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Kenya's economy is reasonably diversified, though most employment is dependent on agriculture, which contributes 26 percent of GDP. Kenya is the world's third largest exporter of tea, which, together with coffee and horticultural products, contributes about 50 percent of total merchandize exports. Tourism accounts for another 19 percent of Kenya's GDP, and is the second most important source of foreign exchange. The industrial sector currently contributes only 19 percent of GDP, and is a growing source of exports in the East African region.


Kenya was a British colony and protectorate from the 1890s until independence in December 1963. Kenya, formerly known as British East Africa, was declared a British protectorate in 1895,to secure a route to Uganda. The "Mau Mau revolt" as it became known, provoked panic amongst the colonists, and forced the British government to try and find a solution. Kau was banned and Kenyatta arrested. The state of emergency was lifted in 1960 and in the elections that followed, Kau won the majority. Jomo Kenyatta was released and in 1963 he became prime minister. In 1964, Kenya became a republic with Kenyatta as its first president. Jomo Kenyatta, transformed Kenya into a de facto single-party state as leader of the Kenya African National Union (KANU) party, which established and maintained political dominance. After his death in 1978, Mr. Kenyatta was succeeded by Daniel arap Moi who has remained in office since. Kenya became a de jure one-party state from 1982 until 1992, when more parties were allowed following domestic and foreign pressure on the government. Nevertheless, Mr. Moi led the KANU party to election victories in 1992 and 1997. Although KANU has dominated Kenyan post-independence politics, legalized pluralism in 1992 led to the emergence of several opposition parties mainly based on ethnic lines. In the 1997 general election, the combined vote for the opposition exceeded that for KANU, but as separate parties they could not gain control of the parliament or the presidency.

President Moi's tenure is constitutionally limited to two terms and he is currently serving his last term, which ends in 2002. Kenya has been and remains a relatively stable country. It has not experienced the major ethnic and civil conflicts that have wracked most of her neighbors, although in the early 1990s politically-instigated ethnic clashes resulted in hundreds dead and thousands displaced. Similar clashes on the coast in 1997 seriously affected tourism.

As far back as 2000 BC, evidence indicates that early tribal groups began experimenting with agriculture and the tending of cattle. The first migrants to arrive were pastoral nomads from Ethiopia who moved south to Kenya in search of fertile land to graze their flocks. These Cushites were eventually forced south into central Tanzania as the Kenyan climate changed over the centuries and water became scarce. The Yaaku, or Eastern Cushites, followed a thousand years later and settled in the central region of Kenya. In By 100 AD there may have been 1,400 pastoral communities living in the Rift Valley region. Many of the Hamitic, Nilotic, Nilo-Hamitic, and Bantu tribal groups continue to maintain their distinct social structures and traditions despite pressure in modern society to "westernise."

Near the end of the fifteenth century the first Europeans arrived on the Kenyan coast. In 1498, the Portuguese explorer Vasco de Gama stumbled upon the East African coast in search of China. The Portuguese remained on the East African coast for 200 years with well-established trading posts. Portuguese rule was harsh, unpopular, and economically debilitating for the local people. Throughout the 17th century, the Arabs attempted to re-establish links with their East African outposts. This led to an ongoing series of confrontations with the Portuguese to establish dominance. The Omani ships prevailed and by the early 1700s, the Portuguese had been routed completely. By 1720, the last remaining Portuguese left for good leaving the East African coast again under Arab control. Other than a cross overlooking the sea near Mombasa, virtually no other trace of the hated Portuguese rule remains today.

The 18th century brought an emphasis on rebuilding the cities and re-establishing the once thriving trade routes. Under the leadership of the Sultan of Oman, Seyyid Said, the Arabs worked to regain economic and political supremacy over the region. The island of Zanzibar quickly became the center of a very lucrative trade in slaves and ivory from the interior and spices from the island itself. During this time, Arab slavers moved into the interior of Kenya with the primary goal of exploiting rivalries between local tribes. The Arabs encouraged the powerful groups to conquer their weaker neighbours and sell them into slavery. The slaves were then forced to the coast and on to Zanzibar to be traded. Both ivory and slaves were hugely profitable and Zanzibar grew rich on the trade. This pattern continued despite the public outrage in Europe demanding an end to all slave trade. Eventually, the British brought their forceful anti-slavery message directly to the Sultan as they established a consulate at his court. After years of pressure, the Sultan finally relented and agreed to ban slavery in 1847.

By the mid-19th century, European interest in Kenya focused primarily on abolishing the slave trade and discovering the source of the Nile River. This period of exploration was characterized by Europeans as the Golden Age of Exploration. Between 1840 and 1880, famous names such as Livingstone, Stanley, Burton, and Speke mapped and recorded the interior of Africa. For the first time Europeans witnessed first-hand the unique beauty of Kenya and recorded it for history.

