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Abstract

The beginnings of this paper are rooted in Kibera, Kenya; the largest slum on the African continent, boasting a population of 1 million people constrained by a piece of land the size of New York City's Central Park. I had the opportunity to explore Kibera while studying in Nairobi and working at a Health Clinic in the heart of the slums poorest neighborhood. The dichotomy of wealth, specifically in Kenya's urban areas, challenged me to understand how such a social stratification had developed and sustained itself. This paper explores policy decisions spanning from independence in 1964 to the present day that have dictated the development experience of Kenya. Furthermore, I have endeavored to address the specific factors that have hindered economic development. It is my contention that while some of these hindrances are anchored in pre-independence activities, most reflect the failure of Kenyan policy makers to recognize the needs of their own people.

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