Cultural intelligence

 
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Kenya - legislation of women procurement opportunities

Kenya is an African country located on the equator with the Indian Ocean lying to the south-east. It is bordered by Tanzania, Uganda, South Sudan, Ethiopia and Somalia. It has a population of around 45 million and the capital and largest city is Nairobi.

“Harambee,” (coming from the Bantu word meaning “to pull together”) defines the Kenyan people’s approach to others in life. The concept is essentially about mutual assistance, mutual effort, mutual responsibility and community self-reliance. This principle has historically been practiced by every ethnic group with its roots in cooperative farming or herding.

Kenya's services sector, which contributes 61% of GDP, is dominated by tourism, which is the major factor in the increase in the country’s economic growth. Tourism is now Kenya's largest foreign exchange earning sector, followed by flowers, tea, and coffee. Agriculture is the second largest contributor to Kenya's GDP, after the services sector.

More than 70% of Kenyans, mostly women, derive at least some of their income from agriculture. Women, especially those living in rural areas, often depend on land to generate income. Yet, in Kenya, women only own one percent of agricultural land – a small amount considering their crucial contributions to agriculture, food security and nutrition.

The role of women in business is changing slowly, assisted by the “30 per cent procurement rule” – a pledge from President Kenyatta in 2013 that the public sector procurement rules would be amended to allow 30 per cent of contracts to be given to the youth, women and persons with disability without competition from established firms. The Kenya Private Sector Alliance (Kepsa) has said that Kepsa would replicate the 30 per cent procurement rule in the private sector.

Business meetings in Kenya seldom have scheduled ending times since what matters is finishing the meeting in a satisfactory manner to all concerned. In fact, Kenyans are amused at the concept of an ending time, since they believe the meeting only ends when all parties are finished.

Kenyans value tradition. Therefore, it is a good idea to provide a historical framework or context when attempting to introduce a new idea or process. They may ask questions until they feel comfortable and are able to proceed satisfactorily.

In their attempt not to cause problems, Kenyans often use metaphors, analogies and stories to make a point. They are uncomfortable with blunt statements. It is also up to you to read between the lines and decipher what is really being said.

Share your Kenyan business experiences

Sources: Wikipedia, Daily National, USAID

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