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Kshs. 300 / Ushs. 9000 Tshs. 6000 / RWF. 2200 ISSUE 18 / 2018





Vickers Security Services Limited is a public liability company duly incorporated under the provisions of the companies Act under the laws of Republic of Kenya in the year 2000. Vickers is one of the leading regional security providers and has over time delivered highly trained security personnel to private and commercial enterprises , Banking sector, residential estates, Government institutions, Non-Government Institutions (NGOs), shopping malls and other vital institutions locally and over seas.

Services Offered: Manned Guarding | Electronic Security | Motor Vehicle Tracking & Fleet Management Dog & Dog Handling | Fire Alarm & Equipment | Courier Services| Trip Management Armed Guards Other Services: Cash in Transit |Security Investigation |Under Cover Services |Security Planners and Drivers Event Security |VIP Protection and Escort |Security Training | Tracing of Missing Persons General Security Consultancy CONTACTS:

Sungura Lane,South C Next to Health Ways Clinic | P.O. Box 5570-00506 Nairobi Tel: 0722288859 / 0729444900 / 0721255998 | Email:, |



Editor’s note

Could Cheap Credit End in September?


arely two years after public outcry regarding high interest rates charged by commercial banks, Kenyans could soon start feeling the burden of servicing their loans. Many institutions including the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank have been at the forefront pressuring the government to replace or revoke the law capping interest rates. According to the World Bank, interest rate capping is responsible for a slowdown in credit growth. It should therefore be reversed, but with more policy reforms to enhance access to credit. Banks also stopped lending to risky customers, something that has hindered financial inclusion. Apparently, the issue of high interest rates and reduced lending can only be addressed through effective policy interventions. However, the anticipated removal of interest rate cap means banks will have the power to decide the rate to charge their customers. The decision will no doubt expose borrowers to financial difficulty if banks decide to go back to their old regime of charging high interest rates. Discussion on the issue is ongoing between the government and IMF officials and would be completed by September this year when the rate cap is expected to be scrapped.

Hatubagui mtu yeyote Africa bima ya afya kwa matibabu yote ya familia.

A f y a Y e t u. B i m a Y e t u.

Contents 18.

Main Story


5. EDITORS NOTE 10. GET INSPIRED 12. BRIEFS 14. FINANCE Tai Sacco Strives to Transform Members’ Lives

16. SECURITY Vickers Security finds Niche in Offering Private Security in Volatile Regions


Africa 8

Editor-in-Chief : SUSAN ARMSTRONG


EDITORIAL Features Editor JENIFFER NYAWIRA Features Editor SHABAN AHAB Assistant Editor ALEX NYAMU Digital News Journalist JOE

DESIGN & PRODUCTION Art Direction & Design CAITLIN SHARON Graphic Designer FELIX CONTRIBUTORS Peter Kamande Paul G Lucy Kiruthu Bob Dewar Publicity MARKETING & DIGITAL Head of Digital and Marketing JACKSON THUITA Digital Content Producer AMANDA Digital Coordinator KATE ISSAH FINANCE & OFFICE MANAGEMENT Accounts – Head of Sales & Media STEVE –

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Contents 20.

18. MAIN STORY How Fintech Is Disrupting the Financial Services Industry

20. MyBUCKS Financing Low-middle Income Earners via Tech

22. DIRECT PAY ONLINE Cutting-Edge Company Changing the Way Payments are Made

24. UMATI CAPITAL We Finance SMEs Without Collaterals OPINION



34. REAL ESTATE Build Your Dream House in Only 21 Days with Koto Housing

36. CORPORATE FITNESS Anybody is at Risk of Blindness From Glaucoma 38. MOTOR Refrigerated Volkswagen Vans For Delivery of Special Pharmaceuticals

40. TRAVELWISE Air France


Get Inspired Eye-Opening Customer Service Business leaders share their insights into Customer service excellence .

“Get closer than ever to your customers. So close that you tell them what they need well before they realize it themselves.” ~ Steve Jobs “Profit in business comes from repeat customers; customers that boast about your product and service, and that bring friends with them.” – W. Edwards Deming “We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better .” ~ Jeff Bezos “Don’t try to tell the customer what he wants. If you want to be smart, be smart in the shower. Then get out, go to work and serve the customer! ” – Gene Buckley

“Every contact we have with a customer influences whether or not they’ll come back. We have to be great every time or we’ll lose them.” – Kevin Stirtz Here is a simple but powerful rule: always give people more than what they expect to get” – Nelson Boswell “Merely satisfying customers will not be enough to earn their loyalty. Instead, they must experience exceptional service worthy of their repeat business and referral. Understand the factors that drive this customer revolution. – Rick Tate

“A customer is the most important visitor on our premises, he is not dependent on us. We are dependent on him. He is not an interruption in our work. He is the purpose of it. He is not an outsider in our business. He is part of it. We are not doing him a favor by serving him. He is doing us a favor by giving us an opportunity to do so. .” – Mahatma Gandhi

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Tel: 0705 100 100 Mobile: (+254) 796 962 837




Africa 12 Briefs

Invest In Africa (IIA) — Kenya signs Partnership with Educate Global Fund (EGF) in Support of SMEs in Kenya

IIA Chief Operations Officer, Wangechi Muriuki (left) and EGF Country Director, Sandrine Henton(right) shake hands after launching the Partnership.


enya entered into a Partnership with Educate Global Fund (EGF), a UK – based investment advisor and asset management firm that is working with companies and investment partners around approaches to education investment that creates sustainable, longterm growth for investors as well as local communities. EGF seeks to provide operational and strategic support to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) with a team based locally in Kenya.

IIA is working to enhance SME access to skills, markets and finance in partnership with both leading organizations in Kenya in order to drive job creation and enterprise development in the economy.

Together with its Partners, IIA has built a unique, world-class online technology platform – The African Partner Pool (APP) that currently has a cross-sector database of over of over 1,300 vetted SMEs from Kenya. The platform directly connects SMEs with larger organizations sourcing for goods and services locally and also offers capacity building to enable address their skills and knowledge gaps. IIA Partners with Tullow Oil, Equity Bank, EY, Clyde & Co, Ecobank, Safaricom, Shell, Nation Media Group, AMSCO, Strathmore Business School, Keninvest, KEPSA among others. Speaking at the launch of the Partnership, Wangechi Muriuki, COO Invest in Africa welcomed EGF to join its pool of leading

Partners in advancing the agenda of SME growth and job creation in the economy. She stated that IIA is seeking to create 1 million jobs and connect SMEs to tenders worth USD 1billion.

“IIA is delighted to have EGF join our pool of partners. We are committed to building sustainable solutions to address lack of jobs in the country, and this partnership will go a long way in supporting SMEs’’, Wangechi said.

EGF country Director, Sandrine Henton expressed her appreciation in Partnering with IIA. ‘’We are proud to partner with IIA and look forward to supporting SMEs in Kenya through training, capital and strategic backing for the validated SMEs on the APP platform’’, she said.

Telkom Launches T-Kash, a Mobile Money Platform

Slogan: Together we fly high

Vision: To be the Financial institution of choice in positively transforming livelihoods & enterprises. Mission: We exist to satisfy our customers need through offering innovative products in the most efficient and effective way.


elkom Kenya recently unveiled its mobile money services to compete safaricom and Airtel in the growing financial technology space in Kenya.

Dubbed T-kash, the new platform is replacing Orange Money whose plug was pulled in mid-2017. The product is geared towards meeting multiple strategic goals for the carrier.

The launch was graced by ICT Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru, Telkom CEO Aldo Mareuse, among other notable figures.

“We are offering a viable alternative mobile money service to our customers. Value, convenience and security as well as reliability are at the core of our proposition,” Telkom Chief Executive Officer Aldo Mareuse said. He added 20,000 agents have been signed up to facilitate TKash transactions across the country.

Through the new service, Telkom is expected to join other mobile money services in piloting cross network money transfer unveiled recently. “Mobile money has not only earned Kenya recognition but able to improve financial inclusion and boost the Diaspora remittances, the government is committed to bridging the gap in mobile services,” said ICT Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru. “The wallet to wallet interoperability is making progress and we are confident that Telkom Kenya will be able to join other providers in piloting mobile money interoperability,” he said.

The piloting of mobile money interoperability comes after disagreements among industry and government players. “The entry into Mobile Financial Services for Telkom is, therefore, a strategic move to better utilize our infrastructure, providing customer value for current services while aligning to future market developments. Because we are fully aware that to achieve financial inclusion in the years ahead is not just about applying and building on existing products but continued innovation to better meet the needs of the excluded,” remarked Mr. Aldo.

