Various stories abound of Kenyans in the Diaspora who made elaborate plans to invest back home, and, trusting in relatives or friends to get the job done, ended up ruing the day they made that decision.
Kenyans have powerful cultural ties that they never seem to give up. We love our families and extended families such that even while working in other parts of the world, we always keep an eye on what is happening back home.
The statistics bear us out.
Data released by the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) showed that diaspora remittances reached $222.55 million (Ksh 22.25 billion) in March 2018, a growth of 51% per cent compared to $147.52 million (Sh14.75 billion) the same month last year.
Information from the report shows that remittances as a share of GDP stabilized at 2.3 per cent over the 12 months to March 2018, underlying the fact that Diaspora remittances have become a key support of the shilling which is under pressure due to low export earnings.
It is important to recognize that the diaspora community is a major enabler towards economic growth and a critical driver towards the achievement of our overarching vision of an economically sound East African community.
The East Africa region receives about $ 3.5 Billion annually. This is a big contribution which we believe will continue growing substantially in the coming years on the back of continued investments by the government and institutions like us to facilitate the Diaspora communities. In Kenya, remittances account for 4% of GDP.
Over the past few decades, the Diaspora population has become more prominent on the world stage. This puts it at a very unique position to contribute to boosting the economic growth and prosperity of our country. With our growing consumer markets, the consciousness of return and the synergies for growth, dignity and freedom, we are poised to enter into the league of the Asian Tigers.
Kenya is working to ensuring that Kenyans in diaspora can efficiently invest back at home. A few years ago, the government launched a Diaspora Policy that guides us in harnessing the wealth and expertise of Kenyans in the diaspora to our development efforts. The policy is pegged on five pillars – economic diplomacy, peace diplomacy, environmental diplomacy, cultural diplomacy and Diaspora diplomacy. The core of the economic diplomacy pillar is the search for a robust and sustained economic growth as envisaged by Vision 2030.
With the booming real estate industry, this is usually the first point of call considering the opportunity that comes with the surge in urban development and population growth. Funding from the diaspora has spurred rapid growth in the real estate sector, making it one of the fastest growing sectors according to the latest Economic Survey from the government.
The rising remittances have provided a useful source of foreign exchange for the country, helping raise reserves as well as maintaining the stability of the shilling.
Research has found that increasing remittances lead to reduced poverty, enhance human and economic development since it provides income for households, education, health care, housing, small businesses and farming. Recipients of these remittances tend to put more money into these sectors than those who do not receive any.
Additionally, technological advances have made remittance transactions faster, cheaper and more convenient, making it possible to reach even the “last mile” of many remote areas.
As people continue to cross borders seeking better opportunities for themselves and their families, financial investments back home have been made easier by improved communication technologies.
The infrastructural development such as the Standard Gauge Railway play a significant role in alleviating poverty in their domicile countries and beyond.It also offers a chance for individuals to become an integral part of transforming Africa.
Our economy flourishes from billions of shillings remitted each year by Kenyans either working or studying abroad owing to Kenyans’ enhancing their connection with what happens on the ground back home.
To leverage the impact of remittances for both the individual families and their communities while curbing skepticism that may limit their prospects in making investments back home, the banking industry is providing solutions that facilitate secure and profitable investments effortlessly with guidance from experts.
There are mortgage propositions for example that coveraccess to property developers and agents by linking interested home owners with vetted property developers and agents to ensure that the journey to home ownership is stress-free. Additionally, there are multi-currency home loans with added value in the form of project management of construction projects atreasonable costs.
Spurring development in the country is a prerogative of all Kenyans and this is being enabled by expanding access to the financial system, thereby providing recipients with more options to save, invest, and use their remittances productively.
Indeed, the realization has now hit that diaspora remittances can have transformative effects on their livelihoods and communities, with well-invested funds stimulating employment and income generating opportunities.
Partnerships hold the key to realizing the growing scale and potential impact of diaspora remittances by reducing costs and saving time while creating a gateway to financial inclusion.
