Kenya is categorized as a lower middle-income country following the rebasing of its GDP in September 2014 with generally favourable social and economic development.  Nevertheless, certain regions of the country are susceptible to shocks with pockets of highly vulnerable people requiring humanitarian assistance.  There are currently more than 1 million people in need of humanitarian assistance, particularly in the northeast and northwest regions due to the large refugee population; vulnerable host communities; arid lands, and persistent insecurity in the borderlands especially along the Somalia and Ethiopia frontiers.

Although Kenya faces a range of humanitarian challenges including recurrent drought, malnutrition and food insecurity, disease outbreaks, and resource based inter-communal conflicts, the country is currently relatively peaceful and stable, as evidenced by the non-violent national elections of March 2013. Kenya continues to host the second highest number of refugees in Africa, with more than 600,000 refugees as at September 2015. The refugees are hosted in Dadaab (354,000 people) Kakuma (182,000 people) and over 62,000 others live in Nairobi. Funding levels have forced humanitarian agencies to cut food rations by 30 per cent for all refugees in Kakuma and Dadaab. Following the Al-Shabaab Garissa attack on 2 April, there has been renewed political pressure for accelerated returns of Somali refugees. On 10 November 2013, UNHCR, Kenya and Somalia signed a tripartite agreement, to provide a legal framework for the safe and dignified voluntary repatriation of Somali refugees from Kenya, and their reintegration into Somalia. The agreement is valid for three years and includes an incremental approach to repatriation. Security and living conditions in Somalia are not yet conducive to large-scale returns. To date, less than 3,000 Somalis have voluntarily returned under this agreement.  There is also a remaining presence of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) from the 2007/08 post-election violence309,200 people. Other IDPs emanate from evictions and sporadic conflict across the country.