Historical Development of Risk Management

Topics: East Africa, Risk management, Insurance Pages: 5 (1367 words) Published: July 3, 2012

Risk management is the idea that a logical, disciplined approach to the future’s uncertainties to live with it productively and efficiently. Prior to risk management, faith and luck were the two pillars of managing the future. Events have causes. Believing in luck obscures the causes. Difficulties arise in tracing the history of risk management in Kenya, but from various sources of information we have come up with some report about it. Historical development of risk management in Kenya is categorised in three periods;

1.Pre colonial period-where strong African social insurance programs (A.S.I.P.) were used

2.Colonial period-the A.S.I.P. were weakening and British insurance programmes were introduced

3.Post colonial period-A.S.I.P. disintegrated and strong British insurance programmes took lead.

In 13th century, before the inversion of the Arabs and the Portuguese on east African coast, the African communities that lived here settled together in small co villages for social, economic, and political risks. The communities provided their own food, shelter, defence from hostile neighbours and animals and lived in close knit society.

Burdens were shared cheerfully among these members in the same way joys and achievements were. Important things were owned by every member of the society e.g. children belonged to the society. This enabled the nurturing and flourishing of African socialism. The community lenders used their own wisdom and experience to deal with social, economic and political problems facing them. These were the social insurance programmes which operated on voluntary bases

The community members then pooled resources to create a “social insurance fund” in which “premiums” were paid ranging from material to moral support or payment. Participation in the programme was ensured through continued membership. From the insurance pool, payments were made to support the few unfortunate members who were exposed to loss. The fund was regularly replenished through inflows of new premiums from members which ordinarily varied in quantity and nature for different periods based on individual abilities. The operation of the pooled fund was same as typical modern day insurance mechanism

However, in some occasions of catastrophes like fail of rains leading to prolonged period of famine, attack from hostile communities during which entire villages were razed, inhabitants killed or enslaved, the social insurance programmes failed to deliver. In such instances, the affected communities would then gather up and rebuild their life from scratch and within months or years, the “insurance fund “would be flourishing again. This is because even when societies faced catastrophes, they solidly went through them as a community and fused their effort to overcome the challenges.

After having the African social insurance programmes which were common in all African communities in Kenya, over centuries we have the soul risk management approach employed to manage adversaries, and was what the British found in use by the time of 17th century when they exploited the interior of Kenya.


During 19th century, Europeans’ interest in Africa increased for economic, territorial and humanisation reasons. The missionaries found Kenyan communities with administrative, economic and social structures that were working. The interactions with local communities opened Kenya to Europe and all information about Kenya was freely flowing to Britain.

Through this interaction, Britain saw political and economic opportunities in Kenya and set out to exploit them by way of colonisation alongside propagating Christianity. In 1895, the British government formed the territory which now remains the British East African protectorate which is presently Kenya. By the time British East African protectorate was changing its name in 1920 to...
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