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Asunto:[CeHuNews] 134/03 - About Kenya
Fecha:Miercoles, 4 de Junio, 2003  21:34:09 (-0300)
Autor:Humboldt <humboldt>

En blanco

CeHuNews 134/03
About Kenya
The history of Kenya is very long and complex. From the "Cradle of Civilization" to present date, Kenya's long history has been both varied and fascinating. This section provides a comprehensive account of Kenya's history, divided into 11 sections. 

Kenya's history dates back to many centuries from the internal diaspora or the early settlements and migrations. Then came the formation of the various language groups who developed their own religions, traditions, governments and ruling systems in which they dictated their way of life and how they managed to keep alive by their trade and occupations. Then came the white settlers, which was followed by the fight for liberation, which gave birth to the Mau Mau freedom fighters and the rise of the Kenyan heroes. In the study of Kenya's past, a look at the present is also inevitable, in order to be able to weigh the future.

Time Chart
Early - Late Stone Age
In this period, the oldest human remains were discovered with artefacts suggesting pre-tool making. Evidences have been found in L. Victoria, Highlands, Rift Valley regions. (handaxes, cleavers at site must have been used as all purpose tools to cut and skin meat)

Later, the bow and arrow were introduced and evidence representing this period has been found in the L. Victoria and the Rift Valley and Highland regions. Three excavations, all of Elmentaita saw the beginning of the arrival of new people probably from the North who were responsible for the introduction of blade technology and new kinds of tools.

Late Stone Age (3000 B.C. - 1000 B.C.)
Evidence of the arrival of a new people who were tall with narrow heads and prominent noses and chins and who archaeologists think resemble some of the present day peoples of Somalia and Ethiopia.

400 AD     - Migration of the Bantu peoples into East Africa.

600 AD     - Arabs began to settle on the Coastal area and this marked the coming 
                  of Islam

700 AD     - Indian Ocean trade with the Arabs, Phoenicians, Indians and Chinese. 
                 They brought in cloth, pottery and glass beads in exchange of cowrie 
                 shells, iron products and mangrove poles.

900 AD     - Knowledge of iron working came to the Bantu

1400 AD   - The Portuguese reach the coast

1700 AD   - End of the Portuguese empire in East Africa

                - Cape colony became British Protectorate

1800 AD   - The great Trek, christian missionaries and explorers come in to Africa

                - The end of the Trek
After Independence
1952  - 1970 - Kenya's Agrarian Revolution
1963            - Kenya gained Independence
1964            - Kenya became a Republic
1978            - The first President of the Republic of Kenya, the Late Mzee Jomo 
                     Kenyatta, passed away and Daniel arap Moi was elected as the next 
1992            - Kenya became a Multiparty state.


Kenya is grouped into more than 70 ethnic groups, Some of the ethnic tribes are large e.g. the Agikuyu who form a majority of the population within their homeland in the central province and can also be seen to be in large numbers in the other districts in Kenya. The other large ethnic groups include the Luo, Luhya, Kamba and Kalenjin- There are also some groups of people who form a very small population. This includes the tribe of El Molo.

Kenya's ethnic groups are divided into three linguistic groups namely: -

  • Bantu e.g. Embu, Kamba, Kikuyu, Kisii, Luhya, Meru, Kuria, Bukusu 
  • Nilotes e.g. Luo, Iteso, Nandi, Kipsigis, Marakwet, Maasai
  • Cushites. e.g. Boran, Rendille, Somali 
  • Others e.g. Swahili

Population Structure

The population statistics in Kenya as at 1999 reveal that there were about 28,808,658 persons living in the country. Of these, the structure is given as: -

Age Number of male Number of Female
0 to 14 years 6,244,321  6,104,181
15 to 64 years 7,845,083 7,826,442
65 years and above  343,449  445,182

The population growth rate is estimated at 1.59 whereby the birth rate is given as 30.8 births per a population of 1000 persons and the death rate is given as 14.58 deaths per population of 1000 persons. The net migration rate is put at –0.34 per a population of 1000 persons.

Sex Ratio
The sex ratio can be shown to be: -

Age  Male Female
At birth  1.03 1
Under 15 years  1.02 1
15 to 64 years 1 1
65 years and above  .77 1
Total population 1 1

The infant mortality rate is estimated at 59.07 deaths per 1000 live births
The life expectancy at birth for the entire population is 47.02 years.

Contemporary Kenya
Inauguration of President Moi
The suddenness of Kenyatta's death had much to do with the eclipse of other presidential hopefuls. The sudden shock and immediate plunge into deepest mourning for the man whose own history was synonymous with the country's freedom struggle created an atmosphere which did not favour those who would mark themselves out principally as land grabbers. With security well under control and no sign at all of regional disturbance, the steady application of constitutional provisions laid down for the succession went without a hitch.  Elections for a new president of KANU (Kenya African National Union) were held as quickly as possible and Moi the Vice President then took over as the new president.

