- Kenya’s agriculture sector is an important contributor to its economy, especially tea, coffee and flowers, with the most spectacular roses internationally sought after.
- Hydroelectricity is the largest contributor to Kenya's electricity supply.
- Kenyan environmentalist, Wangari Maathai, won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004 – the first African woman to do so.
- Kenya is home to the world famous annual migration of the wildebeest across the great plains of the Masai Mara.
Key Market Alerts
- The “redecoration clause” standard in Kenyan Leases means that at the end of the lease the tenant is required to repaint the interior of the home, as well as re-finish the flooring and varnish window frames, irrespective of damages.
- Rather than monthly, rentals in Kenya are paid quarterly in advance.
- 1 bedroom and 2 bedroom unfurnished apartments are very scarce in Nairobi.
- Kenya has been beset by increased terrorism risk in recent years particularly on the Somali border and coastal regions due to the increased activity of the terrorist organisation El Shabab in the region. However the capital Nairobi has taken significant steps to enhance security to protect its residents.
An Overview of Kenya
Kenya’s enhanced economic growth in recent years has been driven by a growing commercial relationship with India and China; increased investment into the country’s agriculture, tourism and manufacturing sectors; the growth of the ICT sector; and the establishment of East Africa regional headquarters in Nairobi by large multi-national corporations – particularly in the financial services sector.
The country’s capital, Nairobi, has a population of approximately 3.8 million people. The country’s second largest city, and major port, is Mombasa and has a population of about 990,000 people.
Living in Nairobi
Nairobi is a melting pot of different cultures – coming from within the country, its neighbouring countries and further abroad. The city has a vibrant expatriate community as multinational companies, NGOs and multilateral organisations set up regional headquarters in the country. It is estimated that there are 10,000 UN employees in Nairobi.
Nairobi is a relatively easy location for expatriate families – while availability can be a challenge, both housing and schooling are of a high standard; goods and services are readily available; and the city has a wonderful temperate climate. This is not to say however that the city is without its challenges. Challenges that are particularly pertinent to expatriates include traffic congestion; and delays in receiving shipped household goods – largely attributable to the bottleneck at the Mombasa Port.
In terms of getting around, it is essential to have one or two cars in Nairobi, preferably 4-wheel drive vehicles. A driver is also recommended, at least initially to familiarise expatriates with driving conditions. Heavy traffic congestion can significantly add to travel times.
Housing in Nairobi
When choosing accommodation in Nairobi it is worth planning the selection of a home based on commuting time to the office and/or school. Traffic jams in Nairobi are infamous and commute times can stretch into a few hours if you are not centrally located. The bulk of Nairobi’s businesses were traditionally located in the city’s Central Business District (CBD), but over the last decade or so, many businesses have relocated to areas that have, in the past, been largely residential. In suburbs to the north of the CBD – for example, Westlands, Parklands, Spring Valley and Upper Hill – business offices are inter-laced with residential apartment blocks. Diplomatic missions and UN agencies are largely concentrated just north of the CBD – in suburbs such as Runda, Muthaiga, Gigiri and Kitisuru. Housing in these areas is typically free-standing with sizeable gardens; or within well-laid out, secure complexes. Moving further out of the CBD, along the Ngong Road, you reach the suburbs of Karen and Langata. Homes in these areas are fairly spacious. Langata is a particularly good place to live for those commuting in and out of the industrial area (located on the airport road) for work, or even those with an office in Upper Hill.
Schooling in Nairobi
There are numerous schooling options for expatriate children in Nairobi – ranging from Private Schools to International Schools. The schools in the city cover wide-ranging curricula, from American International to British International, Dutch, French, GEMS, German, Swedish and Waldorf.