Monday, October 29, 2012

Should Magical Kenya utilize this opportunity & offer Donald Trump a Safari to Kenya

The internet was abuzz last week first with the major announcement that was expected from Mr. Donald Trump. Second, with the response from the president that followed Mr. Trump’s 'big announcement'.
The US  president appeared on Jey Leno Late Night Show and gave his response to Mr. Trump. This response should make a good campaign platform for Brand Kenya to exploit. The US President offered what in politics can be equated to an ‘endorsement’of growing up in Kenya. Here is the verbatim plus the extract from his appearance on Jay Leno.
‘This all dates back when we we're all growing up in Kenya’
In my opinion Brand Kenya through Magical Kenya should offer both Mr. Trump & the president a Safari to Kenya. That way Kenya can ride on top of this wave of this publicity.
This visit would also offer Mr. Donald an opportunity to have a good time and also ‘catch-up with his childhood friends’. Also, I would be prepared to take him around to some really good galleries should he accept the offer pro-bono. I know he is a collector and perhaps Kenyan Art can bring to rest his problems with the president.

Dispatches from Addis Ababa: 4 Days of Conference Proceedings, Visit to the AU HQ and Ethiopian Nights

FES last week brought together young leaders from East and Central Africa for a four days conference in Addis Ababa. This conference incorporated presentations from guest speakers, deliberations from the participants and a visit to the African Union Headquarters. In we had dinners so as to socialize and get to know about each other’s countries in an informal setting.
Kenya was ably represented by a contingent of five [three gents and two ladies] who hail from various backgrounds. This was my first time in Addis and in the wake to the visit I had got different perspectives as to what to expect in Addis Ababa. Some of the things I had been told to expect turned out to be true while others we’re NOT. 
Better Understanding of East African Region
One of my main take-away from this conference is a better understanding of this region. I greatly appreciated presentations and talking to Rwandan delegation. This folks have a lot going on in their country. I also learnt of their two months initiative where they crowd source monies from the populace to fill in the gaps of donor money. I thought this is a pretty good nation building tool where you have folks from all social structure contributing money to build their nation. I also got to appreciate the leadership of HE Paul Kagame. The folks in Rwanda approach things in a different way as opposed to us!

The Southern Sudan delegation also caught my eye. The delegation was made up of US and British educated young lads. These guys also are NOT politicized as we are and are time conscious and have a western look. We talked at length with this delegation and I got an insider’s perspective into happening in Juba.

The other insights generated are how outsiders perceive Kenyans especially Ugandan’s. The Uganda delegation had this joke
 ‘I have finished my diner as fast as the swearing ceremony of Kenya’s president’
If you are an Investor Ethiopia is the place
In Addis Ababa you will not miss seeing rapid infrastructure development. Just to drive the point home from my hotel lobby I was able to spot more than ten building being out up. Also during our visit to the AU hq we saw the building of Sheraton Hotel next to the AU hq.
However, this said I experienced problems of changing my foreign currency. If you are visiting Ethiopia then it is best advised you change your currency at the airport. Otherwise you risk exchanging your cash in the black market which charges a premium of about 10%.
In terms of the media I had a look at the hotel newspaper and it seems very small and only does reportage with very few opinion pieces.
The town has a huge Chinese influx. The road from the airport is being constructed by the Chinese.
China Aid Plaque at AU Hq
The African Union Visit
There is lots happening at the African Union and as a citizenry we should ask for more reporting. I learned of the ‘I am African Project’ there plus in my opinion there are lots of opportunities which Kenya can tap into at the AU.
I am African Project
In the arts, I was able to see a quite a few paintings which had been donated by Northern African states namely Egyptian & Algerian government.
Art at the AU Hq
Ethiopian Nights
Ethiopians unlike Kenyan’s really appreciate their culture and you will notice despite the economic growth the country is experiencing it is still a melting pot of rich traditions. In fact most of the Ethiopians prefer to speak in their dialect and English I came to learn is taught from secondary level of education.
Ethiopian Nights
Bottom Line
Young leader and youth should be given more chances to interact so that the region can forge cohesion from an early age. If it could be possible to begin such initiatives from as back as high school it would be great. Also, more chances for citizens from Africa to visit the AU HQ’s are needed.

