• Kenya - 25 YEAR Treasury Bond
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Telkom Kenya and Airtel Kenya last week announced collapse of their planned merger, throwing the future of Telkom and its private equity backers Helios Partners in limbo. This has also left both companies weaker in terms of bottom line and market share than they were last year at the beginning of the merger transactions, giving an edge to market leader Safaricom. Last week, the two companies said they had pulled the plug on the merger owing to regulatory challenges and strategic considerations. “After carefully reviewing available options, Telkom has opted to adopt an alternative strategic direction and will no longer be pursuing the proposed joint venture transaction,” said Telkom Kenya Chief Executive Mugo Kibati in a statement. He said the decision was also influenced by the “challenges experienced in getting all the approvals required to complete the transaction”, a reference to numerous roadblocks that have dogged the deal since last year. Several entities including Safaricom, some former employees, the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) and the Competition Authority of Kenya (CAK) had raised reservations on the merger, citing various reasons yet to be addressed. In the case of Safaricom – a company that was once a department within Telkom – objected to the merger citing a Sh1 billion unpaid debt. The EACC had sought to freeze the merger owing to questionable transactions between 2012 and 2014 where taxpayers money is believed to have been lost during recapitalisation of the State corporation. French telecoms firm Orange acquired a 51 per cent stake in Telkom in 2007 with the understanding that both entities would inject money into the new entity, Orange Telkom. Reneged on deal Treasury, however, reneged on the deal and in 2014 Orange emerged with 70 per cent shareholding, prompting the investigation and a parliamentary report recommending State intervention. “The government should either renegotiate with the aim of recovering a higher shareholding of at least 35.1 per cent in line with its contribution of Sh2.5 billion and the recapitalisation and restructuring agreement or the Cabinet Secretary, National Treasury, should ensure that the Sh2.5 billion that was paid is refunded together with interest at market rate backdated to January 1, 2013,” said parliament’s Public Investment Committee in the Special Report on Recapitalisation and Balance Sheet Restructuring of Telkom Kenya. In November last year, Mr Kibati told The Standard that the merger with Airtel had cleared all regulatory thresholds and that […]

This combination of pictures created on August 1, 2020 shows the logo of the social media video sharing app Tiktok and US President Donald Trump at the White House in Washington, DC. PHOTO | LIONEL BONAVENTURE AND JIM WATSON | AFP Trump is forcing the world to choose between China and the US. Now, popular TikTok is being forced into a sale of its US assets to Microsoft.

There have also been crackdowns on other Chinese companies like Huawei.

This led Safaricom, whose network rides on Huawei, to comment about its role in powering M-Pesa and Kenya’s communication networks.

A few years ago our office sponsored a global technology competition. The winner of one of the modest prizes was an activist group in Sudan, a country that was under UN sanctions and US-led international blacklist on financial transactions.

We dared not pay it through our local bank. Even if the payment were allowed, it would put us on a watch list which could jeopardize other relationships. It did not matter that the payment was to reward and encourage good deeds with loads of paperwork to back the prize.

We stayed in touch with the recipient about the delay in remitting their prize, and they understood. While these payment hurdles were new to us, they dealt with them all the time. Meanwhile, other prizes to Afghanistan, Haiti, Liberia and Zimbabwe were paid out.

This weekend, US President Donald Trump fired the latest salvo in his battle with China by banning Bytedance and Tencent, the parent firms of TikTok and WeChat, respectively. While attention is on TikTok, a media darling now, more impact will be from the ban on Tencent, the parent of WeChat.

WeChat, as a payment app and social media channel, is a way of life in China. It is ubiquitous in china in everything – banking, e-commerce, travel, and communications. You link it to your bank, withdraw cash or use it as a virtual currency to pay for money transfers, taxi & trains, groceries, utilities, send money to housekeeper or relatives. It processes one billion daily financial transactions and has 50 million merchants who use it.

It is used for news, social media, movies, games and can even be used for divorce filings .

Another giant platform in China is Alibaba, and both claim one billion users each. Taobao, an Alibaba company, is big in e-commerce, enabling rural farmers to live stream […]

Safaricom board chairman Michael Joseph. Safaricom has appointed Michael Joseph as its new board chairman.

This follows the retirement of Nicholas Nganga after 13 years at the helm of the board.

