A Tourist Destination
One of the pillars of the Kenyan economy is tourism, due to its being the most popular site for safaris, as well as having beautiful beaches and mountainous landscapes. However, despite having this excellent income earner, Kenya has one of the highest unemployment rates in Africa, which leaves the majority of the population living below the poverty line, on a dollar a day.
Around 19% of the workforce works in agriculture, but most of this is subsistence farming, due to the fact that there is a scarcity of cultivated land. Some important domestic crops are maize, millet and cassava. The only export crops are tea, coffee, cotton, tobacco and sisal. Mining activity is also important, and the main products are fluorite, salt and limestone. Forests grow in the mountains and on the coast, and hard woods are harvested, such as eucalyptus and acacia.
In industry, petroleum refining and cement production are important.
A land of Plateaus and Mountains
This country is bounded to the northwest by Sudan and to the north by Ethiopia, to the northeast and east by Somalia, to the west by Uganda, to the south by Tanzania and to the east by the Indian Ocean. Its territory rises from a coastal plain to a dry plateau that stretches along the north and east of the country. Mountainous formations, originating from volcanic activity, rise in the centre of the country. One of these is mount Kenya, the highest peak in the country and the second highest in Africa, after Kilimanjaro. The latter is also partly in Kenyan territory, although the peak is in Tanzania.
There are few rivers, the most important being the Athi-Galana-Sabaki River and the Tana River. However, there are several lakes, such as the Turkana, Baringo, Bogoria (Hannington) and Nakuru, among others.
A Republican Country
The Executive branch is led by the President, Head of State and Government. Chosen through direct universal suffrage for a period o
f five years, the President names the Cabinet from members of the National Assembly, and a Vice-President from the members of the cabinet.
The Parliament is formed by the National Assembly of 210 deputies, elected through direct suffrage for a five-year term, unless the President or the Assembly and the 12 members nominated by the President call early elections.
The judiciary consists of the High Court (27 judges) and the Court of Appeal (9 judges).
A Rural Population
61% of Kenya’s population lives in rural areas, mainly in the south of the country. Almost all of them are black, of Bantu and Camite origin. They are presently grouped into more than 40 ethnic groups, and the three most important are: the Kikuyus, the Luhyas and the Luos. There are also small numbers of Arabs, Asians and Europeans.