Kenya, which is rich in wildlife, beaches and farmland, is an economic engine for the East African region, despite the unprecedented pandemic and drought in forty years.
Here are five points about this country located between the Great Lakes region and the Indian Ocean.
The end of the Kenyatta era
Kenya gained its independence in 1963 after eight years of rebellion against British colonial rule. Jomo Kenyatta became the country’s first president and was succeeded after his death in 1978 by Daniel arap Moi.
In 2002, after 11 years of abandoning the one-party system and in the first democratic transfer of power, opposition leader Mwai Kibaki won the presidential election.
But in 2007, Kibaki’s re-election announcement in a disputed vote led to unprecedented inter-ethnic political violence that killed more than 1,100 people. In 2008, a national unity government was formed, headed by Raila Odinga, the current presidential candidate.
Odinga was defeated in the 2013 presidential election by Uhuru, the son of Jomo Kenyatta, who was indicted by the International Criminal Court for his alleged role in the 2007-2008 post-election violence.
In 2017, the Supreme Court annulled the presidential election for “irregularities”, a precedent in Africa. Uhuru Kenyatta was elected in a new vote boycotted by his opponent.
In 2018, the two struck a surprising alliance at the expense of vice president and presidential candidate-elect William Ruto.
“The Cradle of Humankind”
The country includes around fifty parks and nature reserves, which attracted 1.5 million visitors in 2021, and includes more than 30,000 giraffes, lions, elephants, rhinos, buffalo and leopards.
Environmental activist Wangari Maathai is considered one of the most famous ambassadors of this biodiversity, receiving the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004 for her work on tree planting in particular.
Kenya has also been called the “cradle of mankind”.
The Rift Valley, which stretches from Tanzania, through Ethiopia to Kenya, has also been the site of important fossil discoveries. Human remains dating back about six million years were also found in Turkana.
Kenya is one of the most dynamic economies in East Africa and wants to maintain its image as a regional hub.
His image is atypical in Africa. Although its natural resources are relatively scarce, it is considered an economic engine and has a rich service sector. Agriculture is also one of its pillars (more than 22 percent of GDP) and the main source of exports (tea, flowers and coffee).
After collapsing, affected by the pandemic, by 0.3 percent in 2020, Kenya’s economy began to recover in 2021. But fuel and food prices rose sharply, especially maize flour prices. , a staple food in the country, causing frustration in this suffering country. of rampant corruption. In 2021, Kenya was ranked 128th out of 180 countries and territories in Transparency International’s Corruption Index.
The inequality is evident in Kenya, where golf courses and slums are next to each other, and where the monthly minimum wage is 15,120 shillings (124 euros). According to the non-governmental organization Oxfam, the wealth of the two richest men in Kenya exceeds the income of 30 percent of the population, or about 16.5 million people.
According to official figures, the majority of the population, some 50 million, are young and Christian.
Among the more than 40 ethnic groups that live in the country, the Kikuyu are the largest, ahead of the Luhya, Kalenjin and Leo.
Kenya is among the countries that produce champion middle and long distance runners like Eliud Kipchoge and Faith Kipyegon.
The runner Ferdinand Omanyala has also made a name for himself around the world. Omanyala signs the third fastest time this year in the 100 meters, with 9.85 seconds, which he set last May.
Omanyala has held the African record of 9.77 seconds since last September, and is the eighth fastest sprinter in history behind four Americans and three Jamaicans.
Umanyala became the first runner from Kenya, which is characterized by long-distance and marathon runners, to reach the semifinals of the 100-meter race at an Olympic Games, specifically in the Tokyo 2021 edition.
But the country, which is known to dope a large number of its athletes, came close to being banned from the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics before it passed an anti-doping law to prevent it.
On August 7, 1998, an attack on the US Embassy in Nairobi killed 213 people and injured another 5,000. Al-Qaeda claimed responsibility.
After the Kenyan army entered Somalia in 2011 to fight the extremist Islamist movement Al-Shabab, attacks multiplied, including an attack on Westgate Mall in Nairobi in 2013, and then on Garissa University in 2015. , killing 67 and 148 people, respectively.
In 2019, 21 people were killed in an attack on the Dusit Hotel complex in Nairobi.
Since then, the attacks have become more sporadic and concentrated in the east of the country.