Core Values: Visionary Integrity Customer Focus

Team work Innovativeness Professionalism

TAI SACCO SOCIETY LIMITED gives convenient range of products and services to suite the general public. They include; Loan Products: Account types: 1. Agri based Loans & Advances 1. Ordinary Account 2. Business Loans and Advances 2. Children Account 3. Salary and Pension Loans 3. Business Account 4. Chamaa / Group Loans 4. Special Account 5. Fixed Deposit 5. Holiday Account

You can also access a range of our products and services tailored conveniently to suite you Mobile Banking – Register, dial *645# and there you go! Mpesa Paybill – Mpesa paybill no. is 644700 (Deposit to your Account, anytime, anywhere) E- loan – Quick, convenient and timely soft loan on your Mpesa wallet. Personal Cheques – Personalized cheque book. Visa Branded ATM Card – Access your Account anywhere worldwide! Sacco Assurance – We have partnered with CIC insurance and gotten insurance cover just for you! Biogas Loan – We are ready to go ‘GREEN’ – Affordable domestic cooking solution for all households Inua Jamii – We have partnered with KCB to bring government fund for the aged close to you.

Our Branch Network Githunguri, Gatundu, Kamwangi, Kagwe, Kigumo, Ruiru, Thika, Githurai, Kimende and several mobile offices. TAI SACCO SOCIETY LIMITED Head Office : Githunguri Town, Tai Plaza P.O Box 718 – 00216, Githunguri, Kenya Tel: 020 2010334 / 020 2014150 Website: Email: Twitter: @taisacco Facebook: Tai Sacco Society Limited

Africa 14 Finance

Tai Sacco Strives to Transform Members’ Lives

The Sacco has made major strides since inception, and is continuously revamping its product offering to meet customers’ needs By Jennifer Nyawira

In 1999, the Sacco launched Front Office Service Activities (FOSA), which allowed members to open accounts and operate them.

John Mwangi, CEO ,Tai Sacco.


wenty six years ago, a group of like-minded brains came together and started a Savings and Credit Cooperative Society to address the plight of tea farmers in Kiambu County. Driven by their visionary determination, they registered the then Kiambu Tea Growers Society Limited. At that time, banking services were out of reach for the low class income earners due to the high account maintenance commission and minimum account balance. “By then, the Sacco had only 50 members who had contributed a share capital of Ksh. 102, 000,” says John Mwangi, the chief executive officer. It started by providing Back Office Service Activity (BOSA), where members were required to save for six months after which they were granted a loan.

The Sacco computerized its activities and operations in 2004 by acquiring ASMAS, advanced Sacco management software, which allowed it to move from manual operations to computerised system. Kiambu Tea Growers Society Limited was rebranded to Tai Sacco Society Limited in 2009. It was the same year in which the common bond was opened. “It allowed the Sacco to expand to other counties outside Kiambu, besides attracting members from other sectors including civil servants, business community, transport industry, coffee and horticultural farmers among others.”

Tai is the Kiswahili word for eagle. An eagle is known for its conspicuous characters and values. The Sacco realized that its behaviour and character are like those of an eagle. Headquartered in Githunguri town, Kiambu County, Tai has eight fully fledged branches including Githurai, Gatundu, Kamwangi, Thika, Kagwi, Kigumo, Ruiru.

Growth Since inception, Tai has grown in leaps and bounds to become one of the leading Saccos in the country. It prides itself in the growth of its members, staff and geographical coverage. “We have witnessed tremendous membership growth, from 50 in 1992 to more than 50,000 members today,” observes Mwangi. Tai has a staff

base of about 105, who are professionally qualified in different areas relating to Sacco operations. It is worth mentioning that Tai was the third Sacco in Kenya to be regulated by Sacco Societies Regulatory Authority (SASRA) as a deposit taking Sacco and since then it has been operating as a compliant legal cooperative entity.

Furthermore, the Sacco has experienced rapid growth and thus created more departments to make operations much more efficient and effective. “In 2016 we restructured our human resources and introduced departments that were not there before including operations and customer care, human resources and a substantive head of credit,” reveals the CEO.

Tai is also at speed with the current technology. It for instance changed its management information system by acquiring new ERP software. The acquisition process started in 2016 and it was operationalized in March 2017. The Sacco also utilizes mobile banking services that allow members to deposit and withdraw cash, buy airtime and borrow up to Ksh. 10,000. The Sacco also understands the need for credit information sharing. “We have partnered with Metropol Credit Reference Bureau to share information of our prospective customers to control the default rate,” offers Mwangi.

“We are currently implementing our 5-year strategic plan that was developed in 2014 and is set to end in 2019.”

Product Offering Tai Sacco has positioned itself as a customer centric and market led financial services institution. It offers a range of innovative products and services to its customers in the most efficient way and according to their needs. They range from loan products such as salary, chama, business, agriculture and miradi, to savings products, investments, safe custody of documents and asset financing among others.

It recently introduced new products to the market. To start with is biogas that allows members to utilize green energy using readily available resources. It also partnered with CIC Insurance to offer Sacco assurance. “It is a portfolio of insurance products that allows our members to insure their vehicles, livestock and other property,” says Mwangi. It also covers medical, education and life. Furthermore, Tai has partnered with the government as an intermediary of women/ youth enterprise fund and Inua Jamii, a cash transfer programme for the old. Strategic Partnerships The Sacco has created strategic partnerships to serve its customers better. To start with, it has partnered with Tangazo Letu through Spotcash, to provide mobile banking services. “Our members can now withdraw, deposit, check their account balance among other transactions from their account using their mobile phones.” The service is accessed by dialling *645#

It has also partnered with the Co-operative Bank of Kenya to issue visa branded ATM cards to its members, allowing customers to withdraw money from all visa branded ATMs in Kenya and beyond. Clients are also issued with cheque books as a result of the Sacco’s partnership with the Bank. Additionally, members can deposit or withdraw cash via Mpesa, thanks to the Sacco’s partnership with Safaricom. “We also offer services for international money transfers through a partnership with Moneygram.”

“We invest heavily in education and training. Every year, we have a training calendar for the members, delegates, staff and directors. This is why they are able to actively participate in ADM and make significant contributions,” says Mwangi. The ADM is held once every year during which the Board presents its budget for the following financial year. This year’s ADM will be held on 29th March. Achievements The Sacco participates in national competitions, which act as benchmarking platforms. It has previously participated in FIRE Awards organized by the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Kenya (ICPAK), Champions of Governance (COG) Awards organized by the Institute of Certified Public Secretaries of Kenya (ICPSK), Company of the Year Awards (COYA), and National Council for Ushirika day celebrations and won accolades. In 2017, it was feted as the best in financial management Sacco by COYA.

“We also give back to the community by taking part in corporate social responsibility activities,” observes Mwangi. They include environmental conservation, providing internship opportunities, planting seedlings in partnership with coffee societies, and financing the County Government to create awareness to the young people regarding illicit brew and rehabilitation of those affected.

Going forward, Tai hopes to open a new branch in Kimende and adopt agency banking to enable its members to access and enjoy banking services conveniently at their door step. A Word From the CEO Tai Sacco strives to transform Members’ lives. Since inception in 1992, we have experienced tremendous membership growth, from 50 members in 1992 to more than 50,000 members today with a staff base of 105. We are regulated by Sacco Societies Regulatory Authority (SASRA) as a deposit taking Sacco and therefore operating as a compliant legal Cooperative entity.

We are governed by Board of Directors who meets regularly to deliberate on essential Sacco issues. The Sacco has established several committees that assist the Board in providing leadership, and good corporate governance. We have held an Annual Delegates Meeting (ADM) once every year.

In CRS activities, we have not been left out. We have worked closely with the County Government of Kiambu to create awareness to the young people regarding illicit brew and rehabilitation of those affected. By choosing to bank with Tai Sacco, you are choosing a winning team that has developed products and services to suite members’ diverse needs.

Governance Tai employs the annual delegates meetings (ADMs). It has a Board of Directors comprised of nine members that meets regularly to deliberate on essential Sacco issues. The Sacco has established several committees that assist the Board in providing leadership and good corporate governance. The committees include finance and administration, audit, credit, and strategy, business development and education. Besides, it has a supervisory committee that is responsible for oversight.

