Digitization Will Power The Next Phase Of Our Economy

Since 2008, Kenya has been on a race towards a social, economic and political resurgence, promising a middle-income economy powered by knowledge-based economy by the year 2030. More recently, the government has set out the big Four agenda – a key catalyst to realizing this blueprint.

This journey, by design or default, has identified ICTs as what will power the key sectors of Manufacturing, Affordable Housing, Food Security, and Affordable Healthcare. In turn, this will see digitization play a key role in addressing challenges facing Kenyans in general – with sectors such as finance, health, education, agriculture and the public sector quickly embracing technology to build on public data, enhance service delivery and reach customers more effectively.

According to the 2018 Economic Survey; data on the 2017 economy depicts a stellar performance by the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) demonstrating the sector’s impact on the economy.

The Survey attributes the sector’s 11% growth in 2017 from 9.7% in 2016 to an expanding digital economy through mobile telephony, e-commerce, online training as well as tax administration contributing to economic growth.

While the mobile telephony sector, call traffic, short message service (SMS) and mobile money value in monetary terms has shot through the roof, the opportunity for collective growth of the economy lies in a digitized economy that is in tandem with data growth.

This growth is defined in two waves – first, the ongoing efforts to ensure basic connectivity to increase internet penetration followed by aggressive efforts to leverage data for the new digital economy.

For more on this article, Visit Aldo Mareuse, the CEO of Telkom Kenya on LinkedIn

Did You Know: You Can Be Jailed for Writing on your Money?

Did you know that all the money you have belongs to the government and that you can be jailed for mishandling it?

Did you know that you are not allowed to treat the currency you have in any way you want and you risk going to jail for any mistreatment?

Apparently, many Kenyans are not aware of the Central Bank of Kenya (Currency Handling) Regulations of 2010 that sets jail terms and fines for those who mishandle the currency.

For instance, did you know that you can be jailed for three years or pay a fine of 500,000 shillings for writing on a bank note?

There are those who walk around with torn notes. Did you know that if found you risk going to jail? What about those who damage coins by hitting them? That is an ‘injustice’ on money and you risk three years in jail.

There are people who have a habit of scratching their airtime by use of a coin. Did you know that you can go to jail for six months?

Those who use images of money to publish on their websites without the authorization of the CBK risk a penalty of 100,000 shillings and a daily surcharge of 10,000 shillings. Did you know this existed?

Equities Dipped Last Week Despite Turnover Increasing by 9.4%

Last week, the equities market was on a downward trend, with NASI, NSE 20 and NSE 25 declining 3.1, 1.5 and 3.1 percent respectively.

The downward performance took the year-to-date performance of the NASI, NSE 20 and NSE 25 to 0.9 percent, (11.1 percent) and 4.2 percent respectively.

Last week’s performance was driven by declines in large-cap stocks such as Safaricom, BAT, KCB Group, EABL and Equity, which declined by 4.2, 3.0, 1.5, 1.4 and 1.0 percent respectively.

For the last twelve months (LTM), NASI and NSE 25 have gained 11.9 percent and 9.2 percent respectively, while NSE 20 has declined by 8.7 percent.

Equities turnover increased by 9.4 percent last week to USD 35.3 million from USD 32.3 million the previous week with foreign investors making up the bulk of market activity during the week

“We expect the market to remain resilient this year supported by positive investor sentiment, as investors take advantage of the attractive stock valuations in select counters,” said analysts from Cytonn.

The market is currently trading at a price to earnings ratio (P/E) of 14.0x, which is above the historical average of 13.5x, and a dividend yield of 3.9 percent which exceeds the historical average of 3.7 percent.

The current P/E valuation of 14.0x is 42.9 percent above the most recent trough valuation of 9.8x experienced in the first week of February 2017, and 68.7 percent above the previous trough valuation of 8.3x experienced in December 2011.

Here are Top 10 World Cup Leading Goal Scorers

The World Cup is still on and the frenzy that accompanies the matches is ruling. According to many football lovers, this year’s World Cup is full of surprises and it is not cleared who will reach the finals.

On Sunday, England clobbered Panama 6 goals to 1. Senegal and Japan came out with a draw after a very heated and dramatic game.

Colombia, on the other hand, sent Poland parking with 3 goals to 0. Football analysts during this season have predicted the outcomes of most matches wrongly.

