Unlike many of its neighboring countries, Kenya
has a relatively varied economy. The country has a rich
agriculture, a fairly well-developed industry and a
wildlife that attracts many tourists. The widespread
corruption is a major problem. A multi-party system was
introduced in 1991, but Kenyan democracy still has major
shortcomings and around the elections, politicians have
often tried to strengthen their own position by
inflating ethnic contradictions.
Brief profiles of Kenya, including geography, history, politics, economics as well as common acronyms about this country.
Geography and climate
Kenya is located at the equator in eastern
Africa and is one third larger than Sweden. The
landscape is varied. From the coast, the country
gradually rises to a high plateau in central and western
Kenya. Through the plateau and the entire country in a
north-south direction goes Africa's big valley low, the
Great Rift Valley.
The majority of the population lives in fertile
highlands. Here tea and coffee is grown. The capital
Nairobi is where the high plateau turns into savannah in
the south. On the savannah that continues into northern
Tanzania are some of the famous national parks: Masai
Mara, Amboseli and Tsavo. They contain elephants, lions,
giraffes, zebras and antelopes.
To the west, the high plateau flattens out towards
Lake Victoria. The greenery here is lush and there is
some tropical rainforest. The low-lying areas of Lake
Victoria are occasionally hit by floods during the rainy
In the north, Kenya consists of extensive steppe and
peninsula. The rainfall is small and the drought is a
constant threat to the nomad population. The landscape
is dominated by the 25-mile-long Turkana Lake in the
Great Rift Valley, on the border with Ethiopia. Lake
Turkana is the world's largest permanent desert lake and
known as the home of nile crocodiles and birds.
Along the sink are also several other lakes and
extinguished volcanoes. One of them is Mount Kenya,
Africa's second highest mountain.
Although Kenya is at the equator, large parts of the
country have a temperate climate, thanks to the high
altitude. Along the coast, the climate is tropical: hot
In Nairobi, which is at approximately 1,700 meters
above sea level, the daytime temperature is normally
between 20 and 25 degrees year-round, while the night
time can be around 10 degrees.
The rainfall is unevenly distributed over the
country. Most rain falls on the coast and in the
highlands. Only about a tenth of the land receives
enough rainfall to make the land suitable for
agriculture. Large parts of northern Kenya are very dry.
FACTS - GEOGRAPHY AND CLIMATE
582 646 km2 (2018)
Swedish + 2 hours
Adjacent country (s)
Tanzania, Uganda, Somalia, South Sudan, Ethiopia
Capital with number of inhabitants
4.4 million (2019) 1
Other major cities
Mombasa, Kisumu, Nakuru, Eldoret
Mount Kenya (5 199 m asl), Mount Elgon (4 321 m asl)
Average Precipitation / month
Nairobi 219 mm (April), 17 mm (Aug)
Average / day
Nairobi 21 °C (March), 17 °C (July)
- Census in August 2019Sources
Pope Francis visits Kenya and holds a mass for tens of thousands of people at
the University of Nairobi.
Journalist inquired about sources
A journalist at the Daily Nation is arrested and questioned about the sources
he has had for an article on how the Home Office made tens of millions of
dollars in a single day. This is despite the fact that all information is
contained in a parliamentary report which is available to the public.
Western countries promise to help with corruption
A number of Western countries, including the US, UK, Canada, Sweden and
Japan, promise to assist Kenya in the fight against corruption. Among other
things, this should be done through measures to prevent money being transferred
out of Kenya and to ensure that those suspected of corruption crimes are
The teachers' union takes over the question of salaries
The Court of Appeal decides that the Labor Court does not have the power to
decide the wage dispute between the government and the teachers (see
August-October 2015). The teacher union says that the matter should be
referred to the Supreme Court.
The ICC issues arrest warrants
The International Criminal Court (ICC) announces new arrest warrants against
two Kenyans, Paul Gicheru and Philip Kipkoech Bett, who are accused of
attempting to influence witnesses in the trial of Vice President Ruto (see also
ICC trials after the 2007 election). The formal request for them to be arrested
must have been made already in March, and both men should have been arrested in
Nairobi in July. However, it is unclear if the ICC has requested that they be
extradited to The Hague.