Annastacia Kerich Kimtai, KCB Group, Retail Director
By Warren Beech
Africa is home to about 30 per cent of the world’s mineral reserves, 10 per cent of the world’s oil, and eight per cent of the world’s natural gas. Extractives form a critical part of mineral rich economies in Africa and contribute directly to the GDP.
Understanding the present, securing the future, and yet extracting the continent’s vast natural wealth remains a high-risk gamble for many investors. This is especially due to a seemingly insatiable thirst from Western consumers. So what is the current state of the mining industry in Kenya and across the continent?
Kenya’s nascent mining industry is bolstered by the production of cement and soda ash, in addition to oil, which is being explored by companies like Tullow Oil, among others. In February 2017, UK firm, Acacia Mining discovered an estimated 1.31 million ounces of gold in Kakamega, one of the highest deposits in Africa. The newly elected Cabinet Secretary for Mining, John Munyes, has expressed optimism in the sector’s growth, especially following the ongoing mapping exercise of minerals in the country.
Boosting the infrastructural framework is a key priority, given the Ministry of Mining’s long-term plans to pipe oil from Lokichar to Lamu. Communities will need to be engaged to support the extractive sector, especially by highlighting long-term benefits.
To maintain this trajectory, a balanced regulatory framework is important to eliminate the risk of slowing development and to deploy favourable and progressive policies. The importance of such a protective policy framework is evident in what has been happening in neighbouring Tanzania. The Tanzanian mining ministry in January passed regulations that will now make it compulsory for foreign-owned mining groups to offer shares to the government and local companies.
The Kenyan Government thus finds itself in an interesting conundrum – trying to create a conducive environment for foreign participation and investment, while also protecting the interests of the communities where exploration is to take place.
Opportunity to create lasting benefits for Kenya
Kenya has real potential to become a regional hub for mining, as it is for financial services. Currently, the country exports most of its mineral wealth in raw form rather than processing it locally. This is because of a lack of sufficient technical expertise and industries to process the minerals.
It would therefore be of great benefit if policy makers visualized and moved towards a future that will create an enabling environment for mineral processing.
Kenya could benefit from mining firms setting up in the country if the draft Mining Local Equity Participation Regulations is signed into law.
According to the draft regulations published by the Ministry of Mining in December 2017, firms investing at least $100 million (Sh1billion) in Kenya’s mining sector must have 24 per cent local shareholding through the stock exchange within three years of operations.
The regulations are set to strengthen the Mining Act 2016, which advocates for the protection of local companies with provisions for equity participation in large mining operations. The Act also provides for the prioritization of local procurement of goods, services and workforce.
Yet even with Africa’s huge mineral wealth, unemployment levels are among the highest around the globe, especially among the youth. In Kenya, the unemployment rate is at 40%. There is an opportunity for Kenya’s youth to derive value from the active mining and extractives industry.
This requires reflection on why current levels of participation are where they are – could it be a lack of skills and knowledge on the extractives value chain?
Kenya is among five African countries bidding for the hosting of the African Minerals Development Centre (AMDC), currently hosted at the African Union Headquarters in Addis Ababa. Winning the bid to host the Centre will further boost the sector and consequently create more jobs in the country.
The writer is a Partner at Hogan Lovells
Money is the lifeblood of any business, and at some point, every company is likely to need an outside infusion to help it grow. Unfortunately, small businesses do not usually have the luxury of large cash reserves which they can easily access to meet temporary or long-term funding requirements.
At the moment budding entrepreneurs are putting all their efforts to clinch an opportunity in this year’s KCB Lions’ Den Season Three show, which allows entrepreneurs to pitch their business and get financing from top business moguls in exchange for stake. Being a competitive engagement, this means that only the best will get the financing they need.
Here are five things to consider when taking the journey to approach investors for any amount of money.
First, define your startup properly, the sector you’re in, and who could potentially be interested in this sector. Think laterally about the possibilities that your product offers, and what industries it could be used in beyond the obvious. Defining your product and where it stands, will also ensure that when it comes to approaching an investor you have a really strong sense of what you’re offering, why it’s important, and where it fits.
Write a detailed business plan
Writing a business plan is easy. But writing one with sufficient detail for investors, can be tricky. Entrepreneurs often leave out key numbers and are overly optimistic with those they provide. For starters, know your burn rate, which measures how much money a not-yet-profitable business is spending each month, and break-even point.