Attention Kenyan Bloggers: Are you Spinning Hate Speech?

If you are a blogger and you are spinning hate speech then know iHub research is trolling the blogosphere checking out for  instances of hate speech. The research is not exclusive to blogs only BUT also extends to social media platforms [Facebook and Twitter] through their Umati [crowds] project. So now you know.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Dispatches from Addis Ababa: Day 1 – First Impressions Do Matter

These are my impressions of Ethiopia in last 24 hours I have been here in Addis Ababa;
Meles Zenawi is King!
Once you land in Addis Ababa airport you have portraits of the former prime minister everywhere. The people here also hold their former PM in high regard.
The Chinese are in Town
The Chinese are in Ethiopia just like any other African capital. Their presence is seen immediately you land on the arrivals. You also have a glimpse of their activities. Currently, they are building the road from the airport.
Addis Ababa is the New York of Africa
In the evening we we’re taken to Yod Abyssinia cultural restaurant and the melting pot Addis Ababa become crystal clear. This restaurant was full house with visitors from all over the world. The Ethiopians despite western influences have managed to preserve their culture.
GDP growth at 11%
I was surprised when someone pointed to me that Ethiopia has a GDP growth rate of 11%. This is one of the highest growth rates in Africa. This is evident from the construction I see around me.  
Ethiopians are Reading
I observed quite a number of bookshops yesterday and on my evening walk. I popped into one bookshop and I saw quite a number fiction books by Mario Puzo.
The Taxi Drivers
The reputation of Taxi drivers in Ethiopia precedes them! Yesterday I experienced it firsthand.

Monday, October 22, 2012

#OccupyAddisAbaba: Off to Young leaders Regional Forum on Participatory Democracy in Eastern Africa

Google Map Of Addis Ababa

Dates: October 23-25, 2012
Venue: Addis Ababa
Participating Countries: East Africa Countries

Theme: Young leader’s roles and positions

Today I am flying to Addis Ababa to join other young people from this region to discuss what are our roles and position in participatory democracy. The East African region is going through major changes. One of these changes is demographics. Young people now form the majority in the society.  Hence the question we will be trying to answer is what are the young leader’s roles and positions in this part of the world.

Some of the things I am looking forward to are;
·         conversation and perspectives from other young leaders from the region
·         contributions of young people in the democratic spaces
·         Share my insights from Kenya

Outside the forum I am looking forward to;
·         Seeing the new AU headquarters built by the Chinese
·         The arts and cultural scene in Addis Ababa. [I have been given the heads up in this area by James Mweu who is a dance choreographer.]
·         Ethiopian Cuisine. I am not a big fan of spices BUT I am willing to go all the 9 yards!
·         Also, If I get some time I will try to go to the Orthodox Church
·         And lastly, try their beer ;)

Adiós Nairobi.

Presentation: Regional Economic Outlook by IMF Staff, Oct. 22 2012 @ University of Nairobi

Date: October 22, 2012
Venue: Education Building - ED II
Location: University of Nairobi, Main Campus
Time: 2.30pm

Presentation by: Antoinette Sayah, Director – African Department, IMF and Sean Nolan, Deputy Director – Africa Department, IMF
Maintaining Growth in an uncertain world
Structural transformation in Sub-Saharan Africa

Kofi Annan Attacks: The worrying Trend I have been observing

Reading this week’s edition of the EastAfrican one gets the impression that we have a section that is after Kofi Annan. Don’t get me wrong I am NOT against criticism but when one goes about criticizing someone just as we are about to go to the election. Then something is amiss. The timing of these criticisms looks suspicious.
This is after the head of the executive snubbed him on his most recent tour of the country with fellow elder, former president Mkapa of Tanzania. The two we’re in the country to get a view of the progress of the country in the count down to the March 4, 2012 election.
I have read Mutahi Ngunyi who has also criticized Kofi Annan’s frequent visit to the country on the grounds that they border to interference of a sovereign state. I think the good diplomat has not been reading the writing on the wall and if he has then he daggers are now out.

