Economy, safari and sports: 5 things to know about Kenya

Unsettled political life

In the picture, in the picture The most beautiful photos of Kenya in black and white from the GEO community

Kenya gained independence in 1963 after eight years of rebellion against British colonial rule. Jomo Kenyatta became the first president of the young republic, succeeded by Daniel Arap Moi after his death in 1978. In 2002, eleven years after the abandonment of one-party rule, the first democratic alternative: opponent MY Kibaki won the presidential election. But in 2007, his controversial announcement of re-election led to unprecedented political-ethnic violence that resulted in more than 1,100 deaths. In 2008, a government of national unity was installed, with Raila Odinga, now a candidate, as prime minister. The latter was defeated in the 2013 presidential election by Jomo Kenyatta’s son Uhuru, who was indicted by the International Criminal Court for his alleged role in the 2007-2008 post-election violence. However, the Supreme Court overruled it for “irregularities”, a first in Africa. Uhuru Kenyatta was elected in a new ballot, boycotted by his lifelong rival Raila Odinga. The two men sealed a surprise alliance in 2018, at the expense of Vice-President and runner-up nominee William Ruto. The latter was finally elected after a very tight ballot with 50.49% of the vote, according to the Electoral Commission results announced by its President on Monday, but contested by some Electoral Commissioners.

⋙ The mythical region of Mount Kenya, decisive in Kenyan elections

Safari heaven

The country has about fifty parks and nature reserves that attracted 1.5 million visitors in 2021. Among its gems, more than 30,000 giraffes and the famous “Big Five”: lions, elephants, rhinos, buffaloes and leopards. Wangari Maathai is one of the most famous ambassadors of this biodiversity, awarded with the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004, among other things, for his work around tree planting. Kenya is also nicknamed the “Cradle of Humanity”. The Rift Valley, which stretches from Tanzania to Ethiopia to Kenya, was the scene of major fossil discoveries. Hominid remains dating back about 6 million years have been found in the Turkana region.

⋙ In Kenya, fossils reveal the existence of two giant species of dwarf crocodiles

Regional economic engine

Kenya is one of East Africa’s most dynamic economies and is cultivating its image as a regional hub. Its profile in Africa is atypical: relatively few natural resources but a significant economic dynamism and service sector. Agriculture is also one of its pillars (more than 22% of GDP) and the main source of exports (tea, flowers, coffee). After a pandemic-related decline of 0.3% in 2020, Kenya’s economy began to recover in 2021. But rising fuel and food prices, especially corn meal – food from the base – have fueled frustration in a country plagued by endemic corruption. In 2021, it was ranked 128th out of 180 countries and territories by Transparency International. Inequality is stark in the country, where golf courses and slums can be adjacent and where the monthly minimum wage is 15,120 shillings (124 euros). According to the NGO Oxfam, the wealth of the two richest Kenyans exceeds the combined income of 30% of the population, or 16.5 million people. According to official statistics the population of about 50 million is mostly young and Christian. Of the more than 40 ethnic groups listed, the Kikuyu is the largest group in terms of numbers, ahead of the Luhya, Kalenjin and Luo.

⋙ Kenya: A project to help women become financially independent by helping animals

An incredible pool of top athletes

Kenya is one of the great countries of long-distance and middle-distance running, with champions like Eliud Kipchoge or Faith Kipyegon. Sprinter Ferdinand Omanyala has also made a name for himself in the country of long-distance runners, setting records in Africa. In 2021 in the 100m (9.77), then achieved the third best performance in the world in 2022 (9.85). But the shadow of doping regularly hovers. In 2016, Rio was on the verge of being excluded from the Olympics before the country announced the introduction of specific measures such as the adoption of an anti-doping law.

There is a fear of attack

On August 7, 1998, an attack on the American Embassy in Nairobi killed 213 people and injured 5,000. Al-Qaeda claimed it. After the Kenyan army entered Somalia in 2011 to fight the radical Islamists of Shebab, attacks multiplied, notably in Nairobi’s Westgate in 2013 and in Garissa in 2015. They would kill 67 and 148 respectively. 2019, 21 killed in fresh attack on Nairobi’s Dusit hotel complex. Since then, attacks have become more sporadic, concentrated in the east of the country.

Read more:

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Kenya: Why is Nairobi so attractive to expats?

Kenya: Why is Nairobi so attractive to expats?

Kenya: Why is Nairobi so attractive to expats?

Kenya: Why is Nairobi so attractive to expats?

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