Kenya is East Africa's largest economy and is
a center for finance, IT technology and transport in the
region. The industrial sector is considerably larger and
more varied than in neighboring countries. Tourism is an
important industry. Growth is partly held back by
widespread corruption and dependence on exports of raw
materials at pressured world market prices. Agriculture
is still an integral part of the economy.
Agricultural products dominate exports, and most
Kenyans are engaged in cultivation or livestock
management. Agriculture's share of the economy has
declined over time and the sector now contributes less
than one-third of gross domestic product (GDP). If you
include industry and services related to agriculture,
the proportion rises to over half.
Major imports by Kenya, covering a full list of top products imported by the country and trade value for each product category.
The economic development is largely determined by the
world market price of tea and coffee, among other
things. The government is trying to counteract this by
investing in industry. Nevertheless, the manufacturing
industry's share of the economy has remained fairly
constant since independence.
The service sector's share of the economy, on the
other hand, has increased. The tourism industry has long
been important and the financial sector has grown
strongly in recent years, with the help of, among other
things, a growing middle class and a construction boom.
A large number of banks and financial institutions exist
in the country. In addition to the conventional banking
system, Kenya has also been at the forefront of new
technology with financial transactions via mobile
phones. The Nairobi stock exchange more than doubled in
value in four years to 2013, and in 2014 the Kenyan
government came with its first issue of government
Abbreviationfinder.org: Check this abbreviation website to find three letter ISO codes for all countries in the world, including KEN which represents the country of Kenya.
During the decade up to 2013, growth averaged just
under 5 percent. Given that the population grows by
close to 3 percent a year, this means a relatively slow
increase in wealth.
It is still significantly better than the years
around the turn of the millennium. At that time, growth
was record low, just under 2 percent, due to financial
neglect, galloping corruption and recurring drought. The
standard of living fell for many Kenyans. After the
change of power in 2002, the government took measures to
liberalize the economy and fight corruption.
The biggest threat to the economy now appears to be
terrorist acts in the country and the unrest in the
region that threatens the important tourism industry
(see also Foreign Policy and Defense).
Kenya has received significant assistance since
independence in 1963. Donors include both individual
countries, especially the US and EU states, and
international lending agencies. On several occasions
since the 1990s, the country's most important aid and
lenders have halted large part of the payments due to
mismanagement, lack of democracy and the failure to
liberalize the economy. In early 2011, the government
adopted a new reform program supported by the
International Monetary Fund (IMF), including new tax
legislation, stricter budgetary control, investment in
infrastructure and investments in making the new
constitution fully operational. Kenya received support
from the IMF with $ 750 million over three years. But
problems with corruption and political instability
remain, prompting aid and lenders to continue supporting
FACTS - FINANCE
GDP per person
US $ 1 711 (2018)
US $ 87,908 million (2018)
6.3 percent (2018)
Agriculture's share of GDP
34.2 percent (2018)
Manufacturing industry's share of GDP
7.7 percent (2018)
The service sector's share of GDP
42.7 percent (2018)
5.6 percent (2019)
Government debt's share of GDP
60.1 percent (2018)
US $ 26 424 million (2017)
US $ 5,792 million (2017)
US $ 15,994 million (2017)
- US $ 5,018 million (2017)
Commodity trade's share of GDP
27 percent (2018)
Main export goods
tea, cut flowers, coffee, oil products, cement,
Largest trading partner
Uganda, China, India, Saudi Arabia, United Arab
Organizations are accused of helping terrorists
The authorities deregister over 500 voluntary organizations. The government
freezes their bank assets and withdraws work permits for foreign staff. As a
reason, it is stated above all that they did not manage their accounts. 15 of
the organizations are accused of helping to fund terrorism.
New team meets resistance
The law comes into force after President Kenyatta signed the law on December
19. The opposition, civil rights organizations and the media announce their
intention to go to court to try to get the law repealed.
Bills are being submitted to reduce terror
Parliament adopts new and controversial anti-terrorism legislation after
heated debate. It strengthens the president's powers over security issues.
