By Elijah Odhiambo
The Expat Essentials Index by InterNations has ranked Kenya as the top country in Africa that enables expatriates to get started and settle with ease due to easy language, ease of finding housing and affordable cost of homes.
The survey ranked Kenya ninth globally, placing it first in Africa, ahead of South Africa (28th) and Egypt (37th). The survey ranks the best and worst places for professionals based on housing, language, digital life, and local administration.
The latest ranking places the East African nation at a vantage point as an attractive destination for companies seeking to invest in the country.
This comes amid a rising development of residential units targeting high-net-worth individuals due to the country’s position as a hub for the East Africa region, investment ground for multinationals and the government’s infrastructure development.
Based on the factors considered into the rankings, Kenya competitively appeared in top ten best countries around the world where expats struggle the least to settle because of the following reasons:
- Digital life
The country has accessibility to administrative services online, ease of obtaining high internet access at home, ease of paying without cash, unrestricted access to online services e.g. social media.
Kenya allows for cashless payments methods where one can use to pay for services. One can pay using M-Pesa or via banks among other modes.
Kenya has affordable housing programmes. The survey found that it is easier to find affordable houses for expats as compared to other African nations.
“Many expats also have few or no difficulties in finding housing, ranking Kenya 9th out of 52 destinations in this regard. And 43 percent consider the available housing to be affordable, slightly more than the worldwide average of 39 percent,” read the survey in part.
The survey discovered that it is easy to live in Kenya without speaking the local language. Additionally, it added that the country has local languages that are easy to learn.
“Like Indonesia (6th), Kenya (9th) provides expats with an easy transition in two areas in particular: language (3rd) and housing (12th). The great result in the former subcategory is most likely due to the fact that English still serves as one of the country’s two official languages and is widely used in business, education, and government offices,” said the survey.”
In the 2022 edition, InterNations asked 11,970 expats representing 177 nationalities and living in 181 countries or territories to provide information on various aspects of expat life, as well as their gender, age, and nationality. Participants were asked to rate up to 56 different factors regarding life abroad on a scale of one to seven.
The findings come after a recent wealth report by property firm Knight Frank that ranked Kenya as one of the global top real-estate investment hotspots after France, Spain, Italy and the UK.
Kenya was also ranked second by Africa’s super-wealthy individuals seeking second homes.
Foreigners are a significant group of buyers of prime properties in Kenya, helping to raise and sustain their prices.
Where Kenya needs to work on
According to the survey, however, Kenya should work on the admin topics to attract more expatriates. The country came below average, being placed 35th for admin topics.
“Kenya does not do nearly as well in the other two subcategories. It only comes in a below average 35th place for Admin Topics. The local bureaucracy seems to be a particular source of frustration for many expats: 57 percent find it difficult to deal with, nearly 20 percentage points more than the average of 39 percent globally,” read the survey.
“I dislike the inefficiency of many government agencies. Everything is very time-consuming. They do have online platforms, but these often don’t work properly,” explains an expat from the Netherlands in the survey.
Furthermore, Kenya also ranked below average, that is 42nd for the availability of government services online.
Top ten countries where expats find it easy to settle
- Saudi Arabia
Bottom 5 countries where expats find it hard to settle