Africa 16 Security

Vickers Security finds Niche in Offering Private Security in Volatile Regions The company acts as a force multiplier for the Kenyan government by supplementing police responsibilities in addressing insecurity in high risk areas By Jennifer Nyawira

Vickers is a bonafide key player of PSIA and operates in full compliance with its policies and standards. Since inception, the company has grown in leaps and bounds to become a key player in the security industry. It is a medium level company employing approximately 1,800 guards. It has partnered with major corporate organizations including Banking sector, Oil explorations sector, Communication industry e.g Safaricom and Global Guardian. It is also represented in the United Kingdom and the United States, besides supporting international organizations and investors venturing in remote areas.

Headquartered in Nairobi, South c, Vickers has other branch offices in Wajir, Nakuru, Mandera, Garissa, Lodwar, Mombasa, Eldoret and Mogandishu.

Major (Rtd) Adow Jehow, the Director of Operations at Vickers Security Services Limited.


or several years, Kenya has been battling with rising insecurity threats ranging from terrorism, banditry and urban criminals. The country has for instance borne the brunt of al-Shabab militant’s attacks, which have caused serious injury, death as well as loss and destruction of property. Additionally, alarming rate of population growth, high rates of unemployment among the youth, rising political temperatures and change of tactics among criminals have fueled insecurity in most parts. Against this background, the government through state security agencies has been at the forefront of tackling insecurity to protect all Kenyans wherever they are. Private security companies (psc) have also come in handy to augment the policing responsibilities. They act as a force multiplier for the Kenyan government.

One such company is Vickers Security Services Limited. Founded in 1998, it is one of the leading private security firms in the country. According to Major (Rtd) Adow Jehow, the Director of Operations at Vickers, the idea to establish a security firm was born in the jungle while on a military training. “It was my dream while still at the military, since I needed something to do after retiring from active services,” he says. Together with two other retired Majors, (Major Bashir, MP Mandera North and Major A.M Shabello, director of external projects) they decided to form a company that would help Kenya on matters of security. The security firm operates within the government legislated security policies. It is also a part of the Private Security Industry Association (PSIA) that was formed in 2007; an umbrella body to champion rights of all member companies.

Why Vickers? The directors bank on their hands on experience, skills and vast knowledge gained both in the military and other institutions at senior management levels. “They have worked outside the country on security assignments (for instance during the Ethiopia-Eritrea war of 2001-2002), Darfur, Somalia, Congo as well as in volatile regions, which exposed them to real life security incidences,” reveals Major Jehow. Vickers is therefore led by professionals, who understand security matters and have the capacity of driving the company to higher heights. “We are able to anticipate, analyse and critically assess what could happen and mitigate incidences in the field.” For them, having a security company is a calling. Furthermore, the company guards are hardened and can venture into austere terrains. That explains why Vickers is found in remote and volatile regions where others cannot dare. By virtual of coming from Northern Kenya gives the company a higher hand since it understands the people, culture and terrain; therefore it is able to advise the clients better. The guards are also well trained to ensure they meet the needs of their clients. The security programmes are based on

country,” says Major. Besides, there should be a strong regulating authority controlling the firms at a central level.

training needs that are evaluated through the company’s continuous links with its partners in the security industry.

Services Vickers has positioned itself as a customer centric and market led Security Company. It offers a range of reliable security services including 24 hours manned guarding, electronic security, electronic fence and perimeter, fire and alarm equipment, cash in transit, trips management, alarm response services, mobile patrol and courier services. Major Jehow says that electronic security such as tracking systems, monitoring gadgets and CCTV have become the mode of security in today’s world. Additionally, the company provides training to institutions on matters of security. Major Jehow notes that training staff in universities and other institutions helps in creating awareness on security matters. The need to train staff was inspired by the 2015 terrorist attack at Garissa University that left at least 147 people, mostly students, dead. The incidence acted as a wakeup call, not only for the state security agencies, but also for private security firms to come up with strategies to mitigate crimes.

Milestones Since inception, Vickers has made major strides in the security industry. It is recognized in the market as a security services provider, especially by the fact that it has brought sanity on security matters in the Northern Kenya. The company is protecting some of the most volatile areas, not only in Kenya, but also in Somalia – Port of Mogadishu. “We are also at the forefront of providing training to people,” says Major Jehow

adding that “We have initiated programmes for schools in Northern Kenya, particularly in Wajir and Mandera counties, where we are training staff on Hostile Environment Awareness Training (HEAT).” The aim is to create awareness on target persons and change their security perceptions, and eventually mitigate and deter occurrences of avoidable incidences. As former military officers, the company directors are also consulted both at the national and county levels on what directions to take in regards to security issues. The talks usually focus on how to modernize the country’s security.

Hurdles Despite the major achievements, Major Jehow reveals that rising crime rates, political interferences and rising housing costs are some of the challenges affecting the operations of private security companies.

The guards are also poorly remunerated, while most of them are illiterate, making it difficult to train them.

Kenya has about two million guards operating from fragmented private security companies. There is no transparency and accountability on how they operate. “The government should support the companies through funding since they complement the public security in safeguarding the

Private security companies also train their guards independently, implying that they possess varied training. Major Jehow feels that there should be a centralized training school for all security guards to guarantee training uniformity, similar with how the state security is trained. Road Ahead Vickers is at a modernization phase to meet the security needs of the current world. “We are setting up a control room with modern monitoring gadgets.” The company has also embarked on modern fire and equipment alarm systems, electronic security systems, biometric finger prints and modern vehicles to remain relevant in today’s evolving world. The aim is to remain modern and market oriented.

Moreover, the company focuses on getting the best brains in the industry such as welltrained retired officers from military, police or criminal investigation department or criminologists to help fuel the company forward. Major Jehow notes that Kenya should have a solid solution to address rising insecurity. He feels that it will be easier for the country to deal with insecurity issues if people remain united. The government should also rely on private security companies such as Vickers to fight crime and bring sanity in the country.

Major (Rtd) Jehow at a glance Born in 1967 Studied in Wajir High School and then Gabatura High School for his A-levels Joined Military Academy at Lanet in 1989 to 1991 Later joined Tank regiment and Parachute battalion at Gilgil Holds a Bachelor degree in Business Management and a degree in Military Strategic Studies Formed Vickers in 1998 with two other retired majors Currently the Director of Operations & Quality assurance at Vickers

Africa 18 Main Story

How Fintech is Disrupting the Financial Services Industry


inancial technology (Fintech) has taken the financial industry by storm. It has caused a major disruption, besides redefining the sector both regionally and globally. Digital disruption and especially mobile technology in Africa, is significantly accelerating towards a revived fintech industry.

The rate of adoption of digital financing in Kenya is considered among the highest in Africa. The country is now recognized as the home of mobile money, reaping the benefits that come along with it. According to the Communication Authority of Kenya’s (CAK) latest report, Kenya has 37.8 million active mobile phone numbers with 21.6 million registered users. Kenya is a leader in the mobile money services and has been credited for deepening financial access. There are currently 28.2 million mobile money subscribers. M-Pesa has the largest share with 80 per cent market share. Other mobile money providers are Airtel money and the recently launched T-Kash by Telcom. In regards to this, many companies, especially in the financial services industry have digitized their operations to take advantage of such developments. They have developed mobile and web

based apps to grant customers small and micro loans, bringing more options on the table. Such institutions are catering for the unbanked, people at the lower end of the pyramid, as well as those who cannot access conventional loans from mainstream financial institutions.

Further, Kenya and Africa at large is fertile ground for new fintech services which are leveraging the power of communities to make financial services more relevant, while using the internet to deliver more meaningful financial services on an ongoing basis.

The burgeoning of new and successful fintech companies on the continent can be linked to innovations that meet the needs of previously under-serviced market – the unbanked. This has seen fintech become a facilitator of economic growth. It is lowering the barriers to entry for consumers by playing a development role and helping to reduce financial exclusion. The financial inclusion combined with a strong financial sector is the backbone of any thriving economy. From online lending and digital payments to developing ICT solutions that automate business processes, there is no doubt that fintech is transforming Africa, the continent with the largest unserved market. Today, many fintech companies are thriving and have changed how people transact.

Africa 20 Main Story

Going Against the Grain: Financing Low-middle Income Earners via Tech Products include banking, lending and insurance underpinned by services such as smartphones and mobile banking By Shaban Ahab


ver since it hit the global arena, technology has virtually revolutionised everything centering on human life. Huge tasks have been simplified both at an individual and organizational level. For instance smartphones and mobile money adoption. According to a recent research finding by Global Smartphone Connections Intelligence (GSMA) smartphone connections are projected to triple in the next three years. This provides a perfect launching pad for enhancing financial inclusion through mobile banking technology.

