Kenya .. an economic engine for East Africa facing the alliance of drought and epidemic

Rich in wildlife, beaches and farmland, Kenya is an economic engine for the East African region, despite the pandemic and unprecedented 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 replaced 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, the announcement of Kibaki’s re-election in a disputed ballot led to unprecedented inter-ethnic political violence that killed more than 1,100 people. In 2008, a national unity government was formed, led 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 post-election violence of 2007-2008.

In 2017, the Supreme Court annulled the presidential election due to “irregularities”, a precedent in Africa. Uhuru Kenyatta was elected in a new ballot which was boycotted by his opponent.

In 2018, the two formed a surprising alliance at the expense of Vice President and presidential candidate William Ruto.

“The Cradle of Humanity”

The country includes about fifty parks and nature reserves, which attracted 1.5 million visitors in 2021, and includes more than 30,000 giraffes, lions, elephants, rhinos, buffaloes and leopards.

The environmental activist Wangari Maathai is considered one of the most famous ambassadors of this biodiversity, and in 2004 she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her work on planting trees.

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 major fossil discoveries. Human remains dating back some six million years have also been found in Turkana.

economic engine

Kenya is one of the most dynamic economies in East Africa, and is keen to maintain its image as a regional hub.

Her image is atypical in Africa. Although its natural resources are relatively scarce, it is considered an economic engine and enjoys a rich service sector. Agriculture is also one of its pillars (over 22 percent of GDP) and the main source of exports (tea, flowers and coffee).

After contracting by 0.3 percent in 2020, affected by the pandemic, the Kenyan economy began to recover in 2021. But fuel and food prices rose sharply, especially the prices of maize flour, a staple food in the country , causing frustration in this suffering country. of rampant corruption. In 2021, Kenya ranked 128 out of 180 countries and territories in Transparency International’s corruption index.

Inequality is evident in Kenya, where golf courses and slums are side by side, and where the minimum monthly wage is 15,120 shillings (124 euros). According to the non-governmental organization Oxfam, the wealth of the two richest men in Kenya is greater than the income of 30 percent of the population, or about 16.5 million people.

According to official figures, most of the population, which numbers around 50 million, is young and Christian.

Among the more than 40 ethnic groups living in the country, the Kikuyu are the largest, ahead of the Luhya, Kalenjin and Leo.

Athletes rally

Kenya is among the countries that produce champion runners in the middle and long distances such as Eliud Kipchoge and Faith Kipyegon.

The runner Ferdinand Omanyala also made a name for himself worldwide. Omanyala has the third best 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 semi-finals of the 100 meters race at the Olympics, specifically in the Tokyo 2021 edition.

But the country, which is known to track a large number of its athletes, was on the verge of being banned from the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics before it passed an anti-doping law to avoid it.

attacks

On August 7, 1998, an attack targeting the US Embassy in Nairobi killed 213 people and wounded five thousand others. Al-Qaeda claimed it.

After the Kenyan army entered Somalia in 2011 to fight the extremist Islamist movement Al-Shabab, attacks increased, including an attack on the Westgate shopping center in Nairobi in 2013, and then on Garissa University in 2015, which killed 67 and killed 148 people.

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.

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