from various parts of Africa. The nilotes consisting of the Kalenjin, Maasai, the Luo, Turkana and Iteso moved from the west of Lake Turkana into Kenya. The Luo’s migrated from southern Sudan to Uganda and settled on the shores of Lake Victoria.
The Bantus moved from the Congo Forest and settled in myriad places, between the hills and mountains of Central Kenya. Britain colonised Kenya and in 1962, the Lancaster Constitutional Conference was held in London, giving birth to the first Constitution. Kenya finally achieved internal self government on June 1st, 1963, celebrated annually as Madaraka Day.
On December 12th, 1964 (now celebrated as Shujaa Day), Kenya was declared a republic with Jomo Kenyatta as the first president, a position he held until his death in 1978. The then vice President Daniel Moi took over power and ruled until December 2002 when he handed over power after 24 years to incumbent president, Mwai Kibaki. Kenya has total population 38,610,097 – comprising of 19,192,458 males and 19,417,639 females according to last year’s census.
Some 26,122,722 people (67.7 per cent) of the population live in rural areas whereas 12,487,375 (32.3 percent) live in urban areas. The national language is Kiswahili and the official languages are Kiswahili and English. Indigenous languages are also widely spoken and vary depending on region.
A total of 198,119 people are attending university, (115,094 male and 83,026 female). Another 1,796,467 students are attending secondary school, 9,425,390 in primary school and 2,247,071 are attending pre-primary school. Kenya is rich in traditional dishes and varieties depending on the region. Maize, and its various products, forms the staple for upcountry regions while rice is the main dish in the coastal region.
The Maasai eat a lot of meat, while communities living in the Rift Valley consume a lot of milk. Among Kenyans, culture is one of the crucial factors in defining their music. Instruments used for traditional music include the African drum (Ngoma), a variety of rattles and shakers, small harps, the Wandindi and the Nyatiti, widely popular in western Kenya.
The popularity of music, both local and international, spiralled in Kenya particularly in 1960s with the arrival of both independence and the electric guitar. At the time, there were definite influences from South African jazz, Zimbabwean highlife guitar and the distinctive rumba from the Congo. Later on a hybrid form of vibrant music, the fast and rhythmic benga, evolved widely in the country and to date is common.
The most items of art and craft are found in almost all parts the country at galleries or shops. They include Masaai bead jewellery and figurines, music instruments, gold and silver jewellery, soapstone sculptures, wooden carvings, tribal masks and paintings as well as batiks and kikoys – a traditional wraparound “kanga” used mostly by women. Kenyans are legendary long distance runners and win most of the marathon meets in the world. The athletes are well
known for their achievements that date back to early 1960s and continue to win in Olympics and Commonwealth Games besides other meets.
The outstanding beauty of Kenya is well known and it continues to attract tourists in large numbers. From the savannah in the south, the deserts of the north, to Lake Victoria – the second largest freshwater lake in the world – in the west, the tropical beaches in the east and the snow capped peaks of Mount Kenya is evidence that Kenya has a great variety to offer to visitors.
In game parks and reserves one is likely to view the elephant, the rhino, the buffalo, the leopard, the lion, the hippo, and crocodile. Giraffes, numerous species of antelopes and birds can be viewed almost all year round. Indeed, Lake Nakuru is the greatest ornithological spectacle in the world and home of the world famous flamingo. The white rhino, the waterbuck, the grevy zebra, baboon, hyena, warthog, pelican and several others are available, making the country one of the most visited in the region.
Kenya produces cut flowers almost exclusively for export, supplying 98 percent of its 40 types of flowers to European countries. Carnation, statics, astromeria and roses are the most predominant flowers grown, mostly in fertile lands surrounding Lake Naivasha. Kenya is the only place in the world that can produce best straight rose stem.