As we near the start of the 6th Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) on July 25-26 in Nairobi, Kenya, the country’s security situation is once again a topic of concern.
Businesses, governments and tourists all have the same questions: “Is the current security situation in Kenya acceptable for business travel? Is Kenya a ‘high risk’ country to visit? Is it safe to travel there now?”
From our point of view, these are not simple yes or no questions. Yes, the risks are real, credible and significant. But there are also ways of mitigating these risks, as millions of Kenyans and thousands of expats do every day.
Know the risks…
Kenya is a developing country with huge differences between rich and poor. It is neighbored by a failed state, Somalia, which has spawned active terrorist movements. Yes, there are risks:
- The US and other governments have issued travel advisories flagging regions, zones and specific areas within the capital as ‘no-go’ spots.
- The Kenyan government will not be withdrawing its troops from neighboring Somalia just yet, and therefore terrorist attacks by Al Shabaab and its affiliate cells will not cease to take place on Kenyan soil.
- A high number of violent incidents still happen on a daily basis, mostly within the larger cities. These include armed carjackings, armed house robberies, muggings, pickpockets, ‘smash and grab’ of valuables from vehicles in traffic, spates of civil unrest in the form of riots, looting, and arson and more recently a sharp increase in scams and fraud cases linked to ATM transactions and extortion through threats via mobile phones and emails.
- The roads are still some of the most dangerous in the world.
…then mitigate them.
Risk mitigation for travelers has to do with how individuals or groups plan and manages their travel footprint and conduct themselves on the ground. If you are smart about your travel then you lower your risk. Like the people who live in Kenya, locals and expatriates, erring on the side of caution lets you live an enjoyable and relatively risk-free existence.
Be sure to read Christian West’s blog on staying safe in Africa for some very practical tips that can make a big difference for travelers.
Of course, I am not saying that if you’re cautious, then no harm will come your way. There is indeed a level of risk to anyone who visits the country, and incidents can occur no matter how well planned your trip may be.
What about the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Nairobi?
There will be 1200 delegates visiting the UN compound in Nairobi over several days. The US president himself is believed to be making an appearance along with a large number of global business leaders and dignitaries.
This is a prime time for a terrorist organization to make a statement. It could be a mere scare to let the world know that they’re still here. Or it could be something more elaborate. It certainly wouldn’t be worth ruling out.
Many international VIPs will be moving between the UN compound, Nairobi’s top hotels, restaurants, bars and shopping destinations throughout the summit period. The potential risks for them are many, and certainly worth planning for. These include Nairobi’s notoriously unsafe traffic, opportunistic petty crime, well-organized crime syndicates and even terrorist groups.
Contact AS Solution for all your security needs – also travel security services in Kenya
AS Solution has a full-time team of vetted, trusted and highly experienced security personnel in Kenya. Our team has an important mixture of local and expat professionals, all with region-specific experience, who have carried out numerous security tasks over the last 7 years.
We can provide everything from trained security drivers with clean, well-maintained vehicles (and cold drinks in the ice box!) to a full protection team. We have the capability to manage your trip from the minute you step off the aircraft to the minute we deliver you safely back to your outgoing flight. We can maximize your safety, so you can enjoy all the wonderful things that Kenya also has to offer – and make the most of your time there.