What Continent Is Kenya In?

Kanya is one of the 17 countries of East Africa.
Kanya is one of the 17 countries of East Africa.

Officially known as the Republic of Kenya, Kenya is a nation in the African continent. The state is in East Africa with a membership in the East African community. The capital city of Kenya and the biggest city is known as Nairobi. English and Swahili are the official languages. On the world map, the equator passes through Kenya in the Rift Valley region.


Kenya is bounded to the south by Tanzania, Uganda is to its east, and Ethiopia is to the north. South Sudan is located towards the northeastern side of Kenya. Another neighboring state, Somalia, is to the northeast of Kenya. More precisely, the state lies between latitudes 5° north and south, and longitudes 34° and 42° east. As of January 2017, the population of Kenya was approximately 4 million people. The state covers around 224,445 square miles.

Name and Etymology

Mount Kenya is the reason that the state came to be given the name. The name Kenya is not a word in any of the local communities around Mount Kenya such as Kikuyu. Theories suggest that explorers and visitors misheard the pronunciation so they recorded the wrong name. Eventually, the name was accepted widely by everyone despite controversy.

Geography and Climate

Kenya has varying geography and consequently, climate. The terrain varies from the low plains of the coastal region close to the Indian Ocean all the way to the highlands in central Kenya. The Great Rift Valley divides the highland region with the east being more fertile for agriculture.

The coast has tropical climates. Further inland, temperate climate dominates with the northern arid regions being extremely hot. Typically, the season for “long rains” is between March and June while “short rains” are received between October and December. February and March are the hottest while the cold season lasts from July to August.


Kenya is a democratic country with a president who heads the government and the state. Aside from having a multiparty system, the government is divided into three parts; the executive, the judiciary, and the legislature. Elections are conducted after every five years with people above the age of 18 being eligible to vote.

Administratively, Kenya is divided into 47 independent counties with a governor at the head of each county as per the new constitution. Within the counties are constituencies while locations are the lowest division below electoral wards.


Kenya has the biggest and most progressive economy in the east and central Africa. Despite the strong economy, it has a very low Human Development Index of 0.519 which places it position 145 of 186 on the planet. The most important sector in Kenya is the agricultural sector employing approximately 75% of the working population. Despite its importance, agriculture is the least developed sector. Tourism is the strongest sector and contributes 61% towards the national gross domestic product because of the high number of tourist attractions such as wildlife. The industry and manufacturing is the most advanced in the east and central Africa but contributes only 14% to Kenya’s GDP. Despite its classification as a developing or frontier market, Kenya is not on the list of least developed countries.


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