Photos of Kenya

The northern white rhino is a subspecies of white rhino, which used to range over Central and East Africa. Years of widespread poaching and civil war in their home range have devastated northern white rhino populations, and they are now considered to be extinct in the wild. Only two females remain, Najin and Fatu, at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Nanyuki.



Trade centers such as Mombasa have existed along the Kenyan and Tanzanian coastlines, known as the Land of Zanj, since at least the 2nd century. These centers traded with the outside world, including China, India, Indonesia, the Middle East, North Africa, and Persia. By around the 9th century, the mix of Africans, Arabs, and Persians who lived and traded there became known as Swahili ("people of the coast") with a distinct language (KiSwahili) and culture. The Portuguese arrived in the 1490s and, using Mombasa as a base, sought to monopolize trade in the Indian Ocean. The Portuguese were pushed out in the late 1600s by the combined forces of Oman and Pate, an island off the coast. In 1890, Germany and the UK divided up the region, with the UK taking the north and the Germans the south, including present-day Tanzania, Burundi, and Rwanda. In 1895, the British established the East Africa Protectorate, which in 1920 was converted into a colony, and named Kenya after its highest mountain. Numerous political disputes between the colony and the UK led to the violent Mau Mau Uprising, which began in 1952, and the eventual declaration of independence in 1963.

Jomo KENYATTA, the founding president and an icon of the liberation struggle, led Kenya from independence in 1963 until his death in 1978, when Vice President Daniel Arap MOI took power in a constitutional succession. The country was a de facto one-party state from 1969 until 1982, after which time the ruling Kenya African National Union (KANU) changed the constitution to make itself the sole legal political party. MOI gave in to internal and external pressure for political liberalization in 1991, but the ethnically fractured opposition failed to dislodge KANU from power in elections in 1992 and 1997, which were marred by violence and fraud. MOI stepped down in 2002 after fair and peaceful elections. Mwai KIBAKI, running as the candidate of the multiethnic, united opposition group, the National Rainbow Coalition (NARC), defeated KANU candidate Uhuru KENYATTA, the son of the founding president, and assumed the presidency following a campaign centered on an anticorruption platform. 

Opposition candidate Raila ODINGA challenged KIBAKI's reelection in 2007 on the grounds of widespread vote rigging, leading to two months of ethnic violence that caused more than 1,100 deaths and displaced hundreds of thousands. African Union-sponsored mediation resulted in a power-sharing accord that brought ODINGA into the government as prime minister and outlined a reform agenda. In 2010, Kenyans overwhelmingly voted to adopt a new constitution that eliminated the prime minister, introduced additional checks and balances to executive power, and devolved power and resources to 47 newly created counties. Uhuru KENYATTA won the first presidential election under the new constitution in 2013. He won a second and final term in office in 2017 after a contentious repeat election. In 2022, William RUTO won a close presidential election; he assumed the office the following month after the Kenyan Supreme Court upheld the victory.

Visit the Definitions and Notes page to view a description of each topic.



Eastern Africa, bordering the Indian Ocean, between Somalia and Tanzania

Geographic coordinates

1 00 N, 38 00 E


total: 580,367 sq km

land: 569,140 sq km

water: 11,227 sq km

comparison ranking: total 51

Area - comparative

five times the size of Ohio; slightly more than twice the size of Nevada

Area comparison map:
Area comparison map

Land boundaries

total: 3,457 km

border countries (5): Ethiopia 867 km; Somalia 684 km; South Sudan 317 km; Tanzania 775 km; Uganda 814 km


536 km

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 12 nm

exclusive economic zone: 200 nm

continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation


varies from tropical along coast to arid in interior


low plains rise to central highlands bisected by Great Rift Valley; fertile plateau in west


highest point: Mount Kenya 5,199 m

lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m

mean elevation: 762 m

Natural resources

limestone, soda ash, salt, gemstones, fluorspar, zinc, diatomite, gypsum, wildlife, hydropower

Land use

agricultural land: 48.1% (2018 est.)

arable land: 9.8% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 0.9% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 37.4% (2018 est.)

forest: 6.1% (2018 est.)

other: 45.8% (2018 est.)

Irrigated land

1,030 sq km (2012)

Major lakes (area sq km)

fresh water lake(s): Lake Victoria (shared with Tanzania and Uganda) - 62,940 sq km

salt water lake(s): Lake Turkana (shared with Ethiopia) - 6,400 sq km

Major watersheds (area sq km)

Atlantic Ocean drainage: (Mediterranean Sea) Nile (3,254,853 sq km)

Major aquifers

Ogaden-Juba Basin

Population distribution

population heavily concentrated in the west along the shore of Lake Victoria; other areas of high density include the capital of Nairobi, and in the southeast along the Indian Ocean coast as shown in this population distribution map

Natural hazards

recurring drought; flooding during rainy seasons

volcanism: limited volcanic activity; the Barrier (1,032 m) last erupted in 1921; South Island is the only other historically active volcano

