Liberia: Whose information are we sharing?

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Liberia: Building Trust in Tools

Some information in this post has been updated.

Occasionally, in partnership with others, Ushahidi takes on projects that help test certain applications of the platform in order to improve the tool. Ushahidi will also take on projects on a consultancy basis from time to time; in the unique instance of Liberia, I will be acting as a consultant for Ushahidi, working with partner organizations on the ground to implement Ushahidi as each partner sees fit.  Over the next six months, I’ll be checking in regularly on this blog to provide updates on how Ushahidi is being used in the Liberian context by local organizations and networks of early warning actors.

________________________________________________________________________________

From roads to rivers: Liberia’s constantly changing landscape

In my first week back on Liberian soil, I’ve been (re)learning the complexity of this simple fact: Ushahidi is a tool.  It’s a tool defined by versatility – a Swiss Army knife of sorts that can serve multiple purposes and offers many useful approaches to a range of challenges.  But here’s the funny thing about tools – they only work in collaboration with others tools and in cooperation with their surroundings; a hammer, for example, is only effective if it has a nail, and that nail will only hold if it has a solid piece of wood or sturdy wall.

Now if we imagine that Ushahidi is the Swiss Army knife of communication and information sharing, one of the most important components of this ecosystem is trust.  Who do you trust to deliver information, where do you go to share it, and what mechanisms (oral, written, SMS) of transmission do you rely upon?  If any one of these links in the chain – the mechanism for transmission, the individual/institution delivering the information – isn’t trusted, the tools that enabled the info sharing will not fulfill their purpose – and may themselves become distrusted parts of the whole.

Last Wednesday morning, John Etherton (this project’s technical support manager) and I met with members of the Carter Center and IREX to discuss this delicate balance of trust, new technology and conflict mediation.  Lofa County was our focal point, as new reports are now being published on the complex series of events that led to widespread violence last February.  A recap: What began as the murder of a young girl led to an angry mob seeking vengeance, a mob that blamed the local imam with strong conviction and little evidence; with plans to storm the imam’s mosque, the crowd was deterred (Pakistani peacekeepers were nearby) and decided instead to call (that’s right, on the mobile) one of the mosque’s regular attendants to tell him, ‘we are burning down your mosque.’  The beginning of a rumor.  Without verifying if this information was true (and it was not), the receiver of this call formed a retaliatory mob, that actually did burn down nearby churches and Christian businesses.  In the process, several people were killed.  Preexisting ethnic and religious tensions (the Lorma people are primarily Christian; the Mandingo, Muslim) cannot be underestimated as fuel for the fire.  What we also agreed during our Wednesday meeting was that the use of mobile phones played a critical part in this information-sharing wildfire.

What we need, said one member of our meeting, is a counter-narrative; there has to be a trusted source of information that is providing factual information to counter the rumors.  Who would this be, and how would they deliver their message?  This is where Ushahidi could come in, using Frontline SMS to send messages to members of the community when conflict is brewing – the message containing either a statement from a local authority figure or instructions on where to look for accurate information.  But we hit hurdle number 1: many of the citizens who live in these areas of Lofa County are illiterate.  Okay, written SMS is out.  Next up: what about a recorded voice message from the local chief?  Hurdle number 2: is the local chief the most respected authority figure?  Would an imam or priest be more likely to carry weight in these communities?  The latter may be more relevant in the Lofa context, but because of religious divisions it would not fly in the Christian community to receive a voice recording on crisis information from an imam (hurdle number 3).  Okay, we thought, what about joint voice recordings – both the imam and priest speaking together to the community, symbolizing harmony and cooperation?  There were joint task forces and peace committees formed by imams and priests in some parts of Lofa in response to the violence, so this option is not unprecedented.*

But we were forgetting to ask one crucial question about the social environment – one that would surely affect how useful any tool would be: are religious or tribal elders the authority in these communities?  Youth in Lofa were said to have kidnapped an imam and other traditional leaders during the bursts of violence; young people may not historically be authority figures, but power can be and often is usurped during periods of instability.  Where do youth fall in the delivery of this counter-narrative and within the larger power structure?

The realities of using a tool out of the box often means elaborating on the clean order of its imagined purpose in the hot mess that is the changing context.  In Liberia, there are multiple languages, limited literacy, spotty cell phone coverage, chronic ethnic tensions and religious divides, and an evolving tangle of traditional leaders, emerging authority figures and the ever-present usurpers of power.  To work, Ushahidi will have to be a smart tool – in other words, one that learns (via its human operators) how to gain the trust of its users.

*What I’m sharing here about the Lofa incidents is admittedly a piecemeal version – one translation – of what happened; my sources have been many over the last several months and only now are documents being released detailing what actually took place.  I will be attending a conference on the Lofa County conflict this week and intend to update any information I’ve written here that I later find to be inaccurate.

This post has been updated.

Posted in Deployment, Mobile, Ushahidi, Violence. Tagged with illiteracy, liberia, mob violence, sms.

By kate

June 29, 2010

1 comment

VoteReportPH Ushahidi Implementation

[Guest blog post: Ankit Sharma is a Masters student at the Information Systems and Innovation Group at the London School of Economics. He is currently interning with Ushahidi. His interests include studying the role of information and communication technologies in aggregating crisis information and managing crisis response.]

The blog post is about the deployment of the Ushahidi platform in Philippines by the Computer Professionals Union (CPU). The deployment named VoteReportPH was an effort to monitor the 2010 Philippines Elections by providing a tool for the collection and monitoring of the data about the electoral process. Additionally, it is expected that the collected data will serve as a starting point for future legal and political action.

This initiative was quite unique in terms of its overall implementation process. The VoteReportPH team in addition to providing a forum to collate election data also got involved in a voter education campaign in order to inform the voters about the voting process.  In these elections it was the first time that an automated election system (AES) was used in the Philippines. Therefore, it was extremely important that the voters were made aware of the nature of the AES voting process.  Additionally, VoteReportPH conducted trainings for the election monitors to instruct them about the manner in which they are expected to share information with the VoteReportPH platform. The VoteReportPH team had also setup their own blog to highlight the most urgent reports of the vote fraud.  In appreciation of its comprehensive and novel implementation strategy, the Technology for Transparency Network praised the VoteReportPH team for the implementation of the Ushahidi platform.

VoteReportPH received almost three thousand SMS reports from election monitors spread across different parts of the Philippines during the elections. Initially, the reports were sent to their office in Julu, Philippines.  Subsequently, the reports collected from the election monitors, most of whom were volunteers, were aggregated and visualized using the Ushahidi platform. Afterwards, the verified reports were then sent to Kontra Daya, an electoral watchdog which the Computer Professional Union (CPU) collaborated with during the elections for their VoteReportPH initiative. As part of the initiative, the application of Frontline SMS was also used to send out information to the election monitors working in the field during the elections. This helped in maintaining proper communication with the election monitors.

In spite of its apparent success, however, the implementers do acknowledge that the task of completely identifying the extent of fraud in the elections remains extremely challenging. We believe that to better ensure success of similar initiatives in the future it is important to garner support of the public & the government, and to further standardize the data collection & data aggregation process of the platform. If appropriate lessons are learned from VoteMonitorPH implementation,and other similar initiatives, we expect that the overall effectiveness and relevance of similar initiatives can be improved further thereby leading to a reliable electoral process. Hopefully, all these goals will be achieved in the near future!

Posted in Deployment, elections. Tagged with Philippines.

By patrick

June 29, 2010

No comments

On The Ushahidi Plugin System

One of the features we’re really excited about for the Ushahidi Platform 2.0 release is the plugin system. What exactly is a plugin system anyway? Well, let’s just use an analogy to answer that question.

Let’s pretend that the Ushahidi Platform is a house and adding any new stuff to that house would require electricity. Well, before the plugin system was in place, this house did not have any electrical outlets. Naturally, it could sometimes be a cumbersome process to add new stuff because you have to either bring your own generator or run an extension cord. With the addition of the plugin system, we’ve essentially added an electrical outlet to each room in the house. Structurally, the house hasn’t changed, but now you can easily add new stuff by “plugging-in” to whichever electrical outlet you please.

Jumping back to reality, we see the plugin system bringing several benefits:

  1. Expands Development Opportunities: Developers now have greater ease and flexibility in tapping into core platform. No more extension cords and generators!
  2. Less bugs in the core platform: Any time you build new functionality, you’re going to encounter bugs. The plugin system allows us to keep new functionality physically separate from the core platform and will thus reduce the amount of bugs that pop up in the platform.
  3. Allows us to integrate other online tools without “reinventing the spoon”: Third party tools services can now be easily integrated without heavy customization of the core platform.

Anyway, a few weeks ago, David and I had skype video call to go over the plugin system and answer a few questions the Ushahidi Developer Community sent in. Please check it out to get more of the details.

We’ve already built a few plugins to get things rolling. Check out the growing list here: http://apps.ushahidi.com.

To learn more, check out the documentation on our wiki.

You can download the latest code on Github.

We’re really excited to see what folks can create using the new plugin system!

Posted in Uncategorized. Tagged with plugins, release, screencast.

By caleb

June 29, 2010

1 comment

Read This If You Don’t Know What Ushahidi Is

Ushahidi is the name of both the organization (Ushahidi Inc) and the software. This sometimes leads to confusion. So lets elaborate on both.

Ushahidi Inc. is a non-profit tech company. We’ve always been a non-profit tech company. We are not a humanitarian, human rights, media or development organization. Please see our “About” page. The word Ushahidi is Swahili for “witness” or “testimony.” This was the name of the mapping platform we launched to document human rights abuses during the 2007/2008 post election violence in Kenya. We chose to keep this name for future versions of the software and adopted the same name for the company when we incorporated.

Ushahidi Inc.’s core mission is to continue developing the free and open source mapping platform so that it becomes a world class piece of software. To this end, we do not take the lead in deployments since this is not our comparative advantage—as recently demonstrated in Haiti. I launched the Ushahidi platform at The Fletcher School (where I am a PhD candidate) and where many graduate students (not Ushahidi employees) created a “live” map of the disaster. Yes, the Ushahidi tech team provided invaluable support around the clock during that time but it was a partnership led by The Fletcher team.

So while we occasionally partner on select projects, we do not take the lead in said projects. Why partner at all? Because it’s important for sustainability and allows us to gain better insights into the needs and challenges that end users face when they deploy the software. But what is this software all about in the first place?

The Ushahidi software is a platform used to map information. To this end, the software is obviously not a methodology for information collection. The methodology that users choose to collect the information they map has nothing to do with the Ushahidi platform. These methodologies can include representative sampling, non-probability sampling such as crowdsourcing, etc. In other words, the information mapped on Ushahidi is not always collected using crowdsourcing. Nor is Ushahidi restricted to mapping crisis information. A wide range of events can be mapped using the platform. Non-events can also be mapped, such as football stadiums, etc.

Here’s an analogy: Microsoft Word won’t tell me what methodology to use if I want to write a paper on the future of technology. That is up to me, the author, to decide. If I don’t have any training in research methods and design, then I need to get up to speed myself. MS Word obviously won’t provide me with insights on research methods. MS Word is just the platform. Coming back to the Ushahidi platform, if an organization does not have adequate expertise, staff, capacity, time and resources to deploy Ushahidi, that is obviously not the fault of the software. In many ways, the use of Ushahidi platform will only be as good as the organization or persons using the tool.

Posted in Deployment, crowdsourcing. Tagged with Ushahidi.

By patrick

June 28, 2010

No comments

Ushahidi Wins the BoBs!

Ushahidi has won the Weblog of the Year award from Deutsche Welle. I’m at the Global Media Forum in Bonn, Germany where I spent yesterday taking part in the BoB’s (Best of Blogs) 6th award ceremony.

Ushahidi wins the Weblog of the Year Award

I’ll say here what I said there yesterday. Ushahidi’s blog is an extension of the community. Many of the blog posts here are written both by our team and by those who use Ushahidi all over the world. A lot of time is spent writing and coming up with the blog posts to educate and share the experiences of how to better crowdsource information in very trying times.

The list of winners from the different languages and categories was stunning. I had a chance to speak with a couple of the other winners and was struck with just how fortunate we were to win this award, as any one of them could have as well.

A big thank you to Deutsche Welle for putting this event on and honoring us with this award. An even bigger thank you to the Ushahidi community that earned this award with us.

Asante.

Posted in Conferences, Ushahidi, awards. Tagged with award, blog, blog award, Deutsche Welle, dw_gmf, germany, Ushahidi.

By Erik Hersman

June 23, 2010

3 comments

Measuring Success in Ushahidi Deployments

How do we know when an Ushahidi deployment is successful? The answer to this question is no different than with any other project. If a given project has achieved the organization’s (or person’s) clearly stated goal and objectives, then the project is considered successful. If an organization does not specify a goal and set of objectives, then the project cannot be evaluated—or worse, critics will define these themselves and publicly label the project a failure.

This is why it is important for organizations deploying Ushahidi platforms to publicly define their goal and objectives, along with associated outputs and activities. The goal is achieved by accomplishing a number of objectives; objectives are achieved by producing a set of outputs; and outputs are produced by implementing a series of activities—concrete events or services.

Lets define our terms. When it comes to monitoring and evaluation, I often draw on the work by my colleague Cheyanne Church who is a recognized expert in this field. Much of this post borrows from her work. The goal is the broadest change in the environment that the deployment hopes to achieve. Project objectives describe the types of change that are perquisites to achieving the goal. Activities are the concrete events or services that program staff members and participants implement. The immediate deliverables or products from activities, which are often tangible, are called outputs.

Organizations deploy Ushahidi platforms to affect some kind of change. They may hope to change relationships, behavior, circumstance, functioning, attitude, knowledge, skills, maintenance, prevention, process and/or structure. This list, modified from Cheyanne’s book, is not exhaustive but a good place to start. Examples for some types of change are listed below:

• Relationship: from disconnectedness to solidarity
• Behavior: from disrespecting immigrants to respecting them
• Circumstance: from politically marginalized to able to vote
• Functioning: from nontransparent to transparency
• Attitude: from apathy to hope

Organizations may seek to affect more than one type of change. Either way, these changes are what necessarily inform the project’s goal, objectives, outputs and activities.

That’s why it is ridiculous to focus exclusively on metrics like number of reports and criticize organizations when their Ushahidi deployments do not garner some (completely) arbitrary number. Yes, the number of reports may be an output produced from a given activity to meet a certain objective, but that number need not necessarily be in the hundreds or thousands to achieve a stated objective. It all depends on what the objectives are!

When I was consulting for the Conflict Early Warning and Response Network (CEWARN) in the Horn of Africa, dedicated field monitors were documenting incidents of violence in the region’s cross border areas using a basic web-based platform. Ushahidi could also be used for this purpose. In any case, one of the objectives of CEWARN was to catalyze more collaboration and communication between governments in the Horn and thereby build trust at the intergovernmental level. Meeting this objective had little to do with the number of reports submitted to CEWARN.

In sum, it is really important for organizations to clearly articulate their goal, objectives, outputs and activities. In fact, I highly recommend they do so in the “About” tab of their Ushahidi deployment before going live. Otherwise, critics will have a field day tarnishing all the efforts that an organization has put into their Ushahidi project by unilaterally labeling the initiative a failure even if the project was in fact successful.

Posted in Deployment, Strategy. Tagged with evaluation, monitoring, success.

By patrick

June 17, 2010

3 comments

SwiftRiver 101 Recap

Yesterday we held our very first SwiftRiver 101 which saw an audience of between fifty and sixty people descende upon the iHub to find out the basics of the SwiftRiver platform, as well as technical details like installation, core code and information about Swift APIs and the plugin framework. This included representatives from Google, Datadyne, NDI, Open Street Map and a number of other organizations.

Director/System Architect Jon Gosier and Lead Developer/Technical Architect Matthew Griffiths, lead the days presentations. Please videos below…

Presentation 1 – Platform Overview

An explanation of the whole SwiftRiver ecosystem by Jon Gosier.

SwiftRiver 101 Session 1 from Ushahidi on Vimeo.

Presentation 2 – Swift Web Services

Detailed explanations of the Swift Web Services: RiverID, SiLCC, SULSa, Reverberations, and SiCDS by Jon Gosier.

Technical Breakout Panel

Detailed explanations of SwiftRiver’s code, redundant data abstraction layers and API by Matthew Griffiths.

Update: Slides from the day. Platform Overview and Web Service Overview

Posted in swift river. Tagged with 101, recap, swift, tech.