Many deaths in the first half of the year
During the first six months of 2015, at least 310 people were killed in
ethnic violence, mainly in the northern part of the Rift Valley, the UN reports.
During the six months, the violence drove 215,000 people away from their homes.
The figures are about as high as in the whole of 2014. The violence is usually
about rivalry on grazing and agricultural lands and access to water.
The state is accused of financial neglect
In its annual report, the OAG claims that just over one percent of central
government expenditure during the financial year 2013–2014 is properly reported.
The 361 page thick report is a single long account of financial malpractice,
incompetence, waste, misguided spending and possibly corruption at a gigantic
The United States offers its help against al-Shabaab
The suspected brain behind the massacre at Garissa University (see April
2015) is reported to have been killed in an American drone attack in Somalia. US
President Barack Obama visits Kenya for two days. He says the United States is
ready to cooperate more closely with the Kenyan government against the Islamist
militia al-Shabaab, but he also criticizes the Kenyan attitude toward
homosexuals and says that discrimination erodes human freedoms. Obama does not
visit his father's hometown but invites a number of relatives, including a
half-sister, to dinner.
Corruption investigation is closed
The corruption charges against Kenya's Minister of Agriculture and Transport
are closed, while the judicial investigation into the Minister of Energy's
business continues, the state prosecutor announces (see March 2015).
New free trade agreement
Kenya and 25 other countries agree on a new free trade agreement, the
Tripartite Free Trade Area, which covers much of Africa from Egypt in the north
to South Africa in the south. However, before the agreement can come into force,
negotiations are required and the agreement is approved by the parliaments of
Five are indicted for involvement in terrorist attacks
Five men, four Kenyans and one Tanzanian, are indicted for their role in the
terrorist attack in Garissa (see April 2015). All defendants
deny involvement in the act.
Terrorist group claims they killed several police officers
Somali Islamist group al-Shabaab claims to have killed 20 police in a raid
near the city of Garissa in the northeast, where nearly 150 people lost their
lives in an attack in April (see April 2015). The government admits that the
assault took place but says that only one policeman was injured.
Requirements for closure of refugee camps
On April 11, Vice President Ruto calls for the UN to close the Dadaab refugee
camp, which houses hundreds of thousands of refugees from Somalia (see also
Population and Languages). He gives UNHCR three months to clear the camp.
Financial measures against the terror
Kenya decides to close 13 money transfer companies to prevent militant
Islamists from distributing funds through them to fund new attacks. 86 people,
companies and organizations also get their bank accounts frozen, including bus
companies and hotels linked to Somalia. The measures are expected to hit the
Somali people in Kenya, many of whom depend on money from relatives abroad.
Booms in Somalia
Kenya launches bombs against areas in the Gedo region of southern Somalia,
where the Somali Islamist group al-Shabaab has its bases.
The President makes a statement about the attack
The government announces three days of country grief. In his first speech
after the act, President Kenyatta calls on the country's Muslims to help curb
radical Islamists. At the same time, he condemns the assault he calls a
Terrorist attack against university
148 people are killed and around 80 injured when a group of armed men storm a
university in the city of Garissa in northeastern Kenya, near the Somalia
border. The assailants must have separated Christian and Muslim students. Somali
al-Shabaab takes on the blame for the act.
Suspicions of corruption
The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission presents a report in which 175
high-ranking politicians and leaders of state companies are accused of
corruption. Kenyatta requests that all designated persons leave their positions
during further investigations. Five ministers do so.
Parts of the new law are rejected
The High Court rejected several parts of the new anti-terrorism legislation
that had been appealed by the opposition (see December 2014).
An MP, George Muchai, his two bodyguards and his driver were shot dead in
Nairbo in early February.
Teachers worry about their safety
About 700 teachers go on strike in northeastern Kenya. They demand to be
relocated to areas where they are not at risk of violence from al-Shabaab.
New law is upheld by the court
The Supreme Court stops parts of the controversial Security Act (see
December 2014), pending opposition to submit its appeal.