The Economy and History of Kenya

Posted: February 17, 2013 in Kenya

Author : Konstantsa Karaleeva

Kenya During the Colonial Period (1895-1963)

Kenya was colonized in 1895.  It became part of the British empire.  Kenya wasmaintained as a Protectorate ( a British sphere of influence), and in 1920 it officially became a British colony.  Kenya attained independence in 1963.

Why Was Kenya Colonized by the British?

Britain established a colony in Kenya for raw materials(for example ivory),and for economic potential (temperate climate and fertile land in the Kenya highlands was an attraction for European settlement). the British empire also has a strategy.  Britain was interest to safeguard the Nile,enhance commerce and trade-also explains colonization of Kenya.The British also could reach Egypt thought  Kenya, Mombasa, the interior of Kenya, link it with Lake Victoriathe source of the Nile, hence control the Nile which is the lifeline of Egypt.   economic motives essentially explains colonization of Kenya.

Colonialism in Kenya was characterized mainly by:-

  •  Land alienation – involved alienating African land for European settlers andfor the colonial administration as well. For example, the Kikuyu, Masaai,and Nandi among others lost land. The Masaai suffered the most.
  • The settler economy – with a powerful settler population – that wanted to beindependent from Britain, but, this was met by British governmentresistance.
  • The construction of the railway to link Kenya and Uganda (hence the Nile).Popularly known as the Uganda railway started  in Mombasa in 1896,reached Nairobi in 1899, and Kisumu on Lake Victoria in 1901. Later onother railway lines were constructed for example the Uasin Gishu railwayline – linking Nairobi and Kampala in Uganda(through Nakuru, Eldoret,Bungoma, Malaba and then to Kampala in Uganda; and Eldoret to Kitale ,and Nairobi to Lake Magadi (where soda ash is mined up to date).


The colonization influenced a lot the country. English now is a second official language in the country. The post-colonized period was time when the country was struggling to recover its economy, political and social systems.  The very interesting history of this country left mark for all times on the social and cultural structures, as well as people’s way of thinking and living.  The way to independence was long and it wasn’t an easy road. It began in the 1950s with the Mau Mau Rebellion. The Mau Mau movement was a militant African nationalist group that opposed British colonial rule and its exploitation of the native population. Although the country won its independence in 1963 , the Mau mau movement existed for 40 more years, until 2003. More information about it can be found in the post “Human rights and nationalism in Kenya”

                                                 Colonization Connect to Today:

In 2011, four older Kenyans won the right to sue the British government in a British court for severe abuse they suffered during the Mau Mau Rebellion. The extent of the abuse toward Mau Mau suspects, including President Obama’s grandfather, who reportedly spent two years detained in a prison camp, was exposed when historians uncovered documents that had been withheld from the U.K. National Archives.

In an April Letter from Europe in The Times, Alan Cowell used the court case as a starting point to reflect on the abuses of the British Empire: “While [baby] boomers were sharpening their pencils in class, young British soldiers, not much older than they, were beating, torturing, raping and even castrating people in the far reaches of Africa … raising a question more familiar to modern Germans than modern Britons: Are the sins of one generation to be visited on its successors?”

He also quoted author Charles Glass who argues: ” In so many of the world’s troublesome corners — Cyprus, Afghanistan, Kashmir, Palestine, Zimbabwe, Egypt, Kenya and Iraq — a stamp says ‘Made in Britain.’ Britain cannot undo most of the damage.”


The economy  the country will be strongly influenced by this year’s presidential elections. The state of the economy also depends on climate changes , political reforms and international funding.  Many different ways of helping Kenya’s economy are innovated every year. NAIROBI, December 5, 2012—Kenya’s economy has the potential to achieve a five percent growth rate in 2013, if elections are credible and transfer of power to a new administration is achieved peacefully, says the latest World Bank analysis on Kenya.

The Kenya Economic Update launched today projects a growth rate of 4.3 percent in 2012, slightly lower than the 4.4 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) realized in 2011, but is optimistic that the economy has stabilized after a rocky start earlier in the year. The December 2012 issue also underlines the need for Kenya to create more jobs for its burgeoning, educated youth population.

“The current account deficit could undermine Kenya’s long term stability and growth prospects,” says John Randa, the Bank’s Economist for Kenya, the other lead author of the report. “Kenya will need to undertake



All of these quotes, give us idea of Kenya’s economy situation today. Kenya’s economy  is rapidly  growing.








The main income into the economy, comes from agriculture. that is why the state of the economy can be widely changed because of natural disasters or bad weather’s conditions. the less income, comes from Hotels and restaurants, which indicates not well developed tourism. the country can do more for its tourism, because the nature is beautiful safari’s also are very exotic and they can be done more in Kenya. This can help to the sector of tourism to grow.







The well developed , agriculture means that Kenya exports production. Some of the most -exported from Kenya, products are :







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