| Africatime
Friday 24 March 2017
(Business Daily 03/03/17)
Kenya's extensive mobile-money network can be used by both domestic and international criminal operations to make illicit financial transactions, the US State Department warned on Thursday. The department's latest annual report on money laundering worldwide describes Kenya as the financial hub of East Africa and “at the forefront of mobile banking.” About 159,000 mobile-money agents do business in Kenya, mostly through Safaricom's M-Pesa system, the report notes. It adds that M-Shwari, Safaricom's online banking service, includes more than 10 million accounts. “These services remain vulnerable to money laundering activities,” the report declares. Global standards The Safaricom director for corporate affairs, Stephen Chege, however said in a response that M-Pesa is in compliance with “stringent global financial services standards for Anti-Money...
(Kenya Star 03/03/17)
Kenya police say gunmen have kidnapped three Kenyan teachers at Dadaab refugee camp in eastern Kenya, which hosts more than 200 000 Somali refugees. A police report seen by The Associated Press Thursday says three men armed with pistols kidnapped three teachers of the Udha Academy within the Hagadera section of Dadaab camp. Kenya authorities have said they will close Dadaab in May claiming that the camp has become a recruitment and training ground for Somalia's extremist group al-Shabaab. But authorities have not provided proof of this claim. Al-Shabaab has carried out several attacks on Kenya including the April 2, 2015, attack on Garissa University in which 148 people were killed. The group has vowed retribution on Kenya for sending...
(Daily Nation 03/03/17)
Basic salary and allowances are the key issues that resulted in the collapse of the mediation aimed at ending the doctors' strike, a report presented in court on Thursday reveals. The court was told that parties had reached a consensus on a number of issues. "We made efforts to the best of our ability but a stalemate remained in relation to the revision of the basic salaries and aspects of the payable allowances," said the mediation team's lawyer George Abura. And despite the decision to file a report to the court indicating that the talks had stalled, the mediation panel was not opposed to a faith-based group's request to attempt a final round of talks between the Kenya Medical Practitioners,...
(Xinhuanet 03/03/17)
A prolonged drought across the East African region and heavy flooding in some southern African countries are compounding the effects of conflicts to make people's lives difficult. Against the global trend of good harvests, Africa, especially its eastern part, faces the challenge of worsening food security due to drought and conflicts. Some 37 countries require external assistance for food, including 28 African countries, as a result of lingering effects of last year's El Nino-triggered drought on harvests, says the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). In South Sudan, nearly half of the population of 11.3 million are in urgent need of food aid as the UN declared famine in the East African nation last week. Tens of thousands of people...
(Bloomberg 03/03/17)
Polar Star Management Ltd., which runs one of the best-performing African and Middle East hedge fund over the past five years, plans to start a private-equity unit that will invest in agriculture to exploit rising demand for food. The Cape Town-based firm plans to use its own money to buy small farms and processing companies in South Africa this year, then increase efficiency through consolidation and better management, said Murray Derksen, a director at Polar Star. It aims to raise 1.5 billion rand ($115 million) for the fund, which may also buy commodities such as grains, while targeting an internal rate of return of 8 percent to 12 percent, he said. “We looked at the increase in corn demand globally,...
(Bloomberg 03/02/17)
Kenya is withholding approval for field trials of genetically-modified corn because some officials argue that a ban on GMO imports applies to controlled growing tests as well, according to a person familiar with the deliberations. Talks involving representatives from the health and environment ministries and the National Biosafety Authority reached a deadlock in meetings held to discuss applications last week, according to the person, who asked not to be identified because the discussions were private. The National Environmental Management Authority halted the applications to test seeds from Kenya Livestock and Research Organization and the African Agricultural Technology Foundation last year in October
(Andalou Agency 03/02/17)
Law society and human rights commission bows out of strike talks, saying stubbornness stymied a solution. The nationwide doctors strike in Kenya, which has nearly lasted for three months, Thursday took a dramatic turn after the chief mediators bowed out of negotiations and left the burden of resolving the stalemate between the government and the doctors to clergymen. The Law Society of Kenya (LSK) and the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR), the chief mediators, previously confident that they would end Kenya’s 88-day nationwide doctors’ strike, threw in the towel, saying that they have done 80 percent of what was required but the government and the doctors have dug their heels in. Justice Martha Koome of the court of...