Have a good estimate on your first-year cash requirements, your gross margin, and how it compares to the average for your industry. Also calculate a realistic growth rate and how your costs will scale up as your sales do.
Clean up your credit
If your business doesn’t yet have its own credit history, many investors will want proof that you can responsibly manage money and pay your debts. That proof is your personal financial track record.
If you find any mistakes, contact the creditor involved, requesting a letter acknowledging the mistake and stating they plan to inform the credit-reporting agencies about it.
Investors might be less concerned with your credit score than lenders, but they’ll be wary of entrepreneurs with major blemishes such as a bankruptcy or loan default on their record.
Line up your team.
The big question for nearly every angel investor is: Can you do this? They’ll want to know that you and your co-founders or management team can execute the ambitious business plan you’ve presented and pay back your loan or generate a return for investors. Make sure you and your key people can talk about what may be ahead for the business, what the later phases of growth might be, what could go wrong, and how you might handle those things.
A Viable exit strategy
Before he or she invests in your business, an angel investor will expect to see an exit strategy. While angel investors are patient and willing to make long-term investments, they need to see how they’re going to reap the return on their investment.
The sale of shares to the company’s principals is a common exit strategy for angel investors who hold equity ownership positions; the sale or merger of the company is a common exit strategy for debt-holding investors. Don’t be surprised that your prospective angel investor wants a time-frame set.
You want to get an investor to help you take your business to the next level? Apply KCB Lions’ Den Season Three on https://www.kcb2jiajiri.com/lions-den/ and achieve your next desired business growth.
Louis Otieno, in his hey days, was one of Kenya’s finest TV personalities. And that was a valuable time to watch TV. Louis Otieno, Beatrice Marshall, Christine Nguku, Nyatichi Nyasani, Sophie Ikenye, Tom Mboya, Njoroge Mwaura, Catherine Kasavuli, Fayyaz Qureishi. Wa wa wa. The list is not very long.
These TV presenters did their job with honor, respect, and dignity. And because of that, the rest of society idolized them. At the same time, we saw these men and women we idolized as being perfect. Oh how we forgot that even such great men and women are human enough to make mistakes! And that is Louis Otieno for you.
It is a common knowledge that life is inextricably interwoven with scars and bruises and wounds and hurts and heartache and sorrow. Louis Otieno made bad choices. He betrayed people who loved him. Because of the choices he made, some driven by his king-like status in media, some families were broken. It was one mistake after another.
There were/are people hurting because of Louis Otieno. I can imagine these people going down on their knees and praying to the God of Kirinyaga to “deal with the enemy,” and the enemy in this case being Louis Otieno. God perhaps is dealing with Louis Otieno. I do not know. But that is the work of the Master. And He is very good at it! At the same time, God calls on us to love everybody (in Matthew, the word is “enemy”). He does not say “love only those whose mistakes and follies are not in the public limelight.” He does not say “Love only those who are righteous.” In the Letter to the Romans, Paul reminds us that “No one is righteous, no, not one.”
Is it possible to love Louis Otieno after all? To some, it’s difficult. To others, maybe it’s possible.
Today Louis Otieno needs medical attention. And this will cost money. What would the Good Samaritan have done in such a situation? Abandon him for being guilty of so many misdeeds? Now forget about the Good Samaritan, for a minute. What will you do about Louis Otieno? Will you help him meet his medical costs?
The human in me will not look at Louis’ faults. I will look at the human capacity to redeem others. Besides, John Ruganda said it well in the book The Burdens: “Fools laugh at disease, the wise laugh at ugliness.”
By Kris Senanu
Kenya has already established itself as a high growth market with a technology enabled society that it can build on to create a vibrant information technology based service industry.
With the East African market information technology related market expected to grow to a size of 128 billion USD in the next decade, Kenya is well positioned to benefit from this growth.
Without a doubt, this growth will be driven by Kenya’s Small and Medium Enterprises (SME’s) ecosystem that stands at a registered 17 million companies
Employing at least 85 percent of Kenya’s eligible human resource and contributing to more than 45 percent of Kenya’s economy, approximately half of Kenya’s Gross Domestic Product, it might all seem glorious but small businesses are not pulling their weight in the economy.
