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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Myths and Realities of Kenyan Capitalism
Author:Himbara, David
Periodical:Journal of Modern African Studies
Geographic term:Kenya
Economics and Trade
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/161345
Abstract:The 'Kenya debate' demonstrates that deterministic paradigms do not always assist in assessing the varied patterns of development. Whereas dependency analysts held that the country was doomed to remain a backward satellite of 'centre' economies, orthodox Marxists and neoliberals found a national capitalist class among the Kikuyu. Theoretically, what is needed is a recognition that development is not a preordained process. An important feature of the contemporary situation in Kenya is the existence of an industrious and sizeable capitalist class comprising mainly Kenyans and other East Africans of Indian origin. What differentiates the members of this fraction from their white and black counterparts is, first and foremost, the length of their experience in the process of capital accumulation. Almost all present-day East African Indian industrialists can be traced back to their earlier merchant enterprises. By way of contrast, most black and white members of Kenya's business community have tended to emerge from activities associated with the State. In the Kenyan black community, the principal exception has been the 'jua kali' (informal sector) operators, whose experience is closer to that of the East African Indians. Notes, ref.