[thechat] Re: Kenya (was: Just off out...)

ashok at magicalkenya.com ashok at magicalkenya.com
Fri May 17 04:32:00 CDT 2002

>So what's the draw of Kenya? Money? Quality of life? From what I've read,
>Kenya faces many of the problems India does - corruption, poverty,
>Internet connectivity, high unemployment, etc.

that is a very interesting question but one that is not so easy to answer.
money is definitely an important factor, though its not the only factor. I
lived a part of my childhood here , and intermittently later for varying
periods of time .  Almost all my long time friends are from here [though i
dont have any relatives here].  I feel pretty much at home here - so i
guess its a combination of a lot of things  some quantifiable some are just
a thing of the heart !  What i have observed with a lot of people who come
to kenya is either they dislike the place totally and leave in less than 3
months or they like it and are there for a long time.

Kenya does have a lot of problems associated with a lot of developing
countries.  corruption is a big problem here - though it has visibly
improved over the last few years. It is a factor in the general high level
of poverty - this coupled with things like el-nino rains, drought just make
things worse.
Internet connectivity is still way behind even in comparison to countries
like tanzania and uganda which are much smaller - even though there are
over 30 isps here - the problem for poor connectivity has been government
regulation on getting international up/down links and poor telecom
infrastructure (a lot of telephone exchanges are still analog...) - though
hopefully that should change soon -- we have been fighting to change this ,
there has been a lot of lobbying / signature campaigns
(http://www.kixp.net) for deregulation.

>So why have so many Indians moved there? I'm genuinely curious.

Contrarily - a lot of people of indian/european origin  are emigrating to
countries like canada, australia , new zealand etc. .  there are a whole
bunch of reasons for this - the primary one being economic slowdown and
liberalization which caused many of their businesses to go bust & unable to
compete with foriegn entrants - so their numbers have actually reduced.

a lot of people also cite insecurity  - car jackings & breakins are not
unknown - though [unlike other places] some of the car jackers are fairly
well mannered for highway-men .  a friend of mine was car jacked and they
dropped him off a long way from nairobi - they were decent enough to give
him bus fare to go back home some packed lunch to eat on the bus !

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