Top 10 facts about Kenya
Kenya is a developing East African state, characterized by ethnic diversity, rich flora and fauna, and plenty of opportunities for curious tourists. This country is not so often considered a resort, and in vain: there is something to see here.
Geography and population
Kenya is a fairly large country: it stretches over 580,000 km2 and borders Ethiopia and Sudan in the north, Somalia and the Indian Ocean in the east, Tanzania in the south, and Uganda in the east.
The relief in the country is heterogeneous. The coastal zone is low-lying and sandy, but as you move towards the center, a plateau begins to rise, on which the highest points of Kenya are located - for example, Mount Kenya 5200 m. The eastern edge is separated by a desert plateau in the north and the Lake Victoria region.
Since the morphology of the country is heterogeneous, the climatic conditions are also quite diverse. In general, it can be said that the climate of Kenya, due to the influence of the Indian Ocean, is influenced by the trade winds and monsoons. There are heavy rains from March to June and shorter precipitation from October to December. Again, due to the relief at the bottom of the central valleys, the amount of precipitation is much less than along the windswept slopes of the mountains. the coastal strip is extremely rainy, especially in the center and closer to the west: Mombasa receives 1200 mm of precipitation per year. In contrast, the entire northeastern country lies in a semi-arid tropical climate zone. The low latitude results in high temperatures that gradually decrease with respect to altitude, although the annual fluctuations remain small.
The ethnic picture is a real mosaic, consisting of more than sixty ethnic groups, sometimes very different from each other. The Bantu of Central Africa dominates in numbers, followed by the Hamites and Niloto-Hamites who arrived from the north of the Arabian Peninsula, along with small remnants of the oldest inhabitants of the country. Among the Bantu, the most densely populated is the Kikuyu society, which settled in the capital and near Mount Kenya.
Apart from the Bantu populations, the most notable group are the Luo, Nilotic breeders, and farmers in the Lake Victoria area. The Masai belong to the Niloto-Hamitic group, which, being engaged in cattle breeding, lives in the southwestern part of the country, and also moved to Tanzania. In the northeastern semi-arid territories, several Hamitic societies (Somali, Galla, Borana, etc.) are engaged in nomadic breeding.
In total, more than 55 million people live in the country in 2022.
Kenya has two official languages - English and Swahili. But in fact, this is a multilingual country in which the local population uses local languages and dialects within their community or tribe.
The currency of Kenya is the Kenyan shilling. In July 2022, one Kenyan shilling is worth 0.0008 USD.
Kenya has the Internet and the level of its development for an African country is quite high. A tourist can find access to the network in popular cafes or hotels, and for a permanent connection, it is better to buy a local SIM card.
The country also has home Internet providers, although they are quite expensive. For example, one of the oldest operators is Zuku Fiber. A monthly connection with a speed of 10 Mbps will cost about $30.
About the same price for unlimited internet for $30 days from another Kenyan provider - Telkom Home.
Among mobile operators, Safaricom is the most popular among the population, to which more than 30 million people are connected. The country has good 4G coverage and a fairly stable fast connection.
The economy of Kenya leaves much to be desired, and the government of the country makes almost no effort to develop it.
Scarcity of minerals and energy sources, dependence on cash crops subject to fluctuating world prices, and climate risks have hampered the development of a balanced and robust economy since independence. Other delaying factors are the uncertainty of the reform policy, which, in turn, repelled foreign capital from Kenya. For a long time, the country was in international isolation due to the regime of Daniel Moi, and this made a negative contribution to the economic situation.
The economy of Kenya relies on the primary sector, although its contribution to the formation of gross domestic product is gradually declining in favor of industry and services. Plantation agriculture, practiced by large foreign owners and multinational corporations using advanced technologies, provides a diverse range of products: primarily coffee, introduced in 1913 and especially widespread in the highlands, and tea.
The cultivation of tropical fruits and pyrethrum is also significant. The most prominent subsistence crops are corn, cassava, wheat, and in the aridest areas, sorghum, and millet. Even in breeding, especially cattle, we must distinguish between traditional local breeding, more numerous but mostly nomadic and of little economic value, the production of which is absorbed by the local market, from that practiced for commercial use with selected animals, on rich pastures. plateaus.
Large reserves of minerals, as mentioned above, were not found in Kenya. In small quantities, gold, asbestos, niobium, and kaolin are mined here.
