U.S. Relations With Kenya

Bureau of African Affairs
Fact Sheet
October 12, 2016

More information about Kenya is available on the Kenya Page and from other Department of State publications and other sources listed at the end of this fact sheet.


The United States established diplomatic relations with Kenya in 1964, following its December 1963 independence from the United Kingdom. The United States and Kenya have enjoyed cordial relations and an enduring strategic partnership since Kenya's independence. Relations became closer after Kenya's democratic transition of 2002 and subsequent improvements in civil liberties. In the wake of widespread violence following the disputed 2007 presidential election, the United States has supported the sweeping political and institutional reform agenda adopted by the coalition government, the centerpiece of which was constitutional reform. Kenyans adopted a new constitution in a national referendum in August 2010 and held its first elections since the 2007/08 post-election violence in March 2013. President Obama visited Kenya in July of 2015, the first sitting United States President to ever visit the country. His travel underscored the strength of the relationship between the United States and Kenya.

Corruption and insecurity are the two greatest impediments to Kenya achieving sustained, rapid economic growth, and the United States has urged the government to take effective action against them. Conflict and instability in neighboring Somalia pose serious security and humanitarian challenges for Kenya and the region.  The United States provides equipment and training to Kenyan security forces, both civilian and military.

U.S. Assistance to Kenya

As an important developing country partner in east Africa, Kenya is a significant recipient of U.S. foreign assistance. In accordance with Presidential Policy Directive on Africa, the U.S. assistance strategy is built around four strategic objectives for U.S. policy: (1) strengthen democratic institutions; (2) spur economic growth, trade and investment; (3) advance peace and security; and (4) promote opportunity and development.

Bilateral Economic Relations

Kenya is eligible for preferential trade benefits under the African Growth and Opportunity Act. U.S. exports to Kenya include agricultural products, aircraft, and machinery. U.S. imports from Kenya include apparel, coffee, and tea. U.S. business investment is primarily in commerce, light manufacturing, and the tourism industry. The United States has signed trade and investment framework agreements with the East African Community and with the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa. Kenya is a member of both regional organizations.

Kenya's Membership in International Organizations

Kenya and the United States belong to a number of the same international organizations, including the United Nations, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and World Trade Organization.

Bilateral Representation

The U.S. Ambassador to Kenya is Robert F. Godec. Other principal embassy officials are listed in the Department's Key Officers List.

Kenya maintains an embassy in the United States at 2249 R Street NW, Washington, DC 20008 (tel. 202-387-6101).

More information about Kenya is available from the Department of State and other sources, some of which are listed here:

Department of State Kenya Page
Department of State Key Officers List
CIA World Factbook Kenya Page
U.S. Embassy: Kenya
USAID Kenya Page
History of U.S. Relations With Kenya
Human Rights Reports
International Religious Freedom Reports
Trafficking in Persons Reports
Narcotics Control Reports
Investment Climate Statements
Office of the U.S. Trade Representative Countries Page
U.S. Census Bureau Foreign Trade Statistics
Export.gov International Offices Page
Millennium Challenge Corporation
Travel and Business Information