While lack of working capital, market access, red-tape are typically the reasons bandied around for limiting small business growth the remedy could as well be lying in lack of accessible and affordable ICT solutions.
There is market confirmation that digitizing business processes could bring unquantifiable benefits; reaching more potential customers, reducing the cost to serve customers, making production processes more efficient and making it quicker and easier to monitor and report business performance.
To get small and medium businesses using ICT services more extensively, there are four hurdles we have to overcome: complexity, affordability, connectivity and a compelling reason.
With a competitive connectivity landscape, it is increasingly becoming a complex task for small businesses without the foresight of an internal expert to find the right ICT applications to meet their business need.
Cost is another obvious stumbling block in the path of small businesses connectivity, while technology such as cloud computing is changing the equation; the panacea is really the operators’ investments in connectivity assets.
Telkom Kenya is among the companies that have made investment in connectivity infrastructure a key focus. Some of its investments include a 23 percent stake in 5000KMs TEAMs (through Fujairah in the UAE), a 10 per cent stake in 2,700-kilometre LION2, (through Mayotte in Mauritius), an 8 per cent stake in the East Africa Submarine System and management of the governments National Optic Fibre Backbone sets offering solutions distinctive on speed, accessibility and reliability.
Connectivity, or the lack of it, is an increasingly important factor. Without a reliable and speedy broadband connection, small businesses are constrained in capacity to use the myriad of opportunities at their disposal.
Granted, the web of complexity, cost and connectivity will be broken down by the marketplace competition increasing the use of ICT by SME’s.
But a final barrier stops many such businesses making effective use of ICT: they simply do not see a compelling reason to do so.
Key market trends are helping to overcome this barrier too. The revolution in consumer-friendly devices such as smartphones and tablets — and the fast-growing ecosystem of applications like Telkom Kenya’s E@synet Broadband for SME’s are changing things for small and medium business as much as for consumers.
Policy makers should also have access to better information on how to persuade SME’s of the benefits of being active online.
The explosion of social media is offering new opportunities for small businesses to market themselves and build richer relationships with customers. Buttressing this trend is the need and ability to connect enterprises’ business physical devices, otherwise known as “Internet of Things”.
This trend will play a dominant role in the future of Kenyan enterprises providing businesses with key analytics, data and informatics requisite for concise, thorough and more effective demand-side decision making processes.
Indeed, there’s evidence that companies that can most effectively use analytics to inform demand-side decisions about business processes outperform those that can’t
There are many challenges for SME’s in today’s market, such as increased competition, rising customer expectations and limited capital. However, by using the cloud to access the same tools and services once reserved for enterprises, SMEs can deliver a higher quality of service without placing additional strain on existing resources.
Finally, there lies an opportunity for government itself to act as a fulcrum for increasing uptake through its public services for SME’s across a range of departments, as has been acknowledged in the work already done by Business Environment Delivery Unit to digitize government operations to ease delivery to small businesses.
Departments of government have a key role to play in stimulating the online activities of SME’s in a positive way – whether it be statutory obligations like paying taxes through Kenya Revenue Authorities’ iTax system where small businesses can file and pay their corporate income tax, VAT and PAYE electronically or new businesses can have a name search and reservation, KRA pin number, NHIF, NSSF and single business permit registration online, the interaction goes a long way in demonstrating the value of connectivity in business processes.
The Author is the Managing Director, Enterprise Division at Telkom
By David Mwangi
- Leave Naked Women Alone:
Yes, those women who dress like they are in the process of undressing but they have not finished. Leave them alone. Most of them are up to no good and will only cost you a whole fortune in one weekend. Instead, get yourself a real woman: There is strength in a real woman.. Not these tuma chics that my colleague Mwaba Mutale calls ‘Bandits’. Get a woman who will not only support your vision but will also push you to achieve more. A woman who will inspire you to work hard and not a woman who just makes you hard. He who finds a real woman finds a good thing and obtains favour and power to create wealth.
