| Africatime
Friday 24 March 2017
(Daily Nation 02/22/17)
Five members of the US Congress are urging the Kenyan government to reconsider a proposed sh43 billion purchase of 12 armed aircraft and related elements intended for use in Somalia against Al-Shabaab. Four Republicans, joined by a Democratic member of the Congressional Black Caucus, suggested on Tuesday in a letter to Nairobi's envoy to Washington that the potential deal appears to be a bad deal for Kenya. The lawmakers told Ambassador Robinson Njeru Githae that they “have reason to question the propriety of the acquisition.” At the same time, the congressional sceptics are urging their colleagues to block the proposed transaction. They are also calling on Congress to investigate the circumstances surrounding Kenya's pending agreement to buy a dozen armed...
(Xinhuanet 02/22/17)
The Kenyan shilling has firmed against the U.S. dollar, gaining about 0.1 percent since Monday following increased foreign exchange inflows amid low dollar demand. On Wednesday, the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) quoted the shilling at 103.58 against the dollar, a rise from 103.63 Monday and 103.65 Friday last week. Analysts attributed the rise to increased foreign exchange inflows from non-governmental organizations and reduced dollar demand from oil importers. "The Kenya shilling remains relatively firm on account of reduced dollar demand from oil importers," noted Cytonn, a Nairobi investment firm, adding that on a year to date basis, the shilling has depreciated against the dollar by 1.1 percent. The steady shilling has helped stabilize the foreign exchange reserves, which at...
(Xinhuanet 02/22/17)
Elite Kenyan runners competing at the Tokyo marathon on Sunday will be targeting two birds with one stone. Both Wilson Kipsang and Bernard Kipyego hold onto outside chance that victory in the Japanese capital will earn them a slot in the Kenya team to the London World Championships. And like other top runners, they are eyeing to break the world record on the fast Tokyo course. "The world record is not too far. I tried it in London, which is a tougher course we came seconds close to it. Tokyo is another chance for me to reclaim the title and I will do everything possible to run a faster race and hope to emerge victorious," Kipsang said in Nairobi. However,...
(Xinhuanet 02/22/17)
Africa Energy Indaba, the continent's premier energy event, kicked off in Johannesburg on Monday with the aim of finding solutions to the continent's energy future. The three-day conference is being attended by the governments' representatives, business and funders. The meeting seeks to unleash the continent's potential by coming up with an energy mix to develop Africa. Dr. Garth Strachan, Deputy Director General and Head of Gas Industrialization Unit in South Africa's Department of Trade and Industry said the recent discoveries of gas in Mozambique, Angola and Tanzania provides a huge opportunity for the continent. He said there is a need for the countries to work together to tap benefits from the gas for the good of the continent. Strachan said...
(Bloomberg 02/21/17)
Kenya is close to signing an $800 million syndicated loan with four banks to help fund infrastructure projects and support the shilling, according to a person familiar with the matter. East Africa’s biggest economy is expected to sign the three-year facility with Citigroup Inc., Standard Bank Group Ltd., Standard Chartered Plc and Rand Merchant Bank by Tuesday, the person said, declining to be identified because he isn’t authorized to speak on the matter. Kamau Thugge, the Treasury’s principal secretary, didn’t answer calls and text messages seeking comment. The government also secured $500 million from lenders led by the Trade and Development Bank, an East African trade-finance bank based in Burundi, the person said. The 10-year loan is in addition to...
(Bloomberg 02/21/17)
Ashish Thakkar, who co-founded Africa banking conglomerate Atlas Mara Ltd. with ex-Barclays Plc head Bob Diamond, lost a ruling over the ownership of family assets in a London divorce case, with a judge questioning Thakkar’s truthfulness. Judge Philip Moor ruled that Thakkar, and not his mother and sister, was the owner of disputed assets in the divorce. He found that the 35-year-old owned 100 percent of Mara Group Holdings Ltd. and other corporate entities. The result will have ramifications in the proceedings where a judge will have to decide how much Thakkar -- described in videos posted on his foundation’s website as "Africa’s Youngest Billionaire" -- is worth. Thakkar says he has assets of 445,532 pounds ($553,000) while his wife,...
