Kenya

Mt Kenya

Mt.Kenya

  • Kenya is located in East Africa and bordered by Somalia, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Uganda, Lake Victoria, Tanzania and the Indian Ocean.
  • The equator runs through the middle of the country.
  • The population is 40,200,000 (2010).
  • Nairobi is the largest city and the capital and Mombasa is the second largest city and the main port.
  • Mt. Kenya (17,058’ is the highest point in Kenya and the second highest mountain in Africa behind only Mt. Kilimanjaro.
  • Swahili and English are both national languages of Kenya.
  • The Kenyan shilling is the money unit.
  • Independence from England was achieved in 1963.
  • The economy is driven primarily by tourism (especially safaris) and exports (primarily coffee, tea and refined petroleum).
  • 75% of Kenyans are Christians with Roman Catholic and Protestants accounting for most of that.
Masai Marro Area - Kenya

Masai Mara Area

Kenya is a diverse country with three distinct geographic areas.  The Highlands in the west and especially the southwest, an area of hills, valleys and plateaus, has rich soil and is the main agricultural producer in the country.  The famous Great Rift Valley divides the Highlands into eastern and western sections.  The Plains, the largest area of the country, is in the center of the country and extends toward the east.  It is a very dry area of scrub receiving as little as 10 inches of rain per year.  The Coastal area is a narrow strip along the Indian Ocean with tropical weather.  It is hot and humid year around and is anchored in the south by Mombasa.

Kenya is challenged with an unemployment rate of 40% in 2011.  45% of Kenyans live below the poverty line with many of them existing on $2.00 or even only $1.00 per day.  There are several reasons for this ranging from a series of devastating droughts to poor and inaccessible education and corruption in government.  Recent administrations have begun to tackle the issue by providing free, compulsory elementary education, reducing government corruption and encouraging foreign investment.   There is much yet to do though, with many Kenyans living in slums, including Kibera, the largest slum in Africa, with 3,000,000 people, including 100,000 orphans living in a 1 ½ square mile area outside of Nairobi.

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Masai Ethnic Group

The country is composed of about 40 indigenous ethnic groups that represent 99% of the population.  The Kikuyu are the largest group representing 20% of the people and is followed by the Luo, Kalenjin, Kamba and Luhya representing another 40% to 60% of the population.  The ethnic groups have different social cultures, economies and histories, though land ownership and its importance is a common denominator, albeit a contentious one in regards to who owns which land located where.

Kenya has a bright future if it can build towards national unity, an illusory achievement in the past.  As it develops and, hopefully, conquers the effects of drought, significantly reduces poverty as well as corruption and continues to strengthen its education system, it has the potential to become an even greater force in Africa.  Then its strengths in wildlife, arts and celebration will be joined by these new strengths to create an even more viable, industrious country.

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