Kenya is a favourite destination for foreign universities and other not for profit corporations engaged in research and public benefit programmes in Africa. The key players in this sector include leading US Universities and 501(c) (3) corporations engaged/seeking to engage in research or public benefit initiatives. The areas of interest are as diverse as the institutions themselves and cut across all spheres of human, animal and plant life including but not limited flora and fauna research, education, public and tropical health (HIV/AIDS, malaria, child and maternal health), humanitarian response , environment and climate change, poverty alleviation/eradication, animal protection and wildlife conservation, agro economics and forestry, technology, entrepreneurial training, women empowerment, social marketing, medical relief, water and sanitation, human rights, social justice, good governance, livelihoods, social welfare, etc.
Most of these activities are funded by the US Government through USAID as well as other philanthropic organisations such as Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, among others. It is therefore essential for the grantee to ensure strict compliance not only with the grant terms but also local law in the country where the funded project is to be implemented.
University education in Kenya is highly regulated. Foreign universities therefore require clear legal guidance as they seek to establish programmes in Kenya to avoid the risk of being construed as operating in Kenya illegally without the requisite approvals under the Universities Act, 2012 while in reality they are conducting non-academic programmes in Kenya.
Depending on the nature of the intended activities and the applicable regulatory framework, a foreign university considering entering the Kenyan market would require sound legal guidance on, among other things, the legislative and regulatory framework, registration options and process as well as ongoing support in the maintenance of the local entity in compliance with the law.
On the other hand, where a foreign university intends to establish presence in the country for academic purposes directly or through collaboration with a local accredited institution, legal guidance on the process and the applicable restrictions will be required.