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Friday, July 31, 2015

Florida faceoff: Clinton and Bush offer stark contrast in strategies

Florida faceoff: Clinton and Bush offer stark contrast in strategies
One week before Jeb Bush jumps into the Republican free-for-all primary on a debate stage with nine other candidates, he faced off with the likely Democratic presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton, as the two of them gave dueling speeches to the National Urban League.
The highly anticipated showdown between Clinton and Bush, at the Urban League’s annual conference in Fort Lauderdale, yielded a contrast in strategies.

With Self-Driving Cars Coming, What Happens To Millions Of Jobs In The ‘Crash’ Economy?


With Self-Driving Cars Coming, What Happens To Millions Of Jobs In The ‘Crash’ Economy?
If you’ve been paying attention to the buzz surrounding autonomous and self-driving vehicles  over the past couple years, you’ve likely heard the arguments about whether they might one day take the wheel from us. While enthusiasts wring their hands over losing control, and others worry about security and privacy, advocates tout the potentially huge advantages of a fleet of vehicles which almost never crash.  
A 2012 study by KPMG and the Center for Automotive Research (CAR) predicts that a self-driving fleet could eliminate 93 percent of crashes attributed to human error. The savings in lives, injuries, insurance claims, delays, lost productivity and more would be substantial (so much so that a few prognosticators have imagined a world where non self-driving cars would be banned in the name of public safety.)
But if the technologists, business-government interests, and early adopters pushing for autonomous driving are right, there’s one thing that’s been left out of the conversation: If cars and trucks don’t crash, what happens to the millions of jobs supported by driving today? 
Call it the crash economy — not just because of how it’s grown, but where it may be heading.
“That’s an extremely good question,” David Alexander, a senior transportation research analyst with Navigant Research, acknowledges.

GM expands after-sale service outlets

Rita Kavashe, MD General Motors East Africa.  She says tax waivers inhibit growth of local motor vehicle companies. Photo | FILE
Rita Kavashe, MD General Motors East Africa. Owners of the Isuzu and Chevrolet vehicles will now be able to access after sales services from 11 Auto Xpress outlets across the country. FILE |   NATION MEDIA GROUP
By OTIATO GUGUYU
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Owners of Isuzu and Chevrolet vehicles will now be able to access after-sale services from 11 Auto Xpress outlets across the country after a deal signed with General Motors East Africa (GMEA) Limited Friday.
The partnership will see the company expand its after-sale service network with Auto Xpress expected to grow to a total 76 outlets in the next two years.

Kenyan stirring ‘banana revolution’ beyond the borders




An exhibitor displays wine made from banana
An exhibitor displays wine made from banana during the launch of a banana value chain agribusiness incubator centre to train farmers on how to add value to the crop at Ankole Hills in Uganda. RACHEL KIBUI |  NATION
By RACHEL KIBUI
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The mouth-watering juice in clear one-litre bottles is tempting in the sweltering heat of the midday sun. Rows upon rows of them are lined on long tables. A jovial young man, in a white apron and beige trousers, is ready to sell you the mango-like juice for UgSh3,000 (Sh100) a bottle.
Sam Turyatunga, who just sat his final exams at Kyambogo University, is here to showcase ‘‘Uhuru’’, a brand of banana juice he has been producing for the last two years. He ventured into the business to raise school fees, but it is now a thriving enterprise employing 10 people.

Part number 'confirms' debris is from Boeing 777: Official

Police carry a piece of debris from an
Police carry a piece of debris from an unidentified aircraft found in the coastal area of Saint-Andre de la Reunion, in the east of the French Indian Ocean island of La Reunion, on July 29, 2015. Malaysian authorities on July 31, 2015 said they were close to resolving the mystery of MH370 plane. PHOTO | YANNICK PITOU |   AFP.
By AFP
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KUALA LUMPUR
Malaysian authorities confirmed Friday that plane wreckage washed up on an Indian Ocean island was from a Boeing 777, meaning the part is almost certainly from missing flight MH370.
The debris, part of a plane wing, could provide the first tangible clue towards unlocking the mystery surrounding the Malaysia Airlines plane, which disappeared in March last year with 239 people on board.
"I believe that we are moving closer to solving the mystery of MH370. This could be the convincing evidence that MH370 went down in the Indian Ocean," Malaysia's Deputy Transport Minister Abdul Aziz Kaprawi told AFP.

UN tells members to work harder against wildlife poaching

A herd of elephants at a stream inside the Ol
A herd of elephants at a stream inside the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Laikipia County on June 17, 2015. PHOTO | JOSEPH KANYI | NATION MEDIA GROUP 
By AFP
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UNITED NATIONS
The United Nations called on its member states Thursday to work harder in combatting poaching of endangered species such as elephants and rhinoceroses.
The General Assembly resolution was the first of its kind but not legally binding. Still, it reflects worldwide opposition to illegal hunting.
The assembly expressed concern over what it called a steady rise in the level of rhino poaching and alarmingly high levels of killings of elephants in Africa.
It said such killings "threaten those species with local extinction and, in some cases, with global extinction."
There are now an estimated 470,000 African elephants living in the wild, compared with 550,000 in 2006, said the NGO Elephants Without Borders.

