Kenya Business Culture, Business Dress Cord

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You may need to know about Traditional Kenya Business Culture, Kenya Business dress cord, Titles and business cards and meetings, Business negotiations and Gifts giving . This page is the answer.

Kenya Business Culture and Business dress cord

• For Men- Dark suit, collared shirt, tie, black shoes. In rural areas, people usually put on their Sunday best when goint out in publuc places. Business is no exception.

The younger generations – teenagers, and even Kenyans in their 20’s, are heavily influenced by hip-hop culture and dress accordingly, even when conducting business.

• For Women- Dark suit, shirt, low heels,knee length skirt or smart trousers. In the villages, people tend to wear the same if they have it, but they often do not, and will wear the best clothes they do have.

Kenya Business Culture ,Business Titles ,business cards and meetings

• First names are now commonly used, although Kenyans often refer to themselves using their surname first. This is further confused by some tribes swapping first and surnames when naming children, particularly the Kikuyu.

In other words, Maina Mwangi will name his first born son Mwangi Maina, so it can be very difficult to work out which is a person’s “first” name when being introduced.

• If the person is unknown to you, then to call them by their most distinguished title is appropriate – Mr., Mrs., Dr., etc. Lawyer is not used. If the person is well-known to you, or if the business meeting has a very informal air, then informal greetings are acceptable. Hand shaking is always requisite, however.

• There is no particular protocol for giving/receiving business cards, although they are widely used

Kenya Business Culture and Business negotiations

• Negotiations are always carried out with good humour, but not jocularity. Indian Kenyans and African Kenyans negotiate in different ways, so one tends to give the former wider room for negotiation and the latter more time.

Definitely remain calm at all times, neither will give much quarter if they don’t like you and will not respect aggression.

• Aggressive behaviour is frowned upon, politeness and a humble approach is the key to win friends and influence people.

• Negotiation is less an art than a necessity. Businesspeople tend to negotiate about everything – though less so in high-end stores in Nairobi .

Always expect to bargain. The seller will give you, especially as a white person or American, the highest price possible. This is usually 3-4 times, often more, than what another Kenyan will pay for the same item.

Business is business, and when the final price is reached, Kenyans will forget all ill will. In many cases the bargaining process may take a long time, depending on the price you are expecting and how touristy the area is.

If sellers are used to tourists who shell out the first amount they ask, you will have a tough time bargaining for anything lower, though it can be done. It just takes persistence and a sense of humor.

• A good strategy is to find out beforehand what items are worth to other Kenyans, and start out bargaining at a much lower price than that – the seller may appear offended, but he or she usually knows that it’s all part of the game.

Kenya Business Culture and Gifts giving

• This is a difficult subject because the issues of bribery are in the forefront at all times. Small token gifts such as corporate diaries are very much in vogue, particularly if they are seen as simple corporatemarketing and have no real value.

Valuable gifts, such as holidays, etc., would be a definite no-no, as they would be seen as attempting to buy influence.

• Gift-giving in a business setting depends on the situation and how well you know the people with who you are in business. In the workplace – especially in the village – coworkers are very close, and look out for each other.

When one has a sick child, or a death in the family, others at work will contribute money (in what is called “harambee”, or “pulling together” in Swahili). This isn’t considered a gift exactly – it is really a requirement in many social settings if you want to be accepted.

• The other situations in which gifts are given are; when a person is leaving the company or branch; or when a person is coming back from vacation or a business trip to another part of the country.

Coworkers will contribute money to buy gifts for the departing individual to remember them by. The departing individual may also buy a gift for them but it is not required.

• When an individual is returning from vacation, particularly to an exotic place, or a location that few people have visited, small gifts native to that location are nice offerings.


Business is not necessarily just business. Coworkers consider each other like family in many instances, and become best friends. They will plan get-together outside of work often.

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