(Daily Nation 03/02/17)
Kenya has been tipped to create at least 7,500 new dollar millionaires in the next nine years as Nairobi grows to be among the most preferred cities in the world for investment. A significant rise in the number of millionaires (those with at least Sh100 million each, excluding their residential homes) and that of ultra-high-net-worth individuals (those with at least Sh3 billion) is expected in Mauritius, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda over the next decade, says a report by British property consultancy firm Knight Frank. Of the 20 countries polled, 11 are in Africa, something consistent with the philosophy that Africa is rising , says “The Wealth Report: Global Perspective on Prime Property and Investment”. In Africa, the number...
(The Associated Press 03/02/17)
Gunmen have kidnapped three Kenyan teachers from the world’s largest refugee camp, police said Thursday. Three men with pistols abducted the teachers with the Udha Academy in the Hagadera section of Dadaab refugee camp, according to a police report seen by The Associated Press. The camp in eastern Kenya holds more than 200,000 Somali refugees. Mohamud Saleh, the northeastern regional security coordinator, said security forces cordoned off the area and sealed the route into neighboring Somalia, where the gunmen are suspected to have come from. No group has claimed responsibility for the latest kidnapping from the camp. Kenyan authorities have expressed interest in closing Dadaab, claiming it has become a recruitment and training ground for Somalia’s extremist group al-Shabab. But...
(AFP (eng) 03/02/17)
A film raging against colonialism and the exploitation of Africa wowed viewers at the continent's top cinema festival Wednesday, winning shouts of approval at a screening packed to bursting point. "The African Storm" tells the story of an African president who nationalises businesses run by racist, cynical Western executives. Directed and produced by its Beninese star Sylvestre Amoussou, it tackles several hot-button issues including an exit from the CFA franc currency, closer ties with Russia and China as opposed to the West, criticism of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, and pride in being African. One of 20 feature-length movies on show at the Panafrican Film and Television Festival (Fespaco) in Burkina Faso's capital Ouagadougou, the movie was punctuated...
(News24 03/01/17)
Kenya will ban government adverts in private media, according to a leaked memo seen by AFP on Monday, as the presidency announced plans to launch its own free newspaper. Government advertising currently brings in some $19m per year for the country's newspapers, according to an official at the Government Advertising Agency. The letter from state house chief of staff Joseph Kinyua said that cabinet ministers had approved the creation of a newspaper to be known as MY.GOV "that will articulate the government's agenda in a deeper and more accurate way for a better appreciation of government's effort to improve the livelihoods of the citizens".
(Bloomberg 03/01/17)
A study of Kenya’s telecommunications industry proposes breaking up Safaricom Ltd., the country’s biggest company, according to brokerage AIB Capital Ltd. The report compiled by Analysys Mason proposes “a raft of measures supposed to level the telecommunications playing ground and tame Safaricom,” AIB Chairman Linus Gitahi said in an opinion article published Wednesday in the Nairobi-based Daily Nation newspaper. The measures include splitting the company’s mobile-money business M-Pesa from the rest of Safaricom, he said. Safaricom Chief Executive Officer Bob Collymore last week criticized proposals by a Kenyan lawmaker to split the company as “plain stupid.” The company, which is is 40 percent owned by Newbury, England-based Vodafone Plc, declined to comment on Wednesday. Safaricom is Kenya’s biggest mobile provider...
(Xinhuanet 03/01/17)
The UN refugee agency said Tuesday that it has repatriated some 49,376 Somali refugees in Kenya since the return exercise begun in December 2014. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said in its bi-weekly update that out of the figure, some 10,062 were supported in 2017 alone. "The number of flights has been significantly increased as it remains the only mean of transportation to Somalia. Returns movements by air are organized to Mogadishu, Kismayu and Baidoa," it said in a statement issued in Nairobi. According to the UNHCR, road convoys were also organized from Dadaab in northeast Kenyan camp to Dhobley in Somalia respectively on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. "For the time being, flights from Dadaab to Somalia...
