30-09-2022 by redazione
Malindi, Watamu and the Kenyan coast are paradises quite different from our home country.
Some aspects make us prefer these places to those we would like to leave: the climate, the hospitality of the people, nature still prevailing over concrete and civilisation, the investment opportunities, the tax burden, the cost of labour.
We could go on like this, listing all the positive aspects that we know so well, having been at Malindikenya.net in Kenya since 1989 and working here in the field of information since 2008.
Instead, our task is not to convince people out of who knows what personal or 'caste' interest, but to open their eyes to a choice of life or work that, like any event of this importance, must be weighed and evaluated thoroughly before making a final decision.
First of all, to open any business and work regularly in this country today, one must have capital to transfer to a local bank.
The capital must amount to a minimum of €80,000 and can also be used to purchase a property or business (e.g. take over a bar or restaurant, but also a Bed and Breakfast that will also function as a private home).
In this case, however, the transaction must take place on the account of a company founded in Kenya.
The time required to open a company in Kenya is not very short, especially to obtain the company's PIN (the VAT number) and the personal PIN, which are indispensable for doing everything from opening an electricity or water bill to deeds and buying a car. The company may also not have a Kenyan partner and must have two directors with shares in the company. Both directors need not reside in Kenya.
With the company and the capital, one can obtain a work permit, which is also a residence permit and is valid for two years.
The so-called investor's G permit costs about 2,000 euro.
The employee's work permit, on the other hand, costs 4,000 euro, also for two years. To obtain it, certain requirements are needed, above all the guarantee to teach the locals a trade and not to work themselves, but to act as 'manager' or consultant, coordinator or teacher.
There are also seasonal 'Special Passes'. They cost about 230 euros per month, plus an additional fixed fee for paperwork. Usually the special pass cannot last longer than three months. To be lured by less than legitimate opportunities or by subterfuges that are sold as practice is, in our opinion, to be absolutely avoided.
From the point of view of integration into the Kenyan coastal community, it is known that Malindi is now defined as an Italian 'colony', but in order to better understand the life, laws and customs of this area, it would be important to have at least a smattering of English. Make an effort, if you do not know English, to pick up a book, study at least to get the basics and make yourself understood.
Many Italians came to Malindi and Watamu convinced that they could confer directly in Italian with the locals, if not in dialect. This leads to misunderstandings that can sometimes make people smile, sometimes lead to misunderstandings that create problems. Often the people who know your language (often, not always, mind you) are also those who do so precisely in order to take advantage, even if only in a good-natured manner, of you.
Another aspect that should not be underestimated is respect for your hosts. Although Kenyans are a generous, helpful and hospitable people and the grassroots (the so-called 'tertiary') population base is on the verge of survival, this does not mean you can take advantage of them. The minimum wage set by the government for a service employee, for example, is around 90 euros and it would be a good idea to get him or her in order to have access to the (albeit modest) local health service.
The coast has an important Islamic component, in Malindi and Watamu very moderate and used to working with tourism. However, respecting certain local customs (such as women not showing their breasts on the beach and not walking around town in bikinis, and for couples not indulging in showy effusions in public) is certainly a good habit to observe.
The police in these parts may try to take advantage of special occasions to ask for tips or to settle disputes in a 'friendly' manner.
It is recommended, always being calm and polite, not to accept any attempt at accommodation. First of all, Kenyan law punishes the corrupt as much as the bribe-giver, and often the heads of local institutions are willing to understand the situation, where there is no obvious wrongdoing on the part of the tourist or foreign resident.
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