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Effects Of Globalized Capitalism On Kenya History Essay

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Published: Mon, 5 Dec 2016

Living in the United states we tend to be sheltered from the lives and proceedings of other countries. Many of the African countries, aside from everyone blaming them for the spread of Aids, are kept a silent mystery for the most part. Kenya, as i will research, i feel Globalization and the culture of capitalism maybe haven’t found their way to Kenya(due to its culture of poverty), or Globalization plainly has not been good for Kenya and its people.


The history of the colonized settlement of what on june 11 1920 became Kenya, can be given credit to that of the Masai Tribe from the northern parts of Africa as having settled and sustained life for generations, where they still currently reside. They may have migrated from the north in the mid 18th century establishing themselves and dominating the land around them up until the present day. The East African Protectorate (aka Kenya) at the time was run by the Sultan of Zanzibar who ultimately claimed imminent domain of this country and had the name changed to his liking. (Geographical Journal).

Roughly within the 1800’s, while Kenya was formerly known as the East African Protectorate, Britain leased land from the Sultan of Zanzibar creating the Britain Protectorate. Its been said that people were encouraged to migrate from South Africa, and parts of Britain, creating settlements in the Highlands (where there were large amounts of undeveloped land) with intentions to create a profit from establishing a rail line (shipping goods) to separate ends of what later became the Colony of Kenya. These people had migrated with the intention to further develop land, however, many seemed to lack the help or the funds for help, and this is where African slave labor, or slave trade began. The more affluent settlers began to take on the help of indentured indians they brought over, and this is where the exploitation and inhumanity of a culture and its people began. Those that couldn’t afford to hire the indians bought into the slave labor, forcing the impoverished africans to work, or else they were abused, or land would further be taken from them. In 1920 the two Protectorates joined forces and changed their name to the Republic of Kenya, building a new constitution. Kenya at the time was becoming largely prosperous and many people began migrating over in search of a new and better life, as well as looking for food and labor. This created quite a bit of tension, as Britain migrated many indians over as indenture slaves, dis-regarding the Africans ability to work, as Kenya was trying to establish herself as an African country, and wanted to keep it inherently to natives of Africa. The problem at the time was that the money was coming from the Brits so the colonization of Africa and her people were automatically accustomed to slavery and the de-colonization (dispossession of their land) from the beginning. As these new settlers found work, many of the natives were unable to employ work as well as they are dispossessed from their own land, moving them to reservations and only allowing the white Europeans access to the fertile farming land (similar to that of Native Americans).(www.worldhistory.net) There really wasn’t much change in progress with Kenyan rights and dominance of her land until after World War 2, when a native African was finally elected to office. The lives of Kenyans would soon change as the expanse of colonialism would keep them oppressed and away from Kenya’s economical success over the formative years of Kenya’s youth. It wasn’t until the 1960s that Kenya started to gain its independence and allow its people comfort with its first African political party. Kenya finally began to prosper as it opened up its doors to outside investors and the economy grew until it suddenly began to flounder again in the 1990’s under a new colonial rule and its on going political corruption, as well as the prevalence of AIDS/HIV. (Oxford Journal).

Population and Consumption

The population of Kenya has grown substantially over the years, however the true consensus of the population will never be fully grasped as the dementor AIDS plays a huge rule in dividing the population ever so frequently. The population in Kenya is roughly 40 million people and ever expanding as birth control is not of main priority of its inhabitants. Due to Aids, the life expectancy is lowered dramatically and their are higher infant mortality rates as well.

The main tribes of Kenya are the Boni, which seem to migrate in and out of Kenya and Somalia looking for food and labor, as well as the Maasai, who mainly roam Kenya looking for food, who wish to remain a part of their own culture and traditions and not be forced into modern forms of work. The rest of the population consists of other African migrants, as well as British and Indian immigrants.

Kenyans to this day seem to struggle to find work, with its lack of economic diversity which lends itself to lack of opportunity. Whether its because foreigners still reign the labor aspect of the economy, or the economy is under such distress that it seems it cant produce enough work for the large population, as 40% of the population is unemployed. At least half of Kenya’s inhabitants lives at or below the poverty line, giving us an idea as to why there are political uprisings every so often, as the people of Kenya want to be treated fair and humane, seeking proper humane and civil rights just as the rest of the world.(www.cia.gov) At least half of the people living in rural areas in Kenya are living in poverty. 75% of the population find themselves living in rural areas and and the rest in urban environments. At least three quarters of the population rely on the land for food and for jobs.

In terms of Consumption Kenyans don’t consume nearly the amount of resources we here in the states consume, but for the size of the population and the struggling economy they do ok keeping up with the rest of the world in the amount of products they distribute. Their GDP is estimated around $31 Billion, give or take. It was said back in 2001 the average household consumes in a year only $215 US dollars to put how extremely poor many Kenyans truly are in perspective. Somewhere between one quarter and one half of the population earns less than one U.S. dollar per day. They consume roughly 76,000 barrels of oil per day, (to our 19.6 million per day) which ranks them at 86th in the world. They consume roughly 4.86 billion kilowatts of Electricity per capita,(to our 13.638) which rates them at 107 in the world. Even though the population of Kenya doesn’t compare to that of the U.S., Kenya consumes 320 times less resources than we do here in the States. That says a lot about the frugality and the lack of economy of the Republic of Kenya. (www.cia.gov) The biggest problem that Kenya faces in terms of Consumption, is with its waste management. Many people today are composting to help save the waste piles from growing, but with so many people unemployed and uneducated its hard to turn their focus to being eco-friendly. With the rapid growth of population its hard to keep up with the amount of waste people are creating thus allowing the spread of landfills/diseases the ability to increase as the welfare of the people continues to decrease.(www.sciencedirect.com)