Authorities are given the right to keep terror suspects in detention for up to
one year, the intelligence service is given the right to intercept
communications without having to seek permission from the court, and journalists
must have police permits to publish domestic security articles. The bill has
been harshly criticized by human rights organizations and the opposition who
accuse the government of wanting to create a police state. A few amendments are
approved by Parliament a week later in tumultuous forms, where fights break out
and an opposition representative throws books at the President. On the
President's order, a police officer is called in to escort several members out
of the building.
The president's trial will not end
Prosecutors at the International Criminal Court (ICC) say that the evidence
is not sufficient to establish Kenyatta's guilt "beyond all reasonable doubt"
and it is thus clear that there will be no trial against him (see ICC trials
after the 2007 election).
The Minister of the Interior and the Chief of Police are dismissed
President Kenyatta, who has been criticized for not doing enough to
strengthen security in the country following the 2013 Nairobi terrorist act,
dismisses Interior Minister Joseph Ole Lenku and the country's Police Chief
David Kimaiyo. Former General Joseph Nkaissery is appointed new Minister of the
Attack on Christians
Somali Islamist group al-Shabaab takes on a new attack when at least 36
workers are killed near Mandera. As in November, violence is directed against
Bus passengers killed
A group of armed men kill 28 passengers on a bus in Mandera, northern Kenya.
The victims are Christian, while Muslim passengers are spared. The Somali
Islamist group al-Shabaab takes on the blame for the act.
Raids against mosques
The police raided several mosques in Mombasa and arrested a total of over 350
people suspected of being linked to extremist Islamist groups. The raids lead to
Muslim minister murdered
A faithful Muslim minister, Salim Bakari Mwarangi, is shot dead in Mombasa as
he is on his way home from evening prayer. It is unclear who is behind the deed.
Leader for MRC is arrested
Omar Mwamnuadzi, leader of the separatist movement MRC, is arrested in
Mombasa. Among other things, he is accused of having held meetings that must
have violated the law. According to the police, there are close contacts between
the MRC and the Somali Islamist group al-Shabaab
Trial against Kenyatta starts
Kenyatta becomes the first sitting head of state to appear before the
International Criminal Court (ICC). After that, he returns to Kenya where he is
greeted by cheering followers.
The president's trial is postponed
The Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Fatou
Bensouda, decides to postpone the trial against Kenyatta indefinitely. As a
reason, she states that there is no evidence, among other things, several
witnesses have taken back their testimonies.
Anti-terror force is accused of abuse
In a report by Human Rights Watch , the Kenyan Anti-Terrorist Force (ATPU) is
accused of serious abuse in connection with interventions against terror
suspects. Even the riot police GPU and the national intelligence service are
also suspected of involvement in some of the abuses (see Political system).
Agreement with China on port
President Kenyatta signs an agreement with a Chinese company to begin
construction of a large new port at Lamu (see also Communications).
Seven people are killed when a tourist bus on the way to the island of Lamu
is shot as well as the police car that comes to the scene of the attack.
Manifestation against the government
Thousands of people hear opposition leader Odinga's call for protest
demonstrations against the government on July 7.
Nearly 30 people are killed when heavily armed men attack a trading post in
the village of Hindi and a police station in the village of Gamba, both located
in the coastal area. al-Shabaab claims to be behind the death, but police say
they have been executed by the regional separatist movement MRC.
A new attack occurs in a village about 15 km from Mpeketoni, and at least
five people are killed. This time the perpetrators use machetes and knives.
Harsh criticism of police and military
The criticism is growing against the work of the police and the country's law
firm demands that the chief of police and the Minister of the Interior Joseph
Ole Lenku resign. Lenku has also received harsh criticism for how the police and
the military handled the crisis around the Westgate gallery (see
Not clear who is behind the major terrorist attack
About 50 people are shot dead when armed men attack the police station and
hotel in the town of Mpeketoni near the island of Lamu. al-Shabaab takes on the
blame and says it is a revenge attack for Kenya's role in Somalia as well as a
protest against the police's increasingly brutal treatment of Somalis in Kenya
(see Foreign Policy and Defense).
