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Country information: Kenya



582,650 square kilometres


39 million (July 2009)

Capital city

Nairobi (2,75 million inhabitants 2005)


Swahili (National language and lingua franca), English (Official language), tribal languages

GDP per capita (PPP)

US$ 1 600 (2008)

Population growth

2.7 per cent (2009)

Life expectancy

57,9 years (2009)

Infant mortality

54,7 per 1 000 live births (2009)

Rate of illiteracy

14.9 % (2005)





With its mixture of forests and deserts, and its unique flora and fauna, Kenya is a major tourist destination, attracting a million tourists annually from all over the world. In the mid-1990s the earnings from tourism amounted to almost half a billion Euro, making it the main source of foreign currency, ahead of even tea and coffee exports. After experiencing a downturn in income from tourism at the end of the 1990s, the country’s tourism industry is currently booming. According to UNWTO in 2004, approximately 1,2 million guests visited the country and brought 390 million Euro into the country.


Commercial sexual exploitation of children in tourism

In recent years in Kenya a large number of bars and discotheques were opened, in part as a result of the increased numbers of tourists. In connection with this expanding leisure infrastructure, there was also an increase in prostitution and more frequent traficking in humans. This development is also promoted by the impoverishment of the population. The difficult financial situation is driving more and more children onto the streets, where they are particularly at risk of abduction and commercial sexual exploitation. In their desperation, some fall for promises of well-paid jobs in the towns and cities.

A recent UNICEF study reported, that young girls are mostly sexually exploited through tourists in the coastal cities of Malindi, Mombasa, Kilifi and Diani. Estimates reported between 10.000 to 15.000 exploited children. The tourists mostly come from the european countries Italy (18 per cent), Germany (14 per cent) and Switzerland (12 per cent).

Kenya ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child on July 31, 1991, and has undertaken to protect children against all forms of sexual exploitation and sexual abuse.

According to studies of UNICEF 99 per cent of the inhabitants of Kenya know about child sex tourism. 76,3 per cent say, that this practise is "normal" and just 20 per cent of the people says this is "immoral" and "unacceptable".


HIV / Aids 

With the spread of prostitution, there are also fears of an increase in the frequency of HIV and AIDS. According to newspaper reports, for example, in Majengo 95 per cent of prostitutes are HIV-positive. According to estimates by UNAIDS and the World Health Organization, in 2007 some 1,75 million people in Kenya were infected with HIV, including 950.000 women and 155.000 children. In the same year, 110.000 Kenyans died following infection with HIV. Thus 4,7 per cent of the population (7,8 per cent of people aged 15 to 49 years) are infected by HIV.


Local Contacts


African Network for the Prevention and Protection Against Child Abuse and Neglect - Kenya Chapter

Chemusian Apartments, No B3,

Argwings Kodhek Road, Hurlingham,

P.O. Box 46516, 00100-GPO, Nairobi , Kenya

Phone: +254 2 2722835

Fax: +254 2 2723104





c/o Child Welfare Society Kenya

Langata Road

Nairobi, Kenya

Phone: +254 2 603301

Fax: +254 2 605854








State and society

Head of state of the Republic of Kenya is the President, since 2001 Mwai Kibaki, who is also head of government. There is a single-chamber national assembly. The centralist state has had a multi-party system since 1991.

Although in the past Kenya has been regarded as an internally stable country, growing social tensions, increasing criminality and the poor state of the economy are all contributing to a worsening political situation.


In Kenya there are some 40 different ethnic groups, differing widely in language and culture. About 96 per cent of the population are Black Africans, above all Bantu, and the Nilotic and Cushitic speaking groups. About one-third of the population are Anglican Christians and one third Roman Catholic. One-tenth are Moslems. In addition there are natural religions.


Unemployment increases the pressure on Kenya’s social problems, which are characterized by a small rich upper class and growing mass poverty. The vast majority are not landowners; this, combined with endemic unemployment, leads to ever greater social tension, increasingly expressed through violence, often against women and children.


The educational system also suffers under the economic situation, with less and less funds being available. Almost all children still attend primary school, even in outlying districts, where there are boarding schools. 


Kenya was known as one of the most stable African countrys. That changed at the end of 2007 with the presedential elections. Office holder Mwai Kibaki was blamed by the opposition for elctorial fraud. In slums of Nairobi and other cities riots started, which got fastly close to civil war. The social and ethnical differences changed into violence with 800 dead between December 2007 and February 2008.



In comparison with its neighbours, Kenya has a considerable economic potential. The agricultural sector, which supports three-quarters of the population, is well-established as is the manufacturing industry. Financial markets are developed, with a functioning banking system and international tourism. However, the economy has been stagnating for years, and national debts have reached worrying levels. The rate of unemployment is increasing, and unemployment is widespread particularly among young people.