In a new series of interviews, we talk to Mwangi wa Gĩthĩnji about economic innovations in Africa. In our first interview Mwangi talks about the Kenyan Tea Development Authority established soon after Kenyan independence.
The original colonial idea, in the run up to independence, was to create Kenyan “yeoman farmers”. The idea was to recreate a group who were seen by the colonial administration as the backbone of England’s democratic tradition.
The new Kenyan government, rather than rejecting this colonial narrative, grabbed hold of the idea and helped turn it into a hugely successful reality.
It was not a standard nationalised industry but involved a number of institutional innovations which we could well learn from.