Doing Business in Kenya| Kenyan Social and Business Culture

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Doing Business in Kenya| Kenyan Social and Business Culture

Overview Kenya lies to the east of the African continent and has a coast on the Indian Ocean. The country stradles two of the most famous lakes in Africa - Lake Turkana and Lake Victoria. At its heart is Mount Kenya from which the country takes its name. The Kenyan population is heterogeneous, comprising seven major ethnic groups as well as tens of smaller ones and non-Kenyan communities. There is a religious mix with a Christian majority and Muslim and indigenous religious minorities. Formerly a British colony, Kenya achieved independence in 1963. Understanding the various cultural norms and ethnic and religious groups is essential when doing business in Kenya. Kenyan Culture - Key Concepts and Values Group-relations – Kenyans have strong affiliations to their ethnic group or tribe and sometimes place them in front of the ‘nation’. The family is at the heart of Kenyan life and is given priority over everything else. Several generations will live together in one house with all family members taking care of one another. Absenteeism from work or delays in performing tasks due to family obligations is frequently experienced in Kenya and is viewed as perfectly acceptable. Religion – The majority of the population is Christian (Protestant and Catholic) but there is also a substantial Muslim (Sunni) minority. At the same time Animism and ancestor worship remain widespread. Both Christians and Muslims have managed to incorporate traditional practices into their respective religions creating unique blends to suit their particular needs. Time – In general, Kenyans have a more relaxed approach towards time and live at a slower pace. It is not unusual to wait half an hour for someone to arrive for an appointment and this is seen as perfectly acceptable. Taking care of personal affairs first is regarded as more…...

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