The Fifth Columnist: Questions that only Ochieng can answer

Author and journalist Liz Gitonga-Wanjohi with a copy of her book, The Fifth Columnist: A biography of Philip Ochieng. PHOTO | COURTESY
Author and journalist Liz Gitonga-Wanjohi with a copy of her book, The Fifth Columnist: A biography of Philip Ochieng. PHOTO | COURTESY 
By MBUGUA WA MUNGAI
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He writes well, though it is not always that you agree with his conclusions,” author Liz Gitonga-Wanjohi quotes lawyer Paul Muite saying of Philip Ochieng, the industrious journalist whose illustrious career dates back to 1966 when he was hired at Daily Nation as a reporter. However, most readers only know of Ochieng through his newspaper columns; this biography enables one to get to see the man’s human side. The Fifth Columnist has chronicled in elaborate detail the myriad

Time to ask hard questions on Ngugi

Ngugi is, no doubt, the father of the Kenyan novel. His influence on the growth of Kenyan literature is immense. His boldness to face the warriors of primitive capitalism that endeared me to books and literature. ILLUSTRATION | JOHN NYAGAH
Ngugi is, no doubt, the father of the Kenyan novel. His influence on the growth of Kenyan literature is immense. His boldness to face the warriors of primitive capitalism that endeared me to books and literature. ILLUSTRATION | JOHN NYAGAH 
By EGARA KABAJI
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Any time Ngugi wa Thiongo returns home, I always find myself remembering his 1965 short story ‘The Return’ in Origins of East Africa; an Anthology of Short Stories. In this story, he recounts the sad return of Kamau after years of incarceration in detention camps for his involvement in the struggle for independence. He arrives home to discover, to his delight, that River Honia, the source of life, still flows, but the village is no longer the same.
Karanja, his compatriot in detention, had misinformed his people that he had died in detention. The villagers look at him as a ghost. His agony is compounded by the fact that his expectation of a hero’s welcome is never realised.
To add insult to injury, his wife, Muthoni, had been taken away by Karanja. His homecoming becomes a moment of reflection and rededication to life and the future.
Why do I remember this story? Sometimes it mirrors Ngugi’s own life story. His numerous visits to Kenya have not lacked in variegated sense of spectacle. The worst was when he arrived home with his wife only to be viciously attacked. That was, indeed, sad and shameful.
Ngugi is, no doubt, the father of the Kenyan novel. His influence on the growth of Kenyan literature is immense. I have always admired him since I was a high school kid. It was his boldness to face the warriors of primitive capitalism that endeared me to books and literature.

US leader’s compelling narrative is a fairy tale

U.S. President Barack Obama in this December 15, 2009 file photo. Obama’s life narrative is transfixing. If it were a novel, it would probably be a detective novel with a riveting and merciless plot; unexpected twists and torturous turns that end with a heavy bang — leaving us breathless. PHOTO | FILE






U.S. President Barack Obama in this December 15, 2009 file photo. Obama’s life narrative is transfixing. If it were a novel, it would probably be a detective novel with a riveting and merciless plot; unexpected twists and torturous turns that end with a heavy bang — leaving us breathless. PHOTO | FILE  



By JOHN MWAZEMBA
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“It was early October 2007 in Iowa, the drying stalks still stood in cornfields grown more precious in the age of ethanol, and far away, in the moneyed precincts of both coasts, Barack Obama’s top donors were anxious. Despite having raised heaps of cash, he was trailing Hillary Clinton by more than 20 points in the national polls with only three months to go before Iowa’s first-in-the-nation caucus.
For the worriers, it was getting late. But for Iowa voters, it was early enough that many barely knew what to make of this biracial rookie senator and still muffed his exotic name”.

Signing the visitor’s book before the actual visit begins







As the world watched this historic occasion, a few of my friends from three different African countries were surprised to be told that what was being signed was a visitors book. They thought Obama was filling out some landing card to obtain his visa. PHOTO | NATION
As the world watched this historic occasion, a few of my friends from three different African countries were surprised to be told that what was being signed was a visitors book. They thought Obama was filling out some landing card to obtain his visa. PHOTO | NATION 
By ZUKISWA WANNER
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Four years ago, I went to the Western Kenya town of Kakamega to do some school workshops. In the course of my one week trip, I read through many essays and visited six schools. As I went from school to school, something kept happening to me. At first I thought it was an oddity of the first school I visited but soon I realised it was everywhere.

Mixed reactions as county reveals plan to renovate theatre

The Nakuru Players Theatre that  has preserved the chairs, tables, props and costumes used on stage by the first set of thespians at the theatre, who were mainly white settlers. PHOTO | FILE
The Nakuru Players Theatre that has preserved the chairs, tables, props and costumes used on stage by the first set of thespians at the theatre, who were mainly white settlers. PHOTO | FILE 
By MAGDALENE WANJA
More by this Author
Plans by the Nakuru County government to renovate the Nakuru Players Theatre have elicited mixed reactions from the town’s thespians. While some have welcomed the move, others strongly feel the old colonial building should retain as much of its historical feel as possible.
The county government has pledged to spend Sh40 million this financial year to refurbish and modernise the facility, a move that could see most of the old equipment discarded and the hall expanded.