Safaricom chief executive officer Peter Ndegwa said Joseph takes over from August 1, 2020 with a mandate to ‘improve customer sentiment, greater brand consideration and to bolster the firm’s digital transformation agenda.’

"He brings a wealth of skills and industry knowledge given his contribution to the growth of Safaricom from very humble beginnings to becoming one of the most innovative, influential and profitable companies in the East African region," Ndegwa said in a statement on Thursday.

The chairman is responsible for the operation, leadership and governance of the Board, ensuring its effectiveness and setting its agenda.

Michael Joseph is the former Chief Executive officer of Safaricom PLC, a position held from July 2, 2019 to March 31, 2020.

He joined the board on September 8, 2008. Joseph is employed by Vodafone Group Services Limited as the Director of Mobile Money.

He is also Vodafone’s Strategic Advisor appointed to the Boards of Vodacom Group South Africa, Vodacom Tanzania and Vodacom Mozambique. He is also the Chairman of Kenya Airways.

Previously, Michael was the CEO of Safaricom Limited from July 2000 when the company was re-launched as a joint-venture between Vodafone UK and Telkom Kenya until his retirement in November 2010.

During his tenure, he steered the company from a subscriber base of less than 20,000 to over 16.71 million subscribers.

This phenomenal growth straddling nearly a decade was motored by the launch of many innovative products and services such as M-Pesa.Today, Safaricom is one of the leading companies in East Africa and one of the most profitable companies in the region.He also has an Honorary Doctorate degree (Doctor of Letters) from Africa Nazarene University, bestowed to him in recognition of his contribution to the growth of Safaricom from very humble beginnings to becoming one of the most innovative, influential and profitable company in the East African region.

KenGen MD Rebecca Miano. Kenya Electricity Generating Company PLC (KenGen), Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Rebecca Miano has joined the World Bank Group’s Advisory Council on Gender and Development. Miano, who is also the brain child of the company’s Pink Energy Initiative becomes a member of the Advisory Council composed of distinguished representatives of government ministries, the private sector, academia and non-profit institutions. Members of the Advisory Council are tasked with looking into progress and constraints to gender equality globally and providing feedback and guidance of the bank’s work on gender equality and women’s voice. Since its inception in 2011, the Council has been instrumental in helping the bank to strengthen its contributions towards closing gaps between men and women. Miano said she was honoured for the consideration and was looking forward to join other preeminent members. The Advisory Council provides an opportunity to members to influence the direction of the work for the institution and ensuring more focus on results and outcomes aimed at reducing gaps between men and women which is necessary for ending extreme poverty by 2030 and promoting shared prosperity. Her appointment to the Advisory Council is for a period of two years starting July 2020. Covid 19 Time Series

NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 3 – Equity has been recognized among the top 1000 best banks globally by the Financial Times Banker Magazine.

Equity was ranked at position 754 out of 1000 global banks, a ranking that was based on an array of metrics including the size of the lender, financial soundness, profits on capital, and return on assets.

The lender jumped 90 spots from last year’s position 844.

Equity was ranked position 62 on Capital Assets Ratio and Financial Soundness, which is an improvement of 13 spots, from last year.

The lender also ranked at position 20 overall on Return on Assets, and position 55 on Profit on Capital.

According to the publication, Return on Assets was at 3.35%; Profit on Capital was at 23% and Capital Assets Ratio was 14.56%.

Continentally, Equity was placed in position 22 of the best banks in Africa.

Despite the growth and development of its financial sector, Africa remains a minor player in global banking terms.

In 2019, the continent’s banking industry accounted for less than 1% of global Tier 1 capital making it the smallest regional player, behind Latin America with just over 2%.

Nonetheless, the performance in capital terms of the top five African countries – South Africa, Egypt, Morocco, Nigeria, and Kenya was noted as being impressive.

