Kenya officially the Republic of Kenya, is a country in East Africa. Lying along the Indian Ocean to its southeast and at the equator, it is bordered by Somalia to the northeast, Ethiopia to the north, South Sudan to the northwest, Uganda to the west and Tanzania to the south. Lake Victoria is situated to the southwest, and is shared with Uganda and Tanzania. With its capital city in Nairobi, Kenya has numerous wildlife reserves containing thousands of animal species. It has a land area of 580,000 km2 and a population of nearly 39 million residents,representing many different peoples and cultures.The country is named after Mount Kenya, a significant landmark and second among Africa's highest mountain peaks.
Kenya is a country of 47 districts, each with its own government semi-autonomous to the central government in the capital, Nairobi. The country's geography is as diverse as its people. It has a long coastline along the Indian Ocean and as you advance inland the landscape changes to savannah grasslands, arid and semi-arid bushes. The central regions and the western parts have forests and mountains while the northern regions are near desert landscapes.
As part of East Africa, Kenya has seen human habitation since the Lower Paleolithic. The Bantu expansion reached the area by the 1st millennium AD, and the borders of the modern state comprise the crossroads of the Nilo-Saharan, the Afro-Asiatic and the Bantu linguistic areals of Africa, making Kenya a truly multi-ethnic state. European and Arab presence in Mombasa dates to the Early Modern period, but European exploration of the interior began only in the 19th century. The British Empire established the East Africa Protectorate in 1895, from 1920 known as the Kenya Colony. The independent Republic of Kenya was formed in December 1963.
Kenya's capital, Nairobi is a major commercial hub. The economy of Kenya is the largest by GDP in East and Central Africa. The country traditionally produces world renowned tea and coffee, and more recently became a major exporter of fresh flowers to Europe. The service industry is driven by the telecommunications sector. Kenya is also a major and world-renowned athletics powerhouse producing such world champions as Paul Tergat and most recently David Rudisha.
Kenya's services sector, which contributes about 63 percent of GDP, is dominated by tourism. The tourism sector has exhibited steady growth in most years since independence and by the late 1980s had become the country's principal source of foreign exchange. Tourists, the largest number from Germany and the United Kingdom, are attracted mainly to the coastal beaches and the game reserves, notably, the expansive Tsavo National Park (20,808 square kilometers) in the southeast. Tourism has seen a substantial revival over the past several years and is the major contributor to the pick-up in the country's economic growth.
Tourism is now Kenya's largest foreign exchange earning sector, followed by flowers, tea, and coffee. In 2006 tourism generated US$803 million, up from US$699 million the previous year.
Agriculture is the second largest contributor to Kenya's gross domestic product (GDP), after the service sector. In 2005 agriculture, including forestry and fishing, accounted for about 24 percent of GDP, as well as for 18 percent of wage employment and 50 percent of revenue from exports. The principal cash crops are tea, horticultural produce, and coffee; horticultural produce and tea are the main growth sectors and the two most valuable of all of Kenya's exports. The production of major food staples such as corn is subject to sharp weather-related fluctuations. Production downturns periodically necessitate food aid for example, in 2004 aid for 1.8 million people because of one of Kenya's intermittent droughts.
Tea, coffee, sisal, pyrethrum, corn, and wheat are grown in the fertile highlands, one of the most successful agricultural production regions in Africa. Livestock predominates in the semi-arid savanna to the north and east. Coconuts, pineapples, cashew nuts, cotton, sugarcane, sisal, and corn are grown in the lower-lying areas.
Kenya is a diverse country. Notable peoples include the Swahili on the coast, pastoralist communities in the north, and several different communities in the central and western regions. The Maasai culture is well known because of tourism, despite being a minor percentage of the Kenyan population. They are renowned for their elaborate upper body adornment and jewelry. Kenya has an extensive music, television and theatre scene.