Why I support Obama’s view on the gay non-issue


A gay couple attends the annual Pride Parade as part of the Durban Pride Day Festival in Durban, South Africa, on June 28, 2014. President Uhuru Kenyatta described gay rights as a non-issue in Kenya, implying that we have more pressing problems than same-sex desires. PHOTO | FILE
A gay couple attends the annual Pride Parade as part of the Durban Pride Day Festival in Durban, South Africa, on June 28, 2014. President Uhuru Kenyatta described gay rights as a non-issue in Kenya, implying that we have more pressing problems than same-sex desires. PHOTO | FILE 
By EVAN MWANGI
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I’m not the boot-licking type, but I can’t imagine myself disagreeing with Barrack Obama on anything, including the small ‘non-issue’ Kenyans didn’t want him to talk about when he came around to see us last week: Same-sex affairs. 
President Uhuru Kenyatta described gay rights as a non-issue in Kenya, implying that we have more pressing problems than same-sex desires. This is an argument we have heard before elsewhere, before civilisation caught up with the societies that once held the belief. 

EABL announces 40pc growth in net profit


By EDWIN OKOTH
More by this Author
East African Breweries has announced a 40 per cent jump in profits for the year ending June 2015 to Sh9.6 billion.
The company has attributed the earnings surge to increased sales of its spirits, premium beer and ready to drink products as well as an overall growth from its three subsidiaries.
The firm’s Group Managing Director Charles Ireland said the growth presents a brighter future for the beer maker after the recent tax revision on its low-end market beer, senator keg.

Lupita Nyong'o to make New York stage debut in Liberia play

Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o speaks to reporters
Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o speaks to reporters at Villa Rosa Kempinski hotel in Nairobi on June 30, 2015. PHOTO | BILLY MUTAI |  NATION MEDIA GROUP
By AFP
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Oscar-winning Hollywood actress Lupita Nyong'o will make her New York stage debut later this year, starring in a play set amid the horrors of the Liberian civil war.
The Public Theater in Manhattan said the production of "Eclipsed" would run from September 29 to November 8.
Nyong'o, 32, will play "The Girl" in what the theatre called "a powerful story of survival and resilience" about women finding and testing their own strength in a hostile world.
The award-winning play sees captive wives of a rebel officer band together to form a fragile community, until their lives are upset by the arrival of a new girl.

Vaccine offers 100pc Ebola protection, show trial results

World Health Organisation (WHO) Director-General, Dr Margaret Chan, gives a Press briefing in Geneva following a two-day emergency meeting on West Africa's Ebola epidemic on August 8, 2014.  PHOTO | ALAIN GROSCLAUDE |
WHO Director-General Margaret Chan. She on July 31, 2015 said Ebola vaccine was near.  PHOTO | ALAIN GROSCLAUDE |  AFP.
By AFP
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An Ebola vaccine provided 100-percent protection in a field trial in hard-hit Guinea, researchers and officials said Friday, mooting "the beginning of the end" of the killer West African outbreak.
The world is "on the verge of an effective Ebola vaccine," the World Health Organization (WHO) said, hailing the results from the first efficacy test of the VSV-ZEBOV vaccine among people living in a high-danger zone.

Hunter of Cecil the lion says he did 'nothing wrong'

Protesters call attention to the alleged
Protesters call attention to the alleged poaching of Cecil the lion in the parking lot of Dr Walter Palmer's River Bluff Dental Clinic on July 29, 2015 in Bloomington, Minnesota. Dr Palmer paid at least $50,000 for the hunt. PHOTO | ADAM BETTCHER |  GETTY IMAGES/AFP.
JOHANNESBURG,
Professional Zimbabwean hunter Theo Bronkhorst told AFP on Friday he did nothing wrong on the hunt that killed Cecil the lion, adding he was shocked to find the animal was wearing a tracking collar.
"I don't believe I failed in any duties at all, I was engaged by a client to do a hunt for him and we shot an old male lion that I believed was past his breeding age. I don't think that I've done anything wrong," Bronkhorst said in telephone interview.

State interest payout Sh38bn above target


The Treasury building in Nairobi. PHOTO | FILE
The Treasury building in Nairobi. PHOTO | FILE  NATION MEDIA GROUP
By GEORGE NGIGI, gngigi@ke.nationmedia.com
In Summary
  • Data from Treasury shows it spent Sh416.2 billion to settle public debt against a target of Sh378 billion.
  • Kenya’s debt levels have been rising with the International Monetary Fund, World Bank and Central Bank of Kenya urging the government to tame its appetite for new debt.

The Treasury overshot its budgetary allocation for interest payments by Sh38.2 billion last year signalling tough times for the country as the shilling weakens.
Data from Treasury shows it spent Sh416.2 billion to settle public debt against a target of Sh378 billion.