(Xinhuanet 02/18/17)
The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) said Friday it's vetting directors of banking institutions and senior managers afresh to weed out people with questionable integrity or conflicts of interest. CBK chairman Mohamed Nyaoga said the re-vetting has been necessitated by recent bank failures that threatened to crush the confidence in Kenya's banking system. "Most of the banking problems we have had were related to weak corporate governance perpetuated through internal fraud," Nyaoga said in Nairobi when he opened the Centre for Corporate Governance (CCG) Alumni Grand Reunion. He said fresh vetting, backed with strengthening of banks' corporate governance structures, would ensure holders of board and management play their roles effectively. "CBK has put in place stronger governance measures, among them...
(Xinhuanet 02/18/17)
Chinese investors have taken key shareholding in a major regional shopping and urban development project launched in Nairobi Friday, aiming to tap into Nairobi's growing international status as an aviation hub and a center for commercial enterprise. The Two Rivers Investment Project, which consists of five star hotels, office blocks, residential homes and shops occupied by major retail enterprises, was launched at a ceremony attended by Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, Chinese Ambassador to Kenya Liu Xianfa and investors. "The construction of this shopping mall is a sign of Kenyan companies steadily spending despite the sluggish economic growth around the globe. The joint effort of the Kenyan and Chinese investors saw us reach this tangible achievement within a short time," Liu...
(Xinhuanet 02/17/17)
Higher returns on Kenya's 182-day Treasury bill have made it investors' favourite, with subscription this week peaking at over 300 percent. Interest rate on the paper stood at 10.524 percent in this week's auction, a marginal rise from 10.521 percent, auction data from Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) showed Thursday. Despite the marginal rise, investors for the third straight-week swarmed the apex bank with heavy bids, for the bill surpassing last week's performance. "This week, the Central Bank offered 182 days Treasury bill for a total of 58 million dollars. The total number of bids received was 378 amounting to 175 million U.S. dollars representing 300.4 percent subscription," said the CBK, which absorbed 135 million dollars from the bids. Last...
(Xinhuanet 02/17/17)
Kenya Airways said Friday that it would start a direct flight between Nairobi and iconic Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe on May 18. A statement from the airline said this would be the national carrier's 52nd destination and its second city in Zimbabwe after Harare where it operates 21 flights weekly. "This new route highlights our strategy to continue 'Winning in Africa' which is driven by opening up the region and ensuring our value proposition meets the demands for our customers," said Kenya Airways' MD Mbuvi Ngunze. Ngunze said the new route between Nairobi and Victoria Falls will operate three times a week on Monday, Thursday and Saturday. The Victoria Falls operation will be linked to Cape Town, South Africa. This...
(Xinhuanet 02/17/17)
Kenya's plan to employ a device managing system is to step up war on counterfeit mobile phones but not to spy on subscribers, the country's communication regulator said Friday. Communication Authority of Kenya Director General Francis Wangusi told journalists that there is increased proliferation of counterfeits in the mobile handset market. "The use of counterfeit devices poses a great security threat, because such devices do not provide for effective identification or traceability of network transactions and users," Wangusi said. "We have therefore purchased a device management system (DMS) that will detect counterfeits that are operating in the mobile system," he said. Kenya has planned to have the 2-million-U.S.-dollar DMS operational by end of June. Wangusi said contrary to what was...
(Xinhuanet 02/17/17)
Students review lessons in class at Olomayiana West Primary School in Kajiado County, Kenya, on Feb. 15, 2017. Olomayiana West Primary School, located at a Maasai inhabited region in Kajiado County, has a special "classroom", which is open air under an acacia tree. Olomayiana West Primary School was founded in 2008 with only three classrooms donated by a local government parliament member. As the number of students and classes grow bigger, there are not enough classrooms for students from different grades to have classes at the same time. The dry climate and Maasai people's habit to rest and relax under trees offered a solution and therefore an open-air classroom with desks and a blackboard was set up under an acacia tree.