Attacking a Peace Envoy
Reading Gitau Warigi’s article I picked out three fonts of attack. These are
1.       Rwanda
2.       Somalia
3.       UN reform

Other attacks lines have been fronted by bloggers who are associated with TNA. They border on his latest mission to find peace in Syria which he resigned and the other is his son’s corruption deals while he was sec. gen of the UN.
@OleItumbi rt @nyarigoti KOFFI ANNAN'S SON WAS INVOLVED IN CORRUPT DEALS. @OleItumbi @TeamUhuru
Also President Mkapa is NOT left behind in this attacks which appear targeted to the mediators.
@OleItumbi rt @nyarigoti ....and Mkapa' s wife was involved in corrupt deals too. @OleItumbi @TeamUhuru
Kofi Annan's Book
I am yet to read the new book by Kofi Annan – Interventions and the memoirs by former secretary of state C. Rice to fully comment on some of these issues. However, looking at these attacks they look like cheap shots at the guy who saved our country from brink of war.

Kofi Annans 10 minutes interview with Jeff Koinange

The Presidential Debate 2013: Meet the Presidential Candidates

Presidential Debate Poster
We have been living in some pretty exciting times as a country. These developments we all agree are the fruits of enacting a new constitution in 2010. One of this has been the opening up of democratic space and decentralization of power in to the counties. These lead to Nation TV to launch governor debates in some counties and since these are new positions you had all the aspirants open to this idea. These, in my opinion, lead to the launch of presidential debates idea by eight media houses.
These Media houses are;
  • 1KTN
  • Citizen
  • NTV
  • Kass TV
  • K24
  • KBC
  • QTV
Now that we have the guys behind the debate, we need to know who are the candidates and their odds in debating. The presidential field is crowded with more than 15 presidential entries so far. So what do we know about this folks. In this post I will begin by enumerating all the presidential candidates. Then in subsequent posts will try to dig more on each presidential candidate. Also, I am interested in finding more information on Key figures behind these parties since under the new constitution dispensation parties will NOT be rubber stamps as was previously the case.
1.       Kalonzo Musyoka - Vice President [Wiper Party]
2.       Raila Amolo Odinga - Prime Minister [ODM party]
3.       Uhuru Kenyatta - Deputy Prime Minister [TNA party]
4.       Musalia Mudavadi – Deputy Prime Minister [UDM Party]
5.       Martha Karua Former Justice & Constitutional Affairs Minister []
6.       William Ruto – Former Agriculture Minister and Higher Educational Minister [URP]
7.       Charity Ngilu – Minister of Water
8.       Eugene Wamalwa – Justice & Constitutional Affairs Minister [New FORD Kenya]
9.       Peter Kenneth
10.   James Ole Kiyapi – Former Educational Permanent Secretary
11.   Raphael Tuju – Former Foreign Affairs Minister and Presidential Advisor
12.   Cyrus Njirongo – Former Youth for KANU operative

Presidential Debate
SMS: 2282

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Presidential Debate 2013: Will the Presidential Candidates Show up?

Presidential Debates 2013
The Kenyan Media announced the entry of presidential debates in Kenya on October 10, 2012. The big question that remains to be answered is whether the presidential candidates will show up. The presidential debates initiative by Kenyan Media is a noble idea whose time has come. However, it seems the media have stolen the thunder from the executive who would have come up with a commission to run debates like the US.
The doubts I have with this media lead initiative is whether the organizers will remain neutral. Given the fact that they are organizing the debate, choosing the moderators [in our case they have already chosen the moderators] and airing the content. In the unveiling they announced PWC will be involved in checking the overall transparency of the process BUT do they have the competency to do this and have they done this anywhere else?
The other scenario I foresee is this presidential debate in Kenya will be one huge advertising festival.