Geography - note

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 physiography supports abundant and varied wildlife of scientific and economic value; Lake Victoria, the world's largest tropical lake and the second largest fresh water lake, is shared among three countries: Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda

People and Society


total: 58,246,378

male: 29,091,800

female: 29,154,578 (2024 est.)

comparison rankings: female 26; male 26; total 26


noun: Kenyan(s)

adjective: Kenyan

Ethnic groups

Kikuyu 17.1%, Luhya 14.3%, Kalenjin 13.4%, Luo 10.7%, Kamba 9.8%, Somali 5.8%, Kisii 5.7%, Mijikenda 5.2%, Meru 4.2%, Maasai 2.5%, Turkana 2.1%, non-Kenyan 1%, other 8.2% (2019 est.)


English (official), Kiswahili (official), numerous indigenous languages

major-language sample(s):
The World Factbook, the indispensable source for basic information. (English)

The World Factbook, Chanzo cha Lazima Kuhusu Habari ya Msingi. (Kiswahili)

Kiswahili audio sample:


Christian 85.5% (Protestant 33.4%, Catholic 20.6%, Evangelical 20.4%, African Instituted Churches 7%, other Christian 4.1%), Muslim 10.9%, other 1.8%, none 1.6%, don't know/no answer 0.2% (2019 est.)

Demographic profile

Kenya has experienced dramatic population growth since the mid-20th century as a result of its high birth rate and its declining mortality rate. Almost 40% of Kenyans are under the age of 15 as of 2020 because of sustained high fertility, early marriage and childbearing, and an unmet need for family planning. Kenya’s persistent rapid population growth strains the labor market, social services, arable land, and natural resources. Although Kenya in 1967 was the first Sub-Saharan country to launch a nationwide family planning program, progress in reducing the birth rate has largely stalled since the late 1990s, when the government decreased its support for family planning to focus on the HIV epidemic. Government commitment and international technical support spurred Kenyan contraceptive use, decreasing the fertility rate (children per woman) from about 8 in the late 1970s to less than 5 children twenty years later, but it has plateaued at about 3 children as of 2022.

Kenya is a source of emigrants and a host country for refugees. In the 1960s and 1970s, Kenyans pursued higher education in the UK because of colonial ties, but as British immigration rules tightened, the US, the then Soviet Union, and Canada became attractive study destinations. Kenya’s stagnant economy and political problems during the 1980s and 1990s led to an outpouring of Kenyan students and professionals seeking permanent opportunities in the West and southern Africa. Nevertheless, Kenya’s relative stability since its independence in 1963 has attracted hundreds of thousands of refugees escaping violent conflicts in neighboring countries; Kenya was sheltering nearly 280,000 Somali refugees as of 2022.

Age structure

0-14 years: 35.8% (male 10,464,384/female 10,366,997)

15-64 years: 60.9% (male 17,731,068/female 17,723,012)

65 years and over: 3.4% (2024 est.) (male 896,348/female 1,064,569)

2023 population pyramid:
2023 population pyramid

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 70.2

youth dependency ratio: 65.3

elderly dependency ratio: 4.8

potential support ratio: 20.7 (2021 est.)

Median age

total: 21.2 years (2024 est.)

male: 21.1 years

female: 21.4 years

comparison ranking: total 196

Population growth rate

2.06% (2024 est.)

comparison ranking: 38

Birth rate

25.6 births/1,000 population (2024 est.)

comparison ranking: 44

Death rate

4.9 deaths/1,000 population (2024 est.)

comparison ranking: 199

Net migration rate

-0.2 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2024 est.)

comparison ranking: 102

Population distribution

population heavily concentrated in the west along the shore of Lake Victoria; other areas of high density include the capital of Nairobi, and in the southeast along the Indian Ocean coast as shown in this population distribution map


urban population: 29.5% of total population (2023)

rate of urbanization: 4.09% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

total population growth rate v. urban population growth rate, 2000-2030

Major urban areas - population

5.325 million NAIROBI (capital), 1.440 million Mombassa (2023)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.02 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.01 male(s)/female

15-64 years: 1 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.84 male(s)/female

total population: 1 male(s)/female (2024 est.)

Mother's mean age at first birth

20.3 years (2014 est.)

note: data represents median age at first birth among women 25-49

Maternal mortality ratio

530 deaths/100,000 live births (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: 12

Infant mortality rate

total: 26.1 deaths/1,000 live births (2024 est.)

male: 29 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 23.1 deaths/1,000 live births

comparison ranking: total 58

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 70.4 years (2024 est.)

male: 68.6 years

female: 72.2 years

comparison ranking: total population 176

Total fertility rate

3.16 children born/woman (2024 est.)

comparison ranking: 45

Gross reproduction rate

1.56 (2024 est.)

Drinking water source

improved: urban: 91.3% of population

rural: 63.3% of population

total: 71.2% of population

unimproved: urban: 8.7% of population

rural: 36.7% of population

total: 28.8% of population (2020 est.)