- Minimise drinking. Just do it socially and at the right time.
- Stop being Lazy: “Man ooh Man, why art thou Lazy?” You are too lazy for your own good. You sleep the whole day and blame the govt for your poverty. “A Little Sleep, a Little Slumber, poverty shall overtake you like a political cadre in overalls”. A lot of men are just lazy when it comes to making money. They have enough energy to give a woman five orgasms, but have no energy to start one organization…. that’s why it is so easy for men to manufacturer children than it is to make even pegs for putting children’s clothes on the line..
- Know and engage in Productive Things:
You know too much about the, UEFA, EPL and LaLiga than you know about the Nairobi Securities Exchange and Wall Street… If you keep too much junk in your head, you get a junk life. I know a lot of men who are so sharp when you are talking about girls, about soccer and about street politics, but bring a topic about investment, innovation and business, they start looking at their phone, yawning or saying bye.. Useless things, videos and memes go viral fast than constructive things.. A man must know how to do at least one productive thing (have one skill) even without having gone to college..
- Get Connected to Big Men:
A lot of men are failing because they are not mentored. They don’t have anyone to whom they can sit down and listen, with obedience. In the old days, old men would sit young men down and show them how to hunt and kill animals… and no man was considered a man enough until he has personally killed an animal… now these men of nowadays are not mentored and can’t even kill a bird.. There are men out there who have made it in life, find a way to get mentored by big men who are making waves..
By Mukurima X Muriuki
Kenya is a mosaic of 42 tribes. We have hundreds of languages and a multitude of cultures and histories. Some Kenyans are sedentary, others are nomads; many are farmers, quite a number are herdsmen; some are fishers, a few are criminals, many are corrupt; some are highly educated, others are just literate; some are very successful, many others are not so fortunate. Every Kenyan has a unique history, culture and pride.
Though we are as many and diverse when grouped and classified, there is something that inseparably weaves us together-our national anthem. It is a prayer where we bow before our Lord with the following in the 3rd stanza:
Let ALL with one accord
In common bond united
Build this OUR nation TOGETHER
And the glory of Kenya
The fruit of OUR labour
Fill EVERY heart with thanksgiving.
This prayer is premised on ALL Kenyans, not some Kenyans. This prayer raises the manhood of ALL Kenyans and not just Kikuyu. This prayer humanizes ALL Kenyans and does not push away the Luo. This prayer binds ALL Kenyans to better days ahead and does not exclude the Mijikenda.
We cannot however, pretend that in this marriage, in this union called Kenya, that we have been as faithful and fervent to this prayer.
I however, refuse to agree with David Ndii that the answer to this predicament is a divorce! Divorce, even in relationships, is for the lazy, those who do not want to explore options to avoid that D word!
It reminds me of a mediation I was part of a while back. A couple wanted to go separate ways, or what we say in my local “Gwitana mirura”. The wife was adamant the husband wasn’t in love with her, or if he was, he wasn’t showing that love! On hearing this, I further queried the wife on what it would take for the husband to show that he loved her.
“He always leaves dirty dishes on the sink. And because my nails are made I can’t do the dishes. So they end up being on the sink for days. But he doesn’t see it that way”she said.
When it came to the turn of the husband, the realization was that washing dishes wasn’t manly. It was the responsibility of the woman to do such chores. He could not imagine himself in the kitchen cleaning dishes. Not when he had paid dowry for a woman to do that!
See, this couple was looking to put to waste 14 years just because they couldn’t explore ways to communicate and avoid the constant fights over small issues such as cleaning dishes. And in doing so, they had not thought of a dishwasher as a solution. We advised them and the issue was resolved
They are still happily married today.
In our Kenyan marriage, what we urgently need is to find ways to grow and mature. The answer on how we can grow and mature-perhaps, is to be found in words of Friedrick Nietzsche:
“It’s not simply a question of having the courage of one’s convictions, but at times having the courage to attack one’s convictions.”
If you are in Jubilee, have you tried to oppose what Jubilee stands for? Call it critique. If you are in NASA, have you tried to pause and question what it is NASA stands for? If you are a Kikuyu have you opposed Uthamakism and if you are Luo have you opposed Odingaism. After all, in words of Nelson Mandela, we create demigods if we don’t criticize people!
