About Kenya


Kenya is one of Africa’s key commercial and transport centres and attracts expats and tourists from all over the world, drawn to Kenya’s natural beauty, wildlife, and employment and educational opportunities. Kenya offers a stable, democratic government and an affordable cost of living. The major metropolitan cities, such as Nairobi and Mombasa, attract many locals and expats, who move to Kenya in search of new opportunities. Below is an overview and introduction to Kenya, including demographics, history, politics, climate, and the economy.  

History & Politics

Kenya gained independence in 1963, after centuries of colonial governance under Islamic, Portuguese, and British rule. It is known formally as the Republic of Kenya, and is also part of the British Commonwealth.

Kenya operates as a presidential representative democracy, with a multi-party system and three branches of government: legislative, judiciary, and executive. The country has seen changes in recent years, notably with a new Constitution passed in 2010. However, it has remained stable since the country's independence, despite some political and governmental scandals and turmoils. Elections in Kenya are generally considered to be free and fair by outside observers.

Economy

Kenya has a growing economy and currently ranks 9th in Africa in national GDP. The Kenyan economy is an African hub for finance, transport, and communications, and is considered an emerging world market. This is due to an increase in Nigeria's middle class, and government initiatives to increase trade and business in the country.

The main industries of Kenya include manufacturing, agriculture (including forestry and fishing), tourism, finance, and the service industry. Kenya, particularly Nairobi, is an important financial centre in Africa and is home to the Nairobi Stock Exchange and over 40 local and internationally owned banks. In recent years, as in many other countries, Kenya has increasingly become urbanised, with workers moving to large cities in search of employment.

Population

Kenya has an estimated population of 51.3 million. However, due to the country's huge land mass, it actually has a very sparse population per square kilometre. Many expats may find themselves in one of Kenya's largest cities, including Nairobi, Mombasa, or Kisumu, or they may find themselves relocating to a remote community or village, depending on their type of work. Your experience in the country and way of life may vary, depending on where you are located.

The primary languages spoken in Kenya are English and Swahili, as well as some local dialects, including Kikuyu and Luhya. However, English is the most common language in the country and is used in education, business, and the media, so English-speaking expats should have no problems communicating.

Climate

Due to Kenya's vast geographical size, the country is broken into three climate regions. The north is generally very hot, arid, and dry, while the coastal areas are also hot, but with humidity. In the west and south-west, the climate is more temperate, and the landscape is mountainous. Kenya is situated very close to the equator but falls within the Southern Hemisphere. Nairobi's temperatures are fairly consistent throughout the year, with average highs of 22-26 C, and lows of 13-16 C.