Doctoral Dissertation Announcement
Doctor of Philosophy
Department: Public Affairs and Administration
Title: The Challenges of Implementing Privatization Reform Program of State-Owned Enterprises in Kenya
Dr. Robert Peters, Chair
Dr. James Visser
Dr. Michelle Miller-Adams
Date: Friday, November 3, 2006 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Abstract: This study reviews the progress and challenges of implementing privatization of state-owned enterprises (SOEs) reform program in Kenya during the period 1979-2002 as part of the Structural Adjustment Program (SAP). The impetus for implementing privatization reform program has two sources: (1) opposition to further growth of the public sector, and (2) the belief that the private sector would be a more efficient producer. I examine the juncture of international, economic and domestic factors on the state’s ability to transfer ownership of public enterprises from the state into private hands. The challenge is to consider different environmental factors that would enhance implementation of privatization programs and to design an appropriate model of governmental intervention through the analysis of many development theories, strategies and experiences.
This study seeks to develop a framework and a method for government managers to use when deciding which SOE to privatize or retain which I have referred to as a “practitioner’s privatization model.” The model draws from the two common approaches of implementing privatization reforms, the “gradual approach” and “big-bang approach,” within the context of external and internal dimensions.
The Kenyan case demonstrates the difficulties of implementing privatization in a relatively small open economy with significant legacy of state interventionism. My central Theses is that the political, economic and institutional contexts and their mutual interaction are crucial in explaining the pace or success of implementing a privatization program. The study is timely and informative with its reflection on the accomplishments and challenges of Kenya’s recent economic reform initiatives. The slow implementation and U-turns so familiar and frustrating to outsiders has a political logic. What appears contradictory from the outside actually comprises an internally balanced political strategy for managing a potentially complex transition.
By focusing on the determinant of implementing privatization reform, this dissertation adds to a growing body of literature on the political economy of market reforms that seeks to further elucidate the evolving global convergence around neo-liberal economic reforms.
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