For the new year i was in Kenya with my love for vacation. From December 23 to January 6 2012. It was one of the best experiences in my life. As a person who never got out of Ethiopia if you don’t count Eretria, it was an astonishing experience. After this, all I want to do is travel. As a rookie traveler, I am proud to say, i had experienced cultural shock.
I had a chance to see the world in different eye. When you live in one country all your life, you will get used to the things around you and loose the detail and look at things as a whole. In Kenya in particular Mombasa, which we spent the whole time might not be enough to compare. What the hell! I will give it a try.
The first thing I compared is the Kenyan advancement in telecom and banking system, which are actually integrated more than you think. Like mobile money transfer, getting mobile air time pin number from ATM. The down town of Mombasa is full of International Banks. Instead of multiple branches of some bank, you see banks of Different Nations like Bank Of India, KCB, A G Bank of Zurich etc . . .
The second thing is, the architecture. Instead of uniform buildings you see diverse styles and stories in the buildings. Just look the pictures below and judge for yourself.
The third thing is, the hotel and restaurant service is service oriented in Kenya. They will trash any Ethiopian hotel business, say in rich menu or communication skill of the waiters. I believe Ethiopians who are in the hotel business can learn a lot from their Kenyan counterparts. Ethiopians should lose some of their pride. Pride has no place in hotel and hospitality business.
The fourth is, its so amazing how the Kenyan profited so much by conserving their nature say safaris or marine parks, to generate money and sustain it.
The fifth is, how so many foreigners leave there. Unlike Ethiopia, foreigners can own land and property. In area and population Kenya is half as much of Ethiopia. The paradox here is the people of Kenya and foreigners can own as much land as they can afford. People can have large states because land is not owned by state. May be Kenyans are not crazy about land like Ethiopians.
The sixth is, the businesses are mainly owned by Indians, Arabs and other foreigners. Like in Ethiopia 40 years ago. I cannot judge if this is a good thing or bad. Both got their pros and cons. In this globalization era this might be considered advantageous. In localization and building up home grown businesses Ethiopia rules. The problem is the Kenyans because of the foreigners competition, they leap higher than our entrepreneurs. With this also comes how the Kenyans surpass as in internationalizing and implementing aggressive marketing strategies.
To generalize with all these and general feeling I have, these countries as neighbors and closely related, they have elements for two opposites which can be a fitting combination to build a better country than they are. Close ties and experience exchange would enable them to grow and prosper.
One of the top stories this day relation on this is; Ethiopia, Kenya and South Sudan are having a Lamu project from port development, rail way and oil pipe line development which involves and benefits these countries greatly. This is one of the best examples of cooperation and development. Especially, when these countries are neighbored by less friendly countries. -+