Kenya has a population of 40 million people and has the biggest economy in Eastern Africa.
The country's weather patterns are erratic with vast regions of arid and semi-arid land, yet three quarters of the population are dependent on agriculture.
According to official figures, of the 16 million unemployed Kenyans, 80% are young people.
Despite the economy's growth in recent years - with a dip in the aftermath of the post-election violence in 2007/08 – its impact on poverty reduction has been far from significant. Rather, it is aggravating inequality.
Kenya is among the top 10 most unequal societies in the world, with the richest 10% owning more than 40% of the land and resources, and the poorest 10% a mere 1%.
A quarter of the population lives on US$1 a day and two thirds on less than US $2.
The majority of people in Kenya’s cities live in informal settlements or slums, with poor access to basic services like water and sanitation, schools and healthcare.
There is an unequal distribution of political, social and economic power in Kenya as a result of the strong link between wealth accumulation and the state since gaining independence.
Despite the unchanging political context and the power struggle between different elite groups, Kenyan citizens have achieved far-reaching civil and political rights.
The new Kenyan constitution allows people to participate in political processes and upholds the rights of all Kenyans to healthcare, housing, sanitation, food, safe water, social security and education.
Tax and governance
Kenya has the highest tax expenditure in the region, but exemptions for business elites and incentives to foreign investors, which have few economic and social benefits, cost the country more than $1 billion each year.
Tax evasion and avoidance, corruption, and misuse of public funds are a huge drain on resources.
Good health is essential for development, but maternal and child mortality rates are high in Kenya, as are communicable and preventable diseases such as malaria, HIV and tuberculosis, particularly among women and children.
Malnutrition and diseases caused by poor sanitation and hygiene practices make the situation worse. Many people do not have access to adequate health services.
Kenya is vulnerable to disasters that cause massive displacements and human suffering.
Droughts and intermittent floods are becoming more frequent and increasingly severe. With each drought, pastoralists and smallholder farmers lose a large percentage of their assets.
The increasing scarcity of resources – including food and water – leads to more conflicts between communities, which hampers long-term development.