Chair: Dr Ambreena Manji – British Institute in Eastern Africa
The banking system in Kenya has been characterized as shallow and fragile. This is reflected in low lending levels, high interest rate spreads, high levels of non-performing loans and several bank failures. The paper argues that the majority of studies that have attempted to explain these features use mainstream methodologies and are deficient in their explanation.
The author follows a heterodox epistemology and methodology and argues that to understand the structural features of the banking sector in Kenya, one has to begin with the premise that the banking sector is highly segmented. The analysis shows that segmentation is based partly on economic factors such as the size and structure of ownership, but largely on social factors which determine trust between banks and their clients. The paper concludes that structural constraints faced by banks in Kenya are varied and complex and grounded in segmentation and social factors.
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