By Jon Gosier

June 17, 2010

No comments

Ushahidi 101: Calling All Developers

Following the recent Swift River ‘crash course’ at the iHub, we are planning a similar event for developers interested in getting involved in contributing to Ushahidi. This is the second Ushahidi 101 session the first having primarily focused on Ushahidi from a deployment point of view, this one will focus more on developing the application and contributing to the code base.

To date Ushahidi prides itself in it’s origin as an African innovation (though now applied to varied situations across the globe and developed by programmers from different continents) and we place great value on local developers and their contribution to the project. We would love to see even more developers involved as we seek not only to grow the project but also pull up the cadre of local developers through involvement in such Open Source projects as Ushahidi and SwiftRiver.

If you will be in Nairobi on the 23rd of June (Wednesday) feel free to pass by iHub between 5.30 and 7.30 PM. To help us figure out how many pizzas to order, please register on this link.

The brief overview will cover:

  • Setting up a development environment
  • Introduction to MVC and the Kohana (PHP) framework
  • Working with GIT
  • Overview of the Ushahidi database schema
  • Editing the code
  • Working the Bug/Issue list

Posted in Development, How to Help, Ushahidi. Tagged with developers, ihub, overview, training, Ushahidi, Ushahidi101.

By wmworia

June 17, 2010

1 comment

Latest Getting Started with SwiftRiver Video

Are you using the SwiftRiver alpha release? If so, you may find the latest Getting Started video useful.

Posted in Media, swift river. Tagged with installation, swift, Video.

By Jon Gosier

June 15, 2010

2 comments

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About The Ushahidi Blog

Ushahidi, which means ”testimony” in Swahili, is a website that was developed to map reports of violence in Kenya after the post-election fallout at the beginning of 2008. We’re working to build a new platform that can be used anywhere in the world, and this blog tells some of that story. more →

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Copyright © 2010 Ushahidi.com. All Rights Reserved. Developed by Ushahidi, Inc

Venture Capital in Nairobi – VC101

A talk on venture capital (VC) was given by Vincent Kouwenhoven and Brian Hirman of the eVA (eVentures Africa Fund BV) at the iHub in Nairobi. They both have about 15 years experience in VC and enumerated the criteria the fund uses for investments including that target companies in Africa should have profitable track records (not start-up’s) to qualify for VC investments of between 25,000 and 250,000 Euros (~Kshs 2.5 million to Kshs 25 million).

The fund was launched in January 2010, and in the ½ year they have invested in 5-6 companies. The founders are seasoned travelers in Africa and their interest was piqued by observations they made over the last three years including;
1. Chinese investment interest in Ghana and Kenya
2. Arrival of fibre optic cables
3. More African returnees returning from the Diaspora who were setting up their own companies (it’s a good sign). They have been exposed to Kenya for many years and sense that entreprenual spirit in Nairobi is very good as are competence levels in high technology sectors.

– All their investment are active in the digital scene – whether mobile, internet, communication platforms – and include a leading internet company in Ghana, while in Kenya, they have Jumuika, Ratio Magazine, and the latest deal signed today is for an investment in Verviant (w/ Liko Agosta better known for Pesapal)

– They invest growth funding in companies and try and cultivate a healthy portfolio, unlike other VC’s who make several weak investments in the hope that one or two will payoff and offset the failures. Their investment clearly spells out the use of proceeds/funds which can vary, but ideally should not be for increased salaries or other debt repayment (unless to retire expensive debt). They also mentioned that their investment criteria is a guide, not cast in stone (e.g. Jumuika was a startup)

– They get involved in the operations of the company; whether marketing, technology, financial, entrepreneurship, HR policies. They act as a sounding board and advise owners (use skype a lot) on how to scale up e.g. when they get traction, how to set up customer care capacity

– They seek out committed entrepreneurs – not part timers, or people with one good idea they have not developed, or people with a dozen ideas (not focused). They want to invest in people with the gut and belief to start a business and are willing to eat bread & water to hack it put (not one who relies luck) – and who also enjoy what they are doing. Other “no no’s” include people who ask for too much money that dilutes their equity (EVA want founders to retain at least 51% at all timea), or which enables them to run the business without risk for two years (i.e. with the VC’s funding)

– On exit strategy their preferred rout is a buyout of the company within 3 to 7 years by multi-national or larger company. In cases where an investor may not be ready to sell, the VC can sell their stake to another VC.

You might also like:

VC Coffee Chat

Skunkworks: Nairobi September 29

VC Fund update

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Posted by bankelele at 7:11 PM 6 comments

Labels: africa venture capital, entrepreneurship, iHub, Pesapal, SME solutions, TEAMS

Friday, June 25, 2010

VC Coffee Chat

On Monday June 28 at the iHub in Nairobi there will be a talk on venture capital, in continuation of a series of events that bring together local financiers and entrepreneurs.

In preparation for that, we had a chat with Eline Blaauboer of TBL Mirror Fund which is a Dutch venture capital fund that has made four investments in Kenya and are also branching around East Africa.

The Fund invests a minimum of EUR 100,000(~Kshs 10 million) taking minority stakes in companies that show fast growth and the potential to be market leaders. They look for well-managed ambitious and visionary SME’s and TBL invests in all sectors particularly where the partners have extensive industry knowledge, as a VC focused on a specific sector is not sustainable here yet. It’s interesting to note that, while it is said in local banking that women are not ambitious enough to dream big and attract large funding, ½ of their investee are women-led companies

Related
– TBN are hiring both an investment manager and an investment analyst.
– On Monday June 28 at the iHub in Nairobi there will be a VC 101 event with a talk on venture capital given by Vincent Kouwenhoven of the EVA Fund
– Recap of recent VC activity in the region by Ratio-Magazine.

You might also like:

Venture Capital in Nairobi – VC101

VC Fund update

Skunkworks: Nairobi September 29

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Posted by bankelele at 9:50 AM 0 comments

Labels: africa venture capital, iHub, Nairobi Jobs, SME solutions

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Urban Inflation Index June 2010

Tracking changes from three months ago Mar’ 10 and one year ago – Jun’ 09

The World Cup is on going in South Africa and helpful guides for price comparison have been provided for comparison. Also the Kenya budget speech for 2010-2011 was read by Uhuru Kenyatta the Finance Minister and has been trumpeted as a trillion shilling budget despite a deficit of resources.

In reaction to some changes noted here, Kenya’s Parliament on June passed a price control bill that seeks to regulate the retail price of among other things – maize flour, sugar, rice, wheat flour, kerosene, diesel, petrol, and cooking fat.

Gotten Cheaper
Staple Food: Maize flour, which is used to make Ugali that is eaten by a majority of Kenyans daily. A 2 kg. Unga pack at Uchumi today costs Kshs. 71, which is 15% cheaper than Kshs 84 in March and 92 a year ago [a 2.5kg pack in South Africa is ~kshs. 111]

About the same
Communications: priceshave remained about the same despite it being an eventful few weeks;
– Safaricom had another exemplary year of profits and performance – returning a turnover of $1.05 billion (Kshs 84 billion) and will pay their shareholders dividend of $100 million (Kshs 8 billion). They are the exception in the sector where their rivals loss making – Zain (Africa) was acquired by Bharti Airtel and will undergo its fourth brand change in eight years, while Orange averted a messy divorce with the Kenya Government by way of a sweetheart deal that may shake up the sector. They and newcomer Yu will all benefit from a government decision to lower the cost of a 3G communications license from $25 million to $10 million.
– Communications costs remain about the same for voice and SMS (who can keep up with Yu and Zain’s promotions) and the big push has been in the area of data. Safaricom latest push is for 10MB for 8 shillings ($0.10) and continues a recent trend that pushes down the cost of data with cheaper phones (Nokia E63 is now 15,000 (about $187 down) from 23,500 a year ago) and hardware, financing (Loans for laptops).
– Unfortunately Safaricom has rubbed some local developers the wrong way entering into a Mxit partnership and again with an innovation forum that has caused some controversy.

Utilities – Electricity: Latest bill is Kshs 1450 ($18) which is down from 1,700 (~$22) in March and about the same as 1,550 a year ago. Heavy rains at the end of the last quarter have seen Kenya dams fill and a power generation shift from diesel back to hydro – the Government says this will result in reduced power bills at the end of the year, but the rains have slackened of late. In the bill, consumption is kshs 500 with a fuel levy cost of 400, while a year ago consumption was also 600 with fuel levy cost of 500

Other food item: Sugar (2 kg. Mumias pack) is at 200, and no change in the last few month. COMESA liberalization is set to happen in 2011, and is expected to expose the market to unrestricted imports from the region, bring down the retail price of sugar in urban areas, but leaving sugar farmers from western Kenya with high input costs at a disadvantage. The middlemen men still run this sector and around the period of Uhuru’s budget speech was being read, there was no sugar (from any company) on the shelves at Uchumi. [2.5kg in SA is Kshs 191].

More Expensive
Beer/Entertainment: A bottle of Tusker beer (at local pub) is Kshs. 160 ($2) most up from 150 in March at most places I know and 130 from a year ago. There was an immediate price hike effected by dominant brewer East African Breweries (EABL) when the Minister read his speech in early June; however some bar owners complain that this should have computed at 5 shillings per bottle (beer retails in ½ litre), but EABL passed on an additional 5 shilling increase to customers under cover of the tax hike. The price of coca cola has also gone up as the excise tax on carbonated soft drinks, wines and spirits was also pushed up 8%.

Fuel: A Litre of petrol fuel (at local petrol station) is now Kshs 90.9 per litre (~$5.1 per gallon) , 7% up compared to Kshs 84.9 in March and 25% higher than it was (72.5) in June 2009.

Foreign Exchange: 1 US$ equals Kshs 80.6 compared to Kshs. 76.6 in March and 77.94 a year ago as the Kenya government has indicated that it will not (can it afford to) intervene to support the shillings from sliding.

You might also like:

Urban Inflation Index

Urban Inflation Index: March 2010

Urban Inflation Index – June 2009

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Posted by bankelele at 1:12 PM 0 comments

Labels: EABL, inflation trend in Kenya, Kenya economic growth, Kenya taxation, Nairobi cost of living, Safaricom

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Money Transfer across Africa

From focusing on money transfer in Kenya, where there has been a lot of development and competition especialy in the area of mobile money transfers, it now moves on to what about across Africa? From country to country?

Today in Nairobi Ecobank formally launched their Rapidtransfer which was rolled out in October 2009 is now available in Kenya. With Rapidtransfer one can send money to families members e.g. school fees, pay for goods, send cash to another account in another country, and have the funds available instantly in local currency

An illustration used was for how one can now transfer money from Mombasa Kenya to Dakar Senegal – and with Rapidtransfer, an individual can send a maximum of $10,000 per day (~Kshs 800,000)between the two points on opposite sides of the continent instantly! It is also open to non-account holders and can be used for intra-country transfers as well. The product works only within the Ecobank network, which now covers about 30 countries. They get around the foreign currency restrictions in some countries by making and receiving payments in local currency (no forex exposure to customer) and all at a competitive rate compared to Western Union or Moneygram.

Rapidtransfer was was launched by Kenya’s Central Bank Governor who chided the media for wanting too much from the product already. On whether Rapidtransfer will be on mobile phone, he gave tales about trying to buy a car in 1992 when money would take a week to be transferred from a Nairobi account to a Mombasa account (it was then faster to send money hidden in an Akamba Bus package) and this was also at a time when branches were not linked and one could only transact at a particular branch.

Rapidtransfer is unique in that many because banks don’t talk to each other across border e.g. a bank in Kenya and a bank in Uganda may share the same parent or name but customers who cross borders are not able to transact (except using visa). However, Ecobank customers are also able to use their ATM bank card in all the 30 countries they are present to fully transact across borders.

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Posted by bankelele at 7:11 PM 7 comments

Labels: Ecobank, M-Pesa, Western union

Swift River 101

On June 16 at the iHub in Nairobi, a talk was given by Jon Gosier the director of Swift River which I first heard of Swift River following its use with Ushahidi following the Haiti earthquake early in 2010 when crisis rescue & response teams faced a challenges of processing 200,000 SMS messages a day. So the question was how do you filter that information to get help to the people (i.e. earthquake victim) who need it?

Jon said Swift River is an open source platform that uses algorithms and crowd sourcing to filter and validate information. He gave a quote from the book the ‘The Long Tail about with such vast amounts of data in the world, there is need for filters to filter. Swift River helps by pulling out data and he mentioned some of the tools used. In his guide titled Swift River in plain English Jon lists the arms of Swift River which include:

SiLCC pulls keywords from any Text (including SMS and Twitter) and automatically sorts related text ( a natural language processor)
SULSa automatically detects location of incoming content/reports
SiCDS automatically filters out duplicate content (re-tweets, blogs, text messages)
Reverberations detects how influential/popular content is online
RiverID allows Swift users to carry their Swift score and reputation with them across the web

All these enable an organization facing a challenge of too much data to among other things, pick out what’s important, save time, suppress noise, filter & curate the information. This is more so at time of urgency or crisis

Swift River can also be used by newsroom to manage & curate very large information in a crisis, for online brand monitoring, or for election monitoring. It runs on a free and open source platform. It’s still in development, with more features & improvements being added to the beta (now at Version 0.2.1 Batuque) over the rest of the year by the development team who are based in Uganda.

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Posted by bankelele at 6:10 PM 1 comments

Labels: Uganda, Ushahidi

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Marketing & media news

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Keep the flag flying for 30 more days

A national campaign – to keep up the high spirits by continuing the wave the flag for 30 more days after the end of the 2010 FIFA World Cup – was launched by Draftfcb South Africa on Friday, 2 July 2010.

World cup in Sony 3D: turning point in sports broadcasting

[Issa Sikiti da Silva] Sports broadcasting will never be the same again, thanks to the dawn of 3D TV technology, which Sony – an official FIFA partner for the 2010 FIFA World Cup – is showcasing at this year’s tournament through the production of 25 games and promotional football trailers being shown in 4000 retail stores across the globe.

ProJourn condemns ‘chequebook journalism’

The Professional Journalists’ Association of South Africa (ProJourn) on Friday, 02 July 2010, released a statement to the association’s facebook page condemning the actions of Ashley Smith who admitted to having accepted secret payments and having acted as a covertly paid media strategist and advisor to Ebrahim Rasool during the bitter internecine struggle between two factions of the ANC for control of the party in the region, while he was employed as a political reporter at the Cape Argus.

Media summit for SA

What is reportedly the first media summit for South Africa will be held at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) on 11 November 2010. The objectives are to discuss and debate the challenges facing today’s rapidly evolving magazine landscape and obtain a comprehensive understanding of what advertising over the next decade will look like and the implications for magazines.

Naspers results: happy campers all the way

[Gill Moodie: @grubstreetZA] Let me count the ways that we can compare Naspers and Avusa: the bull and the bear; the quick and the dead; diamonds and dogs. The two media companies released their annual results – for the year to March 31 2010 – in the past week, prompting many a smarty-pants media writer such as myself to group the two companies together. 30 Jun 2010 09:49


Why did SA perform so badly at Cannes?

[Chris Moerdyk: @chrismoerdyk] Like Bafana Bafana and the cricketing Proteas, who do really well at every competition except world cups, South Africa’s ad industry has not lived up anywhere near expectation at the world cup of advertising at Cannes. [poll] [twitterfall] [blog] 29 Jun 2010 11:29


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Gold Film Lion for Ogilvy Joburg

CANNES, FRANCE: Ogilvy Johannesburg scooped South Africa’s first Gold Film Lion in 11 years on Saturday night, 26 June 2010, at the fourth and last awards ceremony at the 57th Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival, for its “highly emotive” campaign for HIV/Aids relief organisation The Topsy Foundation, produced by Egg Films Cape Town. Bronze also went to King James Cape Town and Black River FC Johannesburg. [twitterfall] [blog] 28 Jun 2010 11:13


Cannes Lions: SA makes Friday shortlists

CANNES, FRANCE: South Africa has made the Film Lions and Film Craft Lions shortlists but not Titanium and Integrated. We also have one contender for the newly established Grand Prix for Good. These last shortlists were released this morning, Friday, 25 June 2010. [twitterfall] [blog] 25 Jun 2010 11:50


Is world cup sponsorship worth it?

