Wednesday, June 30, 2021

EAC tables $91.7 million budget for 2021/22 year

Ken Obura and Peter Mathuki.

Ken Obura, Chair of the Council of Ministers, with EAC Secretary General Peter Mathuki walk into the East African Legislative Assembly chambers to present the budget on June 28, 2021. PHOTO | MOSES HAVYARIMANA | NMG


The East African Community on Monday tabled $91.7 million budget for the 2021/22 financial year during a sitting of the East African Legislative Assembly in Arusha, Tanzania.

S. Sudan firm sues over termination of its operations at Mombasa port Mombasa Port.

Mombasa Port.

Trucks at the Port of Mombasa waiting to be loaded with goods. A South Sudanese clearing company is seeking to challenge termination of its operations at the Port of Mombasa by two South Sudan government agencies. PHOTO | FILE | NMG


A South Sudanese clearing company is seeking to challenge termination of its operations at the Port of Mombasa by two South Sudan government agencies.

Supporters oppose Zuma jail term

Jacob Zuma.

South Africa's former president Jacob Zuma. PHOTO | FILE


eSwatini protests turn deadly as police intensify crackdown


eSwatini's absolute monarch King Mswati III. PHOTO | FILE | NMG


Rwanda legalises medical use of Cannabis

Medical Cannabis.

Rwanda has passed a new order that legalises medical use of Cannabis, also known as marijuana. PHOTO | FILE | NMG

By Ange Iliza

Sudan protesters demand govt resign over IMF-backed reforms


A Sudanese protester holds a placard reading "No to IMF's policies" during a demonstration in the capital Khartoum on June 30, 2021. PHOTO | AFP


Hundreds of Sudanese protesters took to the streets of major cities on Wednesday to demand the government's resignation over IMF-backed economic reforms seen as too harsh, AFP correspondents said.

Validation from bosses that pays top dividends


Leaders must spend time observing and interacting with their employees so that they do not seem remote intangible uncaring figures. FILE PHOTO | FOTOSEARCH



  • Leaders must spend time observing and interacting with their employees so that they do not seem remote intangible uncaring figures.

CBK defends quality of Sh50 banknotes


Central Bank governor Dr Patrick Njoroge holding the new banknotes at a press conference on May 3, 2019 in Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Central Bank of Kenya governor Patrick Njoroge has defended the quality of the new generation Sh50 notes amid complaints that they are wearing out too fast.

Kenya Airways eyes Sh4.85bn savings from new planes lease terms


A fleet of Kenya Airways planes at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Kenya Airways expects to save $45 million (Sh4.85 billion) this year after it changed the lease terms on its aircraft fleet, opting for hourly rates in place of fixed costs.

Treasury calls for amicable resolution of contract rows


Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani. FILE PHOTO | NMG

The Treasury has urged State agencies and ministries to adopt amicable forms of dispute resolution amid rising contract breaches that have exposed taxpayers to more than Sh1.2 trillion in compensation claims.

Family Bank eyes expansion in counties with bond funds


Family Bank CEO Rebecca Mbithi during the bell-ringing ceremony to mark the start of trading of its corporate bond at the Nairobi Securities Exchange on June 30, 2021. PHOTO | DIANA NGILA | NMG



  • The tier-II bank said it would use the funds to increase its branch network from the current 92 outlets in 37 counties.

By Graham Kajilwa Bank expands initiative for women in business

Ayona Trimnell said Access Bank has been a leading advocate for women’s economic empowerment through financing. [Courtesy]

A multinational bank has unveiled the third edition of a programme that aims to boost women in business.

Comesa Commission probes big brewers over market distortion

Beer bottles roll on a conveyor belt at the East African Breweries Ruaraka factory in Nairobi, Kenya, February 17, 2010.[Courtesy]

By Macharia Kamau 

Some of the world's biggest alcoholic beverage manufacturers selling their products in Kenya and the region are being investigated for practices that hamper cross border trade.

‘Poverty’ to blame for worn out bank notes, says senator


By Judah Ben-Hur 

 “I think we understand why the Sh50 bank note circulates quickly. Matatu fare and other transactions we see on the road are normally Sh50 and the lower denomination notes are subject to significant mishandling,” said Njoroge.

IMF to the rescue? State’s long dalliance with lender as economy limps through the years

By Frankline Sunday |

The logo of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) at the organization's headquarters in Washington, DC, May 16, 2011. [Courtesy]

While Kenya joined the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in 1964, it took 20 years for the country to approach the institution for its first bailout loan.

IMF gives Kenya tough conditions for new loan facility

Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani. [Wilberforce Okwiri, Standard]

The International Monetary Fund's (IMF) ultimatum that Kenya reveals the Covid-19 millionaires is just one of the conditions of the Sh256 billion programme that it has with Nairobi.

New report warns of jobs time bomb

Emmanuel Akenya, a Kenyan youth working with China Road and Bridges, tightens railings that will form Wangige underpass pillars in Kiambu County. [Denish Ochieng, Standard]

By Macharia Kamau

About 10 million people will join the labour force in Kenya over the next decade.

This will present a major challenge for a country whose industries have been struggling to create jobs even before the pre-coronavirus pandemic era.

