Over tea

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.

Mwangi wa Gĩthĩnji

Mwangi is Associate Professor and Graduate Program Director of Economics at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and Co-Director of the World Studies Interdisciplinary Project. He was Chairperson of the Five Colleges …

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