Fact File: Kenya

Fact File: Kenya
ET staff writer
ET staff writer
01 September, 1999 2 min read

Area: 225,000 square miles.

Borders: Bounded by Tanzania, Uganda, Sudan, Ethiopia and Somalia; and the Indian Ocean to the east.

Environment: Most people live in the south and west; the north and east are largely desert. The climate is temperate in the central highlands (Mount Kenya 17,058 ft). The Great Rift Valley runs through these mountains. The variety in terrain and climate is reflected in the diversity of wildlife. There are world-famous national parks and game reserves, although poaching has reduced the numbers of large mammals. Kenya is also famous for its fossil remains.

Population: 34 million. There is rapid population growth, and a large number of refugees from Somalia.

Life expectancy: 63 years.

Capital: Nairobi (over 2 million).

Seaport: Mombasa (over 537,000).

Ethnic groups: Most Kenyans are black African. They comprise many ethnic groups: the three largest are the Kikuyu (5 million), Luyia (3.5 million) and Kamba (3 million). Asians, Europeans and Arabs make up a very small minority.

Languages: English (official); Swahili (official); numerous indigenous languages.

Literacy: 59%.

Natural resources: Some intensively cultivated agricultural land (but only 10% of Kenya is cultivated), forests, fish (in large inland lakes, Turkana and Victoria), wildlife and minerals. There is hydroelectric generating capacity.

Economy: After the Second World War, foreign investment and economic reform brought strong economic performance. Growth has slowed down since 1976. Urban unemployment stands at 35%.

​Exports: Tea, coffee, fruit, vegetables and petroleum products. Tourism is important.

Religions: Protestant 43%; Roman Catholic 26%; Independent African churches 11%; Muslim 7%; traditional African religions 10%; others 3%. President Moi is a professed, born-again Christian.

Protestant denominations: Over 150 denominations. Africa Inland Church (1.2 million), Anglican (1 million), Presbyterian Church of East Africa (1 million), Pentecostal and Charismatic (various), Baptist, Methodist and Salvation Army. Over one third of Protestants claim to be Evangelicals.

ET staff writer
Articles View All

Join the discussion

Read community guidelines
New: the ET podcast!