At the end of the 19th century, a period of international rivalry, often dubbed the "Scramble for Africa," the European powers laid claim to African territories. The various claims of the nations were settled at the Berlin Conference of 1884-1885. At this time, most of the continent of Africa was divided into colonies: France claimed the majority of West Africa; Germany received much of the eastern territory that is now Tanzania; Belgium got the Congo region; Portugal retained control of Mozambique and Angola; and Britain received the remainder of the continent. Africans were not invited to attend the conference and therefore received not even an acre of their own land.


Nairobi Serena Hotel: The Africa Travel Newsgroup recommends this hotel when staying in Nairobi. They also say at this Newsgroup, that "Hotel 680" costs USD $60, Parkside Hotel USD $11 and New Kenya Lodge $4 p/n but in the latter you have to buy mosquito coils! Across the street from "Hotel 680" is a place called SIMMERS, which has an internet cafe for $1/hour, which is the cheapest I've seen in ALL of africa...

... Further: "The Serena is the best hotel in Nairobi. There are gift shops and a hairdresser, as well as a poolside bar and restaurants. They have a minibus which can take you into town, which is a short drive away. The Holiday Inn is in an area called Westlands, which is about a ten minute drive from the city centre. There are shops and restaurants in the vicinity of the hotel which you could walk to. One would find the Holiday Inn has a "busier" feel to it, whereas the Serena is more genteel but also very well run".

... Other remark from the "travel Africa newsgroup": The Landmark is your only man - quibble the price. UN and FAO staff use this as their marker hotel. Some brilliant bars nearby and a good one in the hotel.

... I stayed in the Mayfair in May. Although the corridors are on the outside of some (but not all) of the buildings, the buildings themselves are in a secure compound, so I never felt at risk. Also, at night, there are askaris on watch in most corridors. Hotel was fine - happy to recommend it. (David)

Brussels Airlines
In 2002 SN Brussels Airlines was created to continue in the steps of the two companies Sabena and DAT, who between them had an unequalled safety record. BRUSSELS AIRLINES was created following the merger of SN Brussels Airlines (SNBA) and Virgin Express. On 12 April 2005, SN Airholding, the company behind SNBA, signed an agreement with Richard Branson, giving it control over Virgin Express. On 7 November 2006, the new name, Brussels Airlines, was announced at a press conference at Brussels Airport. Brussels Airlines began operations on 25 March 2007. On September 15, 2008 it was announced that Lufthansa will acquire a 45% stake in Brussels Airlines with an option to acquire the remaining 55% from 2011. As a part of this deal Brussels Airlines will join Star Alliance. On March 13, Brussels Airlines announced that the airline will codeshare all their flights to Germany with Lufthansa. The codeshare agreement will start from March 29. This new step is part of the integration of Brussels Airlines into the Star Alliance network. Brussels Airlines becomes a Star Alliance member in 2009.

From 26 April 2002 SN Brussels Airlines opened frequent Africa connections and presently BRUSSELS AIRLINES serves safe and reliable flights to:

ANGOLA (Luanda) - BURUNDI (Bujumbura) - CAMEROON (Douala & Yaoundé) - CôTE D'IVOIR (Abidjan) - DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO (Kinshasa) - THE GAMBIA (Banjul (Banjul) - GUINEA (Conakry) - KENYA (Nairobi) - LIBERIA (Monrovia) - RWANDA (Kigali) - SENEGAL (Dakar) - SIERRA LEONE (Freetown) - UGANDA (Entebbe)
For further information click here and please tell them we sent you!

NAIROBI December 30, 2002: Kibaki New President
Huge crowds have been gathering in the Kenyan capital Nairobi for the swearing-in of president-elect Mwai Kibaki following the landslide victory of his National Rainbow Coalition (Narc) in Friday's election.
Mwai Kibaki: 63%, Uhuru Kenyatta: 30%, Simeon Nyachae: 7%,

Mr Kibaki roundly defeated Uhuru Kenyatta, the candidate of the Kanu party - which has run the country since independence in 1963. The 71-year-old president-elect has announced sweeping changes to the way Kenya is run, promising to battle corruption. Mr Kibaki will become the country's third head of state.

NAIROBI/WASHINGTON December 11, 2002: Joint Statement by the United States of America, the Republic of Kenya, and Ethiopia

At the invitation of President George W. Bush, President Daniel T. arap Moi of Kenya and Prime Minister Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia met at the White House on Thursday, December 5, 2002.

