15-10-2014 by redazione
Malindi, Watamu and the northern coast of Kenya are very different paradises from our country of origin.
There are some aspects that make us prefer these places to those we would like to leave: the climate, the hospitality of the people, the nature that still prevails over cement and civilisation, the investment opportunities, the tax pressure, the cost of labour.
We could go on like this, listing all the positive aspects that we know well, as we at Malindikenya.net have been in Kenya since 1989 and have been working here in the field of information since 2008.
But our task is not to convince people for who knows what 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 well before making a final decision.
First of all, in order to open any business today, you need to 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 an activity (e.g. take over a bar or restaurant, but also a Bed and Breakfast that will also serve 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 PIN (VAT number) of the company and the personal PIN, which are indispensable to carry out any operation, 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. It is not necessary that both directors reside in Kenya.
With the company and the capital, you can get a work permit, which is also a residence permit and is valid for two years.
The so-called G permit as an investor, costs about 2,000 euros.
The employee work permit, on the other hand, costs 4,000 euros, also for two years. In order 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 more than 3 months.
From the point of view of integration into the community of the Kenyan coast, 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.
Many Italians have come to Malindi and Watamu believing that they can speak directly in Italian with the locals, or even in dialect. This leads to misunderstandings that can sometimes make people smile, and sometimes lead to misunderstandings that create problems.
Another aspect that should not be underestimated is respect for our hosts. Although Kenyans are a generous, helpful and hospitable people, and the people's base (the so-called 'tertiary') is in economic conditions bordering on the threshold of survival, this does not mean we can take advantage of them. The minimum wage set by the government for a service employee, for example, is about 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 or 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 and foremost, Kenyan law punishes the corrupt as much as the corruptor, and often the leadership of local institutions are willing to understand the situation, where there is no obvious wrongdoing on the part of the foreign tourist or resident.
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