“The first of these was on the ride to the hotel from the airport, when the driver ignored the red light, and when asked, said it was just there to ‘make Nairobi pretty.’ Similar assumptions hide in plain sight across all interactions between people from different cultures, with no exceptions for business and investing,” says Libes. Understand that differences in culture transcend into business –exceptional hospitality, unhurried meetings, leisurely tea ceremonies, etc. – and appreciate that this is all part of the experience.
Start building your network on the ground. Stephanie Wilson has made international investments, traveled to East Africa twice, and serves on IC’s Global Health Advisory Board (GHAB). She started her work in Kenya by gathering introductions and building local relationships.