As the tournament continues, here are 12 players leading in terms of goals scored:

  1. Harry Kane – 5 goals
  2. Cristiano Ronaldo – 4 goals
  3. Romelu Lukaku – 4 goals
  4. Denis Cheryshev – 3 goals
  5. Diego Costa – 3 goals
  6. Ahmed Musa – 2 goals
  7. Artem Dzyuba – 2 goals
  8. Mile Jedinak – 2 goals
  9. Luka Modric – 2 goals
  10. Eden Hazard – 2 goals
  11. Philippe Coutinho – 2 goals
  12. John Stones – 2 goals

Since the World Cup kicked off, DStv and GOtv have been on the forefront of providing their viewers with the ultimate experience of the happenings in Russia.

DStv and GOtv promised their viewers at the beginning of the World Cup that they were literally going to connect them with greatness and they make Russia come live to their living rooms.

All the remaining matches will air on both DStv and GOtv as people continue to enjoy the memorable moments that comes but once every four years.

KPLC to Streamline Transmission, Distribution Systems to Lower Power Tariff

Kenya Power is set to continue to streamline its transmission and distribution systems in an effort to help lower cost of power hence boost the business operating environment

Kenya Power Managing Director and CEO Dr. Ken Tarus. has said that measures are in place to ensure that loses resulting from power transmission and distribution was minimized. 

According to Dr. Tarus, there are a lot of initiatives that the company has put in place including improving their transmission and distribution lines, construction of additional substations and quality of transformers, which will go a long way in enhancing quality supply and subsequently the cost of power.

“The intention of the government is to make sure we have power at least cost in order to encourage businesses to enhance their operations, expand and support the Big Four agenda. As a company we are optimistic that measures we are putting in place will lower the cost of power without compromising on quality and stability,” said Dr. Tarus.

 Kenya National Chamber of Commerce & Industry commended Kenya Power for its initiatives aimed at bringing down the cost of power to consumers in the manufacturing sector. 

“We are happy that Kenya Power has responded extremely well and extremely fast to some of the issues raised by private sector players at the recent Presidential Roundtable on the cost of energy. They committed to reducing the power tariffs to USD 9cts to industrialists and those in special economic zones. This will go a long way in changing the way we do business,” said Nemaisa Kiereini, the Chief Executive Officer of Kenya National Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Nairobi County.

Kenya Power has initiated several system improvement projects in Nairobi to ensure the stability of power supply in Nairobi.

Some of the completed projects include the recently launched City Centre Gas Insulated SubStation (GIS) undergrounding cables to all 9 substations in Nairobi, upgrade of Kabete and Matasia 66 /11kv substation to 2x23MVA, development of a dedicated alternative 11kv line to Kenyatta hospital, and a dedicated dual 33kv lines to Kajiado and Namanga towns, and the construction of a new 11kv lines to Langata, South C, kileleshwa, Mountain View, Karen and Lavington estates. 

On-going projects include construction of new 2x23MVA 33/11kv Substation at Isinya, a 66kv line from Ngong to Matasia substation, and construction of a 132/33kv substation in Namanga.

Last Month, Kenya Power launch a 220/66kV Gas Insulated SubStation (GIS) located at the city center. The substation is part of the Nairobi City Centre Network Upgrade and Reinforcement Project that is aimed at improving the flexibility of the power distribution system in Nairobi.

Not Only is the Eggplant Profitable but also Good for your Health

How do you like your food flavored? Personally, I prefer natural flavors and one of my best all-time spices is the eggplant, which can also be referred to as Solanum melongena. In Kenya, we call it ‘Biringanya’ or ‘Brinjal’.

The eggplant can be used differently depending on one’s preference which includes being a flavor in food as I had earlier stated, or using it for making a salad or even cooking to be taken as vegetables.

Eggplants belong to the nightshade family of the vegetables which comprise of the tomatoes, potatoes and sweet pepper. It grows exactly like the tomatoes, hanging from vines of the plant. Eggplant has a pleasantly bitter taste and a spongy texture.

The eggplant crop comes in different colors that include white, purple and green, adding aesthetic value to one’s farm. The purple variety is common in Kenya.

Instead of consuming eggplants from the market, one may also be interested in knowing the process of planting it. This is because it has a good market and not is it profitable in Kenya but also in the international market. Why not try it as a means of income? Can we do it? Yes, let us do it!

Before anything else, one needs to get the correct seeds which are to be planted on seed-beds before being transferred to the farm.

The seeds germinate in 7 – 14 days depending on the heat and the moisture content.

“The soil should be mixed with well-composted manure before planting the seeds. Then the beds should be watered every day to make the seeds sprout from the soil, which happens after 10 days.”

Eggplant becomes ready in three months, and for one to know when the plant is fully mature, it develops a glossy dark-purpled skin.

Harvest is done 16 to24 weeks after sowing when the skin of the fruit is shiny and unwrinkled. Generally, early short duration varieties yield about 25 to 30 tonnes and long duration up to 45 tonnes.