The day after, the village of Poromoko near Mpeketoni is subjected to an attack
and at least 15 people are killed. In a televised speech to the nation,
President Kenyatta says all evidence indicates that they were carried out by a
local Kenyan group and not by Islamists. According to the security service,
al-Shabaab is the one who performed the killing.
Muslim terrorist critic killed
A leading moderate Muslim minister, Mohammed Idris, is shot to death when a
mosque in Mombasa. Idris had criticized al-Shabaab and demanded that the
authorities intervene with the group's financiers in the area.
State measures against terror are criticized
Amnesty International criticizes the authorities for efforts that have
resulted in thousands of Somalis being arrested and hundreds sent back to
Somalia on arbitrary grounds. Amnesty emphasizes that the arrested Somalis have
not been charged with terrorism-related crimes. Several observers believe this
may have played al-Shabaab in their hands, among other things, by making it
easier for the Islamist group to recruit new members.
Nairobi in focus for al-Shabaab
Fuad Mohamed Khalaf, who has a leading position in the Somali Islamist group
al-Shabaab, says the militant group is now concentrating its campaign on
violence in Nairobi.
Students in protest
Student protests against higher university fees lead to clashes between
students and police in Nairobi. Protests against the fee hikes also occur at
other Kenyan universities.
New assaults are killing lives
New attacks occur in Mombasa, Nairobi and northern Kenya, with a total of
over 20 dead.
Car bomb in Nairobi
Two suspected terrorists and two police officers are killed when a car bomb
explodes outside a police station in the capital Nairobi. It was, according to
AFP, the first car bomb attack in Kenya since the attack on the US embassy in
Muslim minister killed
A Muslim minister, Abubakar Shariff Ahmed, is shot dead at a bus stop in
Mombasa. He has previously been accused of recruiting new members for
Terrorism in Nairobi
At least six people are killed at a bus stop in Nairobi when an explosive
charge is thrown at them. It is unclear who is behind the act, but the
authorities take it as a pretext to crack down on illegal immigrants. In the
following days, around 4,000 Somalis are arrested.
The government fears for the safety of refugees
The government orders all Somali refugees living outside the refugee camps to
return to Dadaab and Kakuma. This is motivated by concerns about terrorist
attacks. The decision affects about 100,000 Somalis, many of whom work in the
Legal process against the government
A legal process is then initiated by some rape victims, supported by human
rights organizations, sued the Kenyan government for failing to protect the
police in connection with the violence after the 2007 elections.
Attacks on crutches
At least six people are killed in an attack on a church in Mombasa on March
Journalist is extradited to international court
A Kenyan court is clear that journalist Walter Barasa can be extradited to
the International Criminal Court (ICC). He has been accused of trying to bribe
witnesses in the case against William Ruto (see October 2013).
Ministerial salaries are lowered
President Kenyatta announces that he and Vice President Ruto cut their wages
by 20 percent. At the same time, all ministers get their salaries reduced by 10
percent. The purpose is to save money.
Between 80,000 and 100,000 Somalis are said to have returned to Somalia from
the Dadaab refugee camp (see November 2013).
The raid provokes anger at Muslims
Police carry out a raid on mosques in Mombasa which they fear is a detention
for young militant Muslims. It triggers violent protests for several days in a
row. More than 100 people are arrested and accused of being members of the
Somali Islamist group al-Shabaab. The raid and the arrests are provoking anger
among Kenya's Muslim population, most of whom stand for more moderate Islam.
Prosecutions are brought against around 70 of those arrested at the mosques and
suspected of being members of al-Shabaab.
False payrolls are corrected
President Kenyatta orders a review of all public sector payrolls to wipe out
any "ghost workers", deceased, retired and others who still receive pay even
though they are not working. According to the president, an initial preliminary
examination by some ministries showed that the equivalent of over $ 800,000 was
paid to such ghost workers.