Employing capital: Patient capital and labour relations in Kenya's manufacturing sector
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 the 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 developed countries 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.