As a farmer, it is important to note that eggplants should be harvested when the fruits appear glossy because when it is left on the farm, they will end up developing some green patches that put off buyers.

This crop is very profitable as a kilogram retails for between 40 shillings and 70 shillings, depending on demand. Each fruit can as well be sold for between 10 shillings and 30 shillings. A serious farmer can be making as much as 10,000 shillings every month from eggplants whose seeds cost only 200 shillings.

Brinjal is drought-tolerant, thus it can thrive well in areas with hot weather. It does well in parts of lower Eastern, Rift Valley, and Nyanza.

With size parameters varying with each variety of eggplant, growth conditions, maturation periods and coloration are some of the factors to look into before choosing any of our varieties below:

  • The oval to oblong eggplant produces large, oval-shaped, purplish to black eggplants.
  • The Japanese eggplant matures fast, producing long slender fruits.
  • The small-fruited eggplant blossoms into green fruits, including white lavender and purple varieties.
  • There are also novelty eggplants that include such unusual types as orange Turkish eggplant, green Thai eggplant, and the egg-shaped eggplant.

There a number of health benefits from the Eggplant. They are a true source of fibers and acids for digestion. The former provides the body with sufficient roughage for proper digestion and bowel movement. Fiber also stimulates the secretion of gastric juices that facilitate absorption of nutrients and the processing of foods.

Other health benefits include the following:

Anemia prevention: Since deficiency of iron poses a danger to especially expectant women, as it manifests as anemia, consumption of eggplant is necessary for it fosters the body with the missing iron deposits that help form the red blood cells.

Brain and aural function: as a rich source of phytonutrients, consumption of Kenya eggplant or any other eggplant will improve recognition functions and will improve nerve communication. The brain also requires sufficient blood to function, and with the potassium component, eggplant helps boost brain abilities to see detail, boost memory and enhance other functions.

In weight loss:  Fat burning is a must-have in any health list out there and since eggplant has no trace of fat, it is well placed to not only curb weight gains but reduce obesity.

Fights diabetes: with its low soluble carbs, eggplant is ideal for diabetes management.  The fruit regulates glucose and insulin activity within the body.

Curbs birth defects:  Expectant mothers need high levels of folic acid to buffer the fetus against neural tube defects.  With their high folic acid levels, eggplants combine into a ready, nutritional snack when expecting.

For perfect bone health: Eggplants have sufficient dosage of iron and calcium minerals that aid in bone formation.

In cancer prevention:  as an anti-oxidant, eggplant consists of chlorogenic acid which is a powerful aid in eradicating free radicals in the fight against cancer.

Over 12,000 People Turn Up for Safaricom Twaweza Live Concert in Meru

Over 12,000 Kenyan music fans turned up for the Safaricom Twaweza Live concert on Saturday at Kinoru Stadium, Meru after a 10-day activation in the Mount Kenya and North Eastern regions.

The concert was preceded by roadshow caravans, a free medical camp, campus takeovers, great device offers, Digifarm farmers engagement forum, talent search activities and a music concert.

The concert featured performances by; David Wonder, MC Alemba, DJ Deff, DJ Pierra, DJ Euphoric, DJ Joe Mfalme, King Kaka, Njugush, Nyashinski, Mercy Masika, Wahu, Bahati, Karimi Bruno and GMX The Baite. The artists, together with the winners of the Talent hunt performed live in Kinoru Stadium from 6 pm till late.

The campaign which began in May will culminate in November and focuses on making a positive impact in the lives of Kenyans by delivering relevant products and services, providing world-class entertainment and ensuring that impactful investments are made in different communities across the country.

The Twaweza live series that kicked off in Eldoret, will now head to Mombasa, Kisumu, Machakos and finally, Nairobi.

Shilling Stilling Proving Critics Wrong, Appreciates Against the Dollar

The Kenyan shilling has continued to prove those who had predicted its doom wrong by appreciating against the US Dollar by 0.3 percent during the sessions last week.

Last week, the shilling closed at 100.8 shillings to the dollar from 101.1 shillings the previous week. According to financial analysts, the appreciation was attributed to tightened liquidity in the money markets that led to increased demand for the local currency.