On receipt of the Financial Times Banker Magazine ranking, Dr James Mwangi, Managing Director and CEO Equity Group said, “We are humbled that despite being a regional bank operating in Africa, we have made it among the top 754 banks in the world and demonstrated our efficiency and quality by being ranked among the top 62 global banks in the most important three parameters; Soundness or Financial Stability, Return on Assets and Return on Equity.”Equity’s steady improvement in the global rankings is a result of a deliberate strategy to improve operational efficiencies, backed by an elaborate digitization strategy that has seen Equity’s over 14 million customers get access to customized, secure and convenient banking solutions aimed at meeting their evolving banking needs.This year, Equity Group Holdings Board has taken a conservative approach that recognizes the emerging unquantified risk of the pandemic and opted to preserve capital in the face of the prevailing uncertainty occasioned by Covid-19.In the first quarter of 2020, Equity’s profit before provisions was up by 10% to Kshs.10 billion from Kshs. 9.1 billion the previous year.However, the Group increased its loan loss provision tenfold to Kshs. 3 billion up […]

Private Schools Association CEO Peter Ndoro during a transform Kenya forum at Strathmore University. [Beverlyne Musili/Standard] The burden on Jane Wambua’s shoulders has squeezed happiness from her face, replacing it with long and deep wrinkles. The 30-year-old teacher stares blankly in the air and strains to catch an echo of the last question put to her during the interview. Difficult times – even when they are brief, like the three months that she has been jobless – weigh heavily on the conscious. Life becomes plain and uninteresting. It feels like ages since she had a good time with her colleagues at a nearby private school, which she will not mention for fear of recriminations. Until April, Wambua used to teach lower primary pupils how to speak and write English. But now, she stares at uncertainty after she was sent on unpaid leave. She languidly talks of her teaching days as though it is history, or a feat she achieved some decades ago, and whose sweet memories are only in her heart. Right now her thoughts are elsewhere. “The only thing in my mind now is how I will pay rent and feed my two children,” she stops as if that statement does not sum up her financial predicament. “It has not been easy,” she adds with a sigh. In the last two months, Wambua, a single mother, has been a farm worker. She has been a hand for hire. Where she used to deftly hold the chalk, now she grips with all her might the wooden handle of a hoe, as she digs through the tough earth. If only it was her farm! Palm has been flayed Today she understands too well the science behind the ritual of her grandmother spitting into her palms, the wooden handle of the hoe between her thighs, before she embarked on the energy-sapping activity of digging. The skin on her palm has been flayed nonetheless. Wambua is among close to 227,800 workers in private education, according to official data, whose livelihoods have been snatched by Covid-19 pandemic. In public education, there were 369,400 teachers assured of a wage at the end of the month in 2019. Teachers on the payroll of the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) will still receive their monthly salaries in their accounts. Private school teachers are not as lucky. But it is not only jobs that Covid-19 has robbed private […]

The recent appointment of a new board of directors for Kenya Power and Lighting Company (KPLC) should count for something. The new board should herald a new era for an outfit whose fortunes have been on a downhill spiral in recent years. For far too long, Kenyans have bemoaned the runaway bills they have had no choice but pay to a nerveless behemoth. Truth be told, KPLC has, over the years, serially exhibited an annoying complacency – sometimes brazen flippancy – which monopolies are wont to do from time to time. The agony is that not many Kenyans believe they get value for money from KPLC. The situation at hand is made worse by the fact that Covid-19 has led to loss of livelihoods for thousands who may not afford the cost of electricity as they previously did a few months back. For a country that has set its goals on boosting manufacturing as one of its four key socio-development priorities, the cost of electricity should be one of the foremost to address. The other three of the Big Four Agenda are affordable housing, food security and universal health. All the four areas mentioned would distinctly benefit from affordable electricity. It does not take a genius to realise that the reason why Kenyans pay an arm and a leg for the electricity they consume is that the cost of power generation from certain sources remains inordinately high as monthly electricity bills clearly reveal. Principal among these sources is thermal power generation, which is not only expensive but dependent on the increasingly unsustainable and environmentally unfriendly fossil fuels. Kenya is bang on the equator where sunlight is in abundant supply. Besides, recent technologies have optimised the generation capacity of both wind and solar power. Indeed, there cannot be any compelling reason why Kenya should not pitch for most if not all of its entire power supply from green energy sources. Renewable sources According to a 2019 report by the International Renewable Energy Agency, renewable power costs way cheaper than power produced from fossil fuels. Unless a country is incapacitated by climatic reasons from producing renewable energy, there possibly cannot be a reason for a heavy reliance on fossil fuels. The fanfare that ushered in the forward-looking power generation options such as wind and geothermal was informed by the need for sustainable energy sources at affordable prices. This would then lower […]

Image Credit: AppsFlyer

AppsFlyer , the global attribution leader, this week announced its move into the African mobile marketing space, with a deal with Vodacom.