It is against this backdrop that GetBucks, a brand of MyBucks group, has been empowering thousands of lives financially. According to chief executive of GetBucks Kenya, mobile money has made it easier to conduct transactions:

“We already make significant use of various mobile money solutions on the continent in our products. We foresee a big shift coming in the next few years. With Blockchain and Open Banking fundamentally changing the way we transact, regulators have no option but to keep up. They need to focus on development and take the stance of being enablers in order to foster more innovation which will change the global financial landscape for good.” GetBucks set up operation in Kenya a five years ago. Previously operating on brick and mortar payslip lending, it has overhauled its systems to fully embrace fintech.

Dave van Niekerk, the CEO and founder of MyBucks.

“Our loan applications are completely online and there is no human to human interaction. Not that we do not want to see the client but the system is timely and efficient. Physically giving credit through queues in a banking system can be an arduous process.”

Online loan application is simple. Clients have been educated on how to use the apps and online platforms. The platforms are fast, secure and accessible to nearly everyone. Working around the clock, it takes an average of five minutes from the time a request is made to actually disbursing the funds. The firm’s product portfolios are innovative and diversified, to the expectations of targeted customers. “From Mama Mboga selling groceries along the

streets, to fishermen in Lake Victoria to the taxi guys in town, they all find haven here,” reveals the executive. Traditional SME financing take an average of three to four weeks. GetBucks has completely redefined this experience via tech. it is now much faster and takes an average of two to three days. On some cases it can even take a day where the application processes are completed in the same day.

There are other targeted products for asset financing, agriculture and group loans. “Most low income earners here in Kenya and many other emerging markets have been financially excluded. While most lack operational bank accounts, they can access Mpesa or any other form of mobile money. We have taken a deliberate decision to

finance them and we have relevant risk mechanisms with our digital algorithms to analyse their credit worthiness and finance them accordingly.” The institution has a better understanding of its targeted clients including their social and economic lifestyle. As such it makes use of relevant platforms to reach out to them and create awareness. “Besides using traditional media like print, outdoor billboards and radio advertising, we make use of digital platforms like WhatsApp, Facebook and YouTube among others to communicate to them,” he says. Milestones Since setting up shop in Kenya, GetBucks has steadily grown to become a force to reckon with within the financial landscape in Kenya. It now has close to 70 employees working in 14 branches nationwide. “Going into a market which everyone considered too risky, and improving livelihoods through responsible financing is fulfilling. It is equally exciting to see a client move from a street vendor to a shop owner or parents educating their children through our loan products.” Enabling Virtual Financial Inclusion Through Technology

MyBucks S.A is (WKN: A2AJLT, ISIN: LU1404975507, Ticker Symbol: MBC: GR) is a FinTech company based in Luxembourg that delivers seamless financial services via technology. Through its brands, namely: GetBucks, GetBanked and GetSure, the company offers unsecured consumer loans, banking solutions as well as insurance products to customers. MyBucks has experienced exponential growth since its inception in 2011 and today has operations in twelve African and two European countries. MyBucks aims to ensure that its product offering is accessible, simple and trustworthy, in comparison to traditional, non-technological methods, ultimately working towards enhancing the benefits to the customer. The MyBucks’ product offering enables customers to manage their financial affairs easily and conveniently.

Edge Magazine highlights how the firm aims to deliver a buffet of financial products and services that meet the financial needs of targeted customers through technology.

Do Fintechs have space in high growth emerging markets? Fintech is to banking and financial services what the mobile phone was to landlines in Africa. Like mobile phones, Fintechs reach will surpass the physical banking halls and branches, which have limited reach on the continent. It is a game changer because it makes financial services more cost-effective, convenient, and with greater reach. If managed correctly, it is the answer to financial inclusion in emerging markets. Our partnership and recent acquisition of some of the Opportunity International Banks on the continent has diversified our clientele ranging from low to middle class. We can now offer them Fintech solutions. Apart from that, we educate our clients through Financial Education programmes, while offering them Digital Savings, SME, education and Agricultural loans. Our primary goal is to bank our clients as we believe having a bank account is the cornerstone of financial inclusion. Technology makes this easier. What are some of your greatest accomplishments?

The recent rollout of our SME/Nano Loan app called Haraka in Kenya, has been a resounding success, in less than three months we have had thousands of downloads in Kenya alone. The app provides small loans to informal entrepreneurs with small short term loans. Assessment and KYC (Know Your Client) is performed by our artificial intelligence engine called Jessie; that uses an applicant’s mobile phone data to perform’s this function. We are also working on a technology-based financial education programme funded by a very prominent international donor in Uganda, in collaboration with Opportunity International. How do you make use of tech to

enhance financial inclusion of targeted customers? We use technology as a means to deliver the product to a customer’s mobile phone, computer and or a tablet PC equipped agent. We utilise our artificial intelligence, self-learning algorithms to understand and assess customers in the absence of credit bureau information.Our systems make the process safer, faster and more reliable for the customer. We also equip our customers with a mobile budgeting tool, and integrate with existing fintech and technology partners to deliver a complete financial experience for customers. What’s the role of financial technology in the social and economic transformation of emerging markets?

Fintech has already made a substantial positive impact in terms of social and economic transformation. To use one of the pioneers, Mpesa as an example. Mpesa has 21.8 million registered users in Kenya making payments person to person (KSh 106 billion), person to business (KSh 23.5 billion) and business to person (KSh 27.8 billion) per month. These numbers are just scratching the surface of what the global impact is or can be. You will also notice that other mobile money services in various forms are now available in almost every country in the continent. What does the future hold with a vibrant Fintech sector? And what will be MyBuck’s role in shaping these projections?

There is a Fintech boom across the globe at the moment. MyBucks feels that it is uniquely positioned as it provides the technology and the underlying services and products. There are many banks buying fintech firms, and fintech firms providing technology only. MyBucks is a fintech firm doing the opposite, by doing this we wish to enable rather than disrupt. We are also focused on reaching the underbanked, and providing access to not only credit, but also savings, insurance, and other products, there is potential to positively influence the fortunes of many Africans.

Africa 22 Main Story

Eran Fienstien, Group chief executive officer, Direct Pay Online.

Cutting-Edge Company Changing the Way Payments are Made Direct Pay Online provides a range of solutions giving merchants and customers the freedom to pay and be paid from anywhere and anytime By Alex Nyamu


hen Eran Fienstien first came to Kenya in 2006, he did not know his visit would give birth to one of the largest online payment companies in the SubSaharan region. “I was flying to Maasai Mara when the airline I was using pointed out that their customers from Italy, the United States, England and other parts of the world felt uncomfortable to book

their packages using bank transfers,� says Fienstien, the Group chief executive officer at Direct Pay Online. They wanted to pay online using a card. That is why, in December 2006, he launched an online payment system for small airlines in Kenya and Tanzania. After three years of successful operation, the company decided to venture into other sectors including hotels and travel agents before moving to other countries.

Direct Pay Online provides end-to- end payment solutions to merchants and their customers in different sectors. The company has had a clear vision for the twelve years it has been in operation. “We believe in the freedom to pay and be paid from anywhere and anytime,” observes the Group CEO, adding that “We fill the gap between the merchant and their end customers”.

The company has grown rapidly over the years and today, it is the leading online payments processing solution in Africa, providing more solutions to the African market than ever before. It offers payment solutions to over 25,000 online merchants including over 50 airlines, hotels, restaurants, travel agents, tour operators, schools, insurance and other players in the e-commerce sector. It also offer solutions for mobile money and conduct risk management on behalf of their customers to guarantee a safe and secure payments platform.

Headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya, Direct Pay Online Group operates in 11 other countries including Uganda, Rwanda, Zanzibar, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Zambia, South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Mauritius. Uniqueness “We have differentiated ourselves from other online payment providers by offering a range of solutions that are completely different,” says Fienstien. Direct Pay Online also gives merchants a mobile app.

Furthermore, the company provides a real time, cloud based processing platform, with state of the art technology that supports multiple transaction types with online and offline capabilities. According to Fienstien, the technology supports all modes of payment including mobile money, cards, mobile money and all currencies. The company also understands the significance of customer care. The customer care team provides a single point of contact to the merchants and their end customers.

26 countries intends to have presence in 26 countries in the Sub-Saharan region by the end of 2018

PCI DSS applies to organizations that store, process or transmit cardholder or sensitive authentication data. Additionally, the company employs professionals who scan, monitor and check any transaction in the system to guarantee customer security. They can cancel or reverse transactions. Currently, it has a pool of 110 qualified staff across its branches. Direct Pay Online has also developed well defined and clear processes for dispute resolution.

