Kenya Media and telecoms landscape guide November 2010


  1. Introduction

Kenya has the most developed economy in East Africa and the most sophisticated media in the region.

There are dozens of private radio and TV stations. They broadcast mostly in English and Kiswahili. Some also broadcast in tribal languages.

Kenya’s mobile phone network covers 86% of the population. There are 20 million subscribers. Mobile phone usage is soaring as competition pushes call costs lower.

Kenyans are very sophisticated mobile phone users. Millions of people use their handsets to make financial transactions, listen to the radio and surf the internet

Kenya suffers from periodic drought. It is also vulnerable to the overspill of conflict from neighbouring Somalia, Ethiopia, Sudan and Uganda.

There are nearly half a million refugees, stateless persons and asylum seekers in Kenya, mostly from Somalia.

There are also 400,000 internally displaced Kenyans. Most were uprooted from their homes by violence during the 2007 elections.

Nairobi is a regional centre for coordinating aid operations throughout East Africa. It is also a base for broadcasting into Somalia and Southern Sudan.

In August 2010, Kenya adopted a new constitution that reduced the powers of the president and introduced wide- ranging reforms. These measures remain subject to interpretation by parliament and the courts, but human rights groups have welcomed the new constitution as a significant step forward.

Humanitarian organisations planning to launch communications initiatives with intended beneficiaries should coordinate their actions with other stakeholders through the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) Kenya office and the Cluster leads.