BUSINESS & INVESTMENT
Who is the first contact in Kenya to discuss investment & business opportunities with?
The Kenya Investment Authority.
Which government authority deals with issues relating to tax exemptions and rebates?
The Ministry of Finance.
Which government authority handles matters relating to standards, specifications and certification?
The Kenya Bureau of Standards.
Are there umbrella organisations for employers in Kenya that deal with issues affecting them?
Yes, the Federation of Kenya Employers and the Kenya Association of Manufacturers.
What are the requirements (licensing or other) to establish trade/incorporate a company in Kenya?
- Registration of the company in Kenya with the Registrar of Companies. This could be a branch office of an overseas company or a locally incorporated company, or registration could also be done under the Business Names Act
The approval and licensing procedures of new investments:
- The Kenya Investment Authority (KIA) will process and grant approvals of new investment, once proposals are submitted on a prescribed application form. Proof of company registration must be attached to the application.
- Where the investment may have adverse impact on security, health or environment, clearance from the competent authorities (such as National Environment Management Authority, Public Health authorities, etc) will be required before approval is granted.
Also, clearance is required from parent ministries for investments in restricted areas before KIA approval is granted. These investments comprise:
- investments to produce excisable goods (clearance from Customs and Excise is a pre-condition),
- investments in forest products and mining (clearance from Ministry of Environment and Natural resources),
- investments in energy and petroleum products (clearance from Ministry of Energy),
- investments in the manufacture Under Bond Programme (authority to manufacture under bond must be obtained from the Minister for Finance),
- investments in the tourism industry (clearance form Ministry of Tourism).
Are there import/export restrictions?
No. Customs procedures applied when goods are being imported:
- Import declaration form must be completed in respect of the consignment,
- Proforma invoices showing the value of the goods,
- Specification of the goods and packing list,
- Bills of lading,
- Inspection certificates in respect of goods exceeding KShs. 500,000.
What is the local tax system, and what are the possible implications for a "foreign business" operating in Kenya? These could include VAT/GST, business profit, employee salaries and wages.Information about corporate tax, withholding tax, VAT, excuse duties, personal tax and import duties can be obtained from the Kenya Revenue Authority.
Are there any specific local shareholding requirements, e.g. minimum shareholding of local shareholder?
Equity restrictions are only in telecommunications sector (a minimum of 30% must be local).
Investments in the insurance industry must have local participation.
Ownership of agricultural land by foreigners is restricted.
Engagement in petty business by foreigners is restricted.
Is there any local employment legislation, e.g. minimum wage, employment conditions, arbitration, etc.?
Important provisions in Kenyan labour law:
- Minimum wages - set by the government, depend on skills and are specific for different urban areas. They are subject to review from time to time, depending on prevailing economic realities.
- Workers are allowed to join trade unions related to their sectors of work.
- Wages are negotiated through tripartite agreements (between trade unions, government and employers).
- Disputes are settled through the Industrial Court.
Is there any local business ethics/anti-corruption legislation?
Yes. Many sectors have developed their own self-regulation mechanisms and service charters. There is anti-corruption and economic crimes legislation in place.
Can you provide a copy of any local health, safety & security legislation?
Copies of the following legislations are available for purchase from the Government Printers:
- A local health certification is required for new drugs introduced into the market, including agrochemicals and pharmaceuticals.
- Safety regulations are provided to ensure the security of workers in a particular business operation.
- Labour laws provide for safety of employees, and ensure maintenance of proper ventilation, lighting and hygiene in a business premise.
- Security provisions require new employees to obtain a certificate of good conduct before employment, and also that foreigners are vetted before being issued work permits.
Can you provide a copy of local environmental legislation?
The National Environment Management Act provides for approval of Environmental Impact Assessment for any new project, to safeguard environmental conservation. Copies of this legislation are available for purchase from the Government Printers.
Is there a local statutory maintenance and calibration of plant and equipment legislation?
The Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) ensures that any measurement of equipment in Kenya meets the required standard. It also provides calibration of plant and equipment.
Are you able to specify the general standards, as set out by your local standards organizations, that relate to the retail environment with hazardous materials accessible to the general public (e.g. BS, ISO, IBE) ?
The general standards relate to weight, quantity, quality of packaging, expiry date and the ingredients which compose a particular product. These are undertaken by the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS).
Could you detail your existent telecommunications infrastructure, e.g. fixed lines (ISDN, ASDl), ISP connectivity, GSM cellular or GPRs capability? Are there any areas not covered, i.e. restrictions and limitations?
- There are two licensed landline operators: Telkom Kenya, which is state-owned, and Bell Western Telecommunication, which is a rural telecommunications company.
- Telkom recently rolled out new ISDN and ADSL services on the major towns, where it already has a digital network.
- There are several licensed mobile operators, including Safaricom, Zain and Econet Wireless.
- The mobile operators cover over 90% of the land mass, in major towns and commercially viable trading centres, as well as along major roads.
Could you detail power utility and infrastructure, and national distribution grid? Are there any limitations in specific areas?
- The country is dependent mainly on three forms of energy: petroleum, electricity and wood-fuel. To a lesser extent, wind, solar and biogas are used as alternative energy sources.
- Petroleum is the major source of commercial energy in the country, providing about 87% of the country's requirements. Petroleum oil is imported into the country both in the form of crude oil for domestic processing and as refined products.
- The national grid is managed by Kenya Power and Lighting Company (KPLC), while Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KENGEN) and other independent power producers generate electricity.
Could you offer details of the water provision network, highlighting those areas with constraints/specific needs?
- The Water Act 2002 is in place, focusing on effective separation of policy formulation, regulation and service delivery functions, which has entailed the establishment of Water Service Boards, the Water Services Regulatory Board, the Water Services Trust Fund, and Water Utilities. These reforms have enhanced national fresh water availability from 247 m3 to 900 m3 in 2008.
- There is big demand in arid areas for water, which may require sinking boreholes, construction of dams, irrigation and distribution lines.
Could you detail sewerage removal/disposal infrastructure, highlighting areas with limitations?
Sewerage systems are available in major urban counties. However, they are non-existent in small trading centres and rural areas.
Please detail waste disposal infrastructure, i.e. both non-hazardous and hazardous?
Kenya lacks a proper system of both hazardous and non-hazardous waste disposal, e.g. collection, sorting, recycling of waste is relatively underdeveloped. There is need for construction of incinerators, particularly in hospitals and laboratories, to ensure complete destruction of hazardous materials.
Are you able to offer average costs of office space rental and communications rental?
Cost of office space depends on location, reducing as one moves away from the major towns.
What are your various visa and work permit requirements?
Check the "Services for non-Kenyans" section of the website.