Kenya’s vibrant real estate sector needs clear rules to instill order B

Opinion and Analysis
 Commercial Bank of Africa Centre in Upper Hill, Nairobi.  PHOTO | FILE
 MARTIN DIAS

In Summary
  • Reforms will greatly assist Kenyans to carry out transactions with more confidence and surety.

The real estate industry is today the largest single sector experiencing rapid growth. Even US President Barack Obama admitted that much had changed since his last visit to Kenya.
He was amazed and impressed to note that Nairobi’s infrastructure had developed significantly. He said: “Kenya is on the growth path having the highest growth rate in East and Central Africa.”
Today many Kenyans are shopping for homes. They are constantly looking around the neighbourhood for the right home to buy or apartment to rent.
The number of Kenyans and even expatriates hunting for houses are numerous, probably in their hundreds, thus providing real estate agents with ample opportunities to provide housing solutions from the market portfolio.

Tourism hits 7-year low ahead of drive

Politics and policy
Kenya Tourism Board managing director Muriithi Ndegwa. PHOTO | FILE
Kenya Tourism Board managing director Muriithi Ndegwa. PHOTO | FILE 
By NEVILLE OTUKI, notuki@ke.nationmedia.com
In Summary
  • The number of international tourists fell to 347,398 between January and June compared to 428,223 in a similar period last year.
  • This is the lowest half-year performance since 2008, according to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics.

The Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) has its work cut as it prepares to roll out a Sh5.2 billion international marketing campaign after half-year visitor arrivals fell to a seven-year low.
The number of international tourists slumped to 347,398 between January and June compared to 428,223 in a similar period last year, marking the lowest half-year performance since 2008, according to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS).

Two NSE-listed firms report losses as Sameer’s profit falls

Corporate News
Traders at the Nairobi Securities Exchange. PHOTO | FILE
Traders at the Nairobi Securities Exchange. PHOTO | FILE 
By BD REPORTER AND REUTERS
In Summary
  • Cement maker ARM reported a half-year after-tax loss of Sh356 million, while TPS Serena lost Sh97.3 million in the same period.

Two NSE-listed companies Thursday reported net losses for the six months to June, while tyre maker Sameer announced a 42 per cent drop in pre-tax profit to Sh66.2 million.
Cement maker ARM reported a half-year after-tax loss of Sh356 million, while TPS Serena lost Sh97.3 million in the same period.
ARM said in a statement that financing costs rose to Sh627.04 million in the period to end-June from Sh220.97 million due to inclusion of costs for construction of a clinker plant in Tanzania where it also operates cement plants.
Total revenue rose to Sh7.69 billion from Sh7.57 billion, the firm said.
ARM Cement, however, said it incurred a narrower unrealised foreign exchange loss of Sh1.42 billion in the half-year to June from a loss of Sh25.8 million last year, thanks to weakening Kenyan and Tanzanian shilling.
“Inspite of the recent currency depreciation and increase in interest rates, the fundamentals for continued economic and construction sector growth remain strong,” the firm said.
“The company expects to significantly improve performance in the second half of the year through cost efficiencies arising from self-sufficiency in clinker, and increased sales from all business divisions.”
Sameer, which also released its results on Thursday, said it continued to face competition from cheaper, imported tyres from Asia, a factor it had blamed for losses last year. Political unrest in Burundi, a regional market, also affected sales.

Eastleigh mall owners sue KRA over Sh386m tax claim


The Kenya Revenue Authority headquarters at Times Towers in Nairobi. PHOTO | FILE
The Kenya Revenue Authority headquarters at Times Towers in Nairobi. PHOTO | FILE 
By Sandra Chao-Blasto
In Summary
  • The Eastleigh Shopping Mall and its eight directors have taken the taxman to court seeking a reversal of orders freezing their bank accounts and seizure of their assets over a Sh386 million demand by the agency.
  • Court documents show that between May and July 2014 KRA conducted a tax audit on the mall covering value added tax, PAYE and withholding tax.
  • Based on the report the shopping mall said it entered into a payment plan with the taxman to settle the outstanding taxes in August 2014 and since then has not defaulted on the agreed payment schedule.

The Eastleigh Shopping Mall and its eight directors have taken the taxman to court seeking a reversal of orders freezing their bank accounts and seizure of their assets over a Sh386 million demand by the agency.
The mall and its owners have filed a constitutional petition seeking to reverse court orders issued in two separate cases allowing the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) to seize their property and freeze six bank accounts registered to the mall and 12 belonging to its directors.

EABL records 9pc sales growth on uptake of spirits

Corporate News
EABL employees work at the Ruaraka plant in Nairobi.  PHOTO | FILE
EABL employees work at the Ruaraka plant in Nairobi. PHOTO | FILE 
By MUGAMBI MUTEGI, pmutegi@ke.nationmedia.com
In Summary
  • Earnings were primarily boosted by a 60 per cent net sales increase of its Johnnie Walker range of spirits as well as a double-digit growth of the Guinness brand.
  • Tusker’s net sales grew by three per cent while Senator, which was slapped with a 50 per cent increase in excise tax, saw its sales drop 16 per cent —maintaining its one-and-a-half year losing streak.       
  • Stakeholders will be looking to see how the improved net sales announced by Diageo Thursday (nine per cent compared to four per cent in 2014) will impact the brewer’s bottom line.