Hunger and Poverty

Kenya, with its lack of Economical success, claims there are roughly 4 million people that live in constant hunger. These people have found themselves dwelling in a culture of poverty they cant seem to pick themselves up out of. With their lack of access to clean potable water, healthcare and education, many Kenyans continue to have babies and spread diseases, living without the primitive amenities many of us take for granted. The weather plays a crucial role in terms of why people migrate to urban areas looking for work and food. The erratic weather forces many people to starve as the arid climates cant produce enough precipitation for those who farm to produce enough food for their people. Sex work is a large part of the underground economy, which has also given rise to the spread of disease. Aside from poor weather, poor governmental policies and bad international trades seem to hinder the potential for better agriculture practices. So in the meantime half of Kenya struggles to survive, hungry, living in very desolate places mostly because the hierarchy selfishly denies its people humane rights.(www.kenya-advisor.com)


Not only does the weather play a factor in the environment, government deforestation and soil erosion often leads to poor agriculture practices leaving even more farmers to migrate in search of undeveloped (not ruined) land. With only 8 percent of land actually able to be farmed and 75 percent of the workforce work as farmers, we see why the environment causes devastation among the natives. Water pollution from the lack of proper waste management leaves a lot of the clean water under distress. The government doesn’t put its money back into the treatment of water as it should, nor does it focus much attention on irrigating what little land they have to produce food. (www.sciencedirect.com) The water quality is often really poor in most rural areas as globalization hits mostly urban areas, however, takes what few resources it wants from the poor in those rural areas, leaving the water quality poor by polluting it with waste run off. Capitalism in urban areas of Kenya affect how everything is treated as we see its focus is never to clean the water or present the unemployed with jobs, but its to present its pockets with excess amounts of cash to go and squander in other countries as opposed to reinvesting into its own culture to raise the standards of the environment.

Disease and Healthcare

Aids runs rampant in and around Kenya. Kenya is home one of the worlds greatest epidemics of Aids. Whether this is due to lack of education or overpopulation Aids has had a presence in Kenya and taken many lives for the past few decades. Over the past 10 years or so, education and awareness about Aids and prevention has grown so has the death rate, however, the rate of people acquiring aids has dropped. Sex workers were the first group infected as they had no means of knowing how to prevent the spread of disease or prevent pregnancy. In 2000 13.6 percent of the population had acquired aids, and since then it has dropped by half with efforts to educate those with aids about the spread of the disease as well as educating children as increased. Each year since 2001 The governing bodies in Kenya have made drastic efforts to increase not only awareness of aids, but condom use and production as well (the geographic journal). Healthcare, in Kenya was free for many years after its independence, structuring free health care for everyone in its constitution. This was implanted with hopes that the free healthcare would in turn lead the economy towards great success if everyone was happy and healthy. However, over the years and with economic downturns the restructuring has left many people without the benefit of healthcare. Its said that in the U.S. their are 26 doctors to everyone 10,000 people, well in Kenya there is one doctor to every 10,000. With a struggling economy those fortunate enough to get educated and become doctors, 51% of them leave the country to seek a better life for them and their family leaving the country to deal with their lack of healthcare providers. The shortage of Doctors in Kenya have given the government problems with sustaining the health of its citizens as well as with the education and prevention of the widespread disease AIDS.

Indigenous Populations

Everyone longs to live happy, full, rich lives. However, the indigenous tribes of Kenya struggle to do much of anything as the globalized markets have taken away most of their land and left them stripped with very little to survive. Their language and culture are threatened as modern globalization and tourism plays a major role in redeveloping the urban areas of Kenya. As money is scarce and many natives are being uprooted and moving to urban areas, they are being forced to work in sectors of markets they would never have worked. They are being forced to learn new languages to assimilate and fit in. As English and other languages continue to spread to remote parts of the world, the indigenous in Kenya, if they want to survive are almost forced to give up what they know, their culture, and change to accommodate the globalization that is taking place. Many businesses in this day and age of capitalism are seeking new markets, and new products so they have forced their way into the markets of the Africans, providing jobs (maybe), but forcing them to change and grow into the new modern cultures that are being created in the urban setting. (capitalism in Africa, science direct).


As poverty has cursed most of Kenya, the people riot for food and humanity mostly. As their agriculture cant sustain enough food for its people, the people in turn resist the government and protest for their lives (essentially). Many of the natives to Kenya are protesting oppression as they refuse to be displaced from their land for environmental destruction. Many people choose to not side with the modern political movements so they resist conforming to the modern ways of which globalization has affected their cultures. Since the early 1990’s people have taken to the streets to protest the hardships which have been caused mostly by political corruption, or by globalization. To this day people protest for Humane and civil rights, to expand the constitution to implement proper law to serve all of its people, not just those with capital. (Ray Bush, Journal of Agrarian Change).


In determining whether or not globalization has helped or hindered Kenya, i think its in plain sight that we see that the inequality and economic development which hurts their culture. Many people are forced out of their “homes” for agriculture use, or deforestation, or because their isn’t food or potable water nearby. We see that healthcare isn’t sustaining the needs of the people, as many doctors leave their culture in search of a better life, where food and money may be in abundance. We see that people are forced to riot for food and against oppression as well as saving the identity of their culture. With labor markets not possessing enough jobs for people, this allows for us all to see that Kenya cant provide for its people the simple necessities of life. With many people being forced to learn other languages and/or cultures, it doesn’t readily help the natives adapt, it helps the big business adapt as they use the people to redeem a profit. You would think with the severity of AIDS, and the high death rates, that politicians would do anything to sever the relationship with AIDS and their people, to help bring the country back to a a prosperous land, and allow it to be a place that welcomes any and all cultures, but doesn’t force one onto the other, forcing people to leave their identity for another one on the behalf of globalization.

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