With over 900 employees in 18 cities around the world, the move sees AppsFlyer strengthen its global reach by commencing operations on the continent, starting in South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya (working with Safaricom).

Working with some of the world’s leading brands, including HBO, Nike, NBC Universal, Minecraft, US Bank and Macy’s, AppsFlyer, provides companies and brands with analytics tools to better inform and measure marketing decisions. Vodacom is AppsFlyer’s first significant collaboration with a leading brand in Africa and will see the team help optimise the telecom company’s marketing activity and increase engagement with the telecommunications group’s more than 110 million mobile customers.

With mobile usage across Sub-Saharan Africa expected to hit 600 million by 2025 , telecoms companies will have increased access to millions of new users. As brands look to engage with new consumers on mobile devices, the market for measuring App ad-spend and marketing performance is expected to grow significantly and having the right mobile marketing strategies will be critical to success.

Daniel Junowicz, Managing Director, LATAM & Africa at AppsFlyer
User retention for Apps is still one of the biggest challenges for advertisers globally and our work with Vodacom will support its marketers in optimising their day to day marketing activities.

Lana Strydom, Executive head for Digital Marketing at Vodacom
Our work with AppsFlyer enables us to have a better understanding of how to maximise our digital marketing activities and where to focus our efforts as we seek to be the leading digital telecoms operator in the marketplace.

Jambojet has put on hold plans to launch direct flights from Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) to Somali capital Mogadishu due to high insurance needed to ply the route. FILE PHOTO | NMG Jambojet has put on hold plans to launch direct flights from Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) to Somali capital Mogadishu due to high insurance needed to ply the route.

The budget carrier, a subsidiary on national carrier Kenya Airways #ticker:KQ, was to launch its direct flight to Aden Adde International Airport, Mogadishu this year in a move that was expected to boost trade with Somalia.

The airline’s acting managing director Karanja Ndegwa, said Mogadishu flights have been put on ice until the airline meets Somalia Aviation Authority’s insurance requirements.

“Plan to launch Mogadishu flights is not possible at the moment because the insurance is also very high. We cannot deploy any asset on route mainly due to high insurance,” said Mr Ndegwa told the Business Daily during an interview.

He did not, however, disclose the additional insurance requirements needed for operations in Somalia, which has been torn apart by civil war since 1991.

Al Shabaab militant group has been fighting to topple Somalia’s central government since 2008 to establish its own rule based on a strict interpretation of Islam’s sharia law, heightening insecurity.

The carrier planned to depart JKIA at 6am and fly back to Nairobi at 9:25am to allow the aircraft to be deployed on other routes in Kenya.

It planned to charge Sh24,470 for one way ticket to Mogadishu.

The move to start Somali flights followed increased demand on the route as the airline stretches its wings in a move expected to boost trade with the Horn of Africa nation.

The plan was mooted last November, but later on put on ice after the Somalia authorities failed to grant the airline a morning landing slot. The carrier later said it will start operations on the route this year.

The budget airline has been on an expansion spree and recently expanded its fleet with two brand new De Havilland Dash 8– 400.The carrier, founded five years ago, ferries more than 700,000 passengers a year within Kenya and to neighbouring Uganda after an aggressive expansion aimed at first time flyers who would normally take a bus.It resumed operations in the domestic market last week following the lifting of restrictions on movement by the state in and out of Nairobi.Jambojet carrier said it will charge […]

(Bloomberg) —

Seacom Ltd. will more than double the capacity on its fiber optic network by the end of August as demand for broadband grows across Africa.

The continent’s first broadband submarine cable system operator will add 1.7 terabits per second to its network, bringing its total capacity to 3.2 terabits a second along Africa’s Eastern and Southern coasts, said Tonny Tugee, Seacom’s general manager for East and North East Africa.

The company will spend $10 million from internal resources to upgrade the 17,000 kilometers submarine cable and terrestrial network, Tugee said in an interview.

With the internet penetration rate at 40% on the continent, “there is still a lot of work to connect over 800 million Africans into the grid and to bring them online,” he said.

Read More: Jubilee Holdings Kenya Unit Takes Stake in Seacom Cable Operator

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