Beer maker EABL recorded a nine per cent growth in net sales for the full year to June, a statement released by the UK parent company Diageo showed Thursday.
This means that the brewer’s turnover soared to about Sh66.8 billion compared to the Sh61.29 billion reported during the financial year ended June 2014.
East African Breweries Limited’s full-year earnings were primarily boosted by a 60 per cent net sales increase of its Johnnie Walker range of spirits as well as a double-digit growth of the Guinness brand.
The brewer is expected to officially release its financials Friday, but the numbers published by its parent company offer an advance glimpse into its performance.

Safaricom CEO says dominant player tag to slow its growth into global brand

Corporate News
Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore before the Senate ICT committee on July 30, 2015. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE
Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore before the Senate ICT committee on July 30, 2015. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE 
By LYNET IGADWAH
In Summary
  • Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore says curtailing Safaricom’s dominance would limit its target to grow into a global brand.

Safaricom chief executive Bob Collymore has told Parliament that the telecommunications regulator does not need to impose sanctions on it as long as it is not abusing its dominance in the market.
Mr Collymore told the Senate Committee on ICT on Thursday that curtailing Safaricom’s dominance would limit its target to grow into a global brand.
“Our target market is global. We are competing with the likes of Google who enjoy dominance in their country of origin,” the Safaricom boss told senators in defence of relentless calls by rivals to impose sanctions on the company.

Rents flat as Nairobi luxury property fails to excite market

Money Markets
Runda Estate in Nairobi. Rents in Nairobi’s prime areas did not increase in the first three months of 2015. PHOTO | FILE
Runda Estate in Nairobi. Rents in Nairobi’s prime areas did not increase in the first three months of 2015. PHOTO | FILE 
By JOHN GACHIRI
In Summary
  • Budget limits by multinational corporations, embassies and NGOs is said to be one of the major reasons for the freeze in rents.

Rent for properties in Nairobi’s luxury market has remained flat as prime clients such as multinational corporations are reluctant to pay landlords more, property consultancy Knight Frank said.
The Knight Frank Prime Global Rental Index shows that rents in Nairobi’s prime areas, with a monthly average rent of Sh427,000 ($4,270), did not increase in the first three months of 2015.
The index looks at the top five per cent of the market across 18 major cities. For Kenya, research analysts at Knight Frank consider a luxury property to be a four-bedroom executive house in a prime location.
Knight Frank Kenya managing director Ben Woodhams said budget limits by multinational corporations, embassies and NGOs is one of the major reasons for the freeze in rents.
“Expatriate staff have housing budgets, beyond which they must seek approval from their head offices for extra rental expenditure,” said Mr Woodhams in a statement.

KenGen pension fund builds Sh1.3 billion Rosslyn homes

KenGen pension fund’s Rosslyn Springs in Nairobi. PHOTO | DIANA NGILA 
By JOHN GACHIRI
In Summary
  • Homes Universal, the project managers, said Rosslyn is strategic as it is close to the diplomatic blue zone of Gigiri and is served by a number of large retail malls.
  • KenGen staff real-estate development is the latest in a series of high-end gated communities funded by pension funds, especially from the utility sector.

KenGen Staff Retirement Benefits Scheme has put up a Sh1.3 billion high-end housing estate in the Rosslyn suburb of Nairobi County as pension funds increasingly diversify into real estate.
The State-owned power producer worker’s Rosslyn Springs, a gated community of four-bedroom houses, is targeting homebuyers looking to live in areas not far from the city but sparsely populated.
Homes Universal, the project managers, said Rosslyn is strategic as it is close to the diplomatic blue zone of Gigiri and is served by a number of large retail malls.

Jamii Bora targets small ventures with 50 per cent of its lending

Money Markets
Timothy Kabiru, Jamii Bora Bank chief commercial officer. PHOTO | SALATON NJAU 
By John Gachiri
In Summary
  • Small businesses will account for half of Jamii Bora Bank’s (JBB) loan book by the end of the year under the lender’s new scheme.
  • To reduce the mortality rate of small businesses, the lender has set up the Jamii Bora Business Incubation Centre which will give legal, financial, business planning and governance advice to entrepreneurs.
  • The bank is targeting to lend women and youth-run SME Sh4 billion by the end of the year.

Small businesses will account for half of Jamii Bora Bank’s (JBB) loan book by the end of the year under the lender’s new scheme.
JBB plans to lend the SME sector, especially enterprises run by women and youths, 50 per cent of its loans as part of its strategic focus on small businesses.

Kenya’s vibrant real estate sector needs clear rules to instill order

 Commercial Bank of Africa Centre in Upper Hill, Nairobi.  PHOTO | FILE
Commercial Bank of Africa Centre in Upper Hill, Nairobi. PHOTO | FILE 
Opinion and Analysis
By MARTIN DIAS

In Summary
  • Reforms will greatly assist Kenyans to carry out transactions with more confidence and surety.

