Success tips when doing business in Kenya in 2024

doing business in Kenya

  1. When greeting someone elder or of higher status, grasp the right wrist with the left hand while shaking hands to demonstrate respect. In addition, lowering your eyes while greeting someone older further shows respect;
  2. Skipping or rushing the initial greeting and handshake is considered poor manners. It is also expected of potential business partners to inquire about each other’s families before beginning business discussion;
  3. Direct and frank communication is not the norm in Kenya. Kenyans will always attempt to qualify what they say so that the message is delivered in a sensitive way. Saving face is very important to Kenyan business persons;
  4. Business persons should be careful to avoid blunt statements, choosing instead to deliver such statements through metaphors, analogies or stories;
  5. Kenyans pride themselves on their emotional stability and expect the same of others. Entrepreneurs interested in Kenya company formation should take care to avoid showing anger during business situations, even during disagreements;
  6. Meeting schedules greatly depend on the nationality of the shareholders. British and Indian owned companies will likely have a meeting agenda, which will be used and strictly followed. Kenyan owned companies are more likely to take a relaxed attitude towards meeting schedules, with meetings often lasting much longer than initially expected;
  7. Because Kenyan companies are not all well versed with international trade, we encourage our Clients to consistently use and sign contracts of service.

Things to consider before starting your business in Kenya as a foreigner:

  1. Kenya maintains a liberal external trade system with a market-based economy with mostly private business enterprises and a few state-owned infrastructure enterprises;
  2. Kenya is generally considered the Communication, Financial and Transportation services hub in the entire Eastern and Central Africa and an ideal jurisdiction for our Client looking to establish their headquarters in the region;
  3. Kenya’s Government is generally investment friendly and has over the years implemented trade regulatory reforms to ensure both local and foreign investors have easy access to the market;
  4. Compared to other countries in East and Central Africa, Kenya has a better developed physical and social infrastructure with most of the population speaking English, the official language and high-level computer literacy;
  5. The major industries in Kenya include, agriculture, industrial manufacturing, mining and minerals, tourism, energy and financial services. Kenya ranks as the 65th largest economy in the world by GDP according to the International Monetary Authority;

Interesting facts about Kenya?

  1. There are over 48 African languages spoken in Kenya, with as many ethnic groups with their own unique culture;
  2. As Kenya was once a British colony, English is one of the official languages with UK vocabulary and spellings used;
  3. Kenya is renowned as a dominant force in the middle length Olympic track events. Kenya has taken gold in the 3,000 m steeplechase in every non-boycotted Olympic games since 1968;
  4. Kenya has recently developed a detailed and coherent plan for their socioeconomic future called Vision 2030. This plan is expected to reform Kenya;
  5. As Kenya is located on the equator, temperatures can reach in to the 40s, especially in western Kenya and the bushlands of northern Kenya. The Rift Valley and Central Highlands experience much more agreeable weather, with temperatures between 22 to 28 degrees year round;
  6. Kenya is well known for its fauna, with wild lions, buffalo, leopards, elephants and rhinoceros all present in Kenya;
  7. The largest contributor to Kenyan electricity is hydroelectric power;
  8. Lake Victoria, the second largest lake in the world, is located along the western border of Kenya;
  9. Kenya is at the forefront of the African technology boom. 41% of the population are connected to the internet, with 14% becoming connected for the first time in 2012. 99% of internet connections in Kenya are by mobile phone;
  10. Kenya is ranked 145th out of 182 countries, according to the United Nations Human Development Index (HDI). The report rates a country on its overall life expectancy, literacy, education and living standards. This HDI ranking classifies Kenya in the low human development quadrant;
  11. Kenya is negatively perceived as the world’s 139th least corrupt country, according to the 2012 Corruption Perceptions Index by Transparency International, a global measure of corruption amongst public officials and politicians;
  12. Kenya is positively ranked as the 106th most competitive economy in the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report 2012 – 2013;
  13. According to a Trading Economics study, From 1999 until 2011, Kenya Unemployment Rate averaged 22.4% from 1999 until 2011, reaching in December 2011 a record high of 40% and a record low of 12.7% in December 2006;
  14. The total population in Kenya represents 0.60 percent of the world´s total population, which means that one person in every 168 people on the planet is a resident of Kenya.

FAQs when intending to invest/setup a business in Kenya

Contact us

For additional information on our company registration services in Kenya, please contact our in-house country expert, Mr. Kunal Fabiani, directly:
client relationship officer - Kunal