2021/11/15 – Radha Upadhyaya “Employing Capital: Patient Capital and Labour Relations in Kenya’s Manufacturing Sector”

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Generating decent employment plays a key role in the creation of a new social contract and social cohesion in sub-Saharan Africa. The crucial question is thus, how to create more decent jobs? Much of the extant research has focused on the role of states and businesses in shaping employment relations. In this paper, we draw attention to a third type of actor that has been largely absent in the literature on the determinants of employment relations in developing countries, namely the role of financial institutions. Based on data from 38 interviews of Kenyan manufacturing firms, financiers, and labour representatives before and during the Covid 19 pandemic, we examine the relationship between the patience of capital and labour relations. In particular, the evidence presented in this paper suggests that access to more patient sources of capital may help to enhance the quantity and quality of jobs in African countries. We discuss three mechanisms through which this occurs. Our paper contributes to a growing body of research on patient capital which largely focuses on countries of the Global North by extending it to the context of lower income African countries and speaks to broader debates about how to enhance the contribution of finance capital to social cohesion.

This research has been co-authored with Dr. Florence Dafe – TUM School of Governance, Technical University, Munich

Radha Upadhyaya is Research fellow at the Institute for Development Studies, University of Nairobi. She has a PhD and MSc in Economics from SOAS, University of London, and a BA in Economics from the University of Cambridge. She is a qualified CFA charter holder. Radha has over 16 years of teaching experience with particular focus on research philosophy & methods; finance & development and entrepreneurship & development.

She has written on the Kenyan banking sector, banking regulation in East Africa, African firms, African entrepreneurs and informality. She is on the editorial board of the International Journal of Technological Learning, Innovation and Development (IJTLID).

She also has significant private and non-profit sector experience. She spent four years as the Director of a Kenyan bank and is currently a member of governance body of the Financial Sector Deeping Trust Kenya.

Chair: Stefan Ouma, University of Bayreuth, Germany

Stefan Ouma holds the Chair of Economic Geography at the Department of Geography at the University of Bayreuth. His research interests lie in a theoretically and empirically informed economic geography of globalization and development, drawing primarily on insights from heterodox economics, political ecology, and post- and decolonial work. He has published on political economy and ecology of global commodity chains and the financialization of land and agriculture. His research foci include Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania and New Zealand.

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