A new order was being established. President Moi's party won the elections and he made it plain that KANU branches were not to be operated as special clubs for ambitious local leaders but as a means for the mass involvement of the people in the political life of the country.

At his inauguration, Moi declared war on corruption, nepotism, bribery, inefficiency and all malpractices which Kenya's detractors had consistently harped on. Probes and investigations were set up to curb  this new venture. Under a more or less severe degree of public stricture were some branches of the civil service, the activities of co-operatives societies, some parastatal organisations, particularly those involved in agricultural production, certain banking institutions and control mechanisms for foreign exchange allocations, property and land.

Towards growth and development 1978 to now
The Fourth Development Plan 1979/1983 was a blueprint for a new look of the Kenyan economy and society and the struggle for it continues till today. The theme was the 'alleviation of poverty'. When addressing the challenges we face, we have to take stock of our position. And as we are all painfully aware, the situation is difficult. Poverty is high and increasing. Food insecurity is afflicting an ever increasing numbers of Kenyans.

Human development indices including life expectancy, nutrition 
status, and education levels are deteriorating. Growth has come to
a halt, and per capita income is failing.  Public institutions are 
dysfunctional and corruption is rampant, whilst personal insecurity is increasing. These immediate problems must be arrested. The strategy for the attack on poverty is the meeting of the 'basic needs'. The creation of income-earning opportunities and the provision of education, reasonable housing, water supplies, and a rural development infrastructure are the priorities.

The plan has other 'hard option' objectives. It is recognised now that easy forms of development in agriculture and industry are coming to an end. Redistribution of previously owned land must now be followed by more intensive farming techniques including higher inputs, and greater use of marginal land. 

In the face of increasing pressure on the highlands, agricultural planners have been obliged to turn their attention to the far more difficult task of developing the arid, marginal land. In this process the issue of alleviating poverty is also dealt with. Some projects like cotton farming, rice irrigation in arid areas have received some assistance from donor communities.

Good governance is synonymous with efficient public sector management and development, and sustainable human development. To be in place, it calls for peoples' involvement. It also calls for equal opportunity for all, political accountability and commitment by rulers and the ruled, bureaucratic transparency and access to information.

There must be a clear and agreed definition of the role of state. At independence, concentration of power in the government and allied institutions was considered the appropriate reaction to both and economic efficiency and with it growth, an efficient state, deriving its legitimacy from the citizens, dispensing justice to the people, and capable of defending national interests in the global economy.

While political and social stability should be nurtured through government actions, it critically depends upon people of different ethnic communities, social groups, gender, religious beliefs and racial backgrounds feeling mutually secure and identifying with common national interests and aspirations. Kenya has maintained peace and stability over the last 37 years and the Government will maintain the institutional framework that will ensure that peace and security are sustained.

The constitution must fully take into account the yearnings, the fears and the aspirations of Kenyans. It must incorporate the culture, the values and the beliefs of Kenyans. And it must be owned by all Kenyans. The current agitation for an all inclusive constitution - making process is therefore right on the mark.

Human rights
Civil and political rights are inalienable rights which all people are entitled to enjoy, irrespective of the stage of economic development in which they are. The  Kenya Government is cognizant that economic growth without respect of these rights does not constitute or enhance democratization.

The state must also be transparent, and in Kenya we have fared badly on the score. Corruption in its many manifestation is widespread. It also deeply rooted. At the core of corruption is the issue of governance.

People do not consider what belongs to the government as their own. The contrast between the meticulous care which is exercised over private and communal property and the plundering and destruction of public property is telling. Democratization of state and creation of awareness that state's property is people's property is therefore critical. Beyond democratization, the laws against corruption must be applied efficiently and fairly to all. There must also be a change in the mind set of Kenyans, including the government itself.  At independence, Kenyans took pride on self reliance.

The nation's motto then was "uhuru na kazi" - freedom and work.
Over time, there has been an erosion of uhuru na kazi ethic. Citizens feel that they are entitled to get something from the government without realising that what  the government claims to own must come from them in the first place. The noble institution of Harambee, initially a very powerful vehicle for community empowerment, has been subverted to a mechanism for political aggrandizement and rent seeking.

International co-operation
Kenya as a country seeks a close relationship with foreign investors,   particularly those from western countries. The freewheeling relationship with international big business has earned Kenya the reputation of a capitalist, free enterprise economy. The result of heavy investment from abroad is a substantial reinvestment of earnings by private companies operating in Kenya. This has provided a major contribution to industrial expansion in the post - independence years.