The leaders reaffirmed their strong commitment in the global war on terrorism. They recognized the significant and unique challenges of fighting terrorism, which continues to pose a serious threat to the region and the world. To this end, the three leaders reaffirmed their commitment to work together and, with the international community, to eliminate terror networks and actively oppose those governments and organizations that support, harbor, or tolerate terrorist activities. The leaders renewed their determination for lasting peace and security in the region and recognized that freedom and democracy comprise the foundation of these objectives. President Bush expressed his appreciation for the efforts of Kenya and Ethiopia in the peace process in Sudan and the reconciliation process in Somalia. He also indicated his confidence in a smooth election and transition process in Kenya, and the prompt and continuous progress in the Ethiopia-Eritrea peace process as proscribed in the peace agreement. The leaders called attention to the food crisis in the Horn of Africa, particularly in Ethiopia, where food shortages are affecting six million people and may eventually expose 14 million people to starvation. The United States will continue to provide food aid and other humanitarian assistance to alleviate the effects of the crisis and calls upon other donor nations to provide substantial emergency assistance. The leaders also agreed to take steps to prevent the recurrence of food emergencies in the region. The leaders welcomed African development initiatives, such as the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD), and called upon African countries to take advantage of opportunities provided by the African Growth and Opportunity Act. They recognized that long-term economic prosperity will require strong leadership at home to promote economic freedom, coupled with support from both local and international communities. The leaders expressed concern over the devastating effects of the HIV/AIDS pandemic and other infectious diseases in Africa and their impact on social, economic, and security sectors. Kenya and Ethiopia lauded the Bush Administration for its leadership in the global fight against these diseases and for being the largest, single contributor to the Global Fund to Fight HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria. They resolved to give high priority to the campaign to eradicate these diseases, and the United States reaffirmed its support.

NAIROBI 01 May 2002: Two Kenyans Titus Gitau and Stephen Njukia want to auction beans over the internet. They say they want to get higher prices for the best coffees and pass on bigger profits to farmers. "In America, you walk into Starbucks and pay $5 for a cup of coffee, at the same time the farmers in Africa are getting very little." The two say they will sell only the very best coffee through their INTERNET COMPANY. At a first Internet auction in April a Japanese buyer paid $453 (£311) per 50 kilo bag of the best Kenyan Arabica coffee - $106 more per bag than the same lot fetched at a local auction a few weeks earlier. One container of coffee is worth $50,000. Titus and Stephen are planning their next auction in August 2002.

NAIROBI 29 April 2002: Kenyan President Daniel arap Moi said Tuesday he would take "drastic measures" to stop the degradation of his African nation's forests, including banning timber harvesting in protected areas and prosecuting offenders. Moi made his vow a day after dozens of wealthy homeowners gathered in the pouring rain to protest the unauthorized carving up of one of two remaining forests in Nairobi. He also blamed the chief conservator of forests and his officers for "neglecting their responsibilities and allowing forests to be destroyed." Moi appointed a retired military official to supervise forest management. Moi also called on all Kenyans to report anyone they see cutting down protected forests.

MILINDI, 11 October 2001: Kenyan tourism operators are preparing to capitalise on the discovery of a 'living fossil' coelacanth fish off the popular coastal resort of Milindi. The catch is the first off East Africa, with all previous coelacanth sightings reported only off the coasts of South Africa, Mozambique and Madagascar. The 1,7 metre fish disappeared from fossil records 80 million years ago and was considered extinct until its chance rediscovery off South Africa's east coast near East London in 1938. The discovery is still widely considered to be one of the greatest zoological finds of the 20th century.

TANA RIVER DISTRICT, 09 October 2001: Four people have been burnt to death and some 1,000 made homeless when an armed gang raided a village in the Tana River district and set several houses on fire. The district has been the scene of sporadic clashes for a year now between Pokomo and Orma tribesmen who have been fighting over grazing land. Last month the bodies of at least 30 people killed in ethnic clashes in the same area were reportedly dumped in the River Tana in the east of the country. Leaders from the two tribes have repeatedly been blamed for fuelling the conflict which has cost an estimated 100 lives. Efforts by the government to broker peace in the area have repeatedly failed, mainly because of mutual suspicion and rivalries. This week's attack on Tana River district involved a group of about 100 heavily armed Orma tribesmen, who raided Shirikisho village. The Pokomo villagers were caught unawares, and the raiders engaged policemen in a heavy exchange of fire before they were overpowered. Some then torched the houses, others went on a looting spree, taking away what they could as the raging flames engulfed the houses.

MOMBASA, 6 July 2001: Global tea markets have been destabilized by fallen yields in the regions, but crop statistics figures remain varied, Africa Tea Brokers (ATB) said in a market report. Harvests have shown massive declines in major growing areas of Africa and the Indian sub-continent due to unfavourable weather conditions, the report said.

VISITOR TIPS from the Africa Travel Newsgroup

In an effort to avoid Zimbabwe (although we had to pass through) we went to the Zambia side of the Falls and enjoyed three days in a gorgeous B&B (Bed & Breakfast) just about 15-20 minutes drive from the Falls. It's called the Taita Falcon Lodge and it's on a cliff overlooking the Zambezi. Quite beautiful. (Source: Africa Travel NewsGroup)

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