Kenya, officially the Republic of Kenya, is a sovereign state in the African Great Lakes region of East Africa. Its capital and largest city is Nairobi. Kenya lies on the equator with the Indian Ocean to the south-east, Tanzania to the south, Uganda to the west, South Sudan to the north-west, Ethiopia to the north and Somalia to the north-east. Kenya covers 581,309 km2 (224,445 sq mi) and has a population of about 44 million in July 2012.
Kenya’s various ethnic groups typically speak their mother tongues within their own communities. The two official languages, English and Swahili, are used in varying degrees of fluency for communication with other populations. English is widely spoken in commerce, schooling and government.Peri-urban and rural dwellers are less multilingual, with many in rural areas speaking only their native languages.
Although Kenya is the biggest and most advanced economy in east and central Africa , though it is still a poor developing country with a Human Development Index (HDI) of 0.519, putting the country at position 145 out of 186 – one of the lowest in the world.
The enormous potential of small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) to transform economies and lives will be fully realized when two critical missing links are connected: The first is capital. The second is an under-appreciated, underutilized human resource making up the majority of the human resources in the developing world: women (2).Currently, women in Kenya do the vast majority of agricultural work and produce/market the majority of food. Yet they earn only a fraction of the income generated and own a nominal percentage of assets. Only 29 percent of those earning a formal wage throughout the country are women, leaving a huge percentage of women to work in the informal sector without any federal support. The effect is severe with nearly 40 percent of households run solely by women, and, because of a lack of fair income, nearly all these homes suffer from poverty or extreme poverty (3)
The World Bank estimates that approximately 800,000 Kenyans join the labor market each year, and only 50,000 succeed in getting professional jobs. Not surprisingly, the high level of unemployment has been blamed for escalating incidents of crime and insecurity in the country.
However, to reverse this trend, Kenya must see its growing youth population as an opportunity, not a liability. Young Kenyans constitute 36% of the population, estimated to be about 39 million people. Forbes Africa recently released a list of Africa’s 30 best entrepreneurs under 30. Notably, 7 out of the 30 entrepreneurs are Kenyan. The high number of Kenyans on the Forbes Africa list is representative of the energy, talent, and creativity that abound in the country.