Working Papers

Prospects for Kenyan Industrialisation

Prospects for Kenyan Industrialisation

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03 Aug 2017

Author(s): Grace Mbogo, Jude Songok, and John Stuart

Today, many developing countries seek to emulate the industrialisation path followed by the industrialised nations of the world (the economies of Western Europe, the USA and Japan). But these economies reached turning points in their extent of industrialisation some time ago. Their current path – that of deindustrialisation in favour of service-driven economies – is a logical outcome, not just of the developmental tendencies occasioned by advancing technology, but also by the shifting of the global manufacturing nexus to the Far East. The East Asian economies have progressed to take the place of the older industrialised West and Japan, and have industrialised to similar levels as the older group. In turn, many nations of Africa, Latin America, the Middle East and South Asia aspire to climb the same ladder and enjoy the benefits of the higher quality of life made possible by economic development.

However, this world is competitive, and each nation needs to leverage its natural advantages along with careful policy and hard work in order to secure its place on the developmental ladder. This Working Paper examines the situation of Kenya within the regional, REC (EAC, ECOWAS and SADC) and continental context of industrialisation. After describing in detail the path of industrialisation currently being followed by Kenya, the authors sketch the economic and trade profile for Kenya, before outlining its current industrial policy stance. They then consider the prospects for further industrialisation by Kenya against the backdrop of its strengths, weaknesses and the challenges faced. The paper ends with an extended conclusion summing up Kenya’s prospects for industrialisation within the current global economic climate and its industrial policy response.

* This working paper was prepared during the week of 24 to 28 April 2017 as part of a tralac Geek Week in Nairobi, Kenya.


Readers are encouraged to quote and reproduce this material for educational, non-profit purposes, provided the source is acknowledged. All views and opinions expressed remain solely those of the authors and do not purport to reflect the views of tralac.

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Prospects for Kenyan Industrialisation - Author(s): Grace Mbogo, Jude Songok, and John Stuart
Kenya: Trade data spreadsheet

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