[Chris Moerdyk: @chrismoerdyk] While the really big global consumer brands such as Coca-Cola, Visa and Sony may well benefit from sponsoring the 2010 FIFA World Cup, I am not convinced that any of the regional or lesser sponsors actually get a reasonable return on investment. Because far too many competitors to official sponsors are able to market themselves with vigour in the world cup environment without breaking any rules. [poll] 23 Jun 2010 13:17


Cannes Lions: Monday night winners, Tuesday shortlists

CANNES, FRANCE: There were no Gold Lions for South Africa last night, Monday, 21 June 2010, only one Silver for JWT Cape Town and two Bronzes, for Joe Public Johannesburg and Ireland/Davenport respectively – all three in Direct. SA has, however, made the Design shortlist but, no surprise, not the Cyber one. Both shortlists were released this morning, Tuesday 22 June. [twitterfall] [blog] 22 Jun 2010 11:05


Next >>

News | from Biz Company Press Offices

Hundreds of African stories available for publicationAfrica Media Online

Nearly 400 stories have already been made available for publication through the Twenty Ten media project, with at least a dozen more – including photo, text, audio and multimedia features – still to come by the final whistle on 11 July. 5 Jul 2010 11:25


Rocket Creative relaunchesRocket Creative

After 12 years in the industry, design and display company, Rocket Creative, took the opportunity of the 2010 upswing to launch their new generation corporate identity. The new logo and colour scheme combines the originality of the existing rocket logo with a new tattoo-style design. 2 Jul 2010 16:45


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Make a donation. Make a difference. Winter Warmth 2010East Coast Radio

Many South Africans find themselves destitute with no other alternative than to bravely face the bitter cold outside. You can make a difference by making a donation, to help keep someone warmer this winter with East Coast Radio’s Winter Warmth 2010 campaign. 2 Jul 2010 16:13


Clicks signs on to sponsor 2010 Look & Feel Good ExpoBiz Events

The Look & Feel Good Expo has announced that health and beauty brand Clicks has come on board as a sponsor for this year’s twin events in Johannesburg and Cape Town. 2 Jul 2010 15:48


Citilites light up Zimbabwe!Continental Outdoor

The highly successful Citilite range, first introduced from France and patented in South Africa and sub-Saharan Africa by Continental Outdoor in 2003, has now been launched in Zimbabwe with the erection of numerous structures in Harare. 2 Jul 2010 14:34


Insight Exchange delivers an assault on the sensesMcCann Worldgroup

Branding needs to break out from its current 2D approach to advertising and embrace the host of exciting, new sensory marketing tools that are key to getting the attention of the 21st Century consumer. This from the 5th McCann Insight Exchange focusing on consumer experience and the trend towards more multi-dimensional marketing concepts. 2 Jul 2010 12:46


Red hot July Sex issue for Men’s Health and Women’s HealthMen’s Health

Men’s Health and Women’s Health collaborated this month to launch their annual Sex issues. Both magazines ran the same online sex survey on their respective websites, soliciting titillating answers from both male and female readers. 2 Jul 2010 12:10


Next >>

International news

NEW ZEALAND

It was all yellow

To demonstrate the diversity and usefulness of its listings, New Zealand’s Yellow Pages held a competition tasking people to come up with ideas for designing, making and marketing a ‘yellow tasting’ chocolate bar. 5 Jul 2010 10:51



More international news…

Africa news

Telkom Highway Africa New Media Awards 2010 winners

The winners of the Telkom Highway Africa New Media Awards 2010 were announced last night, Sunday, 4 July at the Highway Africa Conference opening dinner held at the Nelson Mandela Dining Hall in Grahamstown, South Africa. 5 Jul 2010 12:02



More Africa news…

Posted by: acbnews on: June 9, 2010

Total 2010 AGM

16th June 2010

Posted: 03 Jun 2010 12:23 AM by AANM.FFP

The annual general meeting of Total Kenya was held on June 2 at KICC Nairobi. (Excerpts from shareholder Q&A) Hot Button issue was the Low Divided – Board said DPS of 1/= ($0.12) per share down from traditional 2.50/= ($0.03) per share is the best they can do – Why are you not paying dividend as high as rival Kenol? If rival Kenol is paying more, it is because they have not invested like Total

Trade and Production Adjustments in ACP Countries.

Posted by: acbnews on: June 2, 2010

posted June 9th 2010

Editor’s Pick

Luvaha Charles Luvaga,Abambika Afrika

In order to derive maximum benefits from trade liberalisation processes, the competitiveness of African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries’ private sector is crucial. This paper from ECDPM and the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation ACP-EU (CTA) analyses the successful experience of the Integrated Development Programme for the Caribbean Rum Sector – from its inception and design to its concrete management and implementation – as an example of how Aid for Trade driven by the private sector can best support ACP development. It is meant to inform ACP private sector pla yers who are facing similar challenges of restructuring and competitiveness in the face of trade liberalisation, donors who want to provide adjustment support, as well as policymakers at the interface of these two groups of stakeholders.

Visit also our Programme home pages
Development Policy and International Relations programmeEconomic and Trade Cooperation programmeGovernance programme

Policy News

European Think-Tanks Group publishes policy brief on EEAS
Four leading European Think-Tanks have published a new policy note titled ‘Development-proofing the EEAS’ in response to the new blueprint on the European External Action Service (EEAS) agreed by the EU General Affairs Council.  The document elaborates on the four key priorities set out by heads of the  four organisations: Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE), Overseas Development Institute (ODI), Fundación para las Relaciones Internacionales y el Diálogo Exterior (FRIDE) and ECDPM – in their Open Letter of 5 May. Noting that speed is of the essence in implementing the agreement, the paper offers further guidance on some of the ‘how’ questions in the implementation phase.

What’s needed for a new, operative aid effectiveness agenda?
In this blog post, Owen Barder of Development Initiatives’ reflects a recent exchange on the future of aid effectiveness with the ‘Donors’ Assistance Group’ in Ethiopia (the country heads of 26 aid age ncies working in the country).  While there was little dispute that it is difficult to make progress in aid effectiveness as currently conceived, says Barder,  scepticism was expressed on the likelihood of achieving sufficient changes in the existing incentive structure to sufficiently change donor/recipient behaviour patterns.

Using budget support to foster good governance
This draft paper by Rachel Hayman of the Centre of African Studies, University of Edinburgh argues that aid conditionality under budget support is becoming more politicised, but that there is little evidence to suggest that it can be used as an instrument for influencing political processes and bringing about democratic change. The paper focuses on the approaches of the United Kingdom and the European Commission in Uganda, Ethiopia, Nicaragua, Honduras and Rwanda.

Mid-term Evaluation of the EU’s GSP
This report from The Centre for the Analysis of Regional Integration at Sussex (CARIS) for the European Commission (see also annexes) finds that the European Union’s Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) regime can be effective in increasing Least Developing Countries (LDC) exports and welfare. However, the generally low level of ‘EU Most Favoured Nation’ tariffs and the structure of LDC trade inevitably constrain the regime’s effectiveness. Policy conclusions focus on improving product coverage and rules of origin.

We Don’t Know How to Solve Global Poverty and ‘That&rsq uo;s a Good Thing’
The influential economist William Easterly argues that so far, no one has managed to find any combination of policies that promises a good rate of economic growth. The lesson from history is that moments of certainty about ‘solutions to global poverty’ have had quite the opposite effect, with harmful consequences for the world’s poor in the long-run. Easterly argues that sceptical criticism is a creative force that redirects attention and effort away from centrally-directed expert solutions towards effective decentralised problem-solving and is, therefore, a more useful approach.

Hiding Relations: The Irony of Effective Aid
This article by Rosalind Eybena of the University of Sussex in the European Journal of Development Research explores the ‘managing for development results’ approach and argues that it is an expression of a historically dominant mode of thought in international aid – ‘substantialism’ – which sees the world primarily in terms of ‘entities’ such as ‘poverty’, ‘basic needs’, ‘rights’, ‘women’ or ‘results’. Another important mode of thought, ‘relationalism’ – in association more generally with ideas of process and complexity – appears to be absent in the thinking of aid institutions. The paper stresses that relationships between actors matter, and actors themselves change and evolve through their interaction with each other. At their best, aid workers surf the unpredictable realities of national politics, spotting opportunities, supporting interesting new initiatives, acting like entrepreneurs or searchers, rat her than planners.

The EU-Africa partnership at a strategic crossroads
This paper from the Fundación para las Relaciones Internacionales y el Diálogo Exterior (FRIDE) calls on the EU and Africa to lay the foundation for a more mature strategic partnership. It suggests that the success of the peace and security partnership, which was built on agreed core expectations, provides a model for effective collaboration. The paper further calls on the EU to create a pan-African envelope specifically to support the Joint Strategy and for African countries to  align their positions around shared continental agendas.

Latest issue of Capacity.org published
The May 2010 issue of Capacity.org journal explores the role that the capacity development professional’s personal behaviour and attitudes plays in change relationships. It is time to subject this often-elusive quality to the same kind of scrutiny as we do knowledge, skills, and tools and methods for capacity development. In particular: “What aspects of behaviour are relevant in CD practice? Is it possible to change behaviour? And if so, how?”

Agricultural Trade Adjustments: Lessons from SADC experiences
Agriculture remains essential to many SADC economies, but changing market conditions call for new strategies. These may include moving up the value chain, diversification and developing new export markets. Noting that well targeted government policies and donor support are crucial, this paper from ECDPM and the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation ACP-EU (CTA) highlights the lessons that can be drawn from aid for trade (AfT) experiences in agriculture in supporting agricultural transformation in Southern African countries. The key messages are meant to foster debate on how ongoing policy processes can best shape aid for trade strategies in accordance with the needs of the agriculture sector.

Kind request to assist us in surveying ECDPM’s information products & knowledge sharing activities
We kindly invite you to share your views on the relevance and quality of ECDPM information products and knowledge-sharing activities. By these, we mean our publications, websites and newsletters, and our dialogue activities and advisory work. Your survey responses will help us to further improve our services to you. They will also provi de valuable insights for ECDPM’s forthcoming external evaluation, which takes place in late 2010. Click here to access the survey. We look forward to your feedback and thank you in advance.

National Microfinance Bank AGM

Posted by: acbnews on: June 2, 2010

Luvaha Charles Luvaga,Abambika Afrika

Posted: 31 May 2010 04:53 AM PDT

guest post in Swahili, submitted by Uchumi Wetu of NMB – a Tanzanian Bank WANAHISA wa Benki ya NMB watapata gawio la jumla ya Shilingi 15.7 bilioni kwa mwaka 2009(dividend payout of ~$11 million), ikiwa ni ongezeko la asilimia 4.7 ikilinganishwa na mwaka uliotangulia. Mwenyekiti wa Bodi ya Wakurugenzi ya NMB, Misheck Ngatunga, amesema mgawo wa kila hisa kwa mwaka utakuwa Shilingi 31.40,

June 3-5th 2010,Miss not

Posted by: acbnews on: June 2, 2010

Luvaha Luvaga,Abambika Afrika

You are welcome to takepart in themost complete sme affair in Africa at the KICC grounds from june 3rd to 5th 2010.Loads of business savvy advice.

Samsung Champions Touch Screens with Launch of “Samsung Champ”

Posted by: acbnews on: May 20, 2010

Compact and stylish, full touch

Champ offers rich feature set and intuitive interface

at a reasonable price

Wednesday,May 26, 2010,

Luvaha Charles Luvaga,Abambika Afrika

SEOUL, Korea, Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., a leading mobile phone provider, today announced the Samsung Champ (model: GT-C3300K) designed for mobile users in developing regions who want an immersive touch screen phone with value-added features at an affordable price. The device will be launched globally in Africa, the Middle East, Latin America, Asia and Europe starting in June. CHAMP WILL BE AVAILABLE IN KENYA FROM JULY AND WILL BE RETAILING AT BTWN ksh 7000/- and 7500/-

Stylish Design

The Samsung Champ is designed for young individuals who seek innovative and productive ways of using their mobile phones. With a stylish and ultra compact design, the Samsung Champ is a portable solution for users who will no longer need to sacrifice design for rich features. The device also has a curved form factor and comfortable grip and consumers can choose from a variety of colors: deep black, espresso brown, sweet pink or chic white.

Touch Screen Experience

Users can enjoy the Samsung Champ’s 2.4” full touch display and the integrative and intuitive experience that it enables. The Champ’s simple and intuitive menu format is designed to fit its compact size and is optimized for a small screen. The main screen features an extended 3×3 widget menu format with options for clock, calendar, shortcuts, and my buddies. The touch screen is also ideal for SMS with friends, downloading apps from Samsung Apps, or playing Java-based video games.

Rich Feature Set

Users will be pleased to learn that despite its affordable price point, the Samsung Champ offers a rich feature set. The Samsung Champ enables an immersive music experience with a built-in radio, 3D sound effects and a dual speaker. With its long battery life, consumers won’t have to sacrifice portability and can enjoy hours of multimedia use. Users can download java applications from Samsung Apps and enjoy embedded java apps. The Samsung Champ also offers Bluetooth, a micro SD card with up to 8GB of memory and comes with a headset and travel adapter.

“With the launch of the Samsung Champ, we will strengthen our leadership within the overall touch screen handset category. The Champ is a perfect option for mobile users who want to snap up a full touch phone for the first time. We expect that the Samsung Champ will follow the success of the Star (model: GT-S5230) which achieved high sales volume at an affordable price point over the past year,” said Younghee Lee, Vice President of Mobile Marketing, Samsung Electronics.

Product Specifications

Network GSM, EDGE Rx(850/900/1800/1900)
Display 2.4” QVGA 262K TFT LCD (240×320)
Camera 1.3 Megapixel
Video H.263, MPEG4, QCIF@ 15fps
Audio MP3 Player, Stereo FM Intenna Radio
3.5mm Ear-jack
Value-added Features TouchWiz Lite, Embedded Stylus Pen
SNS Link, Image Editor
Fake Call, Mobile Tracker, SOS Message
Connectivity Bluetooth 2.1, USB v2.0 (Full speed)
Memory Internal memory: 30MB / External memory: MicroSD (up to 8GB)
Size 96.3 x 53.8 x 12.97mm, 80g
Battery 1000 mAhTalk time: up to 722 mins

Standby time: up to 666 hrs

* Product specifications are subject to change without notice.

About Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd.

Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. is a global leader in semiconductor, telecommunication, digital media and digital convergence technologies with 2009 consolidated sales of US$116.8 billion. Employing approximately 188,000 people in 185 offices across 65 countries, the company consists of eight independently operated business units: Visual Display, Mobile Communications, Telecommunication Systems, Digital Appliances, IT Solutions, Digital Imaging, Semiconductor and LCD. Recognized as one of the fastest growing global brands, Samsung Electronics is a leading producer of digital TVs, memory chips, mobile phones and TFT-LCDs. For more information, please visit www.samsung.com.
contact : jinam.yoon@samsung.com

Recession-proof top brands

Posted by: acbnews on: May 17, 2010

Wednesday, 26th May,2010.

by Luvaha Charles Luvaga

The 5th Millward Brown Optimor BrandZ Top 100 Most valuable brands, released late last week, indicates that strong brands have proved their resilience to recession, as they are worth over US$2 trillion, showing a 40% growth over five years, 4% over last year and outperforming the stock.

Taking the Top 100 as a portfolio and comparing it to the S&P 500 over the last five years reveals thatUS $1000 invested in this portfolio in 2006 would now be worth US$1185 compared to US$885 invested in the S&P 500, proving that strong brands outperform the stock market.

Brands such as Samsung, the highest riser with an 80% growth in brand value and Starbucks with an increase of 17% are evidence that businesses with strong brands are able to recover from adversity faster.

Technology rules

UN TACKLES DIVERTED SOMALI DEVELOPMENT AID

Posted by: acbnews on: May 14, 2010

WEDNESDAY 19TH  MAY,2010,

Luvaha Charles Luvaga

The United Nations is implementing a “risk management action plan” to prevent aid sent to Somalia from being diverted to Islamist militants. In a report was sent to the UN Security Council, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that internal controls over cash transfer systems within Somalia have been reviewed. He added a database has been created for the proper screening of all UN service providers and contractors in the country. In March a UN report suggested that up to half the food aid sent to Somalia was being diverted to Islamist militants and corrupt contractors. Meanwhile, the WFP warned on Wednesday that a lack of funding will force it to reduce food aid to refugees in Ethiopia in June as the country expects a further 25,000 Somalis to cross the border by the end of 2010.

Infectious diseases cause 68% of child deaths

Infectious diseases such as pneumonia, diarrhoea and malaria were the leading cause of death among children under five years of age in 2008, researchers have found. They caused 68 per cent of the estimated 8.8 million child deaths worldwide in 2008, according to a new study funded by the World Health Organisation and UNICEF. The researchers found that almost half of the total number of child deaths occurred in only five countries: India, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Pakistan, and China. The medical journal The Lancet published the findings, which contain up-to-date statistics on child mortality around the world, on Wednesday. The researchers believe the figures will help focus national programmes and donor assistance regarding maternal, newborn, and child health interventions.

