Studies in the Economic History of Kenya: Land, Water, Railways, Education and Entrepreneurship

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This book examines the economic history of Kenya from the colonial period to the present, integrating historical methodologies with those of anthropology, economics, education, geography, history, political science and sociology. the book covers topics that have been ignored by previous texts on economic history of Kenya, such as women, indigenous people (Ogiek), pastoralism, irrigation agriculture, livestock, fisheries, religion, community-based organizations (CBOs), NGOs, education and information and communication technology (ICT).


“. . . make[s] clear the critical nature of the current development impasse and the varied problems associated with it (such as declining per capita incomes). The challenge for scholarship is not only to continue to make that case so as to enlighten the scholarly community, but also to place their views in the public arena, in the assumption that policy makers will take notice and act. It is thus hoped that such an outcome may be a significant impact of this book.” – Prof. Robert M. Maxon, West Virginia University

“This book fills an important gap in the economic history of Kenya by covering topics that have not been included in previous studies. Many books have ignored the role of women in development, and the five chapters in this volume on women do absolute justice to this subject. The authors describe the role of women from grassroots groups to their role in the market. . . . This book is comprehensive. No sector is left untouched.” – Prof. Fredrick Muyia Nafukho, Texas A&M University

“. . . provides a significant shift toward incorporating ordinary voices in the economic history of Kenya. . . . There is no doubt that the book will be a useful addition to the historiography on the economic history of Kenya and Africa.” – Prof. Hannington Ochwada, Missouri State University

“The book offers an exciting indictment of the postcolonial state in Kenya, especially its failure to successfully execute a practical development plan even after realizing that state controlled economy was not able to deliver desired results in almost 40 years.” – Prof. Kenneth Inyani Simala, Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology

“This is the largest and most complete book that I have seen on the economic history of Kenya. The book is long overdue because the last book on the economic history of Kenya was published over 30 years ago. It comes at the right time, when Kenya’s economy is increasingly coming under great scrutiny due to its past mistakes and failures.” – Prof. Winston Jumba Akala, The Catholic University of Eastern Africa

Table of Contents

Foreword by Robert Maxon
Introduction by Maurice Nyamanga Amutabi
Part I
The Political Economy of Railway Development in Kenya - John M Mwaruvie
The Great Depression, Policy Shift and the Strategy for the Invigoration of African Agriculture in Colonial Kenya, 1930-39 - Nicholas E. Makana
Land Problems in Kenya: Population Explosion and Limits of Agrarian Transformation in Western Kenya, 1920-1950 - Martin Shanguhyia
Micro-economic Development in Rural Kenya: The Case of South Nyanza, 1870-1920 - Timothy Onduru
Colonial Legacy and Underdevelopment in Northern Kenya - Maurice Nyamanga Amutabi
Part II
Religion, Women and Economic Growth in Kenya - Mary Nyangweso Wangila
The Role of Women Groups in Development in Kenya: The Case of Makueni District - Jacinta Mueni Ndambuki
Feeding the Cities: Gambogi Women Traders and Horticultural Crops in Eldoret Municipality, Kenya - Fibian Lukalo Munoko
Market Women and International Trade in Kenya - Maurice Nyamanga Amutabi
Part III
From an Extractive State to a Rentier Economy: Roots of Kenya’s Development Impasse - Shadrack Wanjala Nasong’o
Water and Development in Kenya: Problems and Potential - Maurice Nyamanga Amutabi
The Fishing Industry in Kenya: A Window of Opportunity for Development - Peninah Aloo
Irrigation and Agriculture in Kenya: The Case of Narok District - Bramwel Matui and Joshua Kwonyike
The Political Economy of Land Clashes in Post Independent Kenya: The case of the Ogieks of the Rift Valley Province of Kenya - Philip B. Buchere and Fred Jonyo
The Livestock Sector in Kenya - Maurice Nyamanga Amutabi
The Post Colonial Government and the Political Framing of Drought and Hunger in Kenya - Eric E. Otenyo and Esther N. Mwangi
Part IV
The Miganda Economy and Men’s Self-Help Groups in Bungoma Districts, Kenya - Godwin Siundu
Entrepreneurship in Kenya: From Jua Kali to ‘Silicon Valley’ - X. N Iraki
The Role of Formal Education in Economic Development in Kenya - Jonah Nyaga Kindiki and Ruth Otunga
Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in Kenya: Some Reflections - Maurice Nyamanga Amutabi
The Rise and fall of the Ministry of Supplies and Marketing, 1987-1993 -Eric E. Otenyo

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