Kenya Country Profile
Prepared by: The Better Half of Mr. Reeser’s AP Government Class for Idaho U.N. – 2023
Kenya is a Presidential Representative Democratic Republic with representatives elected by the people. Kenya has a three branch government. They have an Executive branch headed by an elected president who has a two term limit who is the head of the government. A bicameral legislature with two houses, the upper house (senate with 67 members) and the lower house (national assembly, 349 members). The assembly has five year term limits. As well as a judiciary branch, which consists of a Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, High Court, Industrial Court, Environment and Land Court. These courts are responsible for solving disputes. The subordinate courts consist of the Magistrate Court, Courts Martial and Kadhi Court.. The Jubilee party is in control as of right now with 37 members in the senate and 186 in assembly. The second most powerful party is the National Super Alliance (NASA) party with 24 members in the senate and 125 members in the assembly. The NASA party is the more liberal and progressive while the Jubilee party is the more conservative of the two. There are 47 counties and each one gets one senator that is elected. In addition there are 20 nominated senate representatives (16 women, two representing youth and two for those with disabilities.)
Though Kenya’s economy is currently fairly vulnerable and unstable, they have lofty goals for their country’s future. Currently, Kenya is ranked third largest in Sub-Saharan Africa, and they expect to be an even bigger player in the coming years. Despite the pandemic slowing industries such as tourism and transportation in the country, Kenya is still making large headway in economic growth and political stability. Kenya has recently had many economic reforms, which contribute to this growth. These reforms have expanded the transport and construction sectors, as well as reinforced their largest industry: Agriculture. Agriculture and services are the largest sectors of industry in Kenya. Agricultural exports include tea cut flowers and coffee. The agriculture industry has helped to keep the GDP up, and it’s projected to continue going up in the future. It accounts for a third of the GDP, and 40% of the overall workforce. Other major industries include forestry, manufacturing, and energy. Kenya has numerous resources such as ores, minerals, and fossil fuels. While gold is generally restricted to the western portion of the country, areas around Mombasa have abundant limestone, niobium, iron ore, gemstones, and salt. Kenya exports great amounts of gold and refined petroleum. A great portion of Kenya’s energy comes from hydroelectric dams located throughout the country. Kenya also has financial sectors that are much more developed than its neighbors. Some of the leading companies in Kenya according to market capitalization are Safaricom, East African Breweries, Equity Bank, and Kenya Commercial Bank. The middle class of Kenyans has been experiencing steady stretches of growth, but overall economic growth has been limited by corruption. Despite this, Kenya has hopes for a bright future. Many of the government officials have proposed a vision for Kenya in 2030. Kenya will hopefully reach the level of many Asian corporations by this time.
Kenya invests about 1.2% of their gross domestic product on military expenditures. Kenya’s military includes an army, navy, coast guard, and an air force. They also have a national police force that is managed by the Ministry of the Interior. They have a total of about 24,000 military personnel, of which about 20,000 personnel are in the army. They do not have any conscription policy. Its main suppliers of military equipment are China, Jordan, and the United States. They have about 260 military personnel in the Democratic Republic of the Congo through the UN’s MONUSCO mission, and 3,650 in Somalia through the ATMIS mission. In 2011 Kenya sent military forces to Somalia to fight the al-Shabaab terrorist group, which is linked to al Qaida. This terrorist group is also present in Kenya. Kenya has a National Intelligence Service (NIS), which acts as a domestic and foreign intelligence agency. They gather internal, external and strategic intelligence, and attempt to identify anything that may threaten Kenya’s stability, and act to neutralize such threats. The NIS may also work to protect the security interests of Kenya, no matter what those interests may be. Kenya has provided asylum to about 548,000 refugees, most of them from Uganda. Kenya borders the Indian Ocean, and because of that they have a dispute with Somalia over some of the ocean seabeds, especially those which hold gasoline and oil. As they do so much business through the Indian Ocean, they are also at risk of piracy. Many illegal drugs, mainly heroin and cocaine, are transported through Kenya. They come from Southwest Asia and are often transported to Europe.
Role in the United Nations
Kenya plays several roles in the United Nations; one of which is their contribution to many of the United Nations councils. This year one of the councils they get to contribute to is the security council. The issues they are trying to fix are: getting rid of poverty and partnership/ help for the sustainable development goals. They have a vision that by 2030 they will be able to give a high quality life to all of their citizens. They hope to move Kenya towards a more equitable and inclusive future. This year as they get a position in the security council they will hopefully push for their goals to be accomplished. In the 77th session of the general assembly, Kenya made the blue economy development their first priority. This development would help end hunger, spur economic growth, and clean the water. Another resolution Kenya supports is the international financial institution and the group of 20 to use all financial instruments available to provide economic relief to the countries who got hit the worst with the pandemic, conflict from other countries, and countries with harsh climates. Overall Kenya tries to promote regional peace, security, climate protection, and countering terrorism and extremism in the United Nations counsels.
Current Role in Climate Mitigation:
Kenya contributes only 0.1 percent of global greenhouse gasses. Kenya is one of the first countries in Africa to enact comprehensive laws and guidelines for climate action. Kenya is worried about climate change because the sea level is rising higher along their coast than the international average and they have been going through many droughts. Floods have increased and days of rain have decreased. They plan to reduce their GHG emissions by 30% by 2030. Kenya’s largest economic sectors are in rainfed agriculture and tourism so climate change plays quite a large factor in their economy. Drought and floods have wreaked havoc on Kenya. Some of the ways Kenya is responding to climate change are: adaptation, afforestation and reforestation, climate- smart agriculture, geothermal and clean energy development, energy efficiency. Climate change is having significant impacts on the Republic of Kenya. The fact that temperatures are increasing and that there are frequent droughts has made it hard on the livestock, crops, and people in Kenya. Kenya is rather vulnerable to climate change. About 80% of Kenya is arid land and it also has a significant amount of semi-arid land. This had made Kenya very vulnerable to droughts hence their extreme caution over climate change. Climate disasters, such as droughts and floods, have devastated many sectors of Kenya’s economy. All of the droughts and floods in the area have caused an estimated 3% economic loss.