(Xinhuanet 03/01/17)
Kenya on Wednesday launched a 30-year strategic plan to revamp management and utilization of land against a backdrop of its rising demand amid urbanization and population growth. Jacob Kaimenyi, Cabinet Secretary for Lands and Physical Planning, said the National Spatial Plan covering 2015 to 2045 will guide sustainable and equitable use of land and terrestrial resources to hasten Kenya's growth. "The government seeks to promote balanced and sustainable utilization of land resources in the country to prevent ecological depletion and ethnic conflicts. The first national spatial plan for Kenya will help us achieve that goal," said Kaimenyi. Kaimenyi said a revamped national land management strategy would stimulate investments in key areas like agriculture, fisheries and infrastructure development. "Our country will...
(Business Daily 03/01/17)
Farmers in the country's bread basket are grappling with high cost of inputs and increasing fuel prices, a situation that could result in a further rise in the price of food as the latest official statistics point towards soaring inflation. Growers from the North Rift region, who are currently preparing their lands for planting ahead of the rainy season, said that they were now buying a litre of diesel at Sh91 up from Sh65 last year. Mr Jonah Rotich, a farmer who ploughs 20 acres at Kaplelach in Uasin Gishu County, said that this has subsequently led to an increase in the cost of hiring tractors. The farmers are now paying Sh2,500 to plough an acre up from Sh1,800 while...
(Reuters (Eng) 03/01/17)
The Kenyan shilling gained ground against the dollar on Wednesday, helped by inflows from foreign investors interested in buying government bonds, traders said. At 0919 GMT, commercial banks quoted the shilling at 102.70/90 to the dollar, compared with 103.00/20 at Tuesday's close.
(Voice of America 02/28/17)
Doctors in Kenya's public health facilities have refused to work since December. They are demanding the government implement an agreement it signed in 2013 to raise salaries and improve working conditions. However, the strike is taking a deadly toll on the nation's poor. Jared Ochieng lost his son Lamarck to complications from leukemia. "If it were not for the strike, I would have not lost my son," Ochieng said. Lamarck was diagnosed with leukemia a year ago. When he started experiencing complications in early February, the family took him to the nearest hospital, Kenyatta National Hospital, one of approximately 2,500 public health institutions affected by the nationwide strike. "When I got there, the doctor who was concerned with the disease...
(AFP (eng) 02/28/17)
The Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership -- the world's biggest individual prize -- drew a blank once again in finding a suitable laureate, it was announced Tuesday. The prize only goes to a democratically-elected African leader who demonstrated exceptional leadership, served their mandated term and left office within the last three years. The award comes with $5 million (4.7 million euros) paid over 10 years and $200,000 annually for life from then on. The prize, founded by Sudan-born telecoms tycoon Mo Ibrahim, has only been given four times in its 10-year existence. The philanthropist has said in the past that making no award sent just as strong a message on African leadership. "A very high bar was deliberately...
(Xinhuanet 02/27/17)
Kenya's anti-terrorism detectives on Sunday killed a suspected Al-Shabaab returnee in the coastal town of Kwale. The officers recovered a hand grenade, a thunder flash explosive and a detonating cord with a fuse. Local police boss Joseph Chebusi said Juma Mwamuraji, 44, was on police radar since his return from Somalia. "The suspect was among the several returnees who were being trailed. We acted on intelligence reports and raided the home and managed to kill him," said Chebusi. Chebusi said the suspect attempted to hurl the grenade to the officers but was shot dead. According to 2016 statistics, Kwale County topped in Al-Shabaab returnees
(Xinhuanet 02/27/17)
The Kenyan government said Sunday security had been beefed up in clash-hit Baringo County where cattle rustling and killings have left about ten people dead and several others injured this month. State House spokesman Manoah Esipisu said police records indicated that there had been no incidents in Baringo in the last two days. "Security has been beefed up significantly, and as you know the deputy president was in the area only a couple of days ago to talk to communities to launch other security-enhancing programs," Esipisu told journalists in Kakamega during his weekly briefings. "Our security agents remain vigilant to deal with whatever situation that may arise," he said, urging Baringo county leaders to continue preaching peace and calm and...

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