Disaster declared in Mongolia

Fifteen of Mongolia’s 21 provinces have been declared as disaster zones by the government as the country reels from its worst winter in five decades. The United Nations warned on Wednesday that a drought, which has devastated the country during the severe cold weather, could last for another year. Speaking to donors in Geneva, the UN interim humanitarian coordinator in Mongolia, Rana Flowers, asked for 18.1 million US dollars to assist around 800,000 Mongolians affected by the natural disaster. So far more than eight million of the 41 million cattle in the country have died. Thirty per cent of the country’s population depends on cattle for income and heating, Flowers said. The death toll is twice as high as the one recorded at the beginning of the 2000s during Mongolia’s last major “dzud”, the local term for a combination of a dry summer followed by a severe winter. A further four provinces are expected to be declared disaster zones soon.

Record pledge for green fund

A record 4.25 billion US dollars was pledged to the world’s largest public green fund by 30 donor countries on Wednesday. The Global Environment Facility (GEF) was created in 1991 to help developing countries tackle climate change. It has been topped up four times since, in 1994, 1998, 2002 and 2006. Yesterday’s pledge is a 52 per cent increase on the sum raised in 2006. The fund’s chief executive, Monique Barbut, said that around 1.35 billion US dollars of the total pledge would be used to tackle climate change. The rest of the money will be directed at improving and expanding protected and endangered areas, reducing pollutants in land and water, expanding and protecting the world’s forests and improving the management of trans-boundary water systems, Barbut said.

Trade spat over generic drugs

India and Brazil filed complaints to the World Trade Organization (WTO) on Wednesday against the seizure of generic drugs by the European Union. The two countries claim that the seizures have harmed healthcare in the developing world and disrupt legitimate international trade. India’s ambassador to the WTO, Ujal Singh Bhatia, accused the EU of seizing legal generic drugs in transit to developing countries to strengthen the current intellectual property rights regime and prevent people in poor nations from getting the affordable drugs. Brazilian ambassador Roberto Azevedo said the seizures harmed legitimate trade between Brazil and India and affected national healthcare in the developing countries. EU authorities justified the seizures with concerns over counterfeit drugs and patent rights issues.

If you Find all our news articles as well as free-to-use print and audio journalism on development issues in our magazine minisite worthy of your support contact us:aanm.ffp@gmail.com.



Reported news by Luvaha C. LUVAGA

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powered by abambika afrika new media ffp

The banking sector demonstrated its’ resilience

Posted by: acbnews on: May 11, 2010

Wednesday ,12th May

Luvaha Charles Luvaga,Group Chief Editor
BANK SUPERVISION ANNUAL REPORT 2009
Nairobi, Kenya (7 May 2010) – The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) has today released the Bank Supervision Annual Report for 2009. The report which can be downloaded from http://www.centralbank.go.ke reviews the performance of the banking sector in 2009 and also highlights other significant developments. Releasing the report, the Governor of the Central Bank of Kenya, Professor Njuguna Ndung’u noted that, “The banking sector demonstrated its’ resilience with a commendable performance in 2009. The asset base of the sector increased by 14 percent from Ksh. 1.18 trillion in December 2008 to Ksh. 1.35 trillion in December 2009. The sector also registered an increase in pre-tax profit by 13 percent to stand at Ksh. 48.9 billion in 2009. This performance was registered in the midst of global and local shocks. On the global scene, the after effects of the global financial crisis that escalated in 2008 washed up on the Kenyan shore. On the domestic arena, a crippling drought and power rationing in the second half of the year dampened the growth prospects for the Kenyan economy.’’ The resilient performance is largely attributable to the enabling legal and regulatory environment put in place by the Central Bank and the Government and robust risk management frameworks adopted by banks. The report also highlights other notable developments in the legal and regulatory framework in 2009. These include the operationalization of Banking (Credit Reference Bureau) Regulations, enactment of the Proceeds of Crime and Money Laundering Act and the introduction of agent banking through the Finance Act of 2009. The Credit Reference Bureau regulations will facilitate the creation of information capital for more Kenyans to access affordable credit. Conversely, the Anti Money Laundering Act will reduce the vulnerability of Kenya’s financial sector to potential abuse. On the financial inclusion front, the introduction of the agent banking model will enhance financial reach and depth of the Kenyan banking sector. The National Financial Access Survey of 2009 indicated that the sector only currently serves 23% of the bankable population. There is therefore considerable scope for the sector to increase its’ outreach through cost effective delivery channels such as the use of third party agents. The licensing of the first deposit taking microfinance institution in May 2009 is also noteworthy in the quest for increased financial inclusion for Kenyans. Deposit Taking Microfinance Institutions regulated by CBK are expected to target the financially underserved and unserved Kenyans particularly in rural and peri-urban areas.
Commenting on the sector’s outlook for 2010, the Governor indicated that, ‘’the sector is expected to regain its’ growth momentum on the back of economic recovery. New opportunities are also expected to emerge with the coming into effect
2
of the East African Common Market Protocol in July 2010. The protocol will facilitate the expansion of Kenyan banks into the region. Accordingly, banks are expected to source for additional capital to tap these regional opportunities. Locally, competition is expected to intensify as banks downstream and well established Pan African and international banking brands establish their presence in Kenya. These market dynamics could see a move towards mergers and strategic alliances.’’ The Central Bank remains committed to working with the Government and market players to create an enabling environment for the banking sector to play its’ mandate of financing the country’s development aspirations. Vision 2030 envisages the banking sector playing a pivotal role in financing the various initiatives that are key to Kenya graduating to a middle income country.
For more information please contact: Communications Manager, Central Bank of Kenya
E-mail: comms@centralbank.go.ke Tel: 286 1371/3940

New Media Companies Redux

Posted by: acbnews on: May 6, 2010

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Luvaha Luvaga

In two years since this blog post comparing Access Kenya and Scangroup which debuted at the Nairobi Stock Exchange (NSE) at about the same time. They are both back in the news this week for diverse reasons along with a third ‘new media’ company Safaricom, which debuted later in 2008 on the NSE.

Scangroup: has just announced plans to buy stakes of 51% in Ogilvy & Mather Africa and 50% of Ogilvy East Africa. (statement here) – two companies are both subsidiaries of UK’s WPP Group who own 27% of Scangroup.

The investor at the Scangroup notes that group has recorded growing ads in TV and radio but declining in print media. In 2009, the communications sector was their largest customers with 29% followed by finance at 15%. Scangroup has 61% of advertising market in Kenya followed by Access Leo Burnett with 13% and then Ogilvy & Mather with 10% – while their plans going forward are to do more online adverting and take the Ogilvy as their main brand across Africa

a version of this Safaricom by Squad digital, a Scangroup venture appears in the NY Times pages

Access Kenya: are in the news (details here) following their postponed by another three months of the annual general meeting that was to have taken place yesterday May 4 and payment of their divided. The company has not commented beyond a press statement.

From the blogs: On AK – a year ago, they were very very liquid while as recently as two months ago, they were hailed as a must buy stock.
from Twitter @bankelele not a shareholder, but as a concerned proxy lack of info is bad. AK should issue a profit warning or cautionary statement on restructuring
@mainaT I figure if AccessK is struggling now when internet is a growth sector, its got issues & a cash flow problem that won’t go a way 4 a while…but, Centum did the same in late 08 early 09 when it was having Cflow issues that meant it couldn’t pay a dividend
@roomthinker: Access Kenya customers, used to their speeds were not surprised to learn their AGM would be late
@coldtusker Y announce a dividend if u have CF shyte? For AK to say, ‘no div coz expanding’ is easy & plausible. Or pay only 5 cents like safcom…I think this is a bigger issue… Sold off at 22 so dont really care but I think they are in play. AK cud always delay div after AGM…I think less of cashflow issue. More of a acquisition/takeover/sale matter http://bit.ly/aJVCMm [#nairumours]

Finally we have Safaricom who initiated a spat with the government [statement here] after the Minister for Information (gazetted new rules for the sector including a fair competition one (draft here) and accusing the government regulator, Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) of seeking to curtail safaricom’s growth through price controls and to allow competitors to increase their market share.

The next day the three other mobile companies, Yu, Orange and Zain replied in joint statement applauding the new rules and saying they were not targeted at anyone (read Safaricom) but anyone who abuses of a dominant position in the market CCK had adopted international practices to bring real competition to the mobile sector.

This is new ground for Safaricom – when Orange raised a fuss about the uncompetitive Kenyan market, it looked like GoK would side with large taxpaying Safaricom, but now that all the small (unprofitable, they admit) new mobile entrants have teamed up, some token measures are likely to be brought to rein in Safaricom which is estimated to control at least 80% of the mobile sector by most measures. How do you bring down Safaricom from 80% to 60%?

Posted by acbnews at 9:05 AM

Labels: Access Kenya, kenya communications, Kenya taxation, Safaricom, Scangroup, Telkom Kenya, Zain

3 comments:

kainvestor said…

@coldtuskers view on the Access AGM postponement is quite interesting and I get view point. However, i think regulators have left a loop-hole regarding when dividends should be paid out to shareholders and listed firms are capitalizing on it.

5/05/2010 11:49 AM

Anonymous said…

Scangroup/Ogilvy buy-out’s seemingly to help penetrate West African market which almost proved a hard nut to crack when Scanad tried buy-outs around 2007/8. Again, what else do you expect when they have such billings? Buy-outs aplenty and doesn’t stop anytime soon…

5/05/2010 4:03 PM

startupkenya said…

Usually I side with the underdogs (read Zain & Co.) but in this case I’m in Safaricom’s corner. MJ is right, CCK wants to punish success. The truth is that Safaricom got where it is through a brilliant marketing strategy which whipped the pants off the market leader at that time, Zain.

5/05/2010 5:00 PM

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Brandsh Media reveals African mobile figures

Posted by: acbnews on: May 5, 2010

Mobile News

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There are 63 million mobile subscribers in Nigeria out of a population of 149.2 million, 44 million in South Africa, and 15.3 million in Kenya, Brandsh Media founder Angus Robinson revealed yesterday, 30 March 2010, highlighting the need to turn these numbers into business opportunities and improve lives.

“Is there any opportunity in mobile? And what do we do about these big numbers and how do we apply the principles of mobile marketing to turn these numbers into opportunities in SA and in the rest of Africa – that is the big question,” he said, speaking at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Sandton, Johannesburg.

Focus on the masses

African mobile providers should focus on the masses, and start designing programmes that interact best with their users in order to effectively integrate their brands, Robinson said, adding that there is a need to provide social applications that could improve African livelihoods.

Ghana (11.9m), Uganda (8.2m), Angola (6m), Mozambique (4.8m), Zambia (3.8m), Botswana (1.6m) and Namibia (1.2m) complete Brandsh Media’s list of Africa’s top 10 countries in mobile subscription.

Africa’s mobile industry has grown by a massive 1370% in the past nine years, research shows.

High-cost devices

However, many analysts continue to be outraged about the high cost of cellphone devices in Africa, a continent still plagued by state corruption, political intolerance, war, dictatorship and where close to 60% of the world’s poor live.

There are only 65.9m internet users in Africa (6.7%), and it is believed less than 1% of the SA population uses smart phones.

“Smart phones are difficult to get in Africa and I believe that they should be funded by donors, including corporates, to help people improve their social well-being,” Robinson said, adding that Africa must get to the point where phones become cheap and easy just like the market itself.

Empowering the youth

Furthermore, he said: “We need to embrace all the mavericks of this world and give them funding or employ them.

“In many parts of the developed world, most innovation came from young people and we must empower ours by all means.”

Brandsh Media strategic director Gabrielle Rosario urged Africans to become more educated consumers of news and learn what to trust and what they cannot trust.

Rosario has recently returned from Austin in Texas (US) from the SXSW conference attended by some 15 000 people, and was part of SA’s 25-member delegation.

She said citizen journalism’s intermediary models are not established yet despite its rise, with one example being that most of the youth in the US, for instance, continue to choose mainstream media (linking out/fan-pages statistics) as a preferred source of trusted information.

Rosario’s learnings presentation was meant for African media, ad agencies, strategic partners and key clients.

Social relationship management

“The people own social media and when they use it they expect their problems to be heard and solved.

“The “illusion of control,” for example blocking platforms, needs to be addressed, the entire company needs an outward focus. Social media is forcing change in business from the bottom-up.

“Everything starts with listening and research, but when it comes to monitoring social media, knowing what you want to measure means everything.

“I have my own audience too, and if I don’t think you are authentic, I’ll call you out,” she said, adding that customer relationship management has now become social relationship management.”

In my last post, I attempted to provide a play-by-play of the violent incidents in Liberia’s Lofa County.  I’ve since attended a roundtable discussion with chiefs, government officials, the UN and NGOs operating in Lofa who presented other sides to the story.  Below are a few corrections based on this discussion, and additional points of interest about the events in Lofa:

Starting with a quote from my last post: “A recap: What began as the murder of a young girl led to an angry mob seeking vengeance, a mob that blamed the local imam with strong conviction and little evidence; with plans to storm the imam’s mosque, the crowd was deterred (Pakistani peacekeepers were nearby) and decided instead to call (that’s right, on the mobile) one of the mosque’s regular attendants to tell him, ‘we are burning down your mosque.’  The beginning of a rumor.”

Let’s stop here to update.  The “young girl” – or, as I’d also heard her described, “school girl” – I’ve since discovered was a 22 year-old woman, Korpo, who was also in eleventh grade at a high school in ZorZor (outside of Lofa’s capital, Voinjama).  The mob that formed in response to Korpo’s disappearance was in fact a group of students from her school who initially gathered to protest the local authorities’ inertia regarding the case.  After Korpo went missing, her mother (a member of the Lorma tribe) consulted a “sassy-wood player” (a local prophet of sorts) to locate her daughter; interestingly, the man consulted was an Imam of the Mandingo (i.e. opposing) tribe.  It was Korpo’s mother, in fact, who blamed the sassy-wood player for her daughter’s death when, after a few days, the man said he was unable to find Korpo.

Who, then, initiated the first outlash that eventually led to the burning of churches?  On the third day of searching, Korpo’s body was found and the still-protesting students went to Korpo’s mother to learn who had promised to find her (as the local authorities remained ineffective).  Her mother pointed to the Imam, and immediately the group of student protesters descended on his mosque, throwing stones at the Imam locked inside.  It was at this point in time that the leap in the violence’s scope and involved actors took place, made possible by the mobile phone.  The Imam’s son left the scene and called relatives in Voinjama – and his message was frantic: “The Lorma people have killed our father and burned the mosque.”  As the Carter Center report suggests, “This appears to be the source of the information that led to mob action in Voinjama.”

It’s becoming clear that what I assumed was fact was indeed a string of rumors – and that the facts (if we can call these written reports factual) are just as complex, winding this way and that.  Theoretically, if Ushahidi had been deployed in Lofa during this crescendo of conflict, would it have been possible to discern fact from rumor?  Here we are getting into muddy waters; however, because Ushahidi is a tool and not an inherently analytical instrument, perhaps its strength lies in the ability to report actions taken (such as an agitated crowd forming, a storming on the mosque, the mosque is left intact) and to encourage caution regarding those messages from the field that indicate what MIGHT happen.

But as we saw, the Imam’s son made a call, stating what he believed to be true and what turned out to be false information; how would organizations using Ushahidi know the difference in this case?  I’m tempted to employ a new approach to rumors that have not been adopted by most researchers, historians, or current media: don’t ignore them – map them.  Now this is tricky – what if people looking at the map think that, because these reports have been approved and are visible as points on the Liberian landscape, they are true.  But what if these instances that were not verified could belong to their own “Rumors” category during a crisis.  Ushahidi is, after all, incredibly useful for archiving data collated during crises, and provides a unique view back at history as it was unfolding.

I would argue that rumors tell us a great deal about why certain events took place – for instance, without knowing the contents of the phone call placed to Voinjama, it would be very unclear why the violence spread from an outlying town to the county’s capital.  Rumors may not be factual, but perhaps Western perceptions of what information is valid or invalid do not recognize the importance of what Stephen Ellis calls “pavement radio” – transmissions within communities that point to an undercurrent of fear and unanswered frustrations.  If Ushahidi were to document these rumors (again, classified clearly as rumor and not as verified information), it would be the first tool I know of that demonstrates not only the series of events that led to violence but also the invisible threads of social fears and suspicions that prompted these events.

