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You are in:  Nations > Africa > Kenya
Kenya*Kenya flag
Basic facts
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The country 
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Capital: Nairobi
Area: 582,646 sq km; 224,961 sq miles
Population: 29,250,541 (2000 Estimate)
Urbanisation: Urban 31 per cent (1998 Estimate); Rural 69 per cent (1998 Estimate)
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Economy

Exports: Tea, coffee, petroleum products, fruits, cement, soda ash

Industry: Plastic, furniture, rubber, batteries, textiles, clothing, ceramics, cigarettes, flour; food processing, oil refining, cement, tourism

Agriculture: Cash crops: coffee, tea; food products: maize, wheat, sugar cane, fruits, vegetables, dairy products, beef, pork, poultry, eggs

Currency: 1 Kenya shilling (Ksh), consisting of 100 cents

Natural resources: Gold, limestone, soda ash, salt barytes, rubies, fluorite, garnets, wildlife

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The people

Ethnic: Kikuyu 21 per cent, Luhya 14 per cent, Luo 12 per cent, Kalenjin 11 per cent, Kamba 11 per cent, Kisii 6 per cent, Meru 6 per cent, Other 19 per cent

Language: English is an official language and is widely used for business and Government purposes. Kiswahili (also called Swahili) is the other official language and its use is promoted to encourage national unity. It was chosen as an official language because of its wide use within the country and because it shares linguistic roots with other Bantu languages spoken in Kenya-it is accessible to a major portion of the population. Most Kenyans speak the language or dialect of their ethnic group as well as Kiswahili and - except in remote areas - some English is also spoken.

Religion: Protestant 40 per cent, Roman Catholic 30 per cent, Indigenous beliefs 22 per cent, Muslim 6 per cent, Other 2 per cent. The majority of Kenyans are Christian. About 40 per cent belong to various Protestant churches and 30 per cent are Roman Catholic. Approximately 6 per cent are Muslim. Most Muslims live along the coast and in the North East. About 10 per cent of the people follow indigenous belief systems or non-traditional Christian beliefs.

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The history

Independence: 12 December 1963 (from the United Kingdom). Following a period of violent partisan uprisings (called the Mau Mau rebellion) in the 1950s, the United Kingdom granted Kenya its independence in 1963. It remains in the Commonwealth as a sovereign republic.

Government: The President is head of government and chief of state. The President selects a vice-president from among the members of the National Assembly, which is called the Bunge. All citizens are eligible to vote at the age of 18.

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