The changing role of Government in commercial activities: A literature review of the Kenyan historical and contemporary perspective

Author: 
Esther Wanjugu Gitundu, Lawrence Kangogo Kibet, Symon Kibet Kiprop, and Sifunjo E. Kisaka
Abstract: 

This study discusses the changing role of government in commercial activities in Kenya since the colonial era. The focus is whether the state played a minimal or greater in commercial activities and the instruments used to achieve the desired role. The study traces and discusses historical events, theories, studies, policies, and institutions used by government to achieve the desirable role. The study is divided into four phases and the findings show that during the colonial era, the state played a major role in commercial activities driven by an expansionist policy. The independent state preferred a greater role in the commercial activities influence by the philosophy of African socialism. The governance policy from 1980s reflects withdrawal of state from commercial activities through privatization. The current policy under Vision 2030 reflects a shared role between government and private sector through public private partnerships. The theoretical and empirical literature however yields conflicting results over the suitable role both government and the private sector in commercial activities. This study therefore concludes that the government and the private sector should share roles commercial activities as each has its own strengths in particular areas. The role of making laws and policies to protect investors in commercial activities is a responsibility of the government while the private sector should bring the technology and managerial expertise for efficient business functioning.

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   Vol. 07, Issue 01, January 2017

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