Major problems facing Kenya today

william-ruto-kenyaKenya or the Republic of Kenya (named after Mount Kenya) is an East African country bordering the Republic of Tanzania to the South, the Republic of South Sudan to the North-west, the Republic of Ethiopia to the north, the Republic of Uganda to the west and the People's "Republic" of Somalia to the north-east. The Republic of Kenya also lies on the equator with the Indian Ocean to its south-east.

The Republic of Kenya has a total land area of about 580,367sq.km (about 11,227 sq km of which is covered by water) with about 536km of coastline. Just around 9.5% of this total land area remains arable (Agricultural land or land good for farming). Kenya has a total population of about 45 million people with the population growth rate around 2.3%.

About 25% of the total population of Kenya live in urban areas in major cities and towns such as Nairobi (the capital of Kenya with a population of about 3.5 million people) and Mombassa (another major city with a population of about 1 million people). The rate of urbanization hovers around 4.4%. In other words, greater part of the total Kenyan populace lives in rural areas in small towns and villages. 

The Republic of Kenya is one of the most culturally rich countries in all of Africa with a beautiful blend of several different cultures and ethnic groups. There are at least 40 different ethnic groups living in Kenya today with the Kikuyu (the most dominant ethnic group) forming about 22% of the total population. Others include Luhya (The Luhyas make up about 14% of the total population), Luo (forming about 13% of the total population), Kalenjin (about 12% of the total population, Kamba (About 11% of the total population), Kisii 6%, Meru 6% with the remaining minor ethnic groups forming the remaining 16 percent of the total population etc. Although several indigenous languages are spoken in Kenya today, English and Kiswahili remain the two official languages spoken throughout Kenya.

In terms of religion, Christianity reigns supreme in Kenya today with about 82.5% of the total population being Christians. (please note: this includes Protestants 47.4%, Catholics 23.3%, other 11.8%). Muslims make up about 11.1% of the total population with traditional worshippers forming just about 1.6% of the total population.

In terms of education, Kenya has perhaps one of the best literacy rates on the continent. Kenya's current literacy rate is around 87% for the entire population with the female literacy rate hovering around 84%. In other words, about 87% of the total Kenyan population above age 15 can at least read and write which is far better than in most African countries today.

Kenya just like Tanzania and its other neighboring countries is blessed with abundance of natural resources such as limestone, soda ash, salt, gemstones, abundance of wildlife, zinc, diatomite, gypsum, hydropower, etc.

However, despite the abundance of natural resources and the high literacy rate, Kenya like most other developing countries in Africa today is crippled with so many problems both natural causes and man-created. Although literacy rate in Kenya is far better than in most other African countries, quality education is something hard to come by in Kenya today. So at the end of the day, most students graduate from school with degrees upon degrees but unable to apply what they've learned in school to help better their living conditions. Instead, most end up on the streets jobless with nothing at all to do. About 50% of the entire Kenyan populace live below poverty line according to the new multidimensional poverty index with the unemployment rate around hovering around 40%.

Like in most African countries, about 75% of the total population of Kenya are subsistence farmers who grow crops and rear animals just to feed themselves and their families and in times of crop failure, most of these families go starving. The unpredictable climatic conditions in Kenya sometimes worsen the situation. From the tropical regions along the coast to the arid interior regions of Kenya, natural havocs such as recurring drought and unpredictable flooding during the rainy seasons sometimes put many rural families in nothing but absolute poverty.

Although youth education especially girl-child education is helping a lot in breaking the cycle of new HIV/AIDS infections in Kenya, about 1.5 million HIV/AIDS cases were recorded in 2009 with about 80,000 deaths recorded in the same year.

Corruption and poor leadership are other major reasons why Kenya still wallows in poverty despite the abundance of natural resources. Corruption in Kenya has gotten so worse to the point where people on the streets consider corruption "normal" part of everyday life. Incompetent leadership and poor governance continue to tear Kenya into pieces.