The Coast Province (Swahili: Mkoa wa Pwani) of Kenya, along the Indian Ocean, was one of Kenya’s eight provinces. It comprises the Indian Ocean coastal strip with the capital city at Mombasa and was inhabited by the Mijikenda and Swahili, among others. The province covered an area of 79,686.1 km² and would have had a population of 4,329,674in 2019, according to the KNBS report. The Province was replaced by Region in 2010, following the ushering in of CoK 2010, which brought devolved system of governance. The region has six counties, namely; Mombasa, Kwale, Kilifi, Tana River, Lamu and Taita-Taveta.
The Coast Province consists of the coastal strip of Kenya on the Indian Ocean and is inhabited by Mijikenda, Swahili and Arab peoples. The coastal region came under the rule of Omani Arabs based in Zanzibar after they expelled Portuguese colonists in the late 18th century following 200 years of rule. The Sultan of Zanzibar agreed to lease the coastal region of modern Kenya (then known as “al-Zanj”) to the Imperial British East Africa Company in 1888. An 1895 treaty between Britain and the Sultan brought the region under formal British protection, with the residents remaining subjects of the Sultan rather than subjects of the British crown, as in the Kenya colony. It is this point that is the principal basis for the MRC’s legal challenges to its incorporation into post-independence Kenya.
Some MRC members also claim that Jomo Kenyatta, the first prime minister of Kenya, had signed a separate 50-year lease agreement for the Coast strip with Zanzibar that will expire next year, when the Coast region will become independent. However, the movement cannot produce documentation of this claim and there is no reference to it in the existing agreements on which the Kenyan state was founded
The Kenyan coastline is approximately 600 km long extending from the Kenya-Tanzania border in the south to the Kenya-Somalia border in the north; between latitudes 1°40΄S and 4°25΄S and longitudes 41°34΄E and 39°17΄E. The landward geographical scope of coastal Kenya is determined by the administrative boundaries of coastal counties namely: Kwale, Mombasa, Kilifi, Tana River, Lamu and part of Taita-Taveta and Garissa counties. While, the seaward boundary is the 200 nautical miles Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) with water surface area of approximately 230,000 km2.
The coastal Kenya is endowed with variety of natural resources and biologically rich ecosystems and landscapes of both national and international importance. These ecosystems include: rangelands, woodlands, terrestrial forests, mangroves, mudflats, coral reefs, seagrass beds, estuaries, beaches, sand dunes, rivers, lakes, wetlands, cultural and natural heritage sites.
The forests are highly recognized as having retained and still hold a lot of forest biodiversity. For example more than half of Kenya’s rare plants are found in the coast region (over 3000 taxa have been recorded). Specific areas of interest include forest reserves and national reserves (e.g. Shimba Hills ecosystem, Buda Complex, Arabuko-Sokoke, Dodori, Boni and Lungi); biodiversity-rich and sacred Kaya forests also designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Other important ecosystems include: marine areas and mangrove forests (Lamu-Kiunga, Watamu-Malindi, Gazi-Shimoni-Vanga seascapes); marine protected areas; freshwater ecosystems (Lake Kenyatta, River Mkurumudzi); and, several community marine and terrestrial conserved areas.
These resources provide important ecosystem goods and services that are vital for supporting food security and subsistence activities as well as economic sectors like agriculture, fisheries, livestock, forestry, tourism, shipping, mining and energy. This significantly contributes to production, socio-economic development at local and national level and safe guard well-being of coastal communities.
The Coast Regional Office, is located at Tudor 4, Opposite Buxton JCC Education Complex in Mombasa. Coordinating programme and secretariat activities in all the six Coastal counties.