(Xinhuanet 02/16/17)
Kenyan bankers on Thursday launched a mobile payment platform that aims to reduce the cost of financial transactions in the country. Kenya Bankers Association (KBA) CEO Habil Olaka told a media briefing in Nairobi that the PesaLink digital platform will provide bank customers with a competitive person-to-person money transfer platform. "The system will enable users to transact as low as 10 U.S. cents to as much as 9,999 dollars across the banking system," Olaka said. According to Olaka, the innovative product will place Kenya's economy squarely in the digital age and quicken the pace of adoption of e-commerce and mobile commerce. Pesalink can also be utilized through internet banking
(AL Jazeera 02/16/17)
Investing in localised initiatives to mitigate drought can help the continent to break the cyclic nature of disasters. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) recently declared that millions of citizens in the Horn of Africa face food shortages. Owing to a persistent lack of rainfall between October and December, as many as 12 million people across Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia are in dire need of food assistance. But this is not new. Almost every year, around the same time, similar headlines appear in the news. For example, in 2014, 2015 and in 2016, news of drought and famine across the Horn of Africa was in the headlines. It is a cruel cycle that is likely to repeat itself...
(AFP (eng) 02/15/17)
Seven Kenyan medical union officials, jailed for their role in a strike that has crippled public hospitals, were freed Wednesday ahead of their appeal and will resume negotiations with the government. A labour court had sentenced the Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentist Union officials to a month in jail on Monday. Their sentencing prompted their union to say it was calling off talks with the government to end the strike, which began on December 5 in state hospitals. Representatives of some 5,000 doctors in the public sector argue that their primary demand -- a four-fold increase in pay
(Reuters (Eng) 02/15/17)
Kenya's Court of Appeal on Wednesday ordered the release of officials of the national doctors' union so they can continue negotiations with the government over a strike that has paralyzed the public health sector. The strike has angered Kenyans and turned into a test of President Uhuru Kenyatta's leadership ahead of an election in August. The union, which has about 5,000 members, wants the government to implement a deal agreed in 2013 to give doctors a 150 to 180 percent pay rise on basic salaries, review working conditions, job structures and criteria for promotions and address under-staffing in state hospitals. The seven union officials were ordered to serve a one-month jail term on Monday after a lower court found them...
(Bloomberg 02/15/17)
Kenyan banks will probably have to cope with interest-rate caps that have dented earnings and curbed lending until after elections, adding to pressure on their stocks after the worst January in at least five years. The 11 listed Kenyan banks dropped an average of 14 percent in January, with KCB Group Ltd., Equity Group Holdings Ltd. and HF Group Ltd. leading the decline. Caps on the amount banks can charge for loans, introduced in September, are being blamed for the slump. “The rate-cap legislation has been a massive own goal in terms of stimulating growth,” Razia Khan, head of Africa macro research at Standard Chartered Plc in London, said by phone. “The near-term outlook for bank returns is not very...
(Voice of America 02/15/17)
Ethiopia opened its Gibe III dam in December 2016 in the lower Omo Valley as part of a large project that includes sugar and cotton plantations, as well as dams. Water started collecting in a reservoir behind the dam in 2015, preventing it from flowing downstream to Lake Turkana in neighboring Kenya. Human Rights Watch says little is being done by either government to mitigate the impact and that as the plantations are developed, even more water will be diverted from Turkana, which desperately requires it. Human Rights Watch cites data finding Lake Turkana's water levels have dropped about 1.5 meters in the past two years, and the shoreline has receded as much as 1.7 kilometers in one key fishing...
(Xinhuanet 02/15/17)
A Kenyan Appeals Court on Wednesday ordered the immediate release of the seven officials of the doctors' union jailed on Monday pending determination of their case. Appellate Judges Wanjiru Karanja, Hannah Okwengu and Jamilla Mohamed said return-to-work negotiations should take place over seven days and that the parties will return to court on Feb. 23. The order was issued following an application by a team of lawyers representing the doctors to set the seven union officials free to allow for the stalled negotiations to resume. The talks to be spearheaded by rights group, the Kenya National Human Rights Commission and Law Society of Kenya (LSK), are to come up with a report aimed at calling off the strike that has...
(AFP (eng) 02/15/17)
Sub-Saharan Africa, where more than a half billion people live without electricity, trails the world in government policies that promote sustainable energy, according to a new World Bank report Wednesday. Much of the rest of the world, however, has made strides toward making energy broadly available, developing renewable power sources and increasing efficiency, the inaugural Regulatory Indicators for Sustainable Energy report said. In a survey of 111 countries, the World Bank found that through 2015 nearly 80 percent had begun to adopt policies to expand electrical grids, connecting them to solar and wind generation, and to help make electric utilities creditworthy and financially viable while keeping energy prices down. More than a third of countries, home to 96 percent of...

Pages