The Existing Gaps
The media seemed to have been in a hurry in coming up with this initiative because one week after the big announcement we are yet see a website. It could be in beta stage though.
The other sentiments I have picked up is that some presidential candidates are NOT so much into this debate idea. Going by tweets from bloggers close to the main presidential candidates, the might pass off the debating idea.
Sentiments on Twitter: #PresidentialDebateKe
@OleItumbi @bettymurungi @PeterOpondo Media develop dates, announce them in press ads & then plead with candidates to appear,there will be a major snub
@OnyangoRachael It willl fail. RT @OleItumbi The media decided there will be a Presidential debate, chose moderators, set dates.... thats Media Dictatorship
@syindu_mutongoi @Oleitumbi and Media should stop this nonsense of having 11 Presidential Candidate on a debate. That is a market #PresidentialDebateKe
@KohadhaRoy As much us #PresidentialDebateKE is a MOA initiative, dictating the moderators isn't a good idea. Julie Gichuru and Linus Kaikai Naaaa!
@LarryMadowo So we're going to have a #PresidentialDebateKE with 17 candidates. Death by debate, last (wo)man standing wins
Other Outstanding Issues
How do you moderate a debate of twelve presidential candidates in one and half hours?
Some of the presidential candidates might gang up on the front runner. How do you prevent that?
How do we get this culture of presidential debate because what the media are doing is they are taking advantage since the incumbent is NOT running?

Friday, October 12, 2012

Mulika MPigs: The MP’s who voted for the retirement Package

The economist visualization of legislatures pay around the world
Kenyan are angry with their members of Parliament and rightly so.. Our MP’s are taking us for fools by one having a remuneration package beats what MPs in the developed world are paid. In one of their audacious moves they moved and passed unto themselves a gratuity or retirement package.
So naturally a ‘few’ emails have been going round and the one that caught my eye was this;
Is your MP among these bandits who voted for the villainous bill?
This email goes on to name all the MP’s who voted to pass this package. Their names are listed below
  1. Abdalla Amina Ali.
  2. Abdi Nasir.
  3.  Abdul Bahari.
  4. Abu Mohamed Chiaba.
  5. Adan Keynan Wehliye.
  6. Alex Muthengi Mburi Mwiru.
  7.  Andrew Calist Mwatela.
  8. Asman Abongotum Kamama.
  9. Atanas Manyala Keya.
  10. Bare Aden Duale.
  11. Barnabas Muturi C. Mwangi
  12. Beth Wambui Mugo.
  13. Bifwoli, Wakoli Sylvester.
  14. Boni Khalwale (Dr.)
  15. Cecily Mutitu Mbarire.
  16. Charles Cheruiyot Keter.
  17. Clement Muchiri.
  18. Daniel Mutua Muoki.
  19. David Njuguna Kiburi. 
  20. Elijah Kiptarbei Lagat. 
  21. Emilio MureithiKathuri. 
  22. Empraim Mwangi Maina. 
  23. Erastus Kihara Mureithi. 
  24. Esther Murugi Mathenge. 
  25.  Ethuro, David Ethuro. 
  26. Eugene Ludovic Wamalwa.
  27. Francis Chachu. 
  28. Francis S. K. Baya 
  29. Frankilin Mithika Linturi. 
  30. Githae Robinson Njeru. 
  31.  Githu Muigai (Prof.) Attorney General Ex-Officio. 
  32.  Hellen Jepkemoi Sambili. 
  33. Hussein Mohamed Abdikadir. 
  34. Hussein Tarry Sasura. 
  35. Ibrabim Elmi Mohamed. 
  36. Isaac Kiprono Rutto. 
  37. Isaac Mulatya Muoki. 
  38. Jackson Kiplagat Kiptanui. 
  39. James G. Kwanya
  40. Jamleck Irungu Kamau. 
  41. Japhet M. Kareke Mbiuki 
  42.  Jeremiah Ngayu Kioni. 
  43.  John Michael Njenga Mututho. 
  44. Johnson Nduya Muthama.
  45. Joseph Nganga Kiuna. 
  46. Josephat Nanok Koli. 
  47. Joshua Serem Kutuny.
  48. Kilimo, Linah Jebi. 
  49. Kilonzo Charles Mutavi. 
  50. Kiunjuri, Festus Mwangi. 
  51. Kuti, Mohammed. Abdi 
  52. Lee Maiyani Kinyanjui. 
  53. Lenny Maxwell Kivuti. 
  54. Lewis Nguyai. 
  55. Mahamud Muhumed Sirat. 
  56. Maitha Gideon Mungáro. 
  57. Manson Nyamweya. 
  58. Mbau, Elias Peter. 
  59. Mohamed Hussein Ali. 
  60. Mohamed,Muhamud. 
  61. Moses K. Lessone 
  62. Moses Somoine ole Sakuda. 
  63. Mungatana, Danson. 
  64. Munya Peter Gatirau. 
  65. Musila, David. 
  66. Mutava Musyimi. 
  67. Mwalimu Masudi Mwahima. 
  68. Mwiria, Valerian Kilemi.
  69. Ndambuki, Gideon Musyoka. 
  70. Ndiritu Muriithi. 
  71. Nemesyus Warugongo. 
  72. Ntoitha M"Mithiaru. 
  73. Peter L.N. Kiilu 
  74. Peter Mungai Mwathi. 
  75. Peter Njoroge Baiya. 
  76. Peter Njuguna Gitau. 
  77. Richard Momoima Onyonka. 
  78. Robert Onsare Monda. 
  79. Samuel Kazungu Kambi. 
  80. Shaban, Naomi Namsi. 
  81. Silas Muriuki Ruteere. 
  82. Tirus Nyinge Ngahu. 
  83. Wavinya Ndeti. 
  84. William C. Kipkiror
  85. Yakub Mohammad
  86. Yusuf Hassan
The good news is that the president refused to ascent to this piece of legislation. But that is NOT the end of it because it still has to go back to parliament and should 2/3 of the MP's voted for it. Then it becomes law and the MP's get to retire with tax payers money.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

