Kenya Issues - 2023


Disputes - international

Kenya-Ethiopia: their border was demarcated in the 1950s and approved in 1970; in 2012, Kenya and Ethiopia agreed to redemarcate their boundary following disputes over beacons and cross-border crime

Kenya-Somalia: Kenya works hard to prevent the clan and militia fighting in Somalia from spreading across the border, which has long been open to nomadic pastoralists; in 2021, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) gave Somalia control over a disputed ocean area where the seabeds are believed to hold vasts oil and gas deposits; the ICJ ruling gave Somalia the rights to several offshore oil exploration blocks previously claimed by Kenya; Kenya did not recognize the court’s decision

Kenya-South Sudan: two thirds of the boundary that separates Kenya and South Sudan's sovereignty known as the Ilemi Triangle has been unclear since British colonial times; Kenya has administered the area since colonial times; officials from Kenya and South Sudan signed a memorandum of understanding on boundary delimitation and demarcation and agreed to set up a joint committee; as of July 2019, the demarcation process was to begin in 90 days, but was delayed due to a lack of funding

Kenya-Sudan: Kenya served as an important mediator in brokering Sudan's north-south separation in February 2005

Kenya-Tanzania: Kenya and Tanzania were conducting a joint reaffirmation process in November 2021 to ensure the border was visibly marked with pillars

Kenya-Uganda: Kenya and Uganda began a joint demarcation of the boundary in 2021 


Refugees and internally displaced persons

refugees (country of origin): 281,319 (Somalia), 157,402 (South Sudan), 56,582 (Democratic Republic of the Congo), 21,847 (Ethiopia), 8,392 (Burundi), 5,756 (Sudan) (2023)

IDPs: 190,000 (election-related violence, intercommunal violence, resource conflicts, al-Shabaab attacks in 2017 and 2018) (2021)

stateless persons: 16,779 (2022); note - the stateless population consists of Nubians, Kenyan Somalis, and coastal Arabs; the Nubians are descendants of Sudanese soldiers recruited by the British to fight for them in East Africa more than a century ago; Nubians did not receive Kenyan citizenship when the country became independent in 1963; only recently have Nubians become a formally recognized tribe and had less trouble obtaining national IDs; Galjeel and other Somalis who have lived in Kenya for decades are included with more recent Somali refugees and denied ID cards

Illicit drugs

a transit country for illicit drugs and precursor chemicals; domestic drug consumption of cannabis and miraa (khat) is growing; heroin enters Kenya via Tanzania and in shipments across the Indian Ocean from Southwest Asia mostly destined for international markets, principally Europe; cocaine enters Kenya primarily via transshipment through Ethiopia

NOTE: The information regarding Kenya on this page is re-published from the 2023 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency and other sources. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Kenya 2023 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Kenya 2023 should be addressed to the CIA or the source cited on each page.

This page was last modified 22 Aug 23, Copyright © 2023 ITA all rights reserved.