Kenya is a country on the rise.
Kenya has grown dramatically since becoming independent in 1963. Once free from centuries of colonial rule, the country adopted economic policies favoring property ownership and access to land, self-determination, equity, democracy and intellectual freedom.
Since gaining independence, Kenya has never experienced military rule, and, although it is a democracy, the country has experienced politically-instigated violence based on ethnic divisions and tribal lines. Following the 2007 post-election violence, Kenya held a constitutional referendum which led to the ratification of a new constitution in 2010—which instilled stronger political checks and balances. In addition to the new constitution, Kenya has made significant structural and economic reforms that have contributed to sustained political stability and economic growth in the past decade and the country is now considered the economic center of the East African Community (EAC) with a GDP that accounts for 40% of the region’s total GDP.
- Kenya’s First President Jomo Kenyatta plays a crucial role in setting up the East African Community
- President Mwai Kibaki implements the Economic Recovery Strategy for Wealth and Employment Creation
- Vision 2030 launched to meet Millennium Development Goals
- Plans approved for Konza Techno City, a flagship Kenya 2030 project, projected to create 100,000 jobs
- Operation begins at Olkaria IV Geothermal Power Plant, the world’s largest single turbine geothermal plant, designed to reduce the cost of electricity by 30%
- LAPSSET Corridor Project launches, the 1st major infrastructure project initiated without external assistance
Demographic + Economic Overview
Kenya is one of the most ethnically diverse, well-educated and relatively peaceful countries in East Africa. Literacy among adults is 78%, with many fluent in English and Kiswahili, the country’s two official languages among numerous indigenous dialects.
- Income Level Classification:
- Lower Middle
- Higher Middle
The strongest economy in the EAC, Kenya is a regional hub for transport and financial services. Massive infrastructure improvements will further strengthen interregional trade and bolster the manufacturing, service and tourism industries.
Though Kenya has long been an agricultural economy and a leading global producer of coffee and tea, it continues to diversify, particularly given the discovery of major oil and gas deposits in the Rift Valley, along with renewed mineral and mining policy. In addition, the service and industrial sectors are projected to become strong drivers of economic growth, particularly in telecommunications, real estate, aviation and manufacturing.