What’s on my Radar? Innovative Stuff happening in Nairobi

  • Taka Taka Solutions – Garbage Collection Solutions for Nairobi
Last month I made an acquaintance at iHub. In one of those random collisions, where you have a visitor in the space looking for the WiFi Password! After this we naturally become friends and in subsequent meetings I asked him what he was doing in town apart from working in his master’s thesis. That is how I came to know about a really cool project taka taka solutions. A garbage collection solutions in it’s pilot phase in Nairobi.

Currently, one of my interests has been Mungiki. This is as a result of sitting down to presentations at BIEA which have touched on post election violence and role of Mungiki. My former lecturer Dr. Musambayi Katumanga has been a trailblazer on this subject of gang and economics behind it. Mind you we even have some European Scholars trying to unpack this subject and one of their reference points has been how organized gangs in Europe resulted in the formation of a social welfare state!

If you know about informal gangs in the city then you will know that one of their primary revenue generation channels is waste disposal. This is because the state through the city council has removed itself from this space. This is as a result of inefficiency coupled with economic factors. I was recently surprised to learn the City Council of Nairobi has less than 3 refuge collection trucks. This explains the eye sore we experience in the city.

So what happened when we have a breakdown in bare essential services like waste disposal? Someone has to fill that space and what happens is contractors are sub contracted to do this by city council. How do they carry out this? They engage street children to do the basic work [at a bargain of course]. The problem is compounded when the refuse is taken to one central place [Dandora Dump Site] without considerations of recycling or best practices.
Other problems that come out of this are;
  1. Some of these youths ‘contracted’ to do the ground work ‘transform’ themselves into gangs.
  2. There is NO consideration for recycling. What emerges is a ‘vulture ecosystem’ best exemplified by Dandora dump site.
  3. Residents of Nairobi pay ‘crazy amounts’ for waste disposal. Currently we pay Kshs 300 per Month for waste disposal!
  4. Gross in efficiencies occur along the way and recyclable materials are NOT recycled
Enter Taka Taka Solutions
So when I heard of Taka Taka Solutions I was amazed by what they are doing. The information I have is that they are currently in the pilot phase. However, they have made some strides and have the right mindset of solving the Dandora dump site menace.
This company is a social enterprise providing affordable and environmentally friendly waste management services. They charge Kshs 80 per month and provide the tenants with different waste refuse baskets which they collect every fort night. Some of this waste is then taken to a compost pit from which compost manure is made.
So at the end of the day you have nutrients and food coming to the city and in turn the city provides the compost manure to the rural areas. So this in turn solves the problems of soil fertility occurring in rural areas. Going by the tweet I was from the PS Ndemo
@bantigito Today, Africa uses less than 3% of global fertilizer, if we doubled that to 6%, plus better seed, we can improve crop production by 50%.
At the end of the day we reduce our reliance on fertilizers and save some foreign currency
Use of Technology
Taka Taka solutions have also embraced technology [MPesa payment platform]. To add some cherry to the cake, the customers who pay through MPesa get a percentage discount [20% if I am NOT wrong!]. That way you remove the ‘garbage landlords’ whom I am told make Kshs 100, 000 a month!