Current health expenditure

4.3% of GDP (2020)

Physicians density

0.16 physicians/1,000 population (2018)

Sanitation facility access

improved: urban: 84% of population

rural: 48.1% of population

total: 58.2% of population

unimproved: urban: 16% of population

rural: 51.9% of population

total: 41.8% of population (2020 est.)

Major infectious diseases

degree of risk: very high (2023)

food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever

vectorborne diseases: malaria, dengue fever, Rift Valley fever, and sexually transmitted diseases: HIV/AIDS (2024)

water contact diseases: schistosomiasis

animal contact diseases: rabies

note: on 31 August 2023, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a Travel Alert for polio in Asia; Israel is currently considered a high risk to travelers for circulating vaccine-derived polioviruses (cVDPV); vaccine-derived poliovirus (VDPV) is a strain of the weakened poliovirus that was initially included in oral polio vaccine (OPV) and that has changed over time and behaves more like the wild or naturally occurring virus; this means it can be spread more easily to people who are unvaccinated against polio and who come in contact with the stool or respiratory secretions, such as from a sneeze, of an “infected” person who received oral polio vaccine; the CDC recommends that before any international travel, anyone unvaccinated, incompletely vaccinated, or with an unknown polio vaccination status should complete the routine polio vaccine series; before travel to any high-risk destination, the CDC recommends that adults who previously completed the full, routine polio vaccine series receive a single, lifetime booster dose of polio vaccine

Obesity - adult prevalence rate

7.1% (2016)

comparison ranking: 161

Alcohol consumption per capita

total: 1.68 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

beer: 0.81 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

wine: 0.04 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

spirits: 0.81 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

other alcohols: 0.03 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: total 134

Tobacco use

total: 11.1% (2020 est.)

male: 19.5% (2020 est.)

female: 2.7% (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: total 129

Children under the age of 5 years underweight

10.1% (2022)

comparison ranking: 56

Education expenditures

4.8% of GDP (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: 83


definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 82.6%

male: 85.5%

female: 79.8% (2021)


Environment - current issues

water pollution from urban and industrial wastes; water shortage and degraded water quality from increased use of pesticides and fertilizers; flooding; water hyacinth infestation in Lake Victoria; deforestation; soil erosion; desertification; poaching

Environment - international agreements

party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Climate Change-Paris Agreement, Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping-London Convention, Marine Dumping-London Protocol, Marine Life Conservation, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands, Whaling

signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements


varies from tropical along coast to arid in interior

Land use

agricultural land: 48.1% (2018 est.)

arable land: 9.8% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 0.9% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 37.4% (2018 est.)

forest: 6.1% (2018 est.)

other: 45.8% (2018 est.)


urban population: 29.5% of total population (2023)

rate of urbanization: 4.09% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

total population growth rate v. urban population growth rate, 2000-2030

Food insecurity

exceptional shortfall in aggregate food production/supplies: due to drought conditions - about 4.4 million people were projected to be severely acutely food insecure between October and December 2022 reflecting consecutive poor rainy seasons since late 2020 that affected crop and livestock production; prices of maize are at high levels across the country due to reduced availabilities and high fuel prices inflating production and transportation costs (2023)

Revenue from forest resources

1.3% of GDP (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: 47

Revenue from coal

0% of GDP (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: 142

Air pollutants

particulate matter emissions: 12.52 micrograms per cubic meter (2019 est.)

carbon dioxide emissions: 17.91 megatons (2016 est.)

methane emissions: 37.65 megatons (2020 est.)

Waste and recycling

municipal solid waste generated annually: 5,595,099 tons (2010 est.)

municipal solid waste recycled annually: 447,608 tons (2009 est.)

percent of municipal solid waste recycled: 8% (2009 est.)

Major lakes (area sq km)

fresh water lake(s): Lake Victoria (shared with Tanzania and Uganda) - 62,940 sq km

salt water lake(s): Lake Turkana (shared with Ethiopia) - 6,400 sq km

Major watersheds (area sq km)

Atlantic Ocean drainage: (Mediterranean Sea) Nile (3,254,853 sq km)

Major aquifers

Ogaden-Juba Basin

Total water withdrawal

municipal: 500 million cubic meters (2020 est.)

industrial: 300 million cubic meters (2020 est.)

agricultural: 3.23 billion cubic meters (2020 est.)

Total renewable water resources

30.7 billion cubic meters (2020 est.)