In the context of health, Kenya has begun to move in the direction of rural-based services concentrating more on the prevention of the mundane everyday diseases such as dysentery and malaria and poor nutrition and sanitation which are the real causes of high morbidity and mortality.

Since independence the Kenyan economy has experienced a number of cycles of growth followed by downturns and stagnation. Immediately after independence between 1964 and 1971 the economy registered a GDP growth averaging 6.5%. The oil shocks of the early 1970s, the collapse of East African Community and other external factors caused a marked slowdown in growth in this decade. The "coffee - boom" induced growth in 1976 and 1977. The economy stabilized in the 1980s with GDP growth around 5% being recorded, except in the 1984 drought year.  However, in 1989 growth started to decline as a result of poor weather, regional conflict and an influx of refugees, a global recession that lowered demand for Kenya's traditional export, coupled with short term dislocation caused by structural adjustment and inadequate macroeconomic management and political uncertainty. However, a combination of improved weather, the favourable impact of economic liberalization and the emergence of the global economy from recession led to a much improved weather, the favourable impact of economic liberalization and the emergence of the global economy from recession led to a much improved GDP of 3% in 1994 and 4.9% in 1995 and the predictions that future growth would accelerate to  6-7 %.It is the Government's belief that the Kenyan economy is at a turning point and that the steps taken over the past several years will now bear fruit in terms of economic growth. On the economic front, we as a nation must devise sound trade policies which will enable Kenya to participate constructively in the global economy.  And as shown earlier, good trade policy must be rooted in sound development policy.  Sound development policy in turn must  make strategic choices of where we want to be in the future.  And that future must be one of cohesive a nation with a strong and a growing economy whose output is equitably distributed.

Starting in the mid 1980's, the Government abandoned the old paradigm which upheld the centrality of state planning and management of economic development, of allocating resources and producing goods and services for public and private consumption.

Agriculture, rural development, development of small scale enterprises and human development must be the centre piece of such a strategy. The strategy must also recognize the primacy of industrialisation as a vehicle for long term growth. Successful industrialisation will call for the provision of efficient infrastructure and supporting institutions and policies.

In Kenya the infrastructure has benefited from extensive expansion and upgrading programmes which have been financed from both external assistance and Government of Kenya's financial resources. Reasons for the continuing state of insufficient available land or services include a poor maintenance culture which results in erosion and accumulated capital assets, cumbersome land acquisition practices, and inadequate public sector financial resources to undertake new capital asset creation. The major physical infrastructural shortfalls are felt in power and water supply, telecommunications, roads and rail, and port facilities. Great measures are being taken by the government to accelerate these problems through the setting up of Kenya Land Commission, Kenya Roads Boards among others.

Industry and Trade
Institutional Arrangements
Success in the development of an economy depends on the policies a country has adopted and on the institutional framework put into place to implement those policies. The adoption of structural adjustment policies in Kenya has greatly changed the country's socio-economic environment. Further, Kenya's economy must participate in the international economy by joining the mainstream of global trade, investment and technology flows. For Kenya to bring about rapid and sustained industrial development in this highly competitive global market, an overall improvement in the strategic management of the industrial sector is required.  This calls for the transformation of policies, practices, attitudes and institutional framework.

Developing Both Formal and Informal Sectors
One of the greatest challenges facing Kenya is the creation of productive employment opportunities for its rapidly increasing work force. The scale of the problem demands that all resources and means are utilized to create jobs, enhance incomes and livelihoods. All non-farm enterprises must be included in the efforts to transform the Kenyan economy. Thus, within the more formal sector, trade, commerce and service industries are already major sources of employment and will pay a vital role in economic development and expanding Kenya's exports.  Similarly the informal small scale and Jua Kali sector must be fostered to continue to expand and grow for it is expected that more jobs will be created in this sector than any other off - farm sector.

Recent years have demonstrated the dynamism of small scale and Jua Kali enterprises (SSJKE) in creating employment and providing attractively priced products. Furthermore the sector provides an essential training ground for developing the entrepreneurial skills that are essential to Kenya's industrialization.

In order to expand Kenyan market presence in traditional and new markets, an effective contact promotion programme, market surveys and investigations, trade fairs, exhibitions and trade missions shall be undertaken by Export Promotion Council (EPC) in collaboration with other private and public trade related institutions. 

For Kenya we need to go to the basics.  We need to intensify our efforts on nation building, including the all embracing constitution review, good governance and formulate and implement sound development policies.  We need to build a strong and intergrated national economy.  It's only in this way that Kenya will participate meaningful in the global economy.