Find more information about Taka Taka Solutions on their Facebook Page
  • Beba Card
Beba Card advert
The other innovate stuff in my radar is the Beba card which has been in the market from May this year. A Google and Kenya Bus Service Urban transport payment solution. Good stuff has been written on it here: link.
The other day I had discourse with a friend and we we’re trying to look at the impact of this card should it be successful. Our musing was will it;
  1. Result in job losses for conductors?
  2. Result to better cash flow management for public transport vehicles? [A lot of leakage happens when conductors collude with drivers to fleas matatu owners]
  3. Reduce corruption in our high ways [however, little police corruption occurs in urban commute]
Photos: Facebook and Beba website

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Game Changing Partnership? EatOut Kenya, Google & Wazi WiFi bid to have Tech Savvy Kenyan’s visiting Restaurants

We all know Kenyan’s are NOT French and that we hardly go to hang out in restaurants.  This is partly due to our culture. I for starters do know that when I was young I was advised to have my meals at home and we would go out to have meals in a restaurant occasionally. However, that was then and the context was rural Kenya.
Enter Nairobi, you have a significant number of Kenyan’s patronizing beer establishments especially weekends. So who patronizes Nairobi restaurants? Apart from the Somali community whom you will see having business deals in restaurants most middle Kenyans’ will be found in coffee shops. This was a popular trend a while back. I do not know if it is still there.
Other folks known to patronize restaurants are the expatriates but these folks also have specific joins they frequent. These are the Art Cafés and Java which are mostly located in malls. So what happens to those restaurants outside this jurisdiction?
That is why I think this partnership between Eatout Kenya, Google and Wazi Wifi might get some tech friendly folks moving out of the offices with the knowledge that they can have their meals or drinks while having a pulse of what is going on in their businesses. Hopefully their WiFi solution will NOT be crap. If one can do some business in a restaurant at good prices then we are all going to be hanging out more often in restaurants.
I remember last Saturday we’re doing Mindspeak in a 5 Star Hotel and I couldn't believe the amounts being charged by this establishment for internet. Later that evening I saw some tweets which I believe hammer this point home.
 ‏@coldtusker @Ramah_Nyang @karisamf I tried to use Intercont's wifi. I think 400/hr. lousy 
@karisamf @Ramah_Nyang @coldtusker I agree, Hotel Cybers are expensive...a Good example Hilton Nairobi is 1K per hour 
‏@Ramah_Nyang @karisamf KES 1000? What's the rationale for that sort of pricing when hotel net speeds are usually crap? @coldtusker 
@coldtusker @Ramah_Nyang @karisamf At least with @SafaricomLtd bundles on my phone... Not an issue in KE. Don't roam elsewhere! 
‏@coldtusker @karisamf @ramah_nyang In US, best wifi speeds at biz friendly 'budget' hotels not the pricier ones! Go figure 
@Ramah_Nyang: Clearly the 5-star name writes a check it's 1-star wif-fi can't cash

This had me thinking it is high time perhaps Eatout Kenya which does Restaurant Ranking introduces a new category. A rank of Nairobi restaurants in a new category of ‘hotels with the best WiFi’ because some of these restaurants have connections that really suck. A ranking will result to them pulling up their socks in this category. Also while at that a list which shows internet pricing if it exists would be really useful because some establishments in Nairobi are charging an arm and leg for internet. 

