So now you are ensconced thousands of miles away and things are looking up. But who is looking after your property and material interests at home? Opinions vary. Some say that a close relative, especially a parent or spouse, would best look after what interests you have and flag anything that looks awry. If that relative is reliable, energetic, tuned in to news outlets, willing to work for free and has an innate understanding of what interests you have, that is clearly a workable option. But woe unto you if the person is willing but lacks the skills or worse still, decides to take you for a ride.

Ultimately, a wise emigrant invests in publicly quoted companies back home and buys property from only reputable, long established agents. Unit trusts that shadow the stock market are now well entrenched. Of course they will never give you the stellar returns that stock market cowboys can earn with risky trading strategies but hey, you will get your money back. Try new business startups and self build construction projects at home only after extreme due diligence. Matatus and shops? OK but be prepared to write off your investment as sly attendants concoct all manner of excuses to further reduce your hard earned capital.

Keeping abreast of happenings at home is easier than ever, what with the main media houses (Nation, Standard) being well established online. Unfortunately much of the content that is read and watched at home is edited out of the online editions but still, enough gets through. Those obituaries of distant uncles and certain classifieds may just pass you by but not all of them.

Over the last couple of years, Ministries have moved online in a big way and the likes of the Kenya Revenue Authority come close to the e-government paradigm. Make a habit of perusing through government and parastatal websites every couple of months. How else would you discover that a new parastatal dedicated to geothermal power generation alone has been hived off KenGen?

When it comes to legal knowledge, nothing beats the public kenyalawreports website and its private rival, the lawsofkenya website. For official personal notices such as estate administration and disposal of uncollected goods, gets u copies of the Kenya Gazette. That one lets you know exactly who has applied for letters of adminstration for your deceased relative’s properties. For top earning jobs and consultancires at home, including those choice appointments at Gigiri, the Economist magazine and the websites of the World Bank/UN/EU groups seem to have the lions share of information. For procurement contracts, the recently launched public procurement authority (ppoa) website is an absolute goldmine. Soma hio.

Anything else? Yes. Slowly but steadily, it has dawned on the major multinationals that if you want to make sustainable multi billion shilling profits, hire a local who has experience abroad, not a foreigner who has experience locally. Ask Kenya Breweries, Barclays, Standard, Citibank, Kenya Airways, …

God Bless Kenya, God Bless you.

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