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Kenya is sub-Saharan Africa’s fast growing economy after South Africa and Nigeria. Its economy is principally agriculture based (30% of GDP) with tea, coffee and horticulture providing the principal export commodities. Tourism is a major foreign exchange earner.

Nairobi is the third largest centre in the world for the UN and is also home to numerous other international organizations, non-governmental organizations, press agencies and diplomatic missions who use Nairobi as their African or regional base. Significant resources have been committed to the East African region in recent years in terms of relief and conflict resolution in Somalia, Sudan, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi, and most of these operations have been conducted from Nairobi.

With relative political stability, a multi-party parliamentary democracy (since 1991), a well educated and hard-working population of about 33 million and a sound legal system, Kenya has the potential to be the power-house of development for Africa. The current surge in tourism, infrastructure development (notably roads and telecommunications), regional economic integration demand for products through the reconstruction of Southern Sudan and improved prospects for agriculture suggest, among other factors, that economic growth is exponential.

However, a highly partisan political climate and an endemic malaise of corruption within most aspects of public services continues to hamper Kenya ’s development. With the Parliamentary and Presidential elections scheduled for this year (2007)Inflation is running at an annual rate of approximately 10.3%. Exchange rates are relatively stable in a range of 69 to 72 Kenya shillings to 1 US Dollar.

Kenya is a member of COMESA (The Common Market for East and Central African States) and of the EAC (East African Community). These entities seek to establish a common market for trade and economic activity, free movement of goods and labour with common external tariffs. Other international memberships include the UN, the African Union and the British Commonwealth.

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