Country name

conventional long form: Republic of Kenya

conventional short form: Kenya

local long form: Republic of Kenya (English)/ Jamhuri ya Kenya (Swahili)

local short form: Kenya

former: British East Africa

etymology: named for Mount Kenya; the meaning of the name is unclear but may derive from the Kikuyu, Embu, and Kamba words "kirinyaga," "kirenyaa," and "kiinyaa" - all of which mean "God's resting place"

Government type

presidential republic


name: Nairobi

geographic coordinates: 1 17 S, 36 49 E

time difference: UTC+3 (8 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

etymology: the name derives from the Maasai expression meaning "cool waters" and refers to a cold water stream that flowed through the area in the late 19th century

Administrative divisions

47 counties; Baringo, Bomet, Bungoma, Busia, Elgeyo/Marakwet, Embu, Garissa, Homa Bay, Isiolo, Kajiado, Kakamega, Kericho, Kiambu, Kilifi, Kirinyaga, Kisii, Kisumu, Kitui, Kwale, Laikipia, Lamu, Machakos, Makueni, Mandera, Marsabit, Meru, Migori, Mombasa, Murang'a, Nairobi City, Nakuru, Nandi, Narok, Nyamira, Nyandarua, Nyeri, Samburu, Siaya, Taita/Taveta, Tana River, Tharaka-Nithi, Trans Nzoia, Turkana, Uasin Gishu, Vihiga, Wajir, West Pokot


12 December 1963 (from the UK)

National holiday

Jamhuri Day (Independence Day), 12 December (1963); note - Madaraka Day, 1 June (1963) marks the day Kenya attained internal self-rule


history: current constitution passed by referendum on 4 August 2010

amendments: amendments can be proposed by either house of Parliament or by petition of at least one million eligible voters; passage of amendments by Parliament requires approval by at least two-thirds majority vote of both houses in each of two readings, approval in a referendum by majority of votes cast by at least 20% of eligible voters in at least one half of Kenya’s counties, and approval by the president; passage of amendments introduced by petition requires approval by a majority of county assemblies, approval by majority vote of both houses, and approval by the president

Legal system

mixed legal system of English common law, Islamic law, and customary law; judicial review in the new Supreme Court established by the new constitution

International law organization participation

accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction


citizenship by birth: no

citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of Kenya

dual citizenship recognized: yes

residency requirement for naturalization: 4 out of the previous 7 years


18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: President William RUTO (since 13 September 2022); note - the president is both chief of state and head of government

head of government: President William RUTO (since 13 September 2022)

cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president, subject to confirmation by the National Assembly

elections/appointments: president and deputy president directly elected on the same ballot by majority vote nationwide and at least 25% of the votes cast in at least 24 of the 47 counties; failure to meet these thresholds requires a runoff between the top two candidates; election last held on 9 August 2022 (next to be held on 10 August 2027)

election results: 2022:  William RUTO elected president in first round; percent of vote - William RUTO (UDA) 50.5%, Raila ODINGA (ODM) 48.9%, other 0.6%

:  Uhuru KENYATTA reelected president; percent of vote - Uhuru KENYATTA (JP) 98.3%, Raila ODINGA (ODM) 1%, other 0.7%; note - Kenya held a previous presidential election on 8 August 2017, but Kenya's Supreme Court on 1 September 2017 nullified the results, citing irregularities; the political opposition boycotted the October vote

Legislative branch

description: bicameral Parliament consists of:
Senate (68 seats; 47 members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by simple majority vote and 20 directly elected by proportional representation vote - 16 women, 2 representing youth, 2 representing the disabled, and one Senate speaker; members serve 5-year terms)
National Assembly (350 seats; 290 members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by simple majority vote, 47 women in single-seat constituencies elected by simple majority vote, and 12 members nominated by the National Assembly - 6 representing youth and 6 representing the disabled, and one Assembly speaker; members serve 5-year terms)

elections: Senate - last held on 9 August 2022 (next to be held on 10 August 2027)
National Assembly - last held on 9 August 2022 (next to be held on 10 August 2027)

election results: Senate - percent of vote by party/coalition - NA; seats by party/coalition - Kenya Kwanza 33, Azimio La Umoja 32, independent 2, other 1; composition - men 46, women 21, percentage women is 31.3%

National Assembly - percent of vote by party/coalition - NA; seats by party/coalition - Kenya Kwanza alliance 176, Azimio La Umoja alliance 161, independent 12, other 1; composition - men 267, women 81, percentage women 24.6%

Judicial branch

highest court(s): Supreme Court (consists of chief and deputy chief justices and 5 judges)

judge selection and term of office: chief and deputy chief justices nominated by Judicial Service Commission (JSC) and appointed by the president with approval of the National Assembly; other judges nominated by the JSC and appointed by president; chief justice serves a nonrenewable 10-year term or until age 70, whichever comes first; other judges serve until age 70

subordinate courts: High Court; Court of Appeal; military courts; magistrates' courts; religious courts

