Generalizes on the best strategy to enter the market, e.g., visiting the country; importance of relationships to finding a good partner; use of agents.
U.S. companies interested in investing in Kenya must develop a good understanding of the market to succeed. This includes determining the best market entry channels. U.S. companies should consider partnering with Kenyan companies to serve as a local agent or distributor. Other channels include obtaining local franchisees or licensees. While some sectors allow for direct sales to end users, one should have a solid understanding of the logistics of the market as well as how to reach customers via advertising, which is increasingly done through social media or targeted campaigns. In advertising, companies should consider using Swahili or other local vernaculars, particularly when targeting customers outside of main urban areas.
Typically, conducting market research involves visiting the market, which has been the ideal way to engage potential local partners, build relationships, and evaluate market opportunities. However, considering COVID-19-related travel restrictions and dynamic mitigation guidelines, businesses are encouraged to explore virtual engagements and should travel be essential, travelers should familiarize themselves with current travel guidelines at https://ke.usembassy.gov/covid-19-information/. Virtual events, including webinars, can provide critical insights and business intelligence at a reduced cost and convenience. Further, Kenya has several strong business member organizations that can provide a good source of business development, networking, and market intelligence.
Most importantly, it is recommended you engage your local U.S. Export Assistance Center (USEACs) for market counseling, export strategy development, and to discuss the U.S. Commercial Service’s suite of offerings.