There are plenty of dangers in mapping rumors, one being that anything that appears on the map may be considered verified despite its categorization as otherwise.  And if viewers consider the rumors validated, the mere presence of rumors on the map could indeed lead to acts of retribution stemming from the Ushahidi instance rather than the rumor on the ground.  These are plenty of good reasons to be cautious.

I’m left, however, with a thorn in my side – and one that has to do with the issue of trust I raised in the previous post: if Ushahidi follows in the footsteps of other information sources and does not report rumors, will this repository for critical information also be deemed by Liberians as less-than-trustworthy because it reports a certain kind of information?  In the example of Voinjama, the young woman’s murderer has still not been found; this unresolved loss remains an open wound for several communities – and increases the likelihood that rumors will continue to circulate in the place of factual information that may again lead to violence.  But what if these rumors were tracked, documented in near-real time?  Would we then have a new list of indicators for increased risk of violence and could these indicators be the early warnings that crisis mappers have been waiting for?  The revolution that has yet to take place is one where rumors are considered valuable information, and not simply invalid weapons of the uneducated or irrational.  Ushahidi may not be the one to lead this revolution, but for a deeper understanding of what information has real currency among many populations, rumors cannot be ignored for much longer.

Posted in Community, Crisis, Media, Ushahidi, reporting. Tagged with conflict, information sharing, liberia, rumors.

By kate

July 3, 2010

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The secretariat has exhibited gross inefficiency

The secretariat has exhibited gross inefficiency, ineptitude and general indifference

After a close observation and analysis of how the ‘YES’ campaign has been handled, we, the youth for yes; under the leadership of youth leaders from political parties, civil society, student organizations and young women groups hereby make the following observations and resolutions.

* That the current national YES secretariat under the leadership of Dr. Peter Kagwanja and Janet Ongera should be restructured to ensure delivery of the new constitution to Kenyans. The secretariat has exhibited gross inefficiency, ineptitude and general indifference and thus has contributed to the current fall in the number of Kenyans who are supporting the draft constitution. As a matter of fact, one of the co directors is always out of the country and is executing his duties via correspondence. Futhermore, the current leadership is incapable and lacks the zeal and aggressiveness to fundraise enough resources for the campaigns despite the large goodwill, both local and international that the draft enjoys.

* That the genuine and legitimate youth leaders of this country must be accorded a fair opportunity and resources to enable them to conduct the campaigns amongst the young constituency votes. This is informed on the fact that currently, only the relatives and cronies of the political leadership are given a chance to spearhead the youth campaigns. Furthermore, the youths in this country are close to 60% of voters and if the current lacklustre approach doesn’t change they will vote NO.

Our argument is based on the fact that the current generation of young people stands to be the major beneficiary of this draft and shall be judged harshly in future if this draft fails.

* That the current political leadership in ODM and PNU must set aside the 2012 Succession politics with immediate effect as this has impacted negatively in the referendum campaigns. This is because these parochial differences have made the campaign team disjointed, pooling of resources is difficult and as the current state of affairs stand, the KICC Secretariat is just a political graveyard and a toothless dog.
* That the current approach of giving Campaign funds to members of parliament must not be the only system of campaigning. This is informed on the fact that majority of MPs are very unpopular with the wananchi and that they are only campaigning amongst their supporters in their constituency and to the extreme, some are not campaigning at all.

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Kenya ICT Board to participate in the International IGov Global Forum in Singapore 14 – 15 June 2010

If you Find all our news articles as well as free-to-use print and audio journalism on finance and development issues in our magazine minisite worthy of your support contact us to advertise:pasmbela@yahoo.com cell:0712483612

30th june 2010

posted by pascal mbela & lome moshebeau

The Government of Kenya led by the PS, Ministry of Information & Communication and Kenya ICt Board Deputy CEO, Programs ,Victor Kyalo will participate in the IGov Global Forum in Singapore from 14th to 15th July2010.
The board visited Singapore in 2009 with a view to gaining best practice for execution of large government IT projects. The result of this engagement was an official partnership agreement between Kenya and Singapore signed earlier this year between the Prime Minister, Hon Raila Odinga and IDA Singapore.
This event, the biggest and most prominent globally, will enrich the boards programs particularly in regards provision of online government services. This years theme is “Next Quantum Leap”, and will bring together international e-Government experts and practitioners, including Government CIOs, business leaders, and senior public sector officials The board seeks to network with officials from participating governments including Japan, Singapore, USA, Denmark, to name a few.
Igov Global forum is also renowned for bringing together the top IT developers and innovators from around the world. By engaging with this large developer community, this event will help the board facilitate mutual learning and sharing, and provide valuable insights for the Kenyan IT sector on how Kenya can tackle e-Government issues and opportunities to better serve wananchi, as well as open opportunities to explore collaborations with an international audience.
The forum seeks to answer questions on the future of technology and its application to government. In the next decade governments will be confronted with a unique set of challenges. How can governments quickly and effectively understand the needs of their customers, and respond in the same way? How do we identify the services that governments are expected to deliver, against those that customers prefer to develop on their own, if they were provided with the right tools and knowledge?
It is against these global themes and the local challenges of adopting and adapting cutting edge technology to increase accessibility and efficiency of government services , that makes this forum highly relevant for Kenya.
The Program Overview

The iGov Forum starts with a forum of presentations in the morning, which will provide participants with insights into the future trends of e-Government, as envisioned by governments and experts who are on the leading-edge of e-Government development and research.
The forum expects 200 attendees from various countries, including Government Chief Information Officers, business leaders, international bodies that benchmark e-Government performances, and senior public sector officials.

A feature that departs markedly from the iGov Global Exchange is the introduction of workshops in the afternoon to encourage greater discussions and interactions among participants and speakers. Through small discussion groups, the workshops aim to promote the exchange of ideas and foster collaboration among international senior government officials, think-tanks and researchers in the area of e-Government. Participants may attend one of the four parallel workshops where each of the topics presented at the forum will be further explored and discussed. Each workshop track will be facilitated by a Chair, who will engage the participants in active interaction with the subject expert. Participants are encouraged to engage the subject expert and share their experiences during the workshops.

The forum in the morning, and the discussion tracks of the workshops in the afternoon, will explore the emerging trends and challenges of e-Government, encompassing the following topics:
• Social collaboration and its effects on the Public Sector
• Data sharing between government and its stakeholders
• New paradigms in seeking public feedback and ideas
• Improving Public Service through business analytics

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Kenya’s best kept brand theft myth

In the confusion of shouts and haggling at Nairobi’s Kariokor Market, a middle-aged woman makes a pretty penny.

Ms Monica Ndunge Syuki, a forty-something mother with a rehearsed smile beckons us to her store stocked with the hand-woven handbags made from sisal and leather trimmings, known popularly as kiondo. “We have reduced prices of because the economy is bad),” she says in accented Swahili, lifting a white-and-brown bag that costs Sh300.

Our quest to this bustling market on the fringe of Kenya’s capital is to find out the fate of the age-old basket mostly associated with Kikuyu and Kamba women and, in a weird coincidence, the shawl wrapped around her waist, known as kikoi. “The Japanese have taken our kiondo and even kikoi,” says Ms Syuki, reinforcing what turns out to be the most perpetuated patenting myth in Kenya. “Chinese are now making kiondos using machines.”

The kiondo and kikoi are hot brands globally, especially in western countries where they continue to pull female buyers smitten with the fine African touch and style. Just like Ms Syuki, most Kenyans believe the Japanese “stole” the KIONDO brand by patenting (protecting) it, and a British company – Kikoy UK Company – registered KIKOY as a trademark for textile goods.

“It is not good for us and the government should do something about it,” says Ms Syuki, who says she has been in the kiondo business for the past 15 years. But the Kenya Industrial Property Institute (KIPI), the State-run parastatal mandated to protect four elements of intellectual property rights – patents, utility models, industrial designs and technovations – has some good news: Kenya still has claim to the two name, after all.

“Kenyans, including Ms Syuki, should stop worrying about the purported lose of both the kiondo and kikoi for none has been lost,” said the principal examiner at KIPI’s Technical Services Department Sylvance Sange, “No Kenyan business has been refused entry into either Japan or the UK following claims of intellectual property rights by anybody there.”

A search conducted at the Japanese patent office database covering 1984 to date for information to confirm that kiondo is patented in Tokyo only found industrial weaving of baskets, some made of fabric or paper materials. “Given that several baskets are patented the interpretation shows that those protections are restricted to process as opposed to product patents. That means kiondo basket suffered no exclusion in the Japanese market,” he says in a research paper titled Kiondo idea theft: An intellectual property myth.

A further search in the Japanese trademark database to establish whether the KIONDO was registered as a brand name for fabrics and baskets in Japan returned negative results. While ruling out any patenting of kiondo, he points out that Kikoy UK Company’s application on August 26, 2006, to register the word KIKOY as a trade mark for textile goods was rejected when the applicant failed to meet UK Patent Office requirements after some parties objected to the application.

Mr Sange said the two items are already enjoying express intellectual property protection of the law. In the intellectual property parlance, the kiondo enjoys protection as information in the public domain, which cannot be subject to exclusive rights in favour of an individual against others while the kikoi is protected as a generic name of a product that should be available for use by all.

In what will disappoint Kenyans, KIPI says the two products cannot be panted either in Kenya or any other country, including Japan and the UK. Lack of clear individual ownership of kiondo has left it a property of the communities. Given that it was created in a local setting to attend to a local need, kiondo seems to fit well as traditional knowledge – passed on from generation to another.

“The problems faced in Kenya with regard to protection of traditional knowledge is that so far there is no legislative framework in place for it,” said Mr Sange. While the Kenyan Industrial Property Act 2001 provides for avenues through which the kiondo can be patented, he downplays the significance of such a move. “Such form of protection can only apply locally,” he says.

Similarly, while the Japan Patent Office (JPO) can protect an idea such as kiondo by way of granting a patent, it means such an idea is patented just in that country. “Upon a successful contest of that grant by a third party the patent is invalidated,” he said, adding that if a product patent for kiondo existed, it lacked force of exclusion in the Japanese market.

Perhaps more significantly, a granted patent lasts for a maximum of 20 years from the filing date and the protection period is not renewable, which means a patent becomes public upon expiry of this period. Given that the notion of kiondo being patented in Japan has lasted for quite some time, the purported denial of its rights to ownership has lapsed.

“The product Kiondo was never patentable in Japan. It failed the novelty test in Japan. It was not patentable in Kenya either, due to its failure in both novelty and industrial application tests,” he said. On the other hand, the quality and consistency of kikoi products can get protected in Kenya through registration of distinctive trademarks at KIPI.

However, its officials say the word KIKOI alone cannot be registered for textile goods, as it is generic to those products when its Kiswahili meaning is considered. Kiswahili is recognised in Kenya as a national language. “A generic term cannot at all cost make a distinctive trade mark,” Mr Sange says. In Kenya, this is provided for in Section 12(d) of the Trade Marks Act, which reads:

“A word or words having no direct reference to the character or quality of the goods, and not being according to its ordinary signification a geographical name or a surname….” Otherwise, in case the word is crafted with other distinctive elements forming a composite mark for textile goods, then the Act requires the applicant to enter a disclaimer to the exclusive use of the word ‘kikoi’ separately.

This means the term is then allowed to silently exist as part of the label, and anybody else is allowed to use it for the same goods when coined differently. Generic words are generally made available for use by anybody free of charge. According to Mr Sange, however, the word kikoi is available for protection in other non-descriptive category of goods or services.

There is no legal hindrance whatsoever before the UK Patent Office in registering the word kikoy as a trade mark for textiles in the UK. That means, if kikoi products were manufactured in the UK and sold within its territory as opposed to being imported from elsewhere, the applicant was had every right to register the word kikoy as a trade mark for textiles and legally use it there.

Any protest from another country against that application could not be much of an issue, particularly if it was meant to legally compel the UK Patent Office to refuse registration against the interest of the UK applicant. In the absence of local (UK) manufacturing, the only difficulty facing that registration was on the part of the holder concerning enforcement of his entitled exclusive rights in the UK yet he had to source it from a number of African countries that manufacture kikoi products.

But this does not open the door for Kenyans to claim ownership of kikoi or kiondo, changing very little for Syuki and many other Kenyans. “Kenya’s move to seek protection singly would open another chapter all together where other African countries who manufacture kikois could claim an act of aggression against them over what they also claim a stake,” .

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Hello world!

EMBRACE AGRICULTURE, KOSGEY TELLS YOUTH

BY pascal mbela & lome moshebeau, 29/06/2010

Young people have been encouraged to adopt agriculture as a source of income. Speaking during the Launch of his ministry’s master plan for industrial development, Hon. Henry Kosgey, minister for industrialization, noted that most of the young people shun agriculture.” We attempt to identify areas where Kenya can be competitive and one of these areas is agro-processing and agro-business, “Said Kosgey.

The agricultural sector which will get a boost from the master plan is set to be on a new path of development in the near future. The minister encouraged the Kenyan farmers to use local fabricated machinery to add value to their agricultural products. He also urged the youth to identify areas of development they could be interested in and go to the Kenya Industrial estates to ask for loans.

The national strategy for industrialization will anchor the sector firmly to stand out in the implementation process of the vision 2030 as it lays at the road map that will steer the country’s industrialization process.

The manufacturing sector which is one of the six pillars in the vision 2030 has been foreseen to grow from seven to fifteen percent.

The ministry also launched its newly revamped website in line with the e-government strategy of enabling the public access to information.

“We have very many educated Kenyans whom you can turn into electronic genius, “Kosgey added. He encouraged Kenyans to adopt the information communication technology as this sector is still young and has a lot of potential to grow.

INDUSTRIAL SECTOR TO GET A BOOST AS MINISTRY LAUNCHES PLAN

BY pascal mbela & lome moshebeau 29/06/2010

The industrial sector in Kenya envisages a bright future as the ministry of industrialization launched a master plan for Kenya’s Industrial Development (MAPKID)

The overall goal of the plan is to create an enabling environment that will nurture rapid and sustainable growth in the manufacturing sector.

The national strategy for industrialization will anchor the sector firmly to stand out in the implementation process of the vision 2030 as it lays out the road map that will steer the country’s industrialization process.

Speaking at the launch, the minister for industrialization, Hon. Henry Kosgei, said that the plan will identify areas where Kenya can be competitive in industrial development, one of the areas being agribusiness. “We want to add value to our agricultural produce” He added.

The minister also cited the area of ICT as an important economic booster that can create employment and competitive advantage if developed. He however encouraged the young people to start small scale industries that can generate economic benefits. He explained that the upcoming entrepreneurs can approach development finance institutions such as the Kenya Industrial Estates for loans and premises.

The master plan is set to facilitate expansion of a globally competitive and innovative industrial sector as well as providing a concrete and comprehensive picture on the direction of kenya’s industrial development process.

The manufacturing sector, being a key sector in creating jobs, generating wealth and attracting both local and foreign direct investments, is expected to increase and sustain a steady contribution to the national Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by at least 10 per cent per annum.

The measures are expected to turn around the ailing performance of the sector by boosting its contribution to the GDP from the 9.5 per cent in 2009 to higher one.

The ministry also launched its re-packaged website in line with the E-government strategy of enabling the public access to information which will enhance efficiency in service delivery by harnessing the power of information and communication technology. (ICT)
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Posted on June 18, 2010 by southernmedianetwork

THE MEDIA IS DOING A GOOD JOB BUT………….
BY pascal mbela & lome moshebeau 29/06/2010

Though an assistant minister and two members of parliament were arrested and charged on Tuesday, the national cohesion and integration commission’s chairman Mzalendo Kibunjia said there are other people being investigated he also said the commission is targeting individual Kenyans who are perpetuating hate speech t. some people see it as a great move by the commission to curb hate speeches in the country to avoid what happened in the country two years ago. The national cohesion and integration commission’s chairman commended the media for exposing some stories. He said that it is through the media that some issues are exposed. His praise for the media comes days after the media was lashed at for airing what was termed as “unworthy news” after the grenade bombing on Sunday. The department of information and public communication Mr. Ezekiel Mutua said that the ministry of information is coming up with a communication Act to curb hate speech. After the grenade bombing that happened at Uhuru Park on Sunday it is still evidence that the aftermath of the 2007 elections is still in existence. Claims were already made even before the police started their investigations creating tension between the two groups. During the NCIC meeting, the assistant minister for higher education kilemi mwiraria said that politicians should always have a conscious mind and be role models and not be people who betray the public trust or misinterpret facts.

