By the 19th century, there already was trade among Kenyan communities and between Kenya and other countries.
Long distance trade connected the east African interior to the coast in Kenya. Two major commodities (ivory and slaves) were valued at the coast, where they were exchanged for cloth, utensils, ironware and beads.
Until the 1860s, The Akamba served as middlemen between interior and coastal communities. Their trading activities took them from the Mount Kenya region to as far as Baringo and the shores of Lake Victoria. They established good relationship with the local communities through whose territories they passed, though they discouraged other people and communities from participating in the trade.
For instance, they spread malicious tales about both the interior and coastal communities.