Political parties and leaders

Azimio La Umoja–One Kenya Coalition Party [Raila ODINGA] (includes DAP-K, JP, KANU, KUP, MCC, MDG, ODM, PAA, UDM, UDP, UPA, UPIA, and WDM-K)
Amani National Congress or ANC [Musalia MUDAVADI]
Chama Cha Kazi or CCK [Moses KURIA]
Democratic Action Party or DAP-K [Wafula WAMUNYINYI]
Democratic Party or DP [Joseph MUNYAO, Chairman]
Forum for the Restoration of Democracy–Kenya or FORD-Kenya [Moses WETANGULA]
Grand Dream Development Party or GDDP [Fabian KYULE]           
Jubilee Party or JP [Uhuru KENYATTA] (previously the National Alliance Party)
Kenya African National Union or KANU [Gideon MOI]
Kenya Kwanza coalition [William RUTO] (includes ANC, CCK, DP, FORD-Kenya, TSP, and UDA)
Kenya Union Party or KUP [John LONYANGAPUO]
Maendeleo Chap Chap Party or MCC [Alfred MUTUA]
Movement for Democracy and Growth or MDG [David OCHIENG]
National Agenda Party or NAP-K [Alfayo AGUFANA]                        
National Ordinary People Empowerment Union or NOPEU [Rodgers MPURU, Secretary General}
Orange Democratic Movement or ODM [Raila ODINGA]
Pamoja African Alliance or PAA [Amason KINGI]
The Service Party or TSP [Mwangi KIUNJURI]
United Democratic Alliance or UDA [William RUTO]
United Democratic Movement or UDM [Philip MURGOR]
United Democratic Party or UDP [Cyrus Jirongo]
United Party of Independent Alliance or UPIA [Ukur YATANI]                                      
United Progressive Alliance or UPA [Kenneth NYAMWAMU]                                        
Wiper Democratic Movement-Kenya or WDM-K [Kalonzo MUSYOKA]

International organization participation


Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Lazarus Ombai AMAYO (since 17 July 2020)

chancery: 2249 R St NW, Washington, DC 20008

telephone: [1] (202) 387-6101

FAX: [1] (202) 462-3829

email address and website:

consulate(s) general: Los Angeles

consulate(s): New York

Diplomatic representation from the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Margaret "Meg" WHITMAN (since 5 August 2022)

embassy: P.O. Box 606 Village Market, 00621 Nairobi

mailing address: 8900 Nairobi Place, Washington, DC  20521-8900

telephone: [254] (20) 363-6000

FAX: [254] (20) 363-6157

email address and website:

Flag description

three equal horizontal bands of black (top), red, and green; the red band is edged in white; a large Maasai warrior's shield covering crossed spears is superimposed at the center; 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

National symbol(s)

lion; national colors: black, red, green, white

National anthem

name: "Ee Mungu Nguvu Yetu" (Oh God of All Creation)

lyrics/music: Graham HYSLOP, Thomas KALUME, Peter KIBUKOSYA, Washington OMONDI, and George W. SENOGA-ZAKE/traditional, adapted by Graham HYSLOP, Thomas KALUME, Peter KIBUKOSYA, Washington OMONDI, and George W. SENOGA-ZAKE

note: adopted 1963; based on a traditional Kenyan folk song

National heritage

total World Heritage Sites: 7 (4 cultural, 3 natural)

selected World Heritage Site locales: Lake Turkana National Parks (n); Mount Kenya National Park (n); Lamu Old Town (c); Sacred Mijikenda Kaya Forests (c); Fort Jesus, Mombasa (c); Kenya Lake System in the Great Rift Valley (n); Thimlich Ohinga Archaeological Site (c)


Economic overview

fast growing, third largest Sub-Saharan economy; strong agriculture sector with emerging services and tourism industries; IMF program to address current account and debt service challenges; business-friendly policies foster infrastructure investment, digital innovation and public-private partnerships; vulnerable to climate change-induced droughts

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$263.737 billion (2022 est.)
$251.545 billion (2021 est.)
$233.799 billion (2020 est.)

note: data in 2017 dollars

comparison ranking: 62

Real GDP growth rate

4.85% (2022 est.)
7.59% (2021 est.)
-0.27% (2020 est.)

note: annual GDP % growth based on constant local currency

comparison ranking: 83

Real GDP per capita

$4,900 (2022 est.)
$4,700 (2021 est.)
$4,500 (2020 est.)

note: data in 2017 dollars

comparison ranking: 175

GDP (official exchange rate)

$113.42 billion (2022 est.)

note: data in current dollars at official exchange rate

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

7.66% (2022 est.)
6.11% (2021 est.)
5.4% (2020 est.)

note: annual % change based on consumer prices

comparison ranking: 118

Credit ratings

Fitch rating: B+ (2007)

Moody's rating: B2 (2018)

Standard & Poors rating: B+ (2010)

note: The year refers to the year in which the current credit rating was first obtained.

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 34.5% (2017 est.)

industry: 17.8% (2017 est.)

services: 47.5% (2017 est.)

comparison rankings: services 191; industry 164; agriculture 13

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 79.5% (2017 est.)

government consumption: 14.3% (2017 est.)

investment in fixed capital: 18.9% (2017 est.)

investment in inventories: -1% (2017 est.)

exports of goods and services: 13.9% (2017 est.)

imports of goods and services: -25.5% (2017 est.)

