Pragmatic History of Economic Thought: Explaining Trade Practices and Policies in Kenya
Keywords:history of economic thought, trade reforms, Kenya
This study explains trade regimes and practices in Kenya from a history of economic thought (HET) perspective using secondary materials. We find that the trade landscape in Kenya is divided into three periods: pre-colonial (before 1895), colonial (1895-1962), and post-colonial (1963 to date). The first two eras did not have a clear trade policy. The pre-colonial era had a mixture of classical doctrines and mercantilism whereby long-distance and barter trade between communities were practiced. Nonetheless, certain communities restricted trade. Classical economic thought was practiced in the colonial period (1895-1962), whereby agricultural produce was exported and less expensive consumables were imported. The postcolonial period started with a mercantilism approach (import-substitution) but successive regimes have promoted classical doctrines of trade by reducing import and export barriers, and creating trade-promotion institutions. Trade in services, which is topical in international trade, has also been promoted in this regime.
JEL Codes: B10, B17, B20, B27