Xenophobia and how foreigners benefit the populace

Xenophobia according to wikipedia is defined as an unreasonable fear or hatred of foreigners or strangers or of that which foreign or strange. It is becoming rather prevalent around these parts of late what with the influx of refugees and all sorts of nationalities dropping in to do business. The general mood is that there is an invasion and is more or less unwelcome. But is it really that bad and are we really loosing our country to foreign nationals?

If you ask me we should embrace all manner folk with hues from pink to pale to charcoal black if we really want to develop.  If we observe the undisputed kings of business in the country it appears it is the 2nd and 3rd generation Asians more popularly known as kalasingas and wahindi by most folk. These are as foreign as they come and have taught the locals a thing or two about earning the daily bread. Though this is not based on any scientific study, I suggest that the business acumen attributed to the Kikuyu comunity is based on exposure to the Asians , proximity to the city and shrinking agricultural land in central province.  For a man to feed his family creativity in hustling for money is a must.

Most firms in industrial area are run by Asian families and I suspect they contribute the most in terms of taxes from SMEs  Save for their seemingly antisocial behaviour of hanging out at malls in the dead of night and rarely mingling with the masses their contribution to the economy and livelihoods of thousands of kenyans cannot be ignored. The same feat could not have been replicated by locals without foreign influence.  The USA is built on this single principle. Get as much foreign talent as possible to live in your country and afford them an opportunity to do whatsoever they want within the law.

Foreigners bring in a fresh perspective, fresh drive and  a whole new way of doing things. More often than not they are attracted by the resources they see to be underutilised and there is no way they can exploit the resources without directly or indirectly benefiting the local population.

The Somalis are another bunch that are giving the locals a run for their money on the business front.  What with buying up property like its mutumba high heels and even prompting major banks to setup shariah compliant banking. At the end of the day, all the property aqcuired and developed remains on kenyan soil and the Kenyan citizens whether directly or via the government are the major winners and stand to benefit the most.

I think we should take a chill pill and learn from those who know better, polish our game and maybe we may have a chance from the Amero-Chinese onslaught. It begins with observing what the foreigners are doing and more importantly understand why they do it.


  • eddie

    But countries like India must also reciprocate. Many Kenyan consumer products will be very competitive in the Indian market. Likewise, Kenyan (and African) labour. There should be more movement of goods and services from Africa to India. What is also happening is that Indian MNCs are buying/leasing land in Africa ( something foreigners are not allowed to do in India) when they could be giving contracts to Africans to produce whatever crops they have in mind for export to India. All this (rather one-sided) activity is euphemistically called “India Inc.” and this attitude may well contribute to the xenophobia elsewhere. Also, as an aside I ask: What is the purpose of the Commonwealth?

  • As for the need for cross transfer of labor,skill or products I agree with you but question whether we have the capacity. I have not heard of a Kenyan entrepreneur attempting to penetrate the Indian market and failing due to their government policy. Even buying land and getting a title deed is a temporary affair since you only get a lease from the government which expires after 99 years.

    Would we rather sit with idle land or sell to a foreigner ,generate foreign exchange, employ locals and give smart business men ideas?

    The commonwealth to me is a colonial relic that should have been disbanded last century. Loosely translated it is the common wealth of the British monarchy so being a member is symbolically paying homage to the queen of England as the supreme ruler. Not very forward thinking if you ask me. . .