Agricultural products

sugarcane, milk, maize, tea, bananas, potatoes, cabbages, camel milk, cassava, mangoes/guavas (2022)

note: top ten agricultural products based on tonnage


agriculture, transportation, services, manufacturing, construction, telecommunications, tourism, retail

Industrial production growth rate

3.87% (2022 est.)

note: annual % change in industrial value added based on constant local currency

comparison ranking: 101

Labor force

24.75 million (2022 est.)

note: number of people ages 15 or older who are employed or seeking work

comparison ranking: 27

Unemployment rate

5.64% (2022 est.)
5.69% (2021 est.)
5.63% (2020 est.)

note: % of labor force seeking employment

comparison ranking: 117

Youth unemployment rate (ages 15-24)

total: 13.8% (2021 est.)

male: 12.8%

female: 14.9%

comparison ranking: total 128

Population below poverty line

36.1% (2015 est.)

note: % of population with income below national poverty line

Gini Index coefficient - distribution of family income

38.7 (2021 est.)

note: index (0-100) of income distribution; higher values represent greater inequality

comparison ranking: 63

Average household expenditures

on food: 56.1% of household expenditures (2021 est.)

on alcohol and tobacco: 3.7% of household expenditures (2021 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 2.9%

highest 10%: 31.8% (2021 est.)

note: % share of income accruing to lowest and highest 10% of population


3.58% of GDP (2022 est.)
3.44% of GDP (2021 est.)
3.09% of GDP (2020 est.)

note: personal transfers and compensation between resident and non-resident individuals/households/entities


revenues: $16.885 billion (2019 est.)

expenditures: $24.271 billion (2019 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)

-6.7% (of GDP) (2017 est.)

comparison ranking: 190

Public debt

54.2% of GDP (2017 est.)
53.2% of GDP (2016 est.)

comparison ranking: 92

Taxes and other revenues

13.26% (of GDP) (2021 est.)

note: central government tax revenue as a % of GDP

comparison ranking: 160

Fiscal year

1 July - 30 June

Current account balance

-$5.766 billion (2022 est.)
-$5.744 billion (2021 est.)
-$4.792 billion (2020 est.)

note: balance of payments - net trade and primary/secondary income in current dollars

comparison ranking: 178


$13.859 billion (2022 est.)
$11.825 billion (2021 est.)
$9.709 billion (2020 est.)

note: balance of payments - exports of goods and services in current dollars

comparison ranking: 100

Exports - partners

US 10%, Uganda 9%, Pakistan 7%, Netherlands 7%, Rwanda 6% (2022)

note: top five export partners based on percentage share of exports

Exports - commodities

tea, cut flowers, garments, coffee, titanium ore (2022)

note: top five export commodities based on value in dollars


$24.406 billion (2022 est.)
$21.853 billion (2021 est.)
$17.717 billion (2020 est.)

note: balance of payments - imports of goods and services in current dollars

comparison ranking: 87

Imports - partners

China 26%, UAE 14%, India 11%, Malaysia 4%, Saudi Arabia 4% (2022)

note: top five import partners based on percentage share of imports

Imports - commodities

refined petroleum, palm oil, garments, wheat, plastics (2022)

note: top five import commodities based on value in dollars

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$7.969 billion (2022 est.)
$9.491 billion (2021 est.)
$8.297 billion (2020 est.)

note: holdings of gold (year-end prices)/foreign exchange/special drawing rights in current dollars

comparison ranking: 79

Debt - external

$29.289 billion (2019 est.)
$25.706 billion (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: 86

Exchange rates

Kenyan shillings (KES) per US dollar -

Exchange rates:
117.866 (2022 est.)
109.638 (2021 est.)
106.451 (2020 est.)
101.991 (2019 est.)
101.302 (2018 est.)


Electricity access

population without electricity: 12 million (2020)

electrification - total population: 76.5% (2021)

electrification - urban areas: 97.5% (2021)

electrification - rural areas: 68.1% (2021)


installed generating capacity: 3.304 million kW (2020 est.)

consumption: 8.243 billion kWh (2019 est.)

exports: 16 million kWh (2019 est.)

imports: 277 million kWh (2019 est.)

transmission/distribution losses: 2.724 billion kWh (2019 est.)

comparison rankings: installed generating capacity 104; transmission/distribution losses 143; imports 97; exports 95; consumption 106

Electricity generation sources

fossil fuels: 8.3% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

nuclear: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

solar: 1% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

wind: 10.7% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

hydroelectricity: 32.6% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

tide and wave: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

geothermal: 46.2% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

biomass and waste: 1.2% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)


production: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

consumption: 821,000 metric tons (2020 est.)

exports: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

imports: 822,000 metric tons (2020 est.)

proven reserves: 0 metric tons (2019 est.)


total petroleum production: 0 bbl/day (2021 est.)

refined petroleum consumption: 116,400 bbl/day (2019 est.)

crude oil and lease condensate exports: 0 bbl/day (2018 est.)

crude oil and lease condensate imports: 0 bbl/day (2018 est.)

crude oil estimated reserves: 0 barrels (2021 est.)

