Kenya - Country history and economic development

8TH CENTURY. Arab and Persian settlements begin sprouting along the Kenyan coast. The Kiswahili language develops as a lingua franca for trade between the newcomers and the Bantu inhabitants.

16TH CENTURY. Arab dominance along the coast gives way to Portuguese ascendancy, following the first Portuguese contacts made in 1498.

19TH CENTURY. The United Kingdom establishes its influence in the Kenyan region with the arrival of various explorers, commercial representatives, and missionaries.

1895. The government of the United Kingdom establishes the East African Protectorate and subsequently opens the fertile highlands to white settlers. The settlers are allowed a voice in government even before Kenya is officially made a colony in 1920, though Africans are denied any form of political participation until 1944.

1952-1959. The so-called Mau Mau rebellion erupts against British colonial rule, and African participation in the political process increases rapidly.

1963. Kenya becomes an independent nation with Jomo Kenyatta of the Kikuyu ethnic group and Kenya African National Union (KANU) party as president. KANU, which claims to be socialist, promotes many capitalistic practices, though the state creates many parastatals in so-called strategic areas of the economy.

1969. With the banning of the major opposition party, the Kenya's People Union (KPU), Kenya becomes a de facto one-party state.

1978. Following the death of Kenyatta, Daniel arap Moi succeeds as president. Moi continues to be the president of the country.

1980. Kenya receives its first conditional World Bank loan, marking the commencement of a lengthy period of international financial institution-sponsored structural adjustment programs designed to increase the role of the free market in the economy.

1982. Amendments to the constitution make Kenya a de jure one-party state.

1992. The Kenyan government re-introduces multi-party politics.

2000. Kenya signs a long-awaited 3-year Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF) with the IMF.

The PRGF is expected to normalize relations with the World Bank and various bilateral donors, which had soured in the mid-1990s as a result of government corruption and resistance to implementing reforms.

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