Above all as a country, we must start talking with each other. We must have dialogue even with those we hate. That is the only way we shall build an amazing country that those who will come after us will be proud of.
By Jane Mwangi.
The observation, for only the third time in history, of the World Youth Day marked an important milestone for humanity today.
In Kenya, as in many other countries around the world, success for young people is often defined through the well-worn path of pursuing good academic grades so that they can earn a university degree and eventually secure a well-paying white-collar job.
We may be programming our youth to study hard at subjects they don’t like, so that they can get a job they hate, so that they can join the ‘middle class’ and afford things they do not need. Those young people that deviate from this path are subsequently marked as “failures” and “punished” through relegation to technical [Kazi ya Mkono] vocations such as domestic services, tailoring, carpentry, masonry, mechanics, and “worst of all”; farming.
But this is an illusion, far removed from the truth.
The world is beginning to experience the negative effects of neglecting technical education and snubbing skilled labour especially available from young people. This oversight has triggered significant demand for skilled workers in developed countries to the extent that significant labour migration has been observed.
The irony is that this demand for skilled youth is happening in a context where young people are three times more likely to be unemployed compared to adults according to UN findings. They are also exposed to the lowest quality jobs, experience the greatest inequality in the labour market and suffer a longer and more insecure transition from education to employment. The most visible reason for youth unemployment is structural unemployment. This is where there is a mismatch between the skills in our youth and the needs of employers. Available data confirms our worst fears. The International Labour Organization reports that global youth unemployment reached 13.1% in 2016 and is expected remain at that level in 2017, up from 12.9% in 2015. Within the Kenyan context, a 2016 survey titled Universities, Employability and Inclusive Development: Repositioning Higher Education in Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa, concluded that it takes an average of 5 years for a young person to secure stable employment. It further found that young people aged between 15 and 34 years experienced the highest levels of unemployment at 67%.
Kenya has caught on to the significance of this lapse. The government has embarked on an aggressive policy to popularize and improve on technical training standards in the country. In 2014, the state committed to establish or improve existing technical training colleges in each of the 290 constituencies. In 2017, the government invested over KES 2.5 Billion in order to begin training of the 30,000 technologists, 90,000 technicians, and over 400,000 craftsmen that the country needs if it is to implement megaprojects under Vision 2030.
The private sector has also elected to support the efforts of the government to ensure that our young people have the skills relevant to our labour market. The KCB Foundation for instance, has taken the role of becoming a leading catalyst in creating sustainable jobs and enterprises for our youth particularly in the informal sector. Under the flagship program 2jiajiri, the foundation aims to transform and equip unemployed and out-of-school youth from job seekers to job creators. The foundation is supporting young men and women alike to acquire both the technical and enterprise management skills needed to establish and grow their own micro enterprises.
Beyond setting up our young people for future success as employers in their own right, the KCB Foundation has gone the extra mile to forge partnerships with institutions in the public sector and companies in the private sector that will serve as the consumers of the services and commodities produced by our youth. In short, the foundation took on the evolutionary responsibility of creating a balanced ecosystem that addressed aspects of the demand and supply of skilled labour. The young people trained by the foundation are already making steps towards becoming the next generation of employers. Already, some of the star beneficiaries have established businesses that have begun employing other young people.
It is time we ramped up efforts to make technical jobs ‘cool’ and restore the dignity of working with one’s hands especially within the agricultural sector. One of the most effective ways to do this is to establish an unbreakable link between technical skills and economic freedom. In other works, let us inspire our young people to liberate themselves from poverty instead of waiting for an employer to do it for them.
We also need to encourage the development of ‘soft skills’ within the generation of the future. Our universities and colleges need to encourage entrepreneurship even in the liberal arts, so that our nation churns out painters, sculptors, actors, musicians, poets and writers in addition to electricians, plumbers and roofers. Drawing from Confucian wisdom, we aspire for a situation where if our young people are skilled in a job they love, they will never have to work a day in their lives.
Ms. Mwangi is the Executive Director, KCB Foundation