Refined petroleum products - production

13,960 bbl/day (2015 est.)

comparison ranking: 96

Refined petroleum products - exports

173 bbl/day (2015 est.)

comparison ranking: 118

Refined petroleum products - imports

90,620 bbl/day (2015 est.)

comparison ranking: 57

Natural gas

production: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

consumption: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

exports: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

imports: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

proven reserves: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions

17.709 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from coal and metallurgical coke: 1.25 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from petroleum and other liquids: 16.459 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from consumed natural gas: 0 metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: total emissions 90

Energy consumption per capita

6.31 million Btu/person (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: 166


Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 63,107 (2022 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: (2021 est.) less than 1

comparison ranking: total subscriptions 149

Telephones - mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 65,085,720 (2021 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 123 (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: total subscriptions 26

Telecommunication systems

general assessment: Kenya’s telecom market continues to undergo considerable changes in the wake of increased competition, improved international connectivity, and rapid developments in the mobile market; the country is directly connected to a number of submarine cables, and with Mombasa through a terrestrial network, the country serves as a key junction for onward connectivity to the Arabian states and the Far East; numerous competitors are rolling out national and metropolitan backbone networks and wireless access networks to deliver services to population centers across the country; several fiber infrastructure sharing agreements have been forged, and as a result the number of fiber broadband connections has increased sharply in recent years; much of the progress in the broadband segment is due to the government’s revised national broadband strategy, which has been updated with goals through to 2030, and which are largely dependent on mobile broadband platforms based on LTE and 5G (2022)

domestic: fixed-line subscriptions stand at less than 1 per 100 persons; mobile-cellular subscriptions at 123 per 100 persons (2021)

international: country code - 254; landing point for the EASSy, TEAMS, LION2, DARE1, PEACE Cable, and SEACOM fiber-optic submarine cable systems covering East, North and South Africa, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia; satellite earth stations - 4 Intelsat; launched first micro satellites in 2018 (2019)

Broadcast media

about a half-dozen large-scale privately owned media companies with TV and radio stations, as well as a state-owned TV broadcaster, provide service nationwide; satellite and cable TV subscription services available; state-owned radio broadcaster operates 2 national radio channels and provides regional and local radio services in multiple languages; many private radio stations broadcast on a national level along with over 100 private and non-profit regional stations broadcasting in local languages; TV transmissions of all major international broadcasters available, mostly via paid subscriptions; direct radio frequency modulation transmissions available for several foreign government-owned broadcasters (2019)

Internet users

total: 15.37 million (2021 est.)

percent of population: 29% (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: total 50

Broadband - fixed subscriptions

total: 674,191 (2020 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 1 (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: total 82


National air transport system

number of registered air carriers: 25 (2020)

inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 188

annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 5,935,831 (2018)

annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 294.97 million (2018) mt-km


370 (2024)

comparison ranking: 19


4 km oil, 1,432 km refined products (2018)


total: 3,819 km (2018)

standard gauge: 485 km (2018) 1.435-m gauge

narrow gauge: 3,334 km (2018) 1.000-m gauge

comparison ranking: total 51


total: 161,451 km

paved: 18,603 km

unpaved: 157,596 km (2023)

comparison ranking: total 32


(2011) none specifically; the only significant inland waterway is the part of Lake Victoria within the boundaries of Kenya; Kisumu is the main port and has ferry connections to Uganda and Tanzania

Merchant marine

total: 26 (2023)

by type: oil tanker 4, other 22

comparison ranking: total 138


total ports: 4 (2024)

large: 0

medium: 1

small: 2

very small: 1

ports with oil terminals: 1

key ports: Kilifi, Lamu, Malindi, Mombasa

Military and Security

Military and security forces

Kenya Defense Forces (KDF): Kenya Army, Kenya Navy, Kenya Air Force (2024)

note 1: the National Police Service maintains internal security and reports to the Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government; it includes a paramilitary General Service Unit and Rapid Deployment Unit, as well as a Border Police Unit

note 2: the Kenya Coast Guard Service (established 2018) is under the Ministry of Interior but led by a military officer and comprised of personnel from the military, as well as the National Police Service, intelligence services, and other government agencies

Military expenditures

1.1% of GDP (2022 est.)
1.2% of GDP (2021 est.)
1.2% of GDP (2020 est.)
1.2% of GDP (2019 est.)
1.3% of GDP (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: 117

Military and security service personnel strengths

approximately 24,000 personnel (20,000 Army; 1,500 Navy; 2,500 Air Force) (2023)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the KDF's inventory traditionally carried mostly older or second-hand Western weapons systems, particularly from France, the UK, and the US; however, since the 2000s it has sought to modernize and diversify its imports, and suppliers have included several countries including China, Italy, and the US (2023)

