Kenya is the largest economy in East Africa. Positive economic growth is expected to continue through the medium term, with recent discoveries of oil, gas and minerals. The country’s capital, Nairobi, is one of the fastest-growing cities in Africa and is home to over 3.3 million people (of an estimated 45 million across the country). Nairobi is also a major regional hub for the United Nations, multilateral organisation and diplomatic missions. Lying along the equator, the fertile lands of the Kenya Rift Valley provide a haven for wildlife biodiversity and much potential for agricultural production. Mombasa Port, located on the South Coast, is a gateway to East African trade.
The official languages of Kenya are Kiswahili and English. Kenya is a member of the Commonwealth, having also achieved its independence as a republic in 1963. It has grown to play an increasingly critical regional role on broader humanitarian, maritime and regional security issues in the Horn of Africa, hosting a large refugee population and playing an intermediary role in Somalia and the Sudans. It hosts the headquarters of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), UN Human Settlements Programme (UN- Habitat), UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and is a member of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) and Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA).
In recent years, Australia and Kenya have undertaken a number of high-level visits and significant bilateral contact between senior officials. Recent collaboration on agriculture and food security, counter-terrorism and piracy, mining exploration and education has greatly strengthened ties between the two countries. In October 2012, the Australian International Food Security Centre (AIFSC) opened an office in Nairobi. The AIFSC is funding applied research activities to identify the barriers to and incentives for faster agricultural technology adoption across ten countries in Eastern and Southern Africa.
Australia maintains a High Commission in Nairobi. Kenya is represented in Australia by a High Commissioner based in Canberra.
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