The real estate industry is today the largest single sector experiencing rapid growth. Even US President Barack Obama admitted that much had changed since his last visit to Kenya.
He was amazed and impressed to note that Nairobi’s infrastructure had developed significantly. He said: “Kenya is on the growth path having the highest growth rate in East and Central Africa.”
Today many Kenyans are shopping for homes. They are constantly looking around the neighbourhood for the right home to buy or apartment to rent.

Celebrity marketing gains popularity

US President Barack Obama dancing with Kenyan counterpart Uhuru Kenyatta, his sister Auma Obama and Sauti Sol at State House, Nairobi. PHOTO | FILE
US President Barack Obama dancing with Kenyan counterpart Uhuru Kenyatta, his sister Auma Obama and Sauti Sol at State House, Nairobi. The group’s lipala dance has received wide international media coverage, thanks to President Obama’s jig. WHITE HOUSE OFFICIAL PHOTO | PETE SOUZA 
By SANDRA CHAO-BLASTO
In Summary
  • There is no better way to drum up support for your brand than to host or hire a celebrated personality to market it.

Sauti Sol’s lipala dance is now in international media outlets from People, Vanity Fair, the Daily Mirror, the Washington Post, BBC, Time, Jezebel, the Guardian, CBS News to ABC News, thanks to President Barack Obama’s jig.
But this is not your typical celebrity endorsement deal. Marketers globally are spending millions of shillings in such deals, but some companies are just lucky. They do not have to spend a penny on celebrities to promote their brands.
The celebrated personalities spend a night or two in their hotels or carry a bag with their brand name and the international spotlight shines on them.
Nothing sells like celebrity. For instance, Lion in the Sun, a resort in Malindi, is the hotel where you are likely to find British supermodel Naomi Campbell when she is on holiday.
The exclusive retreat owned by Italian billionaire Flavio Briatore is a favourite retreat for other famous people like Formula One driver Fernando Alonso, fashion designer Roberto Cavalli and former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.
The hotel’s manager Philip Chai attributes celebrities’ continued preference of the resort to the unique design of the 16-room boutique hotel, which provides exclusivity, as well as tight security that ensures their privacy while on holiday.
Hotels like Villa Rosa Kempinski, Sankara and InterContinental are now preferred after hosting a number of celebrities.
Sandstorm Kenya, which started out in 2004 by making camping tents before switching to handbags, gained popularity globally after the Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton was photographed carrying their Odyssey bag that she was given as an engagement present.
After the indirect marketing from the duchess, the company has been receiving inquiries from across the world and its exports to the UK market have grown substantially.
A study on celebrity endorsement in Kenya submitted to United States International University’s Chandaria School of Business last year showed a relationship between the endorsement and continued brand loyalty as well as the ability to attract new customers.
The survey also showed that customers are inclined to easily switch to a product when it is endorsed by a person they hold highly.
Celebrity selling
These days it is nearly impossible to open a newspaper or magazine or watch television without seeing a celebrity selling something, whether it is a smartphone, clothes or even insurance products. Just last month, regional telecoms company Bharti Airtel unveiled international footballer and Ivory Coast captain Yaya Toure as its new brand ambassador.
The Manchester City midfielder, who has won the African Player of the Year award four consecutive times, is the new face of Bharti activities especially those that promote youth empowerment.
When US shoe company Skechers entered the Kenyan market in April this year, it sought to make a mark in the industry.

It chose renown disc jockey Joe Mfalme to be their country’s brand ambassador, leveraging on the popularity of his music mixes especially among the young and young at heart.
Beauty products giant Maybelline New York appointed makeup artist Muthoni Njoba as the lead brand ambassador and official makeup artist for its line in the Kenya in February.
Ms Njoba is a makeup artist for many celebrities, including musicians, TV and radio presenters.
Kenya Fashion Awards, the annual competition that seeks to showcase the work of established and student designers and photographers, has chosen youthful band Elani and model Pinky Ghelani as the brand ambassadors.
They have been featured in several advertisements promoting the gala that is to go down on August 22 at Brookhouse International School in Nairobi.
Grace Msalame whose journey to fitness and healthy living is in itself remarkable, is currently endorsing the Vivo Activewear fashionable outfits in a deal she landed in February.
At the same time, Swedish beauty company Oriflame confirmed singer Avril Nyambura as the face of its products in the country.
Over the years, corporate brands have increasingly turned to celebrities and musicians to sell their products. Safaricom is betting on gospel artiste Bahati’s popularity among the young people by appointing him as its Facebook brand ambassador.
National carrier Kenya Airways has also launched a campaign to change its fortunes by leveraging on business bigwigs like billionaire philanthropist Manu Chandaria and industrialist Vimal Shah. Its advertisement also features Charles Njonjo and Chris Kirubi.