The media should go beyond entertaining educating and informing the mass Mr.Mutua said the media should not be persistent in airing conflict issues instead they should air fair objective matters that are of public interest.

Dr. Joyce Nyairo of Ford foundation condemned absentee reporting she said it is not right to let a writer write an article of an event that he never attended or something that he does not understand. He advised the media to always do a background research on issues they are about to air or write. “Journalists should always be ready to own up to the mistakes they make” she added she also advised the media to start appreciating cultural diversity.

BANK SEEKS TO EXPAND AND MODERNISE OPERATIONS

BY pascal mbela & lome moshebeau28/06/2010

The national bank of Kenya is set to expand and modernize its operations for efficiency of operations and proper dissemination of information between the company and its shareholders.

The bank goal is to open a minimum of 20 new branches countrywide by the end of this year in its expansion program in a bid to get closer to its customers and shareholders. The bank currently has 41 branches.

Speaking at the shareholders’ Annual General Meeting, the firm’s financial director, Mr. X said that the bank has set aside a total sum of kshs. 700 million that will be spent in building new premises, refurbishment and acquisition of equipment for the new branches.

In a bid to be techno savvy, the bank wants to adopt new technological methods in its operations. “the method is an efficient tool in management as members will be able to attend board meetings without being physically present.” said the company’s Managing Director, Mr. Y. ”the method will save on both money and time” he added.

The bank also seeks to utilize the internet and mobile phones to send annual reports and notices to shareholders. The MD however said the move is meant to modernize the articles of association but not to cut costs.

The adoption of electronic method of payment of dividends to shareholders aims to minimize the inconveniences associated with cheques such as printing, postage, and replacement of lost cheques.

The bank however issued bonus shares to its shareholders. The MD said that the issuance of the bonus shares was a step towards

privatization of the company that is speculated to happen soon.

GENDER SHOULD NOT BE MISLED, MURUGI URGED.

BY pascal mbela & lome moshebeau 28/06/10

Minister of gender and children Hon Esther Murugi, targets to reach substantial number of women, childen, elderly people as well as the disabled.

She was speaking while receiving 5000 copies of the proposed constitution at her office yesterday, from the German government. The German government has promised total support by assisting the ministry through funding the process.

Murugi said that they are targeting women because they are the ones who attend churches in large number and they have been convinced by church leaders that the proposed constitution is bad.

The ministry is planning to take their campaign in various schools where distribution of copies will take place. This process she said will eradicate illiteracy through which the children will engage in the process of elaborating most of the contentious clauses to their parents.

Meanwhile, Murugi accused Dr.machage of being disrespective to the president telling to sack him instead of suspension. She said that the president has got the appropriate mandate to appoint and sack where necessary.

She also accused members of the no campaign of spreading propaganda and misleading Kenyans by not telling them the truth about the constitution, instead using their platforms to campaign for 2012 election.
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Posted on June 28, 2010 by BY pascal mbela & lome moshebeau

Use public transport matatu owners urge public

Kenyans have been urged to use public service to reduce congestion the city. He was speaking during the launch of PSV 2030 campaign at a Nairobi hotel. Mr Simon Kimutai the chairman of Matatu Owners Association said that the transport sector plays a key role towards economic development by providing efficient means of transport.
He discouraged passengers from complaining after a crash but challenged them to discourage drivers from speeding.
He challenged the ministry of roads to mark the roads clearly to reduce the number of crashes. The chairman took the opportunity to challenge drivers and conductors to comply with TLB regulations and stop the practice of giving bribes.
Also present at the launch was the minister of Co-operatives Hon Joseph Nyagah among other dignitaries
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Posted on June 26, 2010 BY pascal mbela & lome moshebeau

LOBBY GROUP CALLS FOR ARREST OF UHURU BOMBER

By Joseph Lotukoi

The Multisectoral national yes campaign has called for the speedy arrest and prosecution of the individuals who carried out the bombing attacks at the “NO” campaign meeting in Uhuru park last Sunday.

In its weekly press briefings in Nairobi, the lobby group stated that the culture of impunity that has continued to go unpunished in the country led to the hideous crime.

Professor Larry Gumbe, the chairman of center for multiparty democracy-Kenya, noted that the people who illegally inserted the words “national security” in the proposed constitution are still at large and their motives are still unclear.

“criminals have been testing the security agencies and found them wanting, so they have grown in audacity to commit bigger crimes as we saw on Sunday and especially for political gain, with impunity because they know they will get away with it. This has to stop and punishing perpetrators is the only way,” Professor Gumbe said.

CMD has called o Kenyans to embrace national cohesion and dismiss those who are using divisive tactics. In report signed by various activist groups, the CMD chair alluded the Kenyan situation to Germany and the USA where propaganda campaigns in the recent past did lead to the crumbling of the economies and national fabrics of those nations.

Professor Gumbe praised the National cohesion commission for summoning leaders accused of using hate speech. He encouraged the commission to continue with the move so as to bring to book all those involved in inciting and lying to Kenyans.

LOBBYISTS CONDEMN UHURU PARK ATTACKS
BY pascal mbela & lome moshebeau 26/06/10

The centre for Multisectoral democracy Kenya on behalf of the Multisectoral national YES campaign committee has condemned the cowardly and inhuman act committed against Kenyans at the Uhuru park prayer- NO campaign rally on Sunday.

Issuing the statement at a press briefing at the international house, Center for Multisectoral Democracy chairman, Prof. Larry Gumbe called for authentic investigations, arrests and prosecutions of the individuals who carried out the murder and attack on Kenyans.

He also accused the commissioner of police and the attorney general for dragging their feet in prosecuting suspects of the Narok arms cache as well as making arrests of those who illegally inserted the words “National Security” in the proposed constitution.

Gumbe made a wake up call to the National Cohesion Commission in dealing with hate mongers and people deliberately lying to Kenyans about the constitution. Those involved should brought to book and punished severely if we are to save this nation for future generations.

He however praised the commission for moving in to deal with any Kenyan who uses hate speech in the ongoing referendum campaigns.

In his statement, he also criticized the security forces saying criminals had seen loop holes in the forces’ operations that is why they have the audacity to commit bigger crimes like what was witnessed in Uhuru park last Sunday.

He however called on all Kenyans to stand in unity in condemning the forces of evil carried out by terrorists rather than applying divisive tactics that will leave Kenya divided and tolerant.

“no one should take advantage of the murders and attacks on Kenyans to try and promote their side of the campaign because Kenyans always stand united when under attack and when tragedy strikes”. He added.

Prof. Gumbe cited that strong democracies and nations are those that are built on the foundation of the truth.

Reduce police road blocks Raila urges Police

“All roadblocks should be reduced by 10% “Prime Minister Hon Raila Odinga said during the East Africa Common Market round table meeting. He urged the minister for transport to speed up the process since no action was taken even after the president instructed the road blocks to be removed.
Besides the road blocks, poor infrastructure was a major issue to the community. Since it is the major stumbling block for doing business in the region.
East Africa has the most expensive transport cost in the world making its goods uncompetitive.
He applauded the treasury move to reserve 182 billion during this current budget.
The East African community common market protocol was signed by the heads of state on 20 th November 2009 following 18 months of intensive negotiations. It is scheduled to begin on 1 st July 2010.
Hon Raila said the east Africa community should be become a reality
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Posted on June 25, 2010 BY pascal mbela & lome moshebeau

GENDER BASED VIOLENCE STILL PREVALENT IN KENYA
More than one third of women in Kenya have suffered from physical violence at some point since the age of fifteen. This is according to the 2008/09 Kenya demographic and health survey report released today.

According to the report, a quarter of the women suffered from these acts of violence during the past twelve months. Violence rates were higher among the divorced, separated and widowed women compared to single women. Two thirds of women who have ever experienced physical violence reported that the perpetrator was a current or former husband or partner.

21 p.c of the women have ever experienced sexual violence with 12 p.c having their first experience of sexual intercourse forced against their will.

The report further stated that forty seven percent of ever married women have suffered from spousal pr partner abuse at some point in time, whether physical, emotional or sexual with one third of ever married women reporting having experienced some form of physical or sexual violence by their husband or partner in the past year.

Statistics also showed that experience of spousal violence decreased with increasing level of education and household wealth. Women whose husbands often drunk were more likely subjected to physical and sexual violence than women whose4 husbands do not drink.

The report is based on data collected from a sample of households representative of the entire population conducted from November 2008 to February 2009. among the interviewed, 8,444 were women aged between 15 to 49 years and 3,465 were men aged between 15 to 54 years. The Kenya demographic and health survey(KDHS) was overseen by the Kenya national bureau of statistics(KNBS) in partnership with the national AIDS control council(NACC), the ministry of pubic health and sanitation, the ministry of medical services, the Kenya medical research institute (KEMRI) and the national coordinating agency for population and development(NCAPD)..

This was the fifth survey of its kind conducted in Kenya with previous ones conducted in 1989, 1993, 1998, and 2003.

This survey, funded by USAID was launched by Minister of public health and sanitation Hon Beth Mugo.

TAKE CHARGE, HEALTH MINISTER URGES WOMEN
BY pascal mbela & lome moshebeau 24/06/10

The minister for public health and sanitation, Honorable Beth Mugo, has challenged women to step up and take control of their lives. The minister lamented at the high number of women who think that gender based violence in their marriages is justified.
According to the Kenya national bureau of statistics, a whooping 53% of women think it is right for them to be beaten by their husbands.

The minister, who was speaking at the launch of the Kenya demographic and health survey report of 2008-2009 in Nairobi, reiterated that the Eastern Africa region had a lot to do on maternal health. This is considering the fact that Kenya is doing poorly on the same while still leading the rest of the pack in the block.

Speaking at the same event, Professor Alloys Orago, director of the national aids control council, stated that the prevalence rates for HIV and Aids had decreased from 6.9% in 2003 to 6.3% in 2009 when the study was carried out.

The report also stated that the fertility rate in the country has gone down for the first time since 1999. A woman in Kenya currently bears 4.6 children down from 4.9 children in 2003.

The 2008/2009 survey which is the fifth of its kind to be held in Kenya was carried out by the Kenya National bureau of statistics (KNBS) in partnership with other governmental agencies , ministries and development partners such as the united states development agency (USAID). Other similar surveys were conducted in 1989, 1993, 1998 and 2003. This is the second time that HIV and Aids has been included in the survey. The first time that this was done was in 2003.

The event which was marked with pomp and colour was also addressed by Dr. Edward Sambili, the PS in the ministry of state for planning and national development and vision 2030 and representatives from the world bank and the United Nations.
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COUNCILLORS FAULTS THE PM OVER PUBLIC INCITEMENT
Posted on June , 2010 BY pascal mbela & lome moshebeau

COUNCILLORS FAULTS THE PM OVER PUBLIC INCITIMENT

BY pascal mbela & lome moshebeau

A faction of around 35 councilors from PNU side have faulted the Prime minister Raila Odinga, of playing a one-man game in the name of campaigning for the draft constitution.
The councilors led by former deputy mayor john Njoroge and councilor Mutunga Mutungi, accused Raila to have incited the public to heckle the VP Kalonzo Musyoka during the rally to launch the Yes campaign at the Uhuru Park grounds in Nairobi last weekend.
“Let the PM not take advantage of the campaign to settle political scores” said former deputy mayor.
In related to the matter the councilors have also accused the politicians whom they didn’t want to name of being behind heckling, the president during meeting with the president last Friday, where councilors demand salary arrears instead of constitutional discussion.
The councilors who were addressing the media in Nairobi, urged Kenyans to go about their campaign period peacefully without being incited to do malicious thing by politicians.
“We are hearing some rumors that some politicians are inciting the public over the draft constitution, us councilors will support the draft as it is but that to prevail our leaders must be trustworthy”Njoroge said
However, they told the media they are yet to consult the Vice president over what to do in terms of two proposed Yes factions.
”we are still consulting whether to carryout joint rallies or not, but that is still
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Posted on June 24, 2010 BY pascal mbela & lome moshebeau

MAGINALISED COMMUNITIES DEMANDS REPRESENTATION.

BY pascal mbela & lome moshebeau

As review to the boundaries session around the country comes to a closure end, the commission has been faced with a number of suggestion during there sessions which Kenyans want taken care of in terms of representation, concerning constituencies wards and district.

“In a country where the bill of rights and freedom are protected, the Kenyan citizen want an equitable additional of constituencies and wards can bring a fair representations “said Ligale.

Although there are various communities which feel marginalised such as Elmolo in Laisamis, the Sengwer in West pokot, the Ndorobo in Mau and Mt. Elgon and North Horr, appealed to the Ligale’s commission for fair representations in there constituencies.

The commission intend to meet political parties, civil servants organizations, Faith-based organizations and professional associations for further consultants “we also intend to pay visits to countries that who have experienced intractable boundary disputes” said Ligale.
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Posted on June , 2010 byBY pascal mbela & lome moshebeau

East African Community urged to embrace Business reforms

By,BY pascal mbela & lome moshebeau 24/06/10

The 5 member East African trading block has been urged to foster reforms in the business climate this was the key finding in the World Bank report on the business climate in East Africa report launched in Nairobi today.

According to the Vice Chairman of the East African Business Council, the regions governments have over the past years being making improvements in the investment climate such as reduction on the number of licenses required to start a business.

However more needs to done to improve the business climate in terms of regulations and labor laws. This was evident when the World Bank unveiled its doing business in East Africa report. Led by Mr. David Bridgman the regional Manager of Investment Climate Advisory Services an World Bank Subsidiary, he singled out infrastructure and large number of licenses as the greatest impediment for the private sector development in the region. World Bank ranked East Africa as 116 out the 183 countries studied. Mr. Bridgman, however was optimistic that with the right reforms east African countries can rank 12th in two years.

World Bank is to appealing East African Governments to increase the pace of reforms in order to join then ranks of developed countries. Speaking during the launch of “Doing business in East Africa 2010 report the East Africa community secretary general Amb..Juma Mwapachu who presided over the launch of the World Bank report titled, doing business in East Africa said, that a number of reforms towards the improvement of the overall investment climate in the region are underway. “We are doing our level best in the region to ensure the reforms we undertake are felt locally, nationally and regionally towards the July 1st 2010 the commencement of the common markets protocol” said Amb.Mwapachu.

However, Kenya seems to be carrying out some far reaching reforms in attracting investment such as harmonization of labor laws, infrastructure development and reviewing the archaic taxes regime that have impacted negatively on particularly small scale businesses said Permanent secretary Mr. David Nalo during the launch of the report” we are determined as government to reduce working licenses along our borders for an eased movement of good and services in line with the common markets protocol envisaged for the 1st July this year” said Ps Nalo.
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Posted on June 7, 2010 by southernmedianetwork

Nema,UNEP,Commission of higher education in collaboration with Jomo Kenyatta university of science and technology have joined up to educate Kenyans on proposed education for sustainable development policy.

The main theme of the education programme was to offer accessible quality university education, training.research and innovation in order to produce leaders in the fields of agriculture, enginnering, technology, enterprise development, health and other applied sciences to suit the needs of a dynamic world.

Nema being one of the transforming authorities in Kenya which is mandated by law to assist the public and private organization into integrating ESD principles has fully to support the implementation of the strategy.

There are very many sustainable development issues in Kenya that can be classified as societal, economic and environmental.therfore these problems can hinder us from achieving vision 2030, so it has been observed that ESD effort will encourage change in behavior that will create more sustainable future in terms of environmental intergrity, economic viability and a just society for present and future generations.
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Posted on June 24, 2010 BY pascal mbela & lome moshebeau

HOUSING MINISTRY’S NEW TECHNOLOGY TO LOWER CONSTRUCTION COST.

BY pascal mbela & lome moshebeau

The ministry of housing under the second edition of National Exhibition on Best Practices on Human Settlement have a plus reason for the housing industry

This is as a result of government’s plan to lower construction cost by promoting appropriate building material and technology through establishing appropriate building technology centers countrywide and equipping them with modern building machines such as Hydra form technology.

Currently, the government has been able to allocate a total of 12 machines in our 8 provinces, speaking during the event in Nairobi, the Minister for housing Hon.Soita Shitanda said ‘’we are yet to distribute a total of 110 machines for the whole country but in order to make this a reality our ministry is experiencing money constraints and therefore this will require us to ask for a total of Ksh .35Million from the treasury because each is costing Ksh 1.8M after taxation.”