Hydropower provides 80% of national needs; another 15% is covered by geothermal energy. Industrial activity is still of modest industrial and vocational importance, even if the sector appears rationally structured and more developed than in other countries in the region. In particular, in the field of production activities, the most important products in terms of cost are the food, chemical, oil, and petrochemical industries.
There is a constant deficit in the state treasury. It is exacerbated by global fluctuations in coffee and tea prices. The country's imports are dominated by industrial goods and fuels, and exports, in addition to coffee and tea, are some agricultural crops, although most of the crop remains in Kenya for domestic consumption.
The main suppliers are the USA and some oil-producing countries of the Near and Middle East (Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates); exports are mainly directed to neighboring countries (Uganda, Tanzania), the UK, and the Netherlands. The contribution of tourism to the state budget has become especially significant since the middle of the last decade and can count on good infrastructure and an exceptional natural heritage: an extensive system of protected areas, including about thirty national parks, which are the main attraction.
Quite imperfect, with obvious consequences for the local economy, is the communication system. The extremely low length of railways presents problems not only for the local population but also for businesses experiencing problems with logistics. The situation is deplorable with asphalt roads, which can be flooded during the rainy season.
Job in Kenya
The minimum wage in Kenya is only $127 per month, while the minimum real living wage is more than $200. Although Kenya is not the poorest country in Africa, slums are also common here, in which people live in extreme poverty, without access to the basic benefits of civilization.
Representatives of ordinary unskilled professions (drivers, couriers, sellers) receive an average of about $200-$250. Experienced specialists with higher education earn unlike above: the income of a lawyer or a doctor can be $700-$1000. This is enough for a good life in Kenya, but not very much by international standards.
For a tourist, prices in Kenya are lower than in the popular resorts of Europe, but they cannot be called low. Depending on the location, a night in a hotel can cost as much as $10 or $30-$40, and a long-term rental in the capital of the country will cost about $400.
Lunch in numerous roadside cafes usually costs $2-$3 per person, for dinner in a good restaurant you can pay about $10. Eating at home is cheaper.
Bread - $0.5
Eggs, 12 pieces - $1.5
Chicken fillet, 1 kg - $6
Potatoes, 1 kg - $0.9
Rice, 1 kg - $1.4
You can buy fresh fruit at the market. Among the locals, it is customary to bargain.
Education and medicine
Kenya has a fairly high level of literacy, but there are still problems with the availability of even basic school education. It has a slightly different structure than in Europe: 8 years of elementary school, 4 years of high school, and 4 years of higher education.
And the reason for the inaccessibility of education is that it is provided only on a paid basis in most institutions, despite the fact that the country has adopted a law on free education. It is necessary to pay direct contributions and pay for the uniform, all school supplies, and textbooks. In an inexpensive school, this will cost about $ 300 per year, in an expensive one, the amount can reach up to $ 1,500. The poor Kenyans simply have nowhere to get such money.
There are also problems with the healthcare system - it cannot cover all the needs of the population. Due to the deepest social stratification, only the wealthy class can quickly access medical services.
There is only one doctor per 10,000 Kenyans, and care is often paid, although prices can be quite low. There is a lack of funding and problems with corruption. Because of this, outbreaks of infectious diseases, diphtheria, cholera, and meningitis occur in the country, and the level of life expectancy remains low.
Working days and holidays
January 1st - New Year
April - Easter holidays
May 1-2 - Labor Day
May 4 - Eid al Fitr
June 1st - Madaraka Day
July 10 - Eid al-Adha
October 10 - My Day
October 20 - Heroes Day
December 12 - Jamhuri Day
December 25-26 – Christmas
The mentality of the Kenyans is calm and leisurely. This also applies to the service sector. The population is mostly friendly to tourists, is friendly.
However, in Kenya, you can face one unpleasant problem that is often found in many countries in Africa. This is an obsession. Sellers of this and that may harass a potential customer, offering him a product several times more expensive than its real price. Or not to offer goods at all, but simply to wait for alms - this, however, applies to children.
It is also worth remembering a fairly high level of crime, both globally and in everyday life - in the crowd of Kenyans it is better not to shine with a wallet, but to hide it as far as possible.
Cryptocurrencies in Kenya are legal and the state is doing its best to meet them, obviously seeing digital assets as a salvation for the economy and the country as a whole. There are many token holders among the local population, they are actively trading.
Kenya is a poor African country, mired in typical problems. Social inequality, deep poverty, corruption, lack of full-fledged medicine and education - all this is observed in the republic in 2022. And, unfortunately, it is unlikely that these difficulties will be solved in the near future.