Tabitha’s spirited fight in a brewing tax storm

Keroche’s phenomenal growth has seen its CEO fight and win many battles. PHOTO | BD GRAPHIC 
By JOHN KAMAU
In Summary
  • While the other rookies in the brewing industry were quickly scattered after a presidential order to rid the country of illicit brands, Tabitha bought space in newspapers and went to court to defend her place.

Tabitha Karanja, the CEO of Keroche Breweries, has fought many battles – and survived. But at the moment she is facing a titanic battle for her business life.
With her Naivasha-based brewery taking on the Kenya Revenue Authority in court over a tax row, the former parastatal librarian-turned brewer is also fighting to rescue some of her products, which have been labelled by the standards body as illicit brews. In the last few weeks, and in her media interviews, the once confident Tabitha looks sullen and crestfallen.
She believes her woes are about her gutsy decision to take on foreign multinationals in both the wine and beer industry.

Farmers face low earnings as processors cut raw milk prices

Politics and policy
Mr Nixon Sigey, the New KCC  managing director. PHOTO | SALATON NJAU
Mr Nixon Sigey, the New KCC managing director. PHOTO | SALATON NJAU 
By GERALD ANDAE

Farmers face low earnings as processors cut raw milk prices amid increased supply which also promises consumers more affordable products.
The New Kenya Cooperative Creameries (New KCC) is the latest processor to cut its price by Sh3, just a month after Brookside Dairy reduced the amount it pays per litre by Sh2.
A farmer delivering milk to the New KCC will starting next month earn Sh36 per litre while those who depend on the company’s transport will be paid Sh34 per litre.
New KCC managing director Nixon Sigey says the move has been informed by an increase in the volume of milk from farmers.

Nadella: Why I chose Kenya for Windows 10 global launch

Opinion and Analysis
Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella. PHOTO | AFP
Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella. PHOTO | AFP 
By LARRY MADOWO
In Summary
  • Microsoft CEO sees start of new era in tech world as firm unveils its latest operating system.

Microsoft on Wednesday launched its highly anticipated Windows 10 operating system.
Billed by the by the tech giant as “the best Windows ever”, the company aims to have one billion devices running on the software. It is built to run across laptops, desktops and smartphones.
Chief executive Satya Nadella came to Kenya a day ahead of the global launch. NTV’s Larry Madowo had a conversation with the Microsoft boss on why he chose Kenya as well as his views on the company’s latest product, innovation and what the future holds for tech.
Here is the excerpts of the interview.
Of all the places, why are you in Nairobi?
I’m here in Kenya and in Nairobi to listen and learn. The core mission of Microsoft is to empower every person and organisation on the planet to achieve more.

KCB’s first half profit up 13pc on loans income

Corporate News
KCB Group chief executive Joshua Oigara during the release of the lender’s results in six months to June at the Hilton Hotel in Nairobi on July 30, 2015. PHOTO | SALATON NJAU
KCB Group chief executive Joshua Oigara during the release of the lender’s results in six months to June at the Hilton Hotel in Nairobi on July 30, 2015. PHOTO | SALATON NJAU 
By GEORGE NGIGI, gngigi@ke.nationmedia.com
In Summary
  • KCB announced a Sh9.2 billion net profit in six months to June compared to Sh8.1 billion in a similar period last year, boosted by a 31.3 per cent growth of its loan book to Sh320 billion.

Increased interest income from KCB’s loan book raised its after-tax profit for the first half of the year by 13 per cent, keeping the lender in contention to maintaining its position as one of Kenya’s most profitable lenders.
The bank announced a Sh9.2 billion net profit in six months to June compared to Sh8.1 billion in a similar period last year, boosted by a 31.3 per cent growth of its loan book to Sh320 billion.
“We have consistently focused on growing new business lines and strengthening the subsidiaries to drive the business to higher profitability and guarantee its sustainability. This is bearing fruit as seen in the increased earnings,” said chief executive Joshua Oigara when he announced the results yesterday.

Kenyatta bank invests in Sh11bn real estate firm

Money Markets
Commercial Bank of Africa Centre in Upper Hill, Nairobi.  PHOTO | FILE
Commercial Bank of Africa Centre in Upper Hill, Nairobi. PHOTO | FILE 
By GEORGE NGIGI, gngigi@ke.nationmedia.com
In Summary
  • The lender booked a gain of Sh586 million from the consolidation transaction which in turn reduced its shareholding in CBA Properties by 24 per cent.
  • CBA said the transaction was to enable it concentrate on its core business of banking, advisory and bancassurance.
  • Mutuya Holdings, which had net assets of Sh11.1 billion as at end of last year, will be treated as an associate company of CBA.

Commercial Bank of Africa invested Sh2.3 billion in a little-known Sh11 billion property company last year as it sought to diversify its income streams.
The bank, the largest privately owned lender in Kenya and associated with the Kenyatta family, bought a 24 per cent stake in Mutuya Holdings Ltd in a share swap transaction.
It is not clear which properties Mutuya holds — as well as who its other shareholders are — but the Kenyatta family owns a vast estate including land, commercial buildings, hotels and schools.
“An opportunity for CBA Properties Limited to merge with a related company, Mutuya Holdings

Safaricom CEO says dominant player tag to slow its growth into global brand

Corporate News
Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore before the Senate ICT committee on July 30, 2015. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE
Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore before the Senate ICT committee on July 30, 2015. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE 
By LYNET IGADWAH
In Summary
  • Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore says curtailing Safaricom’s dominance would limit its target to grow into a global brand.

