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Country Reports

Kenya Country Report

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Risk Level

Low
Moderate
Elevated
High
Very High
Severe
Extreme

Overview

Executive Summary

President Kenyatta was re-elected in October 2017 following a re-run that was upheld by the Supreme Court. Opposition leader Raila Odinga boycotted this and launched a new opposition movement, although probable fragmentation prevents an effective legislative boycott. A cabinet reshuffle finalised on 26 January 2018 indicates a strategy to block the vice-president's 2022 presidency bid, slowing policy implementation later into Kenyatta's term. However, reappointment of the finance minister does indicate more concerted fiscal consolidation efforts. New renewable energy projects are a low government priority. Al-Shabaab targets government assets in the northeastern counties.

Last update: March 27, 2018

Operational Outlook

Political will to enforce a stricter Bribery Act authorised in January 2017 will gradually improve following a cabinet reshuffle in January 2018. The law applies retroactively. At greatest risk are those infrastructure and power projects that acquired "community" or "public" land without oversight from the constitutionally mandated National Land Commission. An investigation into land deals authorised by the NLC's former chairman would probably resume this year. Separately, county governors elected in August 2017 will begin cutting wage bills, thereby increasing the scale and frequency of public-sector strikes by teacher and doctors unions.

Last update: March 27, 2018

Terrorism

Very high

Kenya contributes to the African Union Mission in Somalia and is therefore a target for Islamist militant group Al-Shabaab. Small-arms and improvised explosive device (IED) attacks target police stations, public transport, and military convoys in the northeastern Mandera and Wajir counties. Tourism in south-eastern Lamu county is at lower risk due to less permissive security. Jihadist recruitment networks in Isiolo, Kilifi, and Lamu counties encourage low-capability, self-generated attacks against police stations. Isiolo is a typical staging ground for high-impact IED attacks against urban centres, but these are likely to be intercepted.

Last update: March 27, 2018

War Risks

Elevated

The International Court of Justice will next reconvene to adjudicate Kenya and Somalia's disputed maritime boundary on 18 June 2018. However, Comparable cases have, however, taken up to six years to resolve. Military retaliation in the event of an unfavourable decision is, unlikely. Economic co-operation between Kenya and Ethiopia on cross-border infrastructure projects is deepening, with Ethiopian military border incursions declining in frequency as the anti-government Oromo Liberation Front weakens. Uganda and Kenya are also engaged in a territorial dispute, but both sides are likely to seek international arbitration.

Last update: March 27, 2018

Social Stability

High

Protests will be localised within opposition ODM strongholds around Lake Nyanza and Nairobi's informal settlements of Kibera, Kawangware, and Mathare. Triggers include unfavourable court decisions relating to disuted county elections, or if the government takes legal action against opposition leader Raila Odinga. Inter-ethnic violence comparable to 2007–08 is unlikely. Approximately 500–1,000 protesters would fight with security forces and create makeshift roadblocks. Opposition hotspots include the capitals of Bungoma, Busia, Homa Bay, Kakamega, Kisumu, Migori, Siaya, Trans-Nzoia, and Vihiga counties.

Last update: March 27, 2018

Health Risk

Severe

Vaccinations required to enter the country

Proof of vaccination against yellow fever is required if traveling from a country with risk of yellow fever (YFV) transmission and over one year of age.

Routine Vaccinations

Hepatitis A: A vaccine is available for anyone over one year of age. The vaccine may not be effective for certain people, e.g. those born before 1945 and who lived as a child in a developing country and/or have a past history of jaundice (icterus). These people can instead get a shot of immune globulin (IG) to boost their immunity against the disease.

Hepatitis B: A vaccine is available for children at least two months old.

Diphtheria-Tetanus-Polio: A booster shot should be administered if necessary (once every ten years).

Other Vaccinations

Typhoid Fever: If your travels take you to regions with poor sanitary conditions (for children two years old and up).

Rabies: For prolonged stays in an isolated region (for children from when they can walk).

Meningococcal Meningitis: For prolonged stays, or in case your travels will put you in close contact with a local population affected by an epidemic of the disease (for children over the age of two years).

Measles: Kenya is regularly afflicted by measles epidemics. Ask your doctor if you are due for a booster shot.

Malaria: Recommended preventive medication - mefloquine (sometimes marketed as Lariam) or doxycycline (sometimes marketed as Vibramycin).

For Children: All standard childhood immunizations should be up-to-date. In the case of a long stay, the BCG vaccine is recommended for children over one month and the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine for children over nine months.

Last update: June 1, 2016

Natural Risks

High

Flooding and drought are the most common environmental risks. Kenya has two rainy seasons, the first taking place from April to June and the second from October to November. During these periods, large-scale flooding is likely, even in Nairobi, leading to severe disruptions of ground transportation and potential landslides in mountainous regions. 

Kenya is currently suffering from two below-average rainy seasons, resulting in food shortages and the death of livestock in the region. The ongoing drought is considered one of the worst in the last five years. According to local officials, residents of more than 42 counties are prone to risk of famine. At least 1.3 million Kenyans are at a critical level of food insecurity. Marsabit county (north of the country) is one of the most affected counties; according to the local governor, more than 60 percent of cattle have been lost, residents are facing serious food and water shortages, and the majority of schools are currently closed.

Kenya is located in an active seismic zone; tremors are often felt in the country.

Last update: February 13, 2018

Transportation

High

Whenever possible, it is safest to travel by air when undertaking long-distance trips within the country. When traveling to coastal resorts, it is recommended to use a company serving Malindi Airport (north of Mombasa) or Ukunda Airport (south of Mombasa). In Nairobi, these companies operate from Wilson Airport.

Although most roads are useable, the country suffers from poor road infrastructure. Additionally, the aggressive driving habits of locals make traveling by road hazardous. This is exacerbated by poor vehicle maintenance and a lack of health care facilities. Finally, due to the lack of public lighting, all night travel should be avoided.

In cities, road travel should be by chauffeured car or by a licensed taxi booked by the hotel. Always travel with doors locked and windows rolled up.

For inter-city travel, it is recommended to ensure the vehicle is well-maintained and stocked with adequate supplies of water, food, and fuel. It is also advised to ensure that the vehicle contains spare parts (wheels, cables, etc.) and has effective means of telecommunication. In general, and when possible, it is strongly advised to only travel during the daytime.

Minibus (matatus) travel should be avoided due to their poor maintenance, the erratic driving habits of most chauffeurs, and their frequent targeting by highway bandits.

Last update: February 13, 2018

Infrastructure

Power outages are common; most houses are equipped with a generator.

Construction accidents are frequent. Buildings often collapse due to low-quality concrete, an inadequate foundation, and poor-quality building materials.

Last update: February 13, 2018

Practical Information

Climate

Kenya experiences four seasons each year: two dry seasons (December to March; July to October) and two rainy seasons (April to June; November).

Along the coast, the climate is tropical, hot, and humid. The area is windy throughout the year and winds can become violent between April and September. The highlands region is hot and sunny with low levels of humidity. Conditions around Lake Victoria are, on the other hand, very wet. In the desert areas of the northeast, temperatures are very high with rain falling in April and May. Sunset is between 6:00 and 7:00 pm.

Useful Numbers

Country Code: +254
Police: 999
Fire Dept.: 999
Ambulance: 999

Electricity

Voltage: 240 V ~ 50 Hz

Outlets:

Last update: December 10, 2013