High Level Certification Security is a prerequisite when it comes to providing online payment solutions. In regards to this, Direct Pay Online has implemented a fraud prevention strategy combined with real time monitoring features to guarantee a safe and secure payments platform. It is backed by the highest security level of the credit card industry – Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS) level 1.

“We have implemented PCI DSS level 1 certification for operations in 12 African countries.” The certification is administered by the PCI DSS council, which was founded by Visa Inc, MasterCard Worldwide, Discover Financial Services and American Express. “As Direct Pay Online, our goal is to keep up with the highest level of security, privacy and standards in any market we go into. The compliance certificate demonstrates that our systems are at par with international security standards,” notes Fienstien. The company’s growth strategy is based on the fact that online payments are the most efficient and are increasingly being accepted by many.

Growth Since establishment twelve years ago, Direct Pay Online Group has grown in terms of branch network, staff and bringing more payments solutions in the market. Today, the company serves more merchants and customers than ever before. The Group is growing both organically (by opening branches in different countries) and inorganically (through acquisitions). “So far, we have acquired five companies, three of them in South Africa and the rest in Botswana and Namibia.” One such company is Paygate SA, which was acquired in 2016. Fienstien points out that acquiring other big players in the market is a strategy to expand more rapidly. A year and half ago, the Group received a major investment from a private equity firm in London that is aiding in its expansion strategy. It intends to have presence in 26 countries in the SubSaharan region by the end of 2018.

“We will continue investing in countries that are stable and have a lending potential as we endeavor to remain ahead of the market by providing cutting-edge technology.”

The company’s growth strategy is based on the fact that online payments are the most efficient and are increasingly being accepted by many. Today, tens of millions of people the world over walk without money in their pockets. We must therefore adapt to change that is happening very rapidly.

Africa 24 Main Story

Ivan Mbowa,CEO, Umati Capital.

We Finance SMEs Without Collaterals Umati Capital, a specialist fintech provides supply chain solutions to SMEs By Gita Wanyua


ne of the key hurdles that affect SMEs growth during their formative years is lack of operational capital. They often run into financial hardships as most of their clients do not pay promptly for services rendered.

Umati Capital set out to rewrite this narrative by offering financial support to SMEs without need for collateral as mostly demanded by mainstream banks. The lender was founded in 2013 by Ivan Mbowa and Munyutu Waigi. They believed there is a better way of funding SMEs by

providing them with non-collateralized capital which unlocks cash to grow their businesses.

“I met Waigi in 2012 and thought we could combine our experience in finance and technology to help bridge the credit gap in Kenya, more so in the agricultural sector which was underserved,” recalls Mr. Mbowa. Mr. Mbowa who had just left his job as the assistant vice president wealth management at Citi Bank said it was scary at first. “We were faced with introduction of a new concept that has never been

We are pleased to have developed a model that helps stakeholders in the agribusiness access financing without worrying about collaterals

tested before. So we had to try and convince clients that it’s a viable concept and can work.”

Together, they contributed a seed capital of KShs 4 million. He says the money was used to lent out to customers and manage their operational expenses at the time. Ever since, the company has made key progress overcoming the prospects that were not welcoming at the time. Mbowa worked with Citi Bank for 8 years across Africa in Uganda, Kenya, South Africa, Nigeria and Ghana. His has a wealth of experience in credit risk management, investment and finance. Munyutu on the other hand is a tech-preneur. He cofounded internet start-up, Rupu-listed as one of Africa’s top tech start-ups by Forbes Africa in 2012. Mr. Mbowa says they created a platform that leverages on technology where SMEs can access credit through an invoicefinancing model based on a tripartite agreement.

How the System Works The company enters into a three-party agreement with a SME (supplier) and a client (retailer) who buys their products/ services. Through the agreement, it advances credit to the supplier up to 80 per cent of the value of the shipment based on the contract with the retailer on condition

that the retailer agrees to pay full amount of the invoice to Umati Capital’s account.

On the other end, Umati Capital can also advance credit to the retailers to pay suppliers on agreement that the retailer will pay back. Through this, it services both ends of the business needs. Mr. Mbowa says the institution uses technology to provide credit in a faster, reliable and flexible way. For instance, it has both web-based and mobile applications that dispenses funds within 24-48 hours and issues digital receipts. “We are pleased to have developed a model that helps stakeholders in the agribusiness access financing without worrying about collaterals.”

Since setting up shop three years ago, the institution has gained recognition for its revolutionary and efficient way of financing especially in the agriculture sector. Underserved Sector “We see a great opportunity in the agricultural sector which contributes USD 16.6 billion to GDP. However, the sector has a credit gap of USD 1.8 billion unserved by traditional financiers. We want to bridge this gap and increase the productivity of smallholder farmers,” offers Mr. Mbowa.

The institution’s success in the dairy industry attests to this. It’s in partnership with Eldoville Dairies, which was among its first clients to pay off their suppliers. “They have a large pool of farmers who supply milk to them on a daily basis. We agreed to finance their suppliers as they await their payment, allowing them to access operational capital.”Umati Capital saw the

64, 000

end user farmers have benefitted from our financing

need and extended its services beyond dairy farming to macadamia, cashew nuts and exported cash crops and vegetables such as French beans.

Mr. Mbowa is confident with the niche that the institution has cut in the market. “We are now faced with challenges of scaling up the business because we are a small team and most of our clients are spread out in the country. We want to strengthen our capacity here in Kenya before expanding to other countries,” Important Facts • Umati Capital clients typically include agribusiness suppliers of large businesses who have to wait for months to receive their payments.

• For a trader to receive credit from the firm, one needs to have a valid and current supply chain contract with retailers or manufacturers in Kenya and an invoice worth Ksh100,000.

• We loan our clients up to 80 per cent of the invoice amount at an interest rate of between 1.8-2.5 per cent per month. Once the retailer or large manufacturer pays the full amount to Umati, the company pays the SME’s their remaining 20 per cent less. • We process the loans within 24 hours of the supplier presenting their invoice to us.

• We use a suite of mobile and web technologies that help our clients automate their supply chain management and enables us to finance your suppliers. The mobile technologies record purchases for accepted produce and issue electronic receipts. Web applications are used to monitor collection analyze quality and prepare supplier payments. • African Trade Insurance Agency has insured Umati Capital risks hence enabling Umati to provide non-collateralized loans to their clients. • 64, 000 end user farmers have benefitted from our financing.

Africa 26 Leadership

Are You A Visionary Leader? By Special Correspondent

A visionary leader plants a seed of the organization’s vision in the hearts of employees that must be powerful enough in order to encourage everybody to rise up to its call


eading any considerable organizational change needs visionary leadership. Visionary leaders are responsible for holding the vision of an organization and have the discipline, strength, and passion to hold that vision through the whole process and simultaneously leading others into the manifestation of that vision.

“Vision exists when people in an organization share a clear agreement on the values, beliefs, purposes, and goals that guide their behavior, simply referred to as internal compass,” David Conley. A visionary leader plants a seed of the organization’s vision in the hearts of employees, which must be powerful in order to encourage everybody to rise up to its call. He aligns all people to share this higher purpose and work towards achieving the goals with creativity, joy, inspiration, and imagination.

Visionary leaders are the builders of a new dawn, working with imagination, insight, and boldness. They present a challenge that calls forth the best in people and binding them around a shared sense of purpose. They work with the power of intentionality and alignment with a higher purpose. They are social innovators and change agents, seeing the bigger picture and thinking strategically. Martin Luther King, Jr. An example of a visionary leader is Martin Luther King, Jr. King had a divinely clear

The best visionary leaders move energy to a higher level by offering a clear vision of what is possible

vision and expressed it magnificently in his, “I Have a Dream” speech. While his goals may have included various steps along the way to passing civil rights legislation, his vision was so much bigger than his goals. It described exactly what it looked like when the real impact of his goals were felt. The best visionary leaders move energy to a higher level by offering a clear vision of what is possible. They inspire people to be better than they already are and help them identify with what Lincoln called “the angels of their better nature.” This was the power of Martin Luther King’s speech. Like King, they have the ability to sense the deeper spiritual needs of their followers and link their current demands to these deeper, often unspoken, needs for purpose and meaning. Another visionary leader is Ray Anderson. At Interface Carpets Company, he took courageous action in transforming it into the most environmentally sustainable corporation. Interface launched a massive effort to cut its use of energy, replace petroleum-based supplies with vegetablebased substitutes and reduce emissions by 24 per cent. Customers nowadays do not buy a wall-to-wall carpet–they rent one– and when it wears out, all its component parts are recycled, and the customer receives a new one. Visionary leaders transform old mental paradigms and create strategies that are “outside the box” of conventional thought. They embody a balance of rational and intuitive functions. Their thinking is broad and systemic, seeing the big picture, the entire system, and the pattern that connects. They then create innovative strategies for actualizing their vision, for instance, CNN founder Ted Turner transformed television news by boldly creating an around-the-clock international news network.

