Friday 26 May 2017
(The New York Times 05/23/17)
James Njoroge, an Uber driver in Nairobi, earns barely $5 at the end of a grueling 10-hour workday ferrying customers through snarled traffic across the Kenyan capital. Now a new competitor is in town, threatening to undercut even these meager earnings. That rival is none other than Mr. Njoroge’s own employer. Uber in Kenya, already one of the company’s most affordable services in the world, charges customers in Nairobi, Kenya’s capital, a minimum fare of $2.90. Uber is aiming to beat back competing services by pushing its prices even lower. In April, the San Francisco-based company announced it was introducing an even cheaper service at half that price, $1.45, by allowing its drivers to use...
(Bloomberg 05/18/17)
Uganda, which wants to start building part of a multi-billion-dollar rail line to Kenya, must wait for its neighbor to decide on plans for its portion of the track before the project’s main funder makes money available, the country’s finance minister said. Export-Import Bank of China will arrange financing for Uganda only when it’s sure that Kenya “is willing and able to extend its railway to the border, so that they don’t fund a white elephant,” Finance Minister Matia Kasaija said. Kenya has committed to the line, but wants to start building when it’s in a position to borrow more money, he said. Eximbank will provide 85 percent of the $2.3 billion Uganda needs for the line, Kasingye Kyamugambi, the...
(Bloomberg 05/18/17)
Steinhoff International Holdings NV plans to list its African assets separately as the acquisitive retailer seeks a new prize for shareholders following this year’s failed merger talks with Shoprite Holdings Ltd. The company said Wednesday it will seek to list businesses including clothing retailer Pepkor and furniture chain JD Group Ltd. on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, about 18 months after moving its primary listing to Frankfurt from the South African commercial hub. The new business could be worth as much...
(Bloomberg 05/17/17)
Kenya announced steps to rein in food prices that are rising at the fastest pace in five years and providing campaign fodder for the opposition ahead of elections in August. The government will spend as much as 6 billion shillings ($58 million) subsidizing corn prices and waiving duties on milk and sugar, Agriculture Secretary Willy Bett told reporters Tuesday in the capital, Nairobi. The measures come as the Treasury prepares a supplementary budget to deal with the surging cost of...
(Bloomberg 05/16/17)
Kenya’s reserves of corn dropped to less than a day’s worth of consumption after stocks of the staple grain were released to millers, the National Cereals and Produce Board said. The reserve currently stands at 50,000 90-kilogram bags, equivalent to 4,500 metric tons, NCPB Managing Director Newton Terer said by phone Tuesday from the capital, Nairobi. The board released about 36,000 tons to millers last week, he said. The NCPB is awaiting information from the Agriculture Ministry about how the...
(Financial Times 05/16/17)
Latest step by UK telecoms group to simplify assets as talk continues of bigger deals. Vodafone has transferred a 35 per cent stake in Kenyan operator Safaricom to Vodacom, its listed South African business, in the UK telecoms group’s latest move to simplify its sprawling global empire. The €2.3bn switch will be paid for in new Vodacom shares issued to Vodafone and means the Kenyan company will now be controlled at arm’s length. Under the leadership of chief executive Vittorio...
(BBC News Africa 05/16/17)
South Africa's biggest mobile phone operator, Vodacom, is buying a 35% stake in Kenya's largest mobile firm, Safaricom, for $2.6bn (£2bn). The stake in Safaricom is being sold by Vodafone as part of its drive to streamline its African businesses. The deal will extend the South African firm's influence in Kenya. It will also help increase the use of Safaricom's popular M-Pesa money transfer service across Africa. M-Pesa, launched 10 years ago in Kenya by Safaricom, lets people without bank...
(Bloomberg 05/12/17)
Kenya’s biggest bank by assets expects the government to remove a cap on commercial interest rates in the second half of this year after the measures failed to spur lending and instead put revenue under pressure. “I am very confident that a workable solution between the industry and lawmakers would be achieved most likely by the second half of this year,” KCB Group Ltd. Chief Executive Officer Joshua Oigara said in an interview Tuesday in the capital, Nairobi. “It’s something...
(Bloomberg 05/11/17)
Safaricom Ltd. is still facing the threat of being broken up as the Kenyan regulator weighs up a report on dominance in the country’s telecommunications industry, Chief Executive Officer Bob Collymore said. East Africa’s biggest company by market value may resort to court action to prevent it from being split, Collymore, 59, said in an interview Wednesday in the capital, Nairobi. The issue is serving as a distraction for the company’s management and sending “really worrying messages” to investors, he...