Book Launch: South Sudan - from revolution to independence, Oct. 19 2012 @ British Institute In Eastern Africa

Book Cover: South Sudan - from revolution to independence
Date: Friday October 19, 2012
Venue: at the British Institute In Eastern Africa
Location: Laikipia Road, Kileleshwa.
Time: 6 - 8pm
Entry: Prior Reservation []

In July 2011 the Republic of South Sudan achieved independence, concluding what had been Africa’s longest running civil war. The process leading to independence was driven by the Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement, a primarily Southern rebel force and political movement intent on bringing about the reformed unity of the whole Sudan. A story of transformation and of victory against the odds, this book reviews South Sudan’s modern history as a contested region and assesses the political, social and security dynamics that will shape its immediate future as Africa’s newest independent state.

About the Author
Matthew LeRiche is a Fellow in Managing Humanitarianism at LSE. He will be launching his book in Kenya which will be prefaced by a few words on the importance of South Sudan to both academicians and practitioners followed by an exposition of the book.

An interlocutory session with the audience will follow thereafter and copies of the book will be available for sale.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Master Class: After the crisis-the world at a crossroads, Oct. 15 2012 @ Intercontinental Hotel Nairobi

Master Class
IE university is having a Master Class in Nairobi this month

Date: October 15, 2012
Time: 6.30-8pm
Venue: Intercontinental Hotel, Loita Room
Entry: Prior Registration Required. Registration link here

Master Class
The financial crisis and long-term demographic trends have transformed the future of the global economy. In the short term, petroleum price trends, a definitive solution to the Euro-zone crisis and the outcome of the U.S. elections will determine the economic performance of the world´s developed economies.
But over the longer term, events in the developing nations, especially demography, the resolution of their institutional issues and the pace of globalization, will be decisive for the future of the developed world.
What are the prospects for the United States and the Euro-zone over the next few years, and what new opportunities will their future open up for the rest of the world, particularly for Africa?

The Master Class will be delivered by Gayle Allard Professor of Economic Environment and Country Analysis at IE Business School, Madrid

Opinion: The selection of three fellows for 1beat Program is evidence of #Kenya’s rising status as a cultural hub

One Beat Festival
What happens when you bring musicians from different continents in one country for a tour and residency program? Well, you have yourself smart power and that is what the United States of America has been up to of late. This is through the 1beat program that brought together 32 fellows from 21 countries to the US for tours and residency program.
What is 1beat?
OneBeatSM is an international music exchange that celebrates musical collaboration and social engagement through innovative people-to-people diplomacy. From September 10 – October 7, a group of exceptional young musicians from around the world will collaboratively write, record, produce, and perform original music in venues ranging from concert halls to city parks to rock clubs.  In addition to creating new work, OneBeat Fellows will partner with community organizations, schools, and socially-engaged local musicians to offer workshops, performances, and public dialogues.
Which Musicians Represented Kenya
Kenya is a bastion of sports especially track races and marathons but what is now emerging is that Kenya is also rising as a cultural hub. This is evident in selection of three Kenyan musicians out of eight who represented Africa. The musicians who represented Kenya are;
  1. Nina Ogot:
  2. Muthoni the Drummer Queen: and
  3. Kato Change:
Other countries represented are Democratic Republic of Congo (with two musicians), Nigeria, Mozambique and Senegal each with one representative.

Check the photos and updates from 1Beat tour on their Facebook page

This post was first published on NairobiNow

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Social Media Campaigns in Kenya: Is DPL Festive Bread Pushing the Envelope?