The machine which can produce 240 construction bricks in one hour comes in the industry at a time when the world is experiencing rapid urbanization with 50 of the

Population living in urban areas.

The machine is therefore meant for faster production of construction bricks

As compared tio the tedious and old system one.

As a result more houses will be constructed in both rural and urban centers

Hence reducing decongestion in urban centers.

According to Housingminister Hon Soita Shitanda statistics indicates that about

50%of Kenyans will be living in towns by 2030,hence the need to come up with new

Technologies inbuilding industry. And this phenomenon brings with it opportunities

As well as challenges, whereas “whereas in order to maintain human settlement in a

Rapidly urbanizing world we need to increase provision of urban services which include

Housing, therefore to ensure this is achieved my ministry will encourage partnership with

Other stakeholders in the housing industries as well as human settlement based organizations,”.

UP YOUR GAME YOUR ,KTB CHAIRMAN DAMIEN TELLS THE GOVERNMENT

BY pascal mbela & lome moshebeau 24/06/10

Being the affected ministry by the 2007- post election skirmishes, the government has tried to revie some of the challenges that might have led to the down fall of the ministry through enhancing tight security, improving the infrastructure, bring diversification changes in the tourism sector and also repositioning of the budget.

“The image of a country is very important because no visitor would want to visit a country that is infuriated of chaos and violence”, Said chairman of the tourism board.

The chairman also faulted the gorvement of Kenya to up their game in terms of accessibility towards tourism avenues by way of building good roads leading to various national parks around the country, as well as tourism centres to easen the investors demand.

Either the chairman, applauded the commitment the gorvement has shown in support for local and international tourism, he said “one may not be employed in the tourism sector but tourism contribute a lot to the economy and in away or the other creates employment to mainly the youths” chairman explains.

But in away or the other of which the ongoing constitutional debate currently, may affect tourism sector internationally or locally , chairman said” this is a an opportunity Kenyans should prove to the world that Kenya is worth in terms of tourism as an indusrty,and are able to conduct themselves in a democratic way”

Therefore as the rush to meet the global target of about 3 million tourist a year is heightening, the chairman said they hope to work alongside donor community to be able to enhance foreign tourism revenue every year, and this the chairman said “it will not be possible unless the government of Kenya recognize the tourism industry as a big contributor towards the Kenyan economy, by providing various incentives in the fields of security, infrastructure as well as building conference center along the coast to waiver the tax in the industry.”
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Posted on June 7, 2010 by southernmedianetwork

YOUTH TOLD TO INNOVATE

BY pascal mbela & lome moshebeau,23/06/10

“Great business start with humble beginning” said Assistant minister in the office of Prime Minister Alfred khangati when he opened business exhibition fair on small and medium enterprises fair at kicc.

The small & medium enterprises fair which occurs annually has been there to help young people who have intentions of venturing into business and get to learn new ideas from professionals.

“In order to achieve vision 2030 we need young people in order to succeed ‘’said CEOAccess Kenya Mr. Chris sinamu.Sinamu said that his companies together with his members are ready to support youths who have interest in starting business in information technology.

The CEO of Kenya broadcasting corporation Florence migude also said that the media fraternity has played a greater role in giving business companies chances to educate wananchi through either electronic or print media.

Assistant minister Hon Alfred khangati in his speech encouraged young people to seek self employment because that is the only way the government can reduce the number of rising youth who are unemployed in the country.

Khangati has also expressed that the government is working hand in hand with sector like banking industry to enable them to reduce the rate of lending money in order for young people to get access to borrow money and set up their own business.

.Meanwhile khangati urged Kenyans to vote in the proposed new constitution which he said can help bring radical changes especially in the judicial system, which in-turn can increase the donor investment in the country.
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ON THE VERGE OF BETTER SANITATION
Posted on June , 2010 BY pascal mbela & lome moshebeau

ON THE VERGE OF BETTER SANITATION

BY pascal mbela & lome moshebeau.23/06/10

“Ministry of public health and sanitizations together with global funding organization will work together to ensure health is considered as one the 1st priority to reduce the number of rising diseases such as cholera and typhoid due to poor sanitizations “said Obacho a public health officer in the ministry of public health and sanitation.

Mr. Obacho, who was speaking on behalf of his minister Beth Mugo on an Urban Sanitation Forum, assured of the government’s effort in eradicating poverty through creating initiatives like educating slum dwellers on the need of having good sanitation, to be able to improve their living standards.

He noted that many of the slum dwellers live in harsh conditions, because of lack of toilets, poor drainage system and land to dispose waste products; by so doing this we will be able to achieve our vision 2030 strategic plan.

Obacho added that the urban sanitation forum has helped members of the community health workers and initiatives group project like Mathare and Ngumba come together and realize the need to clean the environment is a clear indication to show that government is putting more effort in managing the environment to able to provide healthy a healthy environment .

Mr. Obacho, who highlighted some of the challenges the government, is facing during provision of services like building toilets as well as providing good drainage system accused the city council of Nairobi of not providing land for building toilets even after the government has paid for the services.

ON THE VERGE TO A BETTER SANITATION

BY pascal mbela & lome moshebeau ,23/06/10

“Ministry of public health and sanitizations together with global funding organization will work together to ensure health is considered as one the 1st priority to reduce the number of rising diseases such as cholera and typhoid due to poor sanitizations “said Obacho a public health officer in the ministry of public health and sanitation.

Mr. Obacho, who was speaking on behalf of his minister Beth Mugo on an Urban Sanitation Forum, assured of the government’s effort in eradicating poverty through creating initiatives like educating slum dwellers on the need of having good sanitation, to be able to improve their living standards.

He noted that many of the slum dwellers live in harsh conditions, because of lack of toilets, poor drainage system and land to dispose waste products; by so doing this we will be able to achieve our vision 2030 strategic plan.

Obacho added that the urban sanitation forum has helped members of the community health workers and initiatives group project like Mathare and Ngumba come together and realize the need to clean the environment is a clear indication to show that government is putting more effort in managing the environment to able to provide healthy a healthy environment .

Mr. Obacho, who highlighted some of the challenges the government, is facing during provision of services like building toilets as well as providing good drainage system accused the city council of Nairobi of not providing land for building toilets even after the government has paid for the services.
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Parents lobby pushes for education friendly budget
Posted on June 23, 2010 BY pascal mbela & lome moshebeau

Parents lobby pushes for education friendly budget

The Kenya National Association of Parents has raised concerns over what they termed as an elaborate plan by the government to sabotage there plea by not involving the parents in the budget making process. Addressing the press at the organization’s offices, the parents’ body accused the government of insincerity pointing to their findings that the ministry of education failed to utilize properly the allocations in the previous budget amounting to 30 million Kenyan shillings.

“We were recently shocked to note that the ministry of education has not been able to spend over 30 million Kenya shillings for the various educational projects “read part of the statement. This comes in sharp contrast to the government’s insistence of lack funds to finance educational projects around the country. This according to the Secretary General Musau Ndunda was unacceptable to the parents and Kenyans.

They also urged the treasury to set aside funds for the implementation of the: National Early Childhood Development Policy Framework, which would allow for nursery school education free for the children. Musau said “This program will need an additional 2.8 billion shillings which will lessen the burden parents are shouldering” Failure to this he said they would mobilize their colleagues country – wide to withdraw their support for the proposed new constitution.

The annual general meeting of Total Kenya was held on June 2 at KICC Nairobi. (Excerpts from shareholder Q&A) Hot Button issue was the Low Divided – Board said DPS of 1/= ($0.12) per share down from traditional 2.50/= ($0.03) per share is the best they can do – Why are you not paying dividend as high as rival Kenol? If rival Kenol is paying more, it is because they have not invested like Total
Trade and Production Adjustments in ACP Countries.

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posted June 9th 2010
Editor’s Pick

Luvaha Charles Luvaga,Abambika Afrika

In order to derive maximum benefits from trade liberalisation processes, the competitiveness of African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries’ private sector is crucial. This paper from ECDPM and the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation ACP-EU (CTA) analyses the successful experience of the Integrated Development Programme for the Caribbean Rum Sector – from its inception and design to its concrete management and implementation – as an example of how Aid for Trade driven by the private sector can best support ACP development. It is meant to inform ACP private sector pla yers who are facing similar challenges of restructuring and competitiveness in the face of trade liberalisation, donors who want to provide adjustment support, as well as policymakers at the interface of these two groups of stakeholders.
Visit also our Programme home pages
Development Policy and International Relations programme – Economic and Trade Cooperation programme – Governance programme
Policy News

European Think-Tanks Group publishes policy brief on EEAS
Four leading European Think-Tanks have published a new policy note titled ‘Development-proofing the EEAS’ in response to the new blueprint on the European External Action Service (EEAS) agreed by the EU General Affairs Council. The document elaborates on the four key priorities set out by heads of the four organisations: Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE), Overseas Development Institute (ODI), Fundación para las Relaciones Internacionales y el Diálogo Exterior (FRIDE) and ECDPM – in their Open Letter of 5 May. Noting that speed is of the essence in implementing the agreement, the paper offers further guidance on some of the ‘how’ questions in the implementation phase.

What’s needed for a new, operative aid effectiveness agenda?
In this blog post, Owen Barder of Development Initiatives’ reflects a recent exchange on the future of aid effectiveness with the ‘Donors’ Assistance Group’ in Ethiopia (the country heads of 26 aid age ncies working in the country). While there was little dispute that it is difficult to make progress in aid effectiveness as currently conceived, says Barder, scepticism was expressed on the likelihood of achieving sufficient changes in the existing incentive structure to sufficiently change donor/recipient behaviour patterns.

Using budget support to foster good governance
This draft paper by Rachel Hayman of the Centre of African Studies, University of Edinburgh argues that aid conditionality under budget support is becoming more politicised, but that there is little evidence to suggest that it can be used as an instrument for influencing political processes and bringing about democratic change. The paper focuses on the approaches of the United Kingdom and the European Commission in Uganda, Ethiopia, Nicaragua, Honduras and Rwanda.

Mid-term Evaluation of the EU’s GSP
This report from The Centre for the Analysis of Regional Integration at Sussex (CARIS) for the European Commission (see also annexes) finds that the European Union’s Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) regime can be effective in increasing Least Developing Countries (LDC) exports and welfare. However, the generally low level of ‘EU Most Favoured Nation’ tariffs and the structure of LDC trade inevitably constrain the regime’s effectiveness. Policy conclusions focus on improving product coverage and rules of origin.

We Don’t Know How to Solve Global Poverty and ‘That&rsq uo;s a Good Thing’
The influential economist William Easterly argues that so far, no one has managed to find any combination of policies that promises a good rate of economic growth. The lesson from history is that moments of certainty about ‘solutions to global poverty’ have had quite the opposite effect, with harmful consequences for the world’s poor in the long-run. Easterly argues that sceptical criticism is a creative force that redirects attention and effort away from centrally-directed expert solutions towards effective decentralised problem-solving and is, therefore, a more useful approach.

Hiding Relations: The Irony of Effective Aid
This article by Rosalind Eybena of the University of Sussex in the European Journal of Development Research explores the ‘managing for development results’ approach and argues that it is an expression of a historically dominant mode of thought in international aid – ‘substantialism’ – which sees the world primarily in terms of ‘entities’ such as ‘poverty’, ‘basic needs’, ‘rights’, ‘women’ or ‘results’. Another important mode of thought, ‘relationalism’ – in association more generally with ideas of process and complexity – appears to be absent in the thinking of aid institutions. The paper stresses that relationships between actors matter, and actors themselves change and evolve through their interaction with each other. At their best, aid workers surf the unpredictable realities of national politics, spotting opportunities, supporting interesting new initiatives, acting like entrepreneurs or searchers, rat her than planners.

The EU-Africa partnership at a strategic crossroads
This paper from the Fundación para las Relaciones Internacionales y el Diálogo Exterior (FRIDE) calls on the EU and Africa to lay the foundation for a more mature strategic partnership. It suggests that the success of the peace and security partnership, which was built on agreed core expectations, provides a model for effective collaboration. The paper further calls on the EU to create a pan-African envelope specifically to support the Joint Strategy and for African countries to align their positions around shared continental agendas.

Latest issue of Capacity.org published
The May 2010 issue of Capacity.org journal explores the role that the capacity development professional’s personal behaviour and attitudes plays in change relationships. It is time to subject this often-elusive quality to the same kind of scrutiny as we do knowledge, skills, and tools and methods for capacity development. In particular: “What aspects of behaviour are relevant in CD practice? Is it possible to change behaviour? And if so, how?”

Agricultural Trade Adjustments: Lessons from SADC experiences
Agriculture remains essential to many SADC economies, but changing market conditions call for new strategies. These may include moving up the value chain, diversification and developing new export markets. Noting that well targeted government policies and donor support are crucial, this paper from ECDPM and the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation ACP-EU (CTA) highlights the lessons that can be drawn from aid for trade (AfT) experiences in agriculture in supporting agricultural transformation in Southern African countries. The key messages are meant to foster debate on how ongoing policy processes can best shape aid for trade strategies in accordance with the needs of the agriculture sector.

Kind request to assist us in surveying ECDPM’s information products & knowledge sharing activities
We kindly invite you to share your views on the relevance and quality of ECDPM information products and knowledge-sharing activities. By these, we mean our publications, websites and newsletters, and our dialogue activities and advisory work. Your survey responses will help us to further improve our services to you. They will also provi de valuable insights for ECDPM’s forthcoming external evaluation, which takes place in late 2010. Click here to access the survey. We look forward to your feedback and thank you in advance.
National Microfinance Bank AGM

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Luvaha Charles Luvaga,Abambika Afrika

Posted: 31 May 2010 04:53 AM PDT
guest post in Swahili, submitted by Uchumi Wetu of NMB – a Tanzanian Bank WANAHISA wa Benki ya NMB watapata gawio la jumla ya Shilingi 15.7 bilioni kwa mwaka 2009(dividend payout of ~$11 million), ikiwa ni ongezeko la asilimia 4.7 ikilinganishwa na mwaka uliotangulia. Mwenyekiti wa Bodi ya Wakurugenzi ya NMB, Misheck Ngatunga, amesema mgawo wa kila hisa kwa mwaka utakuwa Shilingi 31.40,
June 3-5th 2010,Miss not

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Luvaha Luvaga,Abambika Afrika

You are welcome to takepart in themost complete sme affair in Africa at the KICC grounds from june 3rd to 5th 2010.Loads of business savvy advice.
Samsung Champions Touch Screens with Launch of “Samsung Champ”

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Compact and stylish, full touch

Champ offers rich feature set and intuitive interface

at a reasonable price

Wednesday,May 26, 2010,

Luvaha Charles Luvaga,Abambika Afrika

SEOUL, Korea, – Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., a leading mobile phone provider, today announced the Samsung Champ (model: GT-C3300K) designed for mobile users in developing regions who want an immersive touch screen phone with value-added features at an affordable price. The device will be launched globally in Africa, the Middle East, Latin America, Asia and Europe starting in June. CHAMP WILL BE AVAILABLE IN KENYA FROM JULY AND WILL BE RETAILING AT BTWN ksh 7000/- and 7500/-

Stylish Design

The Samsung Champ is designed for young individuals who seek innovative and productive ways of using their mobile phones. With a stylish and ultra compact design, the Samsung Champ is a portable solution for users who will no longer need to sacrifice design for rich features. The device also has a curved form factor and comfortable grip and consumers can choose from a variety of colors: deep black, espresso brown, sweet pink or chic white.

Touch Screen Experience

Users can enjoy the Samsung Champ’s 2.4” full touch display and the integrative and intuitive experience that it enables. The Champ’s simple and intuitive menu format is designed to fit its compact size and is optimized for a small screen. The main screen features an extended 3×3 widget menu format with options for clock, calendar, shortcuts, and my buddies. The touch screen is also ideal for SMS with friends, downloading apps from Samsung Apps, or playing Java-based video games.

Rich Feature Set

Users will be pleased to learn that despite its affordable price point, the Samsung Champ offers a rich feature set. The Samsung Champ enables an immersive music experience with a built-in radio, 3D sound effects and a dual speaker. With its long battery life, consumers won’t have to sacrifice portability and can enjoy hours of multimedia use. Users can download java applications from Samsung Apps and enjoy embedded java apps. The Samsung Champ also offers Bluetooth, a micro SD card with up to 8GB of memory and comes with a headset and travel adapter.

“With the launch of the Samsung Champ, we will strengthen our leadership within the overall touch screen handset category. The Champ is a perfect option for mobile users who want to snap up a full touch phone for the first time. We expect that the Samsung Champ will follow the success of the Star (model: GT-S5230) which achieved high sales volume at an affordable price point over the past year,” said Younghee Lee, Vice President of Mobile Marketing, Samsung Electronics.