(Financial Times 05/11/17)
Banking regulation must change to avoid a self-fulfilling downturn. Are there troubles ahead for the Kenyan economy? In recent years, headline numbers have been relatively strong but now the economy is slowing and the underlying fundamentals appear to be deteriorating. Financial conditions are tough and in the banking sector there has been talk of a crisis in confidence about the policy approach. What should be done? The outlook for any economy depends on the interaction between the fundamentals, policy and...
(Fox News 05/10/17)
After five years of no major attacks on merchant vessels, piracy around the Horn of Africa seemed to be on hiatus. Acts of piracy in those treacherous waters have fallen sharply since 2012, according to statistics released by the United States Navy. The Navy credits aggressive patrolling by international forces and increased vigilance by the commercial shipping industry for the decrease. However, in the past month, Somali pirates have intercepted five ships, raising concerns that piracy has returned to the...
(The New York Times 05/09/17)
Pauline Kimari is a pharmacist in Ndaragwa, Kenya, a small town several hours’ drive north of Nairobi. She moved there from rural Muranga, several hours away, to open a small shop, Ndaragwa Joy Chemist. It is white with blue and green doors and a blue bench inside. She sells medicine and cosmetics. She is 43, devoted to God and her family. Her parents in Muranga still farm coffee, tea, corn, beans and other vegetables. Kimari’s success allows her to send...
(Bloomberg 05/09/17)
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta may face a runoff vote after elections in August because spiraling food inflation and an inadequate response to corruption are eroding support for his party, according to Teneo Intelligence. Kenyatta will compete against a unified opposition and independent candidates who will draw votes away from his candidacy, increasing the likelihood for a second-round vote, Ahmed Salim, a Dubai-based analyst at the risk consultancy, said in an emailed note. “Although opinion polls signal that Kenyatta remains the...
(BBC News Africa 05/09/17)
The US has suspended $21m (£16m) of funding to Kenya's ministry of health due to concerns over corruption and weak accounting procedures, the state department said. But this amounts to a "small portion of the overall US health investment exceeding $650m annually," it added In response, Kenya has said it is strengthening its auditing processes. Corruption allegations have dogged successive Kenyan governments for many years. The health ministry itself has been accused of corruption. Last year, it was alleged that...
(Voice of America 05/05/17)
Logistical challenges and disputes during Kenya's primaries last month have raised concerns about the nationwide polls in August and how best to avoid a repeat of the deadly post-election violence in 2007. When poll results are contested, the final decision often lies with the courts. "Electoral cases cannot be treated in the same way as other matters that come before the courts, because of their inherent political sensitivity, the high public interest in their outcomes, the intense bursts in which electoral petitions are filed and the short time limits within which they have
(Voice of America 05/05/17)
As Africa grapples with a severe drought, and famine threatens millions of people, experts at the World Economic Forum on Africa this week in the South African city of Durban say food security needs to be a major part of discussions on advancing the continent economically. The annual World Economic Forum in Switzerland is usually a high-powered event, but at this week’s Africa meeting of the international organization, the continent’s big players are welcoming the humble farmer, now known as...
(Voice of America 05/04/17)
Kenya’s electoral commission is appealing a court ruling that poll results announced at the constituency level are final. The electoral body says that opens the way to manipulation. The bad blood between the Kenya's political opposition and its electoral commission has been taken to the corridors of justice three months before the August poll. The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission is appealing a high court ruling that bans the commission chairman from making the official announcement of presidential vote totals...
(Bloomberg 05/04/17)
EFG-Hermes Holding SAE, the Cairo-based investment bank expanding into frontier markets, plans to start operations in Kenya in the second half as regulators prepare to approve the lender’s brokerage license. The company will begin by offering institutional trading and research, Ali Khalpey, the chief executive officer of EFG-Hermes Frontier, said by phone from Dubai on Wednesday. A license will probably be granted in the “very near term” once formally cleared by the Nairobi Securities Exchange, Paul Muthaura, CEO of Kenya’s...
(The Guardian 05/03/17)
Arrival of hundreds of poor tribesmen seeking grazing lands for their cattle has triggered outbreak of violence in Laikipia. Early one morning last week, Richard Constant drove across the 24,000-acre ranch that he part-owns on a high plateau in central Kenya to discover what remained of his home. In March, Constant’s friend and business associate Tristan Voorspuy, a British army officer turned safari operator, had been shot dead on his horse while inspecting the damage caused by armed herders who...
(Voice of America 05/03/17)
African military expenditures have finally slowed down after more than a decade of steady increases, according to a new report on global defense spending. The main reason, the report found, is a drop in oil prices. “The sharp decreases in oil prices has affected quite a number of African countries, namely South Sudan and Angola. This has kind of driven almost the entire regional trend,” said Nan Tian, a researcher at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute’s (SIPRI) Arms and...

Pages