On a year-to-date basis, the Shilling has gained 2.3 percent against the US Dollar. Analysts from Cytonn Investments are still of the view that the shilling should remain relatively stable against the dollar in the short term, supported by:

  • The narrowing of the current account deficit which stood at 6.1 percent of GDP as at March 2018 from 6.4 percent in December 2017
  • Stronger inflows from principal exports which include coffee, tea and horticulture which increased by 9.3 percent during the month of April to 21.9 billion shillings from 20.0 billion shillings in a similar period the previous year, with the exports from coffee, and horticulture increasing by 6.7 percent, and 25.0 percent y/y respectively, while tea exports have declined marginally by 1.6% y/y
  • Improving diaspora remittances, which increased by 56.6 percent to USD 217.1 million in April 2018 from USD 138.6 million in April 2017 with the bulk contribution coming from North America at USD 114.0 attributed to (a) recovery of the global economy, (b) increased uptake of financial products by the diaspora due to financial services firms, particularly banks, targeting the diaspora, and (c) new partnerships between international money remittance providers and local commercial banks making the process more convenient,
  • High forex reserves, currently at USD 9.0 billion (equivalent to 5.9 months of import cover) and the USD 1.5 billion stand-by credit and precautionary facility by the IMF, still available until September 2018

T-Bills Oversubscribed as Government’s Domestic Borrowing Hits Ksh 390.2 Bn

Last week, T-bills were oversubscribed with the subscription rate coming in at 214.7 percent down from 259.5 percent the previous week.

The subscription rates for the 91, 182 and 364-day papers came in at 136.6, 171.5, and 289.2 percent compared to 137.9, 221.6, and 345.9 percent respectively the previous week.

Yields on the 91 and 182- day papers declined by 10 bps to 7.7 percent and 9.7 percent from 7.8 percent and 9.8 percent in the previous week respectively.

Yields on the 364-day paper declined by 20 bps to 10.5 percent from 10.7 percent the previous week according to stats released by Cytonn Investments.

The acceptance rate for T-bills increased to 98.8 percent from 29.5 percent the previous week, with the government accepting a total of 50.9 billion shillings of the 51.5 billion shillings worth of bids received, against the 24.0 billion shillings on offer.

The acceptance rate last week increased to 98.8 percent which may be as a result of the government taking advantage of the declined yields despite being 33.7 percent ahead of its pro-rated domestic borrowing target for the current fiscal year.

The government has already borrowed 390.2 billion shillings domestically against a target of 291.9 billion shillings.

The Kenyan Government issued a new 15-year Treasury bond (FXD 1/2018/25) for the month of June with the coupon set at 13.4 percent in a bid to raise 40.0 billion shillings for budgetary support.

The overall subscription rate for the issue came in at 25.3 percent with the market-weighted average bid rate coming in at 13.7 percent 20 bps above the average acceptance rate of 13.5 percent.

The government accepted 5.9 billion shillings out of the 10.1 billion shillings worth of bids received, translating to an acceptance rate of 51.1 percent.

The government is set to embark on a new borrowing cycle soon with the domestic target set at 271.9 billion shillings (equivalent to 2.8% of GDP).

The draft Financial Markets Conduct Bill prepared by the National Treasury did not point to a repeal or revision of the cap. The National Treasury, however, has proposed a repeal of the interest rate cap, which if repealed can result in upward pressure on interest rates; banks would resume pricing of loans to the private sector based on their risk profiles, direct more funding into loans versus government paper, and consequently reducing the amount of liquidity available for government paper hence putting upward pressure on rate.

IFMIS Rolls Out To Counties: Will Thieving Stop or Go High-tech?

The looting of public resources continues. Looters of public resources continue to roam freely, in big tinted cars, bought from our looted taxes.

Some arrests have been made, all in the name of ‘fighting’ corruption but in the real sense, they are in the name of ‘public relations’, arresting for the camera and continuing to loot behind the scenes.

During the first known scandal to rock the National Youth Service, (NYS), the Integrated Financial Management System (IFMIS) was blamed to have been at the center of the loot.

It is said that those who looted public funds from NYS then, tampered with the IFMIS passwords and ‘legally’ looted this country dry.

IFMIS was meant to enhance transparency in all government procurement and transactions but instead, it has become a tool where government officials ‘steal legally’.

President Uhuru Kenyatta has directed the Ministry of ICT to put in place all the mechanisms that will enable the creation of the internet connectivity for all the 47 counties so that they can be connected to the IFMIS system.

According to the Head of State, the use of IFMIS will create efficiency and contribute to transparency, necessary for the protection of public resources from being misused.

The primary goal of IFMIS was to enhance transparency in government operations and transparency. However, since the system has been turned into a thieving tool, the government should have first worked towards closing all the loopholes that government officials are using to loot public funds through IFMIS.

More than 80 percent of the looting of public resources has been done through IFMIS. The truth is, IFMIS is not going to stop looters from looting this country and we should not keep all our faith in the system.

The IFMIS system has failed us several times. Let us know that the system might be good but if those handling it are rotten, we will never harvest the best out of it.