The Republic of Kenya is located in Eastern Africa, bordering the Indian Ocean. Throughout the centuries the Kenyan coast has played host to a huge diverse array of merchants and explorers from across the globe. This cultural melting pot brought together the local Bantu people, Arabs from Southern Arabia, Swahili people, the Omani Arabs as well as European traders. As early as the 15th century the Kenyan coast was visited by famous explorers for example Zheng He from China and Vaso de Gama of Portgual. This led to a great mixing of cultures which is reflected in the tangible and intangible heritage around the coastal regions.
In 1885 Germany formed a protectorate over the Sultan of Zanzibar's coastal possessions. In 1888 the Imperial British East African Company arrived and by 1890 Germany handed these coastal territories over to the British. In 1920 the British renamed the colony Kenya. Further migration of people occurred under the British rule, as they imported many Indian workers for the construction of the Kenya-Uganda railway. Many individuals settled in Kenya and raised families, thus there are a number of Ismaili Muslim and Sikh communities in around the area.
There is no current maritime and underwater cultural heritage (MUCH) programme with Kenya and CIE at the moment. CIE would like to explore possibilities for the development of a MUCH capacity building programme similar to those undertaken in Mozambique, Tanzania and South Africa in the future, and has already undertaken an elementary assessment for such activities. also endorsed the Africa World Heritage Fund (AWHF) proposal.