Military service age and obligation

no conscription; 18-26 years of age for voluntary service for men and women (under 18 with parental consent; upper limit 30 years of age for specialists, tradesmen, or women with a diploma; 39 years of age for chaplains/imams); 9-year service obligation (7 years for Kenyan Navy) and subsequent 3-year re-enlistments; applicants must be Kenyan citizens (2024)

Military deployments

400 Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO); more than 3,000 troops deployed in Somalia under ATMIS (note - ATMIS troop contingents are drawing down towards a final exit in December 2024) (2024)

Military - note

the KDF's chief security concerns and missions include protecting the country’s sovereignty and territory, regional disputes, the threat posed by the al-Shabaab terrorist group based in neighboring Somalia, maritime crime and piracy, and assisting civil authorities in responding to emergency, disaster, or political unrest as requested; it has considerable experience, having conducted operations in neighboring Somalia since 2011 and taken part in numerous regional peacekeeping and security missions; the KDF is a leading member of the Africa Standby Force; it participates in multinational exercises, and has ties to a variety of foreign militaries, including those of France, the UK, and the US 

the Army has five combat brigades comprised of infantry, armored, and artillery forces, as well as special operations regiment with airborne, special forces, and ranger battalions; it also has a helicopter-equipped air cavalry battalion; the Navy has several offshore patrol vessels, large coastal patrol boats, and missile-armed craft; the Air Force has a small inventory of older US-origin fighter aircraft, as well as some transport aircraft and combat helicopters

Kenyan military forces intervened in Somalia in October 2011 to combat the al-Shabaab terrorist group, which had conducted numerous cross-border attacks into Kenya; in November 2011, the UN and the African Union invited Kenya to incorporate its forces into the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM); Kenyan forces were formally integrated into AMISOM (now the AU Transition Mission in Somalia or ATMIS) in February 2012

the Kenya Military Forces were created following independence in 1963; the current KDF was established and its composition laid out in the 2010 constitution; it is governed by the Kenya Defense Forces Act of 2012; the Army traces its origins back to the Kings African Rifles (KAR), a British colonial regiment raised from Britain's East Africa possessions from 1902 until independence in the 1960s; the KAR conducted both military and internal security functions within the colonial territories, and served outside the territories during the World Wars (2023)


Space agency/agencies

Kenya Space Agency (KSA; established, 2017); predecessor organization, the National Space Secretariat was established in 2009 (2023)

Space launch site(s)

Luigi Broglio Space Center (aka Malindi Space Center, Malindi Station, San Marco Satellite Launching and Tracking Station; Kilifi County; over 20 sounding rockets and nine satellites launched from the site, 1967-1989); note – Kenya’s equatorial latitude makes it an attractive location for near-equatorial-orbit rocket and satellite launches (2023)

Space program overview

has a national space strategy focused on acquiring and applying space technologies and applications for agriculture, communications, disaster and resource management, security, urban planning, and weather monitoring; jointly develops and builds nanosatellites with foreign partners; operates satellites; researching and developing satellite payloads and imagery data analysis capabilities; has cooperated on space issues with China, Japan, Italy, and the US, as well as African partners; developing a satellite imagery/geospatial analysis and data sharing portal that contains 17 years of satellite imagery for other African countries, including Ghana, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Tanzania; cooperating with Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Nigeria, Sudan, and Uganda to establish a joint remote sensing (RS) satellite to monitor climate changes on the African continent (African Development Satellite program) (2023)

note: further details about the key activities, programs, and milestones of the country’s space program, as well as government spending estimates on the space sector, appear in Appendix S


Terrorist group(s)

Terrorist group(s): al-Shabaab; Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC)/Qods Force

note: details about the history, aims, leadership, organization, areas of operation, tactics, targets, weapons, size, and sources of support of the group(s) appear(s) in Appendix-T

Transnational Issues

Refugees and internally displaced persons

refugees (country of origin): 21,847 (Ethiopia), 5,756 (Sudan) (2023); 298,117 (Somalia), 176,776 (South Sudan), 59,384 (Democratic Republic of the Congo), 8,701 (Burundi) (2024)

IDPs: 30,000 (election-related violence, intercommunal violence, resource conflicts, al-Shabaab attacks in 2017 and 2018) (2022)

stateless persons: 16,779 (2022); note - the stateless population consists of Nubians, Kenyan Somalis, and coastal Arabs; the Nubians are descendants of Sudanese soldiers recruited by the British to fight for them in East Africa more than a century ago; Nubians did not receive Kenyan citizenship when the country became independent in 1963; only recently have Nubians become a formally recognized tribe and had less trouble obtaining national IDs; Galjeel and other Somalis who have lived in Kenya for decades are included with more recent Somali refugees and denied ID cards

Illicit drugs

a transit country for illicit drugs and precursor chemicals; domestic drug consumption of cannabis and miraa (khat) is growing; heroin enters Kenya via Tanzania and in shipments across the Indian Ocean from Southwest Asia mostly destined for international markets, principally Europe; cocaine enters Kenya primarily via transshipment through Ethiopia