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About Kenya

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Author: Jane Bouy

Kenya (5,200 m), Mt Elgon (4,322m) and the Aberdare Ranger (rising to over 3,963 m). The plateau is bisected from north to south by the Rift Valley, part of the great geological fracture that can be traced from Syria through the Red Sea and East Africa to Mozambique. Kenya is pursuing regional economic integration, which will enhance long-term growth prospects. The EAC's objectives include harmonizing tariffs and customs regimes, free movement of people, and improving regional infrastructures. Kenya lies across the equator in east-central Africa, on the coast of the Indian Ocean. It is twice the size of Nevada.

Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI), the principal medical research institute in Kenya, has been a collaborating institution with the UW AITRP since 1989 when the first of 7 KEMRI researchers participated in long-term training at the UW. KEMRI operates the referral laboratory for East Africa and has a 40-bed research ward. Kenyans understandably pursue the business opportunities offered by tourism with a zeal that may be off putting to some visitors, but are usually open, talkative and friendly once business matters have been settled. Kenya has an area of 224,961 square miles, slightly smaller then Texas with a population of 31,138,735 and growing. The capital is Nairobi holding a population of 2,200,000, seventy percent of which are African.

Kenya's geography is marvelously varied. While much of northeastern Kenya is a flat, bush-covered plain, the remainder of the country encompasses pristine beaches, scenic highlands and lake regions, the Great Rift Valley, and the magnificent Mount Kenya. Kenya's border with Somalia is closed due to increased instability in Somalia.

Kenya's proximity to the Arabian Peninsula invited colonization, and Arab and Persian settlements sprouted along the coast by the eighth century. During the first millennium AD, Nilotic and Bantu peoples moved into the region, and the latter now comprises three-quarters of Kenya's population. Kenya faces numerous development challenges, including poverty, HIV/AIDS, and governance. Currently life expectancy is 47.5 years, and 62.3 percent of the population live on less than two dollars a day. Kenya requires travelers arriving from countries where yellow fever is present to present proof of yellow fever vaccination. Vaccination should be given 10 days before travel and at 10-year intervals if there is ongoing risk.

Kenya is the world's third largest exporter of tea, which, together with coffee and horticultural products, contributed about 53% of total merchandise exports in 2002. Agriculture makes up 19% of GDP, industry 18% and services 62.6%.

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