Is Kenya Facing East or West: An Empirical Analysis

  •  X.N. Iraki    


In the last two decades China’s economic influence in Africa has increased espoused by huge investment in infrastructure like roads, railways, airports and seaports. This has led many scholars to suggest that Africa is facing East away from the traditional West. The Western influence had permeated into governance, education religion and even consumption. Of interest is if China has successfully displaced the west from Africa in such a short time. This study investigates if Africa, in particular Kenya has really faced East (read China). We expect economies near each other geographically or are culturally close because of history e.g. colonialism to have highly correlated GDP growths. This is supported by gravity theory of trade. In this paper, GDP growth rates of Kenya and a selected number of countries from the West and East are correlated for a 50 years period. Analysis is then broken into decades to see the change in patterns. Analysis of correlations during the different Kenyan presidencies then before and after the cold war is carried out. All the data in this paper is sourced from World Development Indicators, a World Bank Data base. The hype about facing East for Kenya is not supported by data. Kenya in the last 20 years has looked East, but did not abandon the West. This dualism may change with Brexit, Trump in White House and envisaged Africa’s free trade area.

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