Elements of a Visionary Leader Leadership structure controls the decisionmaking process. Visionary leadership allows responsibility all the way down to

the bottom line. Standard leadership limits decision making to management.

Achievers – Everyone wants to be an achiever in and out of the workplace. With workplace ambitions, leadership promotes or kills this desire.

Elementary problems – Leadership style controls the level of elementary problems, which controls workplace efficiency. Level of elementary problems is controlled, in part, by learning opportunities and leader’s personal priority. Natural talent – Leadership style controls the ability to recognize natural talent. No one knows what their true capabilities are until they are given opportunity and responsibility.

Skill level – The ability and desire to share knowledge with coworkers influences the continuing education level of the workforce, thereby, increasing skill level and the value of their services. Workplace education is dead for people who only follow orders.

Getting the job done – Projects only have value when the job is completed. Competitive value depends on the efficiency of getting the job done, which is based on keeping elementary problems at a minimum. Efficiency is also a byproduct of employees’ attitude towards their job. Leadership, opportunity and responsibility influence attitude. Why Visionary Leadership? In organizations with visionary leaders, people perform tasks because they are happy. In the same manner, the whole organization possesses a certain degree of semi religious cohesiveness and a sense of solidarity because all people share a common cause.

Secondly, it brings out the best in people and makes them perform beyond their imagined limitations. Employees are happy not only because their leader is the best, but because they have become their best selves because of their leader.

Further, the mechanisms of control including rewards and punishments become internal rather than external. Employees do things right because they understand them in their hearts and not because of some external monetary rewards, social commendations or promotions.

Besides, it easily transcends individual personality eccentricities and differences that characterize many office-related wrangling. The leader and the staff have a sense of communion. The members accept each other because they share the same dreams and work together in order to make the dreams come true. Furthermore, visionary leadership empowers all members to be strong to face and overcome challenges despite the odds. The reason is that their vision is larger than themselves. They do not work for selfish purposes, but with a sense of mission and meaning that provides spiritual energy to everybody in the organization. Therefore, the morale of the group is always high as they are always ready to face setbacks.

Such leaders anticipate change and are proactive, rather than reactive to events. Their focus is on opportunities, not on problems. They emphasize win/win–rather than adversarial win/ lose–approaches. This is the strategy of environmental economist Hazel Henderson, author of Building a Win/ Win World. Moreover, a visionary leader is effective in manifesting his vision because he creates specific, achievable goals, initiates action and enlists the participation of others. It is better to be 10 per cent effective doing something worthwhile than 100 per cent effective at something worthless. Nonetheless, being visionary is not enough. Leaders must lead- focus on their thoughts and efforts at where they can make a difference. “If you cannot change something, find something else you can, and will change.”

Africa 28 Outsourcing

By Special Correspondent

Can Online Outsourcing Solve The Youth Unemployment Crisis?


ince the onset of the twenty first century, unemployment has remained one of the most debated subjects across the globe. This is aggravated by factors such as occupational immobility, economic recession as witnessed in the United States in 2008, as well as increased number of students leaving colleges to the labor market.

Currently in Kenya, unemployment rate is about 40 percent. Accordingly, unemployed graduates are searching for alternative jobs in order to fulfill their dreams. Against this backdrop, online outsourcing, viewed as key to overcome geographical immobility affecting the labor market, has been embraced both in developed and developing economies. Online outsourcing is defined as “the business process of contracting thirdparty providers (often overseas) to supply products or services which are delivered and paid for via the internet�. It has been proved that online outsourcing has opened opportunities for freelancers to access and compete in global job markets, provided that they have access to a computer and Internet connection. There are various jobs which outsourcing companies avail to freelancers including web development, online marketing and freelance writing.

Online Marketing Online marketing has gained pace in the recent past. This is based on the premise that, as compared to the traditional forms of marketing, online marketing through social media sites is much less costly and effective. Online marketers are responsible for advertising and promoting products and services offered by companies through the internet.

Web Development and Web Content Writing Companies across the world are outsourcing web developers who are responsible for search engine optimization (SEO) and creating programming codes. It is also worth noting that, web content articles written by online writers, is key to driving traffic to particular websites.

Freelance Writing This is one of the most notable forms of outsourcing known by majority of college and university graduates in Kenya. In academic writing, freelance writers mainly professionals in a particular field help students develop different types of academic papers such as thesis, dissertations, essays, and research articles. In most cases, students (both local and international)

seeking such services have tight class and working schedule.

Impact on the Global Economy As aforementioned, online jobs are possible as along as a person can be able to access a computer and internet. This has been key in ensuring increased opportunities in non-convectional financial empowerment. Due to the popularity of online jobs especially in developing countries, the revenue generated from online outsourcing has been on the increase. According to a report by the World Bank, it was estimated that the total gross revenue generated from global online outsourcing platforms in 2013 was $2 billion, led by companies such as Freelancer, Zhubajie/ Witmart, Upwork and oDesk among oth-

ers. It is projected that, in 2016, online freelancing will be worth $ 4.8 billion (Ksh. 448 billion) with countries such as Pakistan and India leading the pack. Globally, there are more than 47.8 million registered online workers, where at least 10% of this figure works on a full time basis. Generally, this figure is expected to increase drastically going forward and generate gross service revenue of approximately $15-20 billion by 2020.

Africa has a small representation as far as the number of online workers is concerned. South Africa and Kenya are the market leaders in the continent. As indicated by CloudFactory, an online company whose main mission is to connect people in developing economies to digital-age work, online workers from Kenya are known in doing thorough job as far as audio transcription is concerned, while those in Nepal better suited to data entry tasks. Sam Walter Gioko, aged 29 years and working for notes that, freelance writing has offered him relief from job search. Having graduated in 2013 with a Bachelor of Arts (Economics) from Egerton University, he has been able to earn a salary of between ksh 20,000 and 30,000 per month from academic writing. Similar sentiments were shared by Nancy Kagwiria Mugendi, who graduated with a Bachelor of Environmental Studies from Kenyatta University in 2011. According to her, lack of job in the formal sector made her to start working online. In addition to being a housewife, she is able to multitask between work and house duties, thus giving her work freedom as well as a constant flow of income.

It is worth noting that, with increased number of graduates joining the job market and with lower chances of getting a formal job, the number of individuals working as online freelancers is estimated to increase, not only in Kenya, but also across the world. However, while online outsourcing can be a certain way to self-employment and financial security, it requires discipline as well as affordable connectivity.

Africa 30 Innovation

By Peter Kamande

Innovation in Business: A Key Factor for Survival in the 21st Century


n the recent years, competition from all types of businesses has drastically increased. This is highly motivated by reduced barriers of entry for small businesses, globalization, and high level of unemployment, especially in the developing countries among other aspects. As a result, businesses have been forced to innovate to remain competitive both in the short and long-term. It is important noting that unlike in the past where businesses would survive with little or no innovation, recently, it has become the only way in which a business can survive. In Kenya, the government and other stakeholders are doing everything to ensure that business innovation is highly encouraged as one of the ways to fight against unemployment. For example, the setting up of youth funds and the creation of platforms such as the iHub are some but few of the examples.

What is Innovation? Innovation can be regarded as ‘the means by which the entrepreneur creates new wealth producing resources or endows existing resources with enhanced potential for creating wealth’. From this definition, it is clear that innovation is the way in which firms seek to acquire a competitive edge while raising their capability to generate wealth in the marketplace. It is worth noting that, although every business has its goals and priorities as well as sector-specific issues that require balancing at all the times, failure to innovate may result in non-optimal operations, thus losing to the rivals. The section below will look at the important reasons why innovation in business is a key factor of survival in the 21st-century market place.

Through innovation, companies can be able to enhance product differentiation, thus come up with unique selling points as well as respond to trends and competition

Benefits of Innovation in Businesses One of the major benefits of innovation is the ability of a business, whether small or big, to respond to trends and competition. As indicated above, businesses that fail to innovate are at a great risk of facing stiff competition from other firms. Therefore, through innovation, businesses can discover the existing opportunities or those opportunities that have the likelihood of emerging in the foreseeable future. For instance, in Kenya, mobile money transfer has been one of the best innovations that have taken place in the current time. Through this platform, one can easily transfer money from one place to the other with ease, thus helping to

achieve the set national and international goals such as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In general, successful firms are those who not only have the ability to respond to the current organizational and customer needs but also anticipate possible future trends.

