Kenya - Future trends

Kenya represents an excellent example of the general economic and political trends that have prevailed, in varying degrees, throughout most of sub-Saharan Africa in the 1990s. On the political front, significant liberalization has occurred, with the various SAPs forcing the Kenyan government to deal with major issues of corruption and mismanagement. Moreover, the reintroduction of multiparty politics in 1992 certainly represents a positive development in terms of the elaboration of a democratic system. Yet, all the while, the widespread outbreak of ethnic violence in the early 1990s demonstrates that political stability is precarious, especially in an environment characterized by rampant poverty and deep inequality.

Economically, the various SAPs that have been implemented have yet to usher in an age of sustained growth, a factor that may be attributed, in part, to certain inappropriate policies, such as major trade liberalization. Indeed, the general economic situation seems to be worsening, as indicated by the low GDP growth rates and the consistently declining GNP per capita. At the same time, there is no denying that certain major economic reforms are needed, as the inefficiency and commercial failure of most parastatals clearly suggests. The experience of stateled development in Southeast Asia also indicates that the state cannot altogether remove itself from the arena of economic activity. In the words of Himbara, "there can be no substitute for the state in capitalist development. Nor is it likely that international financial institutions, which are currently attempting to reconstruct elements of the Kenyan state and force the adoption of reforms, can become a surrogate for a national interventionist state that conceives and implements a consistent program of development."

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