Campaign Poster
DPL Festive Bread has an ongoing campaign on social media that has me musing. The campaign involves one posting a photo of self consuming bread and having it put to a democratic vote of most ‘likes’!
I am not against such campaigns but is social media in Kenya pushing new boundaries?
Their Preposition
By posting a photo you get a chance to win Kshs 5,000 and a gift hamper daily if your photo has the most likes.
This campaign is giving us new insights as to how people like their bread buttered in Kenya!
it goes with everything!
Other interesting Social Media Campaigns
Safaricom Okoa Newbie
The other interesting social media campaign is the ‘okoa’ newbie. Okoa means save for those who do not know Swahili. This would translate save a newbie who has been employed in the social media arm of the company that helps tech Savvy customers. Another first in corporate Kenya by Safaricom.
Okoa Newbie campaign
 Can you pay okoa jahazi using Bonga points? Take one for the team, answer this one and save our Newbie on her first day.
This campaign targets techies and young demographics. This is evident from the photo’s. These in my opinion looks very creative from Safaricom.
Okoa Newbie Campaign
How do you subscribe to the SMS bundles? Our Newbie is a bit swamped; help him sort this problem out. Get the correct answer and he could swing some show of appreciation in the form of a Samsung Galaxy S3 and airtime your way.
The social media in Kenya is emerging as one of the last frontiers by companies especially for Kenya's young and connected demographic
Photos from DPL Festive Bread and Safaricom Facebook pages

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Out of Town: 12th Edition of Lamu Cultural Festival, Nov. 15-18 2012 @ Lamu

Lamu Festival Poster

The Lamu Cultural Promotion Group is proud to present the 12th edition of the annual Lamu Cultural Festival.
The Festival continues to promote a World Heritage Site that constitutes the common heritage of humanity, and share its distinct Swahili traditions with the world.

For more information contact Lamu Cultural Promotion Group on Tel. 0722 476219 / 0733 660216 or Email:

For those planning to make reservations this might help:

Karim Sadek MD Citadel Capital at #Mindspeak on Sept. 29 2012 @ Intercontinental Hotel

Mr. Karim Sadek gave a very insightful presentation at Mindspeak which touched on Citadel Capital activities in this region.
In his candid presentation ‘the role of private sector in accelerating development’ he opened Citadel Capital up to the public. This is the story of Citadel Capital in figures

  • It has $ 9.5 Billion in investments under control as of end year 2011
  • $ 940 Million in Principal investments
  • Operates in 15 industries: from Agriculture, Financial Services to energy distribution
  • Has 19 specific funds as per end year 2011
Sadek also espoused Citadel capital track record and their business model. However, what was most insightful we’re his observations on African investment climate. From his position, managing a capital fund, he was of the view that of late Africa has been attracting substantial interest from the rest of the world. However, writing of Cheques for Sub Saharan Africa outside oil and gas is still lacking.
Egypt before and after the revolution
Since Citadel is head office is in Cairo we got a business 101 on Egypt. Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) has been in the news complaining of imports from Egypt which are substantially cheaper than Kenyan products because of power/energy subsidies. Well the good news for KAM is the regime of subsidies is coming to an end in Egypt.
The other interesting piece of information from Sadek was insights before the Arab spring. Citadel Capital was two weeks to finalizing a deal for a stake in Egyptian Refining Company before lady liberation came calling. Also, the change in attitudes and perceptions in Egypt, this days young people have no respect for authority. The other interesting insight was the East Africa compared to Egypt had better industrial relations. Egypt is now in the initial process of coming up with an independent workers union.
Citadel’s interest in Kenya
Citadel interest in Kenya came through an opportunity that presented itself in Rift Valley Railways [RVR] which won a 25 year concession on Kenya-Uganda Railway. After the turbulent times RVR has been through it seems with the entry of citadel capital the century old railway is up to some good times ahead.
The Preposition
Citadel capital together with its partners came up with a $ 300 Million preposition to turn around the railway in the next five years. Under the three point turn around based on;
  1. Upgrade of operationn
  2. Rehabilitation of existing assets
  3. Additional of new assets [2014 onwards
Some of the Partners in this Turn around Endeavour
Prominent names stand out in this deal which means this is a success story in the making. These institutions underwriting the success of our railway are;
  • African Development Bank
  • KfW Entwicklungsbank (Germany)
  • International Finance Corporation
  • FMO (Dutch)
  • Equity Bank (Kenya)
  • ICF Debt Pool
  • BIO (Belgium)
This here might be the next success story in Kenya if Citadel Capital can hack it.