Modern technologies and problems are colliding with the traditional economy in Kenya. The resulting opportunities for growth are clouded by disease, government interference, and the byproducts of growth itself.
DEMOGRAPHICS The Kenyan population of 30.1 million is expected to grow by 8.5 percent by 2005, to 32.6 million. This number would be significantly higher if not for the toll AIDS is taking throughout sub-Saharan Africa. An estimated one in seven Kenyans is HIV-positive, and Kenya's Minister of Health has stated that the economy is being decimated as a result of AIDS. However, if Kenya takes a lesson from neighboring Uganda, strides could be made to combat the disease. As a result of a nationwide education campaign in Uganda, infection among teenage women there dropped from 26 percent in 1992 to 9 percent in 1996.
Should Kenya follow Uganda's lead, the health-care sector, already boosted by the specter of AIDS, could experience even greater growth, while the blows to other parts of the economy are softened. However, the loss of those already infected will dampen Kenya's prospects for the foreseeable future.
Kenya's population is still very young. Even though the birth rate has fallen slightly, strong growth among young adults almost guarantees that the number of births will remain high. The number of 25-to-29-year-olds is expected to grow 24 percent by 2005, to 3 million, and the number of 30-to-34-year-olds is expected to grow by 20 percent, to 2.3 million. As a result, these two age groups should make up 16.2 percent of the Kenyan population by 2005, up from 14.4 percent of the population today. In contrast, the number of Kenyans aged 9 and younger is expected to grow by slightly over 2 percent by 2005, to 4.6 million children aged 4 and younger, and 4.3 million children aged 5 to 9. The number of 10-to-14-year-olds is expected to decline by 3.5 percent, to 4.1 million. The population pyramid in Kenya is wide at the bottom and pointed at the top. Life expectancy at birth is 46 years, averaging 45 years for men and 47 years for women. Forty-six percent of Kenyans are aged 15 and younger and only 3 per-cent are over 65. Taking into account all the contradictory forces in play, total population is expected to increase to 34.4 million in 2025 and 38.7 million in 2050.
THE ECONOMY The government of President Daniel arap Moi is one of the most prominent, yet uncertain, factors in determining how AIDS will play out in Kenya, and it is a wild card in other areas as...