The other advantage of innovation is the ability of a business to develop unique selling points. This is based on the fact that consumers often view innovation as an issue adding value to a firm or its products. If innovation is employed adequately, it offers a business a competitive advantage especially in areas where the market is shifting rapidly or saturated. For example, in Kenya, there has been stiff competition in the banking sector as these firms aim to

Despite the numerous factors hindering innovation, there is the need to encourage innovation as this is the only way to ensure business success in the twenty first century

reach to the millions of unbanked Kenyans. Similarly, competition and innovation among the mobile phone companies have also helped in increasing financial inclusion. As indicted earlier, innovation is not all about designing and selling new products or services, but also focusing on the prevailing business practices and processes. This way, innovation increases efficiency in a business such as through waste minimization, thus increasing profits. Further, constant innovation is key to attracting and retaining the best members of staffs, and this is critical in enhancing the long-term performance as well as the health of a business.

Factors Hindering Innovation in Businesses Preventing employees’ participation in day to day activities of a business is one of the main factors hindering innovation. It is important for managers and business leaders to realize that they are mainly catalyst towards innovation as the real job lies on the employees themselves. Based on this, there is the need for the management to challenge the employees to come up with a workable solution to problems facing the business as this is the only way they can innovate. Innovation is greatly hampered when companies are not ready for any mistakes to occur within its operations. For instance, some businesses may not like to cater for the costs that arise when products produced as a result of innovation fail to hit the market. However, companies that are persistent end up being winners at the long term. By and large, it is evident that innovation is key to ensuring the survival of any business. Through innovation, companies can be able to enhance product differentiation, thus come up with unique selling points as well as respond to trends and competition. Despite the numerous factors hindering innovation, there is the need to encourage innovation as this is the only way to ensure business success in the twenty first century. Mr. Kamande is a professional research writer. Email:

Africa 32 Marketing

By Paul G

The Changing Landscape of Content Marketing and Why it is Crucial to Stay Relevant


he approach and technique, by which businesses market products and services, are constantly shifting. With the emergence of social media platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, many businesses and brands are constantly restructuring their online marketing. While it is of utmost importance to adapt to the developing technologies and marketing methods, it is also paramount that businesses retain an understanding of the significance of strategy in online marketing. This applies to content marketing, conceivably more than any other online marketing technique, as the shifting landscape often means changing content.

Digital World In today’s digital world, content marketing has proved to be necessary for small and medium enterprises. Content creation and blog writing has emerged as the new way to attract customers. In the past, blogs were only perceived as personal diaries posted on the internet. Nonetheless, today nearly 40 per cent of companies are using blogs for marketing purposes, and more than 46 per cent of people read blogs more than one time a day according to marketing statistics. Many companies are engaged in content marketing because it is not only easy but also does not take the thousands of shillings spent by big brands on television ads. The company website,

Content marketing has been a principal element of many digital marketers marketing strategy, and many businesses with an online presence will find it important to implement it in the coming days

applications and updates strive to provide something of value to the business and customers- information, advice, tips, how-to instruction and opinions- the most important elements that customers need to know in order to make a verdict on whether they will purchase from your business or not. Regardless of the industry – whether you are operating a law firm, running a bookshop or technology start-up content marketing should be a top objective in

order to augment more inbound traffic to the company website and become a trusted advisor. The process of creating a powerful content marketing engine starts with identifying a handful of employees who can provide quality blog content. To ensure that you remain top of the game, reserve two hours on your calendar every month to writing a blog post or any other element that you fill is pivotal in attracting customers to your company or business. With time, you should move to bi-weekly posts and then weekly. Creating a steady content stream does not take place overnight, but the more time and effort dedicated to it, the more the chances of your returns. With time, your content will become better crafted and more educational, making the company or business site the place to go for customer to get relevant information and knowledge within your occupied business line.

Identifying the Right Audience Perhaps the most important way to engage with customers through informative and interesting content is actually identifying the audience. Before you decide what topic you should talk about, and your preferred approach of delivering the content, it is important to think about the marketing aspects itself. Marketing is about attracting a specific demographic and gaining their trust by publishing information on the site that not only entertains but that also informs them. Evidently, you will not be in a position to entertain and inform your customer if you do not know who they are and what interest them. From the B2C perspective, knowing what you need as business with the content marketing plan can help you establish the consumers you should target. The question of content delivery relates to how you will attract the demographic (audience) you have identified to this persuasive, informative content that you are creating. Establishing the main influencers of your target audience and understanding how you can go about creating a sound relationship with those influencers, can give a direct path to the targeted audience.

With content marketing, the business strives to help and inform consumers.

It is a way to show people that your business knows the industry and that their proficiency is trustworthy. The way that content marketing functions is not directly to sell to a particular group of people or reader, rather it gives the consumers an idea of why the product or service is good and the ways that it can benefit them. The company leaves the consumers to make a judgment on whether the product is right to them and make a purchase, but it is the sole business of the company to prepare a persuasive material, compelling enough to make the consumers want to buy the company products.

In addition, with supportive guide, blogs can enable people to share content on the company websites through social media platforms, and this helps the company to spread their brand message and augment company authority in the market. That feature gives content marketing an edge over other unsolicited sales messages. Benefits to Businesses Content marketing offers immense benefits to the business. The content on the website can bring traffic to the site, from where links within the piece can help users be guided to other germane areas of the website. This means that there are more chances for individuals who see the content on the website to explore and search around the site. In this vein, content marketing can also link one blog to another and is an excellent way to help the company promote other useful content on the website. Updating the company website with pertinent and high-quality materials, will give the site a positive impact on search ranking. Content marketing has been a principal element of many digital marketers marketing strategy, and many businesses with an online presence will find it important to implement it in the coming days. The writer is a marketing research expert, currently working with the County Government of Kirinyaga

Africa 34 Real Estate

Build Your Dream House in Only 21 Days with Koto Housing Because of the short time it takes to put up the structure you can save 10-15 percent of the labor cost. By Shaban Ahab

“Our directors felt that there was need to fill the gap for affordable housing locally and that in essence informed our decision to go and borrow a leaf on this technology from Malaysia,” she explains. How Does Koto Work? Koto cleverly executes a quick built solution of permanent structure within the shortest time possible. A house construction projects starts like a traditional building but since the wall panels are light, the foundation is not dug several meters deep as is normally the case with traditional construction. “We use raft foundation (where the house rests on a large base-raft), which prevents the house from cracking due to shifting of the ground,” explains the Business Support Manager. “Speed is our biggest selling point.” For instance a three bedroomed house can be done in 21 days with a standard bungalow taking up to a month, from foundation to the actual furnishing.


oto Housing Kenya is a local construction firm that uses EPS (Expanded Polystyrene) technology, originally from Malaysia, to build affordable housing for Kenyans within a shorter time than traditional housing. This is the sure bridge to your dream home.

The only franchise of the prefabricated technology in Africa, the growing inquiries about the solution from the rest of the continent is something Koto Housing prides itself of. “This is a true confirmation that Koto has revolutionized the housing solution,” says Beth Kimani, Head of Corporate and Business Support at Koto Housing Kenya.

For the time that they have been operational here in Kenya, they have realized that there is a growing number of clients who prefer them to supply the building panels as well as do the actual construction. “This is because of our understanding of the technology and our expertise. As such we use local manpower for construction. We also train contractors about the technology and they usually come in handy when in need of extra manpower during construction” emphasizes Ms. Kimani.

“Speed is our biggest selling point.” For instance a three bedroomed house can be done in 21 days with a standard bungalow taking up to a month, from foundation to the actual furnishing.

Despite the head office being in Mlolongo area of Machakos County, they have been able to build residential houses even in the countryside. Should a client need a house constructed in a certain locality, explains Ms. Kimani, the firm uses its local contractor in that county. “We then send our project manager to oversee the construction.”

In as much as Koto housing sounds as new revolution in the housing altogether, the concept is not a new technology. It is only new in Africa. Malaysia has been using Koto since 1975 and is equally extensively used in Europe because of its insulation capability in extreme cold countries.

With only around four companies in Kenya using EPS technology, Koto imports the raw materials, and manufactures the final product here.

The firm however received a major boost when it was contracted by the government to put up 200 housing units for the police. With that, both home owners and developers started believing in the solutions. The government is the biggest spender and biggest influencer. Once people see government embracing something it gives it credibility.

Beth Kimani, Head of Corporate and Business Support, Koto Housing Kenya.

