Maria Mwaipopo Fibaek

Associate Researcher, Lund University

[email protected]

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Research interests: Agricultural change and rural livelihoods

I am passionate about topics related to rural development in sub-Saharan Africa. My research focuses on both historical and current rural livelihood changes in Kenya and I am particularly interested in exploring how past rural change affects contemporary rural development. I have published on the colonial establishment of large-scale agriculture, living standards of rural workers, and rural differentiation.

Case Study


Valeria Lukkari and Maria Mwaipopo Fibaek

Colonial Kenya is often characterised as a settler economy, where large farms of white settlers were run with African labor force. It quickly became an exporter of primary commodities, with coffee amongst the most lucrative cash crops, but with a relatively diverse economy. In this study, we examine long-run inequality trends starting in the colonial period with a special focus on scrutinising the elite classes that drove economic change. While previous research has concentrated on the European elites, we instead highlight the role of the African and Asian elites and how they were faring within this settler colony setting.