Product SpecificationsNetwork GSM, EDGE Rx(850/900/1800/1900)
Display 2.4” QVGA 262K TFT LCD (240×320)
Camera 1.3 Megapixel
Video H.263, MPEG4, QCIF@ 15fps
Audio MP3 Player, Stereo FM Intenna Radio
3.5mm Ear-jack
Value-added Features TouchWiz Lite, Embedded Stylus Pen
SNS Link, Image Editor
Fake Call, Mobile Tracker, SOS Message
Connectivity Bluetooth 2.1, USB v2.0 (Full speed)
Memory Internal memory: 30MB / External memory: MicroSD (up to 8GB)
Size 96.3 x 53.8 x 12.97mm, 80g
Battery 1000 mAh

Talk time: up to 722 mins

Standby time: up to 666 hrs

* Product specifications are subject to change without notice.

About Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd.

Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. is a global leader in semiconductor, telecommunication, digital media and digital convergence technologies with 2009 consolidated sales of US$116.8 billion. Employing approximately 188,000 people in 185 offices across 65 countries, the company consists of eight independently operated business units: Visual Display, Mobile Communications, Telecommunication Systems, Digital Appliances, IT Solutions, Digital Imaging, Semiconductor and LCD. Recognized as one of the fastest growing global brands, Samsung Electronics is a leading producer of digital TVs, memory chips, mobile phones and TFT-LCDs. For more information, please visit http://www.samsung.com.
contact : jinam.yoon@samsung.com
Recession-proof top brands

Posted by: acbnews on: May 17, 2010
In: Uncategorized Leave a Comment

Wednesday, 26th May,2010.

by Luvaha Charles Luvaga

The 5th Millward Brown Optimor BrandZ Top 100 Most valuable brands, released late last week, indicates that strong brands have proved their resilience to recession, as they are worth over US$2 trillion, showing a 40% growth over five years, 4% over last year and outperforming the stock.

Taking the Top 100 as a portfolio and comparing it to the S&P 500 over the last five years reveals thatUS $1000 invested in this portfolio in 2006 would now be worth US$1185 compared to US$885 invested in the S&P 500, proving that strong brands outperform the stock market.

Brands such as Samsung, the highest riser with an 80% growth in brand value and Starbucks with an increase of 17% are evidence that businesses with strong brands are able to recover from adversity faster.

Technology rules
UN TACKLES DIVERTED SOMALI DEVELOPMENT AID

Posted by: acbnews on: May 14, 2010
In: Uncategorized Leave a Comment
WEDNESDAY 19TH MAY,2010,
Luvaha Charles Luvaga

The United Nations is implementing a “risk management action plan” to prevent aid sent to Somalia from being diverted to Islamist militants. In a report was sent to the UN Security Council, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that internal controls over cash transfer systems within Somalia have been reviewed. He added a database has been created for the proper screening of all UN service providers and contractors in the country. In March a UN report suggested that up to half the food aid sent to Somalia was being diverted to Islamist militants and corrupt contractors. Meanwhile, the WFP warned on Wednesday that a lack of funding will force it to reduce food aid to refugees in Ethiopia in June as the country expects a further 25,000 Somalis to cross the border by the end of 2010.
Infectious diseases cause 68% of child deaths

Infectious diseases such as pneumonia, diarrhoea and malaria were the leading cause of death among children under five years of age in 2008, researchers have found. They caused 68 per cent of the estimated 8.8 million child deaths worldwide in 2008, according to a new study funded by the World Health Organisation and UNICEF. The researchers found that almost half of the total number of child deaths occurred in only five countries: India, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Pakistan, and China. The medical journal The Lancet published the findings, which contain up-to-date statistics on child mortality around the world, on Wednesday. The researchers believe the figures will help focus national programmes and donor assistance regarding maternal, newborn, and child health interventions.
Disaster declared in Mongolia

Fifteen of Mongolia’s 21 provinces have been declared as disaster zones by the government as the country reels from its worst winter in five decades. The United Nations warned on Wednesday that a drought, which has devastated the country during the severe cold weather, could last for another year. Speaking to donors in Geneva, the UN interim humanitarian coordinator in Mongolia, Rana Flowers, asked for 18.1 million US dollars to assist around 800,000 Mongolians affected by the natural disaster. So far more than eight million of the 41 million cattle in the country have died. Thirty per cent of the country’s population depends on cattle for income and heating, Flowers said. The death toll is twice as high as the one recorded at the beginning of the 2000s during Mongolia’s last major “dzud”, the local term for a combination of a dry summer followed by a severe winter. A further four provinces are expected to be declared disaster zones soon.
Record pledge for green fund

A record 4.25 billion US dollars was pledged to the world’s largest public green fund by 30 donor countries on Wednesday. The Global Environment Facility (GEF) was created in 1991 to help developing countries tackle climate change. It has been topped up four times since, in 1994, 1998, 2002 and 2006. Yesterday’s pledge is a 52 per cent increase on the sum raised in 2006. The fund’s chief executive, Monique Barbut, said that around 1.35 billion US dollars of the total pledge would be used to tackle climate change. The rest of the money will be directed at improving and expanding protected and endangered areas, reducing pollutants in land and water, expanding and protecting the world’s forests and improving the management of trans-boundary water systems, Barbut said.
Trade spat over generic drugs

India and Brazil filed complaints to the World Trade Organization (WTO) on Wednesday against the seizure of generic drugs by the European Union. The two countries claim that the seizures have harmed healthcare in the developing world and disrupt legitimate international trade. India’s ambassador to the WTO, Ujal Singh Bhatia, accused the EU of seizing legal generic drugs in transit to developing countries to strengthen the current intellectual property rights regime and prevent people in poor nations from getting the affordable drugs. Brazilian ambassador Roberto Azevedo said the seizures harmed legitimate trade between Brazil and India and affected national healthcare in the developing countries. EU authorities justified the seizures with concerns over counterfeit drugs and patent rights issues.
If you Find all our news articles as well as free-to-use print and audio journalism on development issues in our magazine minisite worthy of your support contact us:aanm.ffp@gmail.com.

Reported news by Luvaha C. LUVAGA
—————————–

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The banking sector demonstrated its’ resilience

Posted by: acbnews on: May 11, 2010
In: Uncategorized Leave a Comment

Wednesday ,12th May

Luvaha Charles Luvaga,Group Chief Editor
BANK SUPERVISION ANNUAL REPORT 2009
Nairobi, Kenya (7 May 2010) – The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) has today released the Bank Supervision Annual Report for 2009. The report which can be downloaded from http://www.centralbank.go.ke reviews the performance of the banking sector in 2009 and also highlights other significant developments. Releasing the report, the Governor of the Central Bank of Kenya, Professor Njuguna Ndung’u noted that, “The banking sector demonstrated its’ resilience with a commendable performance in 2009. The asset base of the sector increased by 14 percent from Ksh. 1.18 trillion in December 2008 to Ksh. 1.35 trillion in December 2009. The sector also registered an increase in pre-tax profit by 13 percent to stand at Ksh. 48.9 billion in 2009. This performance was registered in the midst of global and local shocks. On the global scene, the after effects of the global financial crisis that escalated in 2008 washed up on the Kenyan shore. On the domestic arena, a crippling drought and power rationing in the second half of the year dampened the growth prospects for the Kenyan economy.’’ The resilient performance is largely attributable to the enabling legal and regulatory environment put in place by the Central Bank and the Government and robust risk management frameworks adopted by banks. The report also highlights other notable developments in the legal and regulatory framework in 2009. These include the operationalization of Banking (Credit Reference Bureau) Regulations, enactment of the Proceeds of Crime and Money Laundering Act and the introduction of agent banking through the Finance Act of 2009. The Credit Reference Bureau regulations will facilitate the creation of information capital for more Kenyans to access affordable credit. Conversely, the Anti Money Laundering Act will reduce the vulnerability of Kenya’s financial sector to potential abuse. On the financial inclusion front, the introduction of the agent banking model will enhance financial reach and depth of the Kenyan banking sector. The National Financial Access Survey of 2009 indicated that the sector only currently serves 23% of the bankable population. There is therefore considerable scope for the sector to increase its’ outreach through cost effective delivery channels such as the use of third party agents. The licensing of the first deposit taking microfinance institution in May 2009 is also noteworthy in the quest for increased financial inclusion for Kenyans. Deposit Taking Microfinance Institutions regulated by CBK are expected to target the financially underserved and unserved Kenyans particularly in rural and peri-urban areas.
Commenting on the sector’s outlook for 2010, the Governor indicated that, ‘’the sector is expected to regain its’ growth momentum on the back of economic recovery. New opportunities are also expected to emerge with the coming into effect
2
of the East African Common Market Protocol in July 2010. The protocol will facilitate the expansion of Kenyan banks into the region. Accordingly, banks are expected to source for additional capital to tap these regional opportunities. Locally, competition is expected to intensify as banks downstream and well established Pan African and international banking brands establish their presence in Kenya. These market dynamics could see a move towards mergers and strategic alliances.’’ The Central Bank remains committed to working with the Government and market players to create an enabling environment for the banking sector to play its’ mandate of financing the country’s development aspirations. Vision 2030 envisages the banking sector playing a pivotal role in financing the various initiatives that are key to Kenya graduating to a middle income country.
For more information please contact: Communications Manager, Central Bank of Kenya
E-mail: comms@centralbank.go.ke Tel: 286 1371/3940
New Media Companies Redux

Posted by: acbnews on: May 6, 2010
In: Uncategorized Leave a Comment
Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Luvaha Luvaga

In two years since this blog post comparing Access Kenya and Scangroup which debuted at the Nairobi Stock Exchange (NSE) at about the same time. They are both back in the news this week for diverse reasons along with a third ‘new media’ company Safaricom, which debuted later in 2008 on the NSE.

Scangroup: has just announced plans to buy stakes of 51% in Ogilvy & Mather Africa and 50% of Ogilvy East Africa. (statement here) – two companies are both subsidiaries of UK’s WPP Group who own 27% of Scangroup.

The investor at the Scangroup notes that group has recorded growing ads in TV and radio but declining in print media. In 2009, the communications sector was their largest customers with 29% followed by finance at 15%. Scangroup has 61% of advertising market in Kenya followed by Access Leo Burnett with 13% and then Ogilvy & Mather with 10% – while their plans going forward are to do more online adverting and take the Ogilvy as their main brand across Africa

a version of this Safaricom by Squad digital, a Scangroup venture appears in the NY Times pages

Access Kenya: are in the news (details here) following their postponed by another three months of the annual general meeting that was to have taken place yesterday May 4 and payment of their divided. The company has not commented beyond a press statement.

From the blogs: On AK – a year ago, they were very very liquid while as recently as two months ago, they were hailed as a must buy stock.
from Twitter @bankelele not a shareholder, but as a concerned proxy lack of info is bad. AK should issue a profit warning or cautionary statement on restructuring
@mainaT I figure if AccessK is struggling now when internet is a growth sector, its got issues & a cash flow problem that won’t go a way 4 a while…but, Centum did the same in late 08 early 09 when it was having Cflow issues that meant it couldn’t pay a dividend
@roomthinker: Access Kenya customers, used to their speeds were not surprised to learn their AGM would be late
@coldtusker Y announce a dividend if u have CF shyte? For AK to say, ‘no div coz expanding’ is easy & plausible. Or pay only 5 cents like safcom…I think this is a bigger issue… Sold off at 22 so dont really care but I think they are in play. AK cud always delay div after AGM…I think less of cashflow issue. More of a acquisition/takeover/sale matter http://bit.ly/aJVCMm [#nairumours]

Finally we have Safaricom who initiated a spat with the government [statement here] after the Minister for Information (gazetted new rules for the sector including a fair competition one (draft here) and accusing the government regulator, Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) of seeking to curtail safaricom’s growth through price controls and to allow competitors to increase their market share.

The next day the three other mobile companies, Yu, Orange and Zain replied in joint statement applauding the new rules and saying they were not targeted at anyone (read Safaricom) but anyone who abuses of a dominant position in the market CCK had adopted international practices to bring real competition to the mobile sector.

This is new ground for Safaricom – when Orange raised a fuss about the uncompetitive Kenyan market, it looked like GoK would side with large taxpaying Safaricom, but now that all the small (unprofitable, they admit) new mobile entrants have teamed up, some token measures are likely to be brought to rein in Safaricom which is estimated to control at least 80% of the mobile sector by most measures. How do you bring down Safaricom from 80% to 60%?

Posted by acbnews at 9:05 AM

Labels: Access Kenya, kenya communications, Kenya taxation, Safaricom, Scangroup, Telkom Kenya, Zain

3 comments:

kainvestor said…
@coldtuskers view on the Access AGM postponement is quite interesting and I get view point. However, i think regulators have left a loop-hole regarding when dividends should be paid out to shareholders and listed firms are capitalizing on it.

5/05/2010 11:49 AM

Anonymous said…
Scangroup/Ogilvy buy-out’s seemingly to help penetrate West African market which almost proved a hard nut to crack when Scanad tried buy-outs around 2007/8. Again, what else do you expect when they have such billings? Buy-outs aplenty and doesn’t stop anytime soon…

5/05/2010 4:03 PM

startupkenya said…
Usually I side with the underdogs (read Zain & Co.) but in this case I’m in Safaricom’s corner. MJ is right, CCK wants to punish success. The truth is that Safaricom got where it is through a brilliant marketing strategy which whipped the pants off the market leader at that time, Zain.

5/05/2010 5:00 PM

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Brandsh Media reveals African mobile figures

Posted by: acbnews on: May 5, 2010
In: Uncategorized Leave a Comment

Mobile News
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By: Luvaha Charles Luvaga
There are 63 million mobile subscribers in Nigeria out of a population of 149.2 million, 44 million in South Africa, and 15.3 million in Kenya, Brandsh Media founder Angus Robinson revealed yesterday, 30 March 2010, highlighting the need to turn these numbers into business opportunities and improve lives.

“Is there any opportunity in mobile? And what do we do about these big numbers and how do we apply the principles of mobile marketing to turn these numbers into opportunities in SA and in the rest of Africa – that is the big question,” he said, speaking at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Sandton, Johannesburg.

Focus on the masses

African mobile providers should focus on the masses, and start designing programmes that interact best with their users in order to effectively integrate their brands, Robinson said, adding that there is a need to provide social applications that could improve African livelihoods.

Ghana (11.9m), Uganda (8.2m), Angola (6m), Mozambique (4.8m), Zambia (3.8m), Botswana (1.6m) and Namibia (1.2m) complete Brandsh Media’s list of Africa’s top 10 countries in mobile subscription.

Africa’s mobile industry has grown by a massive 1370% in the past nine years, research shows.

High-cost devices

However, many analysts continue to be outraged about the high cost of cellphone devices in Africa, a continent still plagued by state corruption, political intolerance, war, dictatorship and where close to 60% of the world’s poor live.

There are only 65.9m internet users in Africa (6.7%), and it is believed less than 1% of the SA population uses smart phones.

“Smart phones are difficult to get in Africa and I believe that they should be funded by donors, including corporates, to help people improve their social well-being,” Robinson said, adding that Africa must get to the point where phones become cheap and easy just like the market itself.

Empowering the youth

Furthermore, he said: “We need to embrace all the mavericks of this world and give them funding or employ them.

“In many parts of the developed world, most innovation came from young people and we must empower ours by all means.”

Brandsh Media strategic director Gabrielle Rosario urged Africans to become more educated consumers of news and learn what to trust and what they cannot trust.

Rosario has recently returned from Austin in Texas (US) from the SXSW conference attended by some 15 000 people, and was part of SA’s 25-member delegation.

She said citizen journalism’s intermediary models are not established yet despite its rise, with one example being that most of the youth in the US, for instance, continue to choose mainstream media (linking out/fan-pages statistics) as a preferred source of trusted information.

Rosario’s learnings presentation was meant for African media, ad agencies, strategic partners and key clients.

Social relationship management

“The people own social media and when they use it they expect their problems to be heard and solved.

“The “illusion of control,” for example blocking platforms, needs to be addressed, the entire company needs an outward focus. Social media is forcing change in business from the bottom-up.

“Everything starts with listening and research, but when it comes to monitoring social media, knowing what you want to measure means everything.

“I have my own audience too, and if I don’t think you are authentic, I’ll call you out,” she said, adding that customer relationship management has now become social relationship management.”

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