A new World Bank reports notes that over the next ten year period, between 2020 and 2029, over a million young people will join the labour force every year.

This is even as Kenya struggles to create more jobs, with many sectors having shed jobs between 2015 and 2019.

This challenge has been aggravated by Covid-19, where companies across the different industries suffered a major decline last year forcing them to laid-off employees, with many of the jobs yet to be restored.

While the bulk of Kenya’s young and growing population presents an opportunity that the World Bank refers to as a ‘demographic dividend’, but this can only be realised ‘if jobs creation can keep up’.

“Between 2020 and 2029, the working-age population (18-64) will increase by one million individuals annually," said the World Bank in its latest Kenya Economic Update report.

"The demographic transition occurring as this “youth bulge” cohort attains working age will result in a decline in the dependency ratio (the average number of non-working age people supported by a person of working age), while labour supply will increase significantly.” 

Demographic dividend

According to the 2019 Census report by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS), Kenya had a population of 47.6 million, with an annual population growth rate of 2.2 per cent. About 39 per cent of the population is younger than 15 years of age and four per cent of the population is over 65.

Peter Mbondo, a porter at Muthurwa market in Nairobi, offloads sacks of sweet potatoes from a lorry on July 15, 2021. [Denish Ochieng, Standard]

“The largest age cohort is between 10 and 14 and will be joining the labour force over the next decade,” said the World Bank report.

“If this increase in labour supply can be matched by a corresponding increase in good quality jobs, then average household and per capita incomes will increase. However, unlocking this first potential demographic dividend will depend on sufficiently increasing good economic opportunities, especially for youthful labour market entrants.

"Failure to do so could increase the risk of social unrest as large incoming youth cohorts are faced with limited opportunities. Kenya’s job creation rate will need to increase to reap the potential benefits from its demographic transition,” the report said.

Also, the World Bank expressed doubt as to whether the Kenyan economy will be able to cope with the demand for jobs as young people join the labour market in large numbers.

It noted that many sectors were unable to sustain jobs between 2016 and 2019, with mining having shed jobs by the biggest margin of 36 per cent.

Other sectors that posted huge job losses over the period include ICT (16 per cent), accommodation (15 per cent), utilities and construction (10 per cent) and manufacturing (three per cent).

This was even before Covid-19 struck and made the situation worse.

The few sectors that grew the number of people they employ include agriculture (five per cent), finance and real estate (130 per cent) and education, health and social service (26 per cent).

Service sector jobs

“Kenya’s economy is not currently on track to produce a sufficient number of jobs to benefit from its demographic dividend since workers entering the labour force are likely to enter low-productivity agriculture or service sector jobs,” said the World Bank.

“To achieve a demographic dividend, the economy needs to produce more quality jobs by accelerating economic transformation. The Covid-19 pandemic has added to this challenge by disrupting economic activity and causing job losses.”

Men ferrying goods in the city using handcarts. [Stafford Ondego, Standard]

The Federation of Kenya Employers (FKE) recently estimated that in the early days following the outbreak of Covid-19 in the country, more than five million jobs were lost.

Micro enterprises, which employ the majority of Kenyans at about 15 million, are estimated to have shed 5.1 million jobs.

These very small businesses seen across the country and sometimes employing few people, many times even one.

The formal sector, which creates the high-value jobs that could enable Kenya to reap the demographic dividend and employing about 2.4 million people, lost 173 000 jobs over the first few months after March 2020.

The number of formal jobs that were shed in the brief period is equivalent to those that had been created in the previous three years, with the economy creating 70 000 such jobs annually.

Some of the jobs have been recovered as the economy reopened and demand for goods and services slowly started growing.


Sh1.5b Mbita bridge now an 'open sore'

Mbita Bridge was constructed at a cost of Sh1.5 billion. [James Omoro, Standard]

By James Omoro 

 A Sh1.5 billion bridge constructed by the national government in Lake Victoria to boost the blue economy is facing vandalism.

Scarce jobs force more Kenyans to try luck in self-employment

About six out of ten people had gone into self-employment as of 2019. [Courtesy]

More Kenyans had opted to venture into self-employment before the coronavirus pandemic.

South Africa’s state power utility seeks $10 bln to shift from coal

JOHANNESBURG, (The Southern African Times) – South African state power utility Eskom, Africa’s biggest greenhouse gas emitter, is pitching a $10 billion plan to global lenders that would see it shut the vast majority of its coal-fired plants by 2050 and embrace renewable energy.

COVID-19 tourism impact could top $4 trillion: UN

LONDON, (The Southern African Times) – The economic impact from the plunge in tourism since the pandemic emerged last year could top $4 trillion, a UN report said Wednesday.

The joint report by the UN’s World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) found that the lack of widespread vaccination in developing countries was leading to mounting economic losses.

Emerging markets are losing the race for green finance

BIG questions about how to cushion the harsh economic impact of Covid-19 on developing countries are now at the top of the international policy agenda.

Angola’s oilfield debts to Western energy firms hits $1 billion – sources

Nigeria’s senate to consider oil overhaul bill on Thursday

ABUJA, (The Southern African Times) – Nigeria’s senate presented a long-awaited oil overhaul bill to the full chamber for passage on Tuesday and will consider it by the end of the week, according to an order paper and the senate president.