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Kenya

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Geography

  • Area: 360,623 sq miles; slightly more than twice the size of Nevada
  • Capital: Nairobi
  • Climate: Varies from tropical along coast to arid in interior
  • Terrain: Low plains rise to central highlands bisected by Great Rift Valley; fertile plateau in west
  • Features: 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 physiographic supports abundant and varied wildlife of scientific and economic value.

Current Environmental Issues

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 and poaching.

People

  • Nationality:  Kenyan(s)
  • Population: 44,037,656 (July 2013 est.)
  • Urban Population: 22% of total population (2010)
  • Primary ethnic groups: Kikuyu 22%, Luhya 14%, Luo 13%, Kalenjin 12%, Kamba 11%, Kisli 6%, Meru 6%, other African 15%, non-African (Asian, European, and Arab) 1%
  • Religions: Christian 82.5%, Muslim 11.1%, Traditionalists 1.6%, other 1.7%, none 2.4%
  • Languages: English (official), Kiswahili (official), numerous indigenous languages
  • Literacy rate (age 15 and over): 87% (Males: 90%/ Females 84%)
  • School Life: 11 years (2009)
  • Infant mortality rate: 48/1,000 live births
  • Life expectancy: 63 years (Males: 62 years/ Females: 65 years)
  • Median Age: 18.9 years
  • HIV/AIDS:  1.5 million people living with HIV/AIDS (2009 est.); Ranked 4th in the world.

Government & Economy

  • Independence: December 12, 1963 (from the UK)
  • Number of registered political parties: 9
  • Flag Description: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.
  • Natural Resources: Limestone, soda ash, salt, gemstones, fluorspar, zinc, diatomite, gypsum, wildlife, hydropower
  • Average annual income per person:  $1,800 (2012 est.)
  • Unemployment Rate: 40% (2011 est.)
  • Population Below Poverty Line: 50% (2000 est.)

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.

Refugees (Country of Origin): 491,725 (Somalia); 34,800 (South Sudan): 34,000 (Ethiopia), 11,500 (Democratic Republic of Congo); 6,000 (Sudan).

Culture

Food: Some popular Kenyan dishes are:

Ugali (also known as pap in South Africa)- maize flour (cornmeal) cooked with water into a dough-like consistency that is most commonly in rural areas eaten as rolling a small lump into a ball with the right high and dipped into a sauce or stew of vegetables and/or meat. Making a depression with the thumb allows the Ugali to be sued to scoop and to wrap around piece of meat to pick them up in the same way that flat bread is used in other cultures.

Mboga- boiled greens (a common side dish)

Matoke- banana porridge

Maize (corn) is the staple food of Kenyans. It is ground into flour and prepared as a porridge called posho, which is sometimes mixed with mashed beans, potatoes and vegetables, to make a dish call irio.

Meat is expensive and rarely eaten.

Music: See youtube.com, KenyanGospel.com and MagicalKenya.com