Safaricom chief executive Bob Collymore has told Parliament that the telecommunications regulator does not need to impose sanctions on it as long as it is not abusing its dominance in the market.
Mr Collymore told the Senate Committee on ICT on Thursday that curtailing Safaricom’s dominance would limit its target to grow into a global brand.

KQ posts Sh25.7bn loss on debt-fuelled modern fleet plan

Corporate News
Kenya Airways CEO Mbuvi Ngunze (right) and group finance director Alex Mbugua during the release of the airline's full year financial results in Nairobi on July 30, 2015. PHOTO | DIANA NGILA
Kenya Airways CEO Mbuvi Ngunze (right) and group finance director Alex Mbugua during the release of the airline's full year financial results in Nairobi on July 30, 2015. PHOTO | DIANA NGILA 
By VICTOR JUMA, vjuma@ke.nationmedia.com
In Summary
  • Kenya Airway's Sh25.7 billion loss for the year ended March 2015 is nearly eight times the Sh3.4 billion net loss it reported a year earlier.
  • KQ has been executing a debt-financed modern fleet plan that has pushed its total liabilities to Sh187.9 billion, more than its assets that are currently valued at Sh182 billion.
  • The airline continues to operate, relying on additional debt to meet its obligations, including paying employees’ salaries and suppliers whom it owed Sh19.9 billion by end of March.

National carrier Kenya Airways’ record-setting Sh25.7 billion loss has wiped out shareholder wealth, taking it to a Sh5.9 billion negative capital position and adding momentum to the long-running erosion of its share price at the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE).
At Sh25.7 billion, the airline’s loss for the year ended March 2015 was nearly eight times the Sh3.4 billion net loss it reported a year earlier, reflecting the impact that the debt-fuelled aircraft acquisition spree has had on the company.

Higher sales drive East African Breweries’ after tax profit up 40pc

Corporate News
EABL employees work at the Ruaraka plant in Nairobi.  PHOTO | FILE
EABL employees work at the Ruaraka plant in Nairobi. PHOTO | FILE 
By MUGAMBI MUTEGI
In Summary
  • East African Breweries reported on Friday a 40 per cent rise in after-tax profit to Sh9.57 billion for the year ended June.
  • The brewer’s export business grew 60 per cent, despite political challenges in Burundi and forex challenges in Rwanda.
  • The firm also restated its prior year pre-tax profit to Sh10.39 billion from Sh10.41 billion without offering an explanation.

Kenya’s East African Breweries reported on Friday a 40 per cent rise in after-tax profit to Sh9.57 billion ($94 million) in the year ended June, helped by rising sales volumes in its key markets.
The company, which is controlled by Britain’s Diageo, attributed the gains to higher revenue, which rose to Sh64.42 billion from Sh60.75 billion. Profit before tax was up 36 per cent to Sh14.15 billion.
Kenya’s revenue increased just 3 per cent, dampened by an increase in excise tax affecting Senator Keg imposed in October 2013.

Minister claims auditor ignored documents, got numbers wrong

Politics and policy
Treasury secretary Henry Rotich. PHOTO | FILE
Treasury secretary Henry Rotich. PHOTO | FILE 
By KIARIE NJOROGE
In Summary
  • Henry Rotich has challenged the Auditor-General’s claim that Sh66.8 billion from the 2013/14 budget was spent irregularly.
  • He accused Mr Edward Ouko’s office of acting unprofessionally, getting their numbers wrong and ignoring supporting documents.
  • The Council of Governors has also criticised county reports released earlier by Kenao, saying their responses to queries were ignored.

Treasury Secretary Henry Rotich has challenged the Auditor-General’s claim that Sh66.8 billion from the 2013/14 budget was spent irregularly by various ministries, departments and agencies.
Instead, he accused Mr Edward Ouko’s office of acting unprofessionally, getting their numbers wrong and ignoring supporting documents provided.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Obama: Investing in minority men is not ‘charity,’ it’s lucrative

Students pose with President Obama at the launch of My Brother’s Keeper alliance at Lehman College in the Bronx, N.Y., in May. (Susan Watts/The Daily News via AP)

Liz Goodwin






Students with President Obama at the launch of My Brother’s Keeper alliance at Lehman College in the Bronx, N.Y., in May. (Susan Watts/The Daily News via AP, Pool)
If you can’t appeal to their hearts, appeal to their pocketbooks.
That’s what the president and his administration are doing to sell his My Brother’s Keeper initiative, which seeks to help minority boys and young men succeed at school and in the workforce.
In May, the president said the business and nonprofit leaders who support My Brother’s Keeper are “not doing this out of charity” or to assuage societal guilt.
“They’re doing this because they know that making sure all of our young people have the opportunity to succeed is an economic imperative,” Obama said.