Target market “Kenyans are very sentimental about home ownership. It’s like everybody wants to own a home. That means that we target everybody,” she states. Despite the desire to own a home, as is with new things and need to change attitudes to gain acceptance, the uptake of housing revolution is slow due to perception of the people. “We are still trying to break into the market and convince people that Koto can work amazingly,” she points.

“We did 200 housing units for the police in a record six months” points Ms. Kimani. The construction panels which come in different sizes can be cut to fit. “But we discourage cutting so as to minimize on the wastage. When a client has his own design we try to rationalize it and work with the panel sizes. Our panels vary in size, with the largest being 1.8m x 2.4m. You simply put one on top of the other and they interlock,” she comments. As it stands, it is an easy product to use, and fits nearly any design except round walls which the firm trying to figure out.

Save cost The solution is comparatively lower costed, compared to traditional housing due to shorter time it takes to put up the structure and sees one saving 10-15 percent of the labor cost. “Traditionally, it takes at least three months to build a house, while it only takes one month with Koto technology. With that you can cut cost on the wages for the two months labor because you won’t have to double the manpower to do the construction in one month.” The cost of finishes like the tiles, roofing, paints is however still the same. Exciting offers

“We have exciting home package offers for our clients with Simba being our cheapest range. A normal two bedroomed house is at approximately Kshs 1.9 million for people who want a simple house.” Future Prospects “We will continue creating awareness and looking for support from stakeholders to break the perception barrier. Breaking the perception barrier is important for our desire to revolutionize housing. We plan to be here for a very long time. ”

Africa 36 Corporate Fitness

Anybody Is at Risk of Blindness From Glaucoma By Bob Dewar Publicity


laucoma is an eye disease that causes progressive irreversible damage of the optic nerve and loss of vision field leading to blindness. Anybody is at risk of this disease which is the leading cause of irreversible blindness worldwide and in Kenya with over 20, 000 cases being reported every year.

Dr Sheila Marco, Consultant Ophthalmologist and Glaucoma Specialist at Aga Khan University Hospital, Nairobi, explained, “With the exception of babies born with congenital glaucoma, there is usually no warning, or obvious symptoms of the disease which has led to glaucoma being described as the ‘sneak thief of sight’. A baby suffering from glaucoma at birth usually has bulging and swollen eyes. Approximately one in 10,000 babies have glaucoma and parents noticing symptoms should have a check carried out by an ophthalmologist.” “Early detection and appropriate therapy of glaucoma can significantly improve a child’s future life and vision. Treatment involves careful evaluation under general anaesthesia. The intra ocular pressure (IOP) is measured and treatment by surgery can be carried out at the same time which reduces subjecting the child to multiple sessions of general anaesthesia.” “Although anybody is at risk of getting glaucoma, there are certain groups of people who are at a higher risk of contracting the disease. These include those with history of glaucoma in the family, adults over 35 years of age, African race, high IOP, myopia (shortsightedness) and diabetes mellitus. If a member of a family has glaucoma, it is advisable for the other family members to see an ophthalmologist for eye checkups.”

Dr. Sheila Marco (left) an Ophthalmologist and Glaucoma specialist at Aga Khan University Hospital checks the pressure of Henry Bundi’s eyes during a free glaucoma screening the Hospital. Over 300 people were screened for the disease which is the world’s leading cause of blindness.

“The only way to detect and treat glaucoma early is by going for regular eye screening by an eye specialist particularly for the people at a higher risk. The doctor

measures the pressure of the eye and examines the optic nerve in the eye. If necessary a visual field test will be performed, “ Dr Sheila Marco added.

The main goal of treatment is to reduce the IOP to a safe level and prevent further loss of vision. This can be done by using pressure lowering eye drops, lasers or a variety of surgical procedures. Once glaucoma is diagnosed and treatment started, the follow-up with an ophthalmologist is life-long.

Aga Khan University Hospital runs a glaucoma clinic every Wednesday and Thursday from 9.00 am to 5.00 pm by a glaucoma specialist. The Hospital has invested in the latest technology equipment for diagnosis and treatment of the disease.

One of the signs of glaucoma is worsening of the peripheral vision or the appearance of “blind spots”. This can be realized by a patient when they are not able to see stairs clearly as they walk down stairs, or bump into people as they are not able to see them. In some cases, a driver fails to notice vehicles on either side of his or her car which indicates an advanced case of glaucoma.

As the optic nerve is an extension of the brain, treatment by surgery is currently not available but extensive research is being carried out to develop new treatments for glaucoma. Meanwhile, controlling IOP is the only way of slowing progressive blindness caused by glaucoma. The suffering caused by glaucoma highlights the importance of seeing an ophthalmologist in addition to regular eye screening for early detection of the condition and management.

“Beware of ‘the sneak thief of sight.’” Concluded Dr Sheila Marco, Consultant Ophthalmologist and Glaucoma Specialist at Aga Khan University Hospital, Nairobi

Africa 38



Refrigerated Volkswagen Vans For Delivery of Special Pharmaceuticals


aborex Kenya, has added two refrigerated Volkswagen vans to the company’s fleet of ten Volkswagen delivery vehicles. Usha Nagpal, the DT Dobie General Sales Manager-Kenya for Volkswagen handed the vehicles to Ms Mwende Musunga, the CEO of Laborex Kenya, at the DT Dobie Showroom on Lusaka Road.

The Volkswagen Caddy and VW Transporter vans have purpose built refrigerated cargo bodies for carrying “cold-chain” medicines. These medicines need to be stored and transported between temperature ranges of 2°C and 8°C to ensure that their quality is maintained prior to administration to the patient. The vehicles are being used for distribution of medical supplies to all parts of the country. Usha Nagpal, the DT Dobie General Sales Manager for Volkswagen, said, “The Caddy van is an excellent choice for delivery of fairly small quantities of goods and medicines. It is tough and reliable and the 1.6 litre engine with five speed gearbox makes it extremely fuel efficient lowering the cost of transport.”

“The VW Transporter is ideal for bigger quantities of goods and its roof height and larger load space allow for carrying equipment. The cabin is big enough to accommodate the driver and two salesmen. Both vehicles have an unmatched warranty of two years.” Mwende Musunga, the CEO Laborex Kenya, said, “Fitting these vehicles with a cooling system that keeps the vaccines and other “cold-chain” medicines within World Health Organization (WHO)recommended temperature ranges enables us to guarantee our customers that the cold chain management process is maintained at all times and that the quality of these medicines is not affected during transportation.” DT Dobie is the sole distributor of Volkswagen in Kenya and other globally renowned brands like Mercedes Benz passenger cars, trucks & Buses, GMW Wingle pick-ups and Hyundai light trucks. The Company has comprehensive stocks of spare parts at the Lusaka Road premises in Nairobi and branches in Mombasa, Nakuru and Kisumu. Vehicle servicing and repairs are carried out by factory trained workshop staff.

Features Coming Standard With Volkswagen Caddy The Caddy is ideal for refrigerated delivery businesses, since it is city friendly and flexible. The standard Caddy panel small fridge vans will carry many different loads with their super spacious yet compact design. The long wheelbase Maxi panel van is a great option for companies that need even more capacity for carrying loads. Features Coming Standard with Volkswagen Caddy For being such small refrigerator vans for sale, the Caddy sure packs in a lot of features. Some of these features include: • Jack and tool kit • Engine Drag Torque Control • Electronic Differential Lock • Electronic Stabilisation Programme • 60 litre fuel tank • Thatcham Category 2 immobiliser • Electronic Brakeforce Distribution • Traction Control System • Anti-lock Brake System Under the Hood

While using less fuel than ever before, the Volkswagen Caddy engines are designed to still bring more power. Since fuels is only likely to become more pricey in the future, these used fridge vans utilize engines with flexible turbo-diesel for impressive performance. With commendably low carbon di-

oxide emissions and low fuel consumption, all of the different types of Caddy engines deliver great power. The frugal 75PS 1.6TDI engine starts the Caddy engine range. And, for carrying heavy loads, this line’s torquey 140PS 2.0TDI does the job. Plus, there are some used small refrigeration vans for sale that feature Volkswagen’s BlueMotion Technology, which cuts emissions even further and brings fuel efficiency to a whole new level. Load Sizes Into the back of Caddy panel vans (click here to learn more about our refrigerated vans), there is an awful lot that can be crammed in these fridge vans that are less than four and a half metres in length. The panel van can be carefully tailored to fit any refrigeration needs due to accessories that make it more robust and various loading options. Thanks to an impressive load volume and payload you would never expect out of a van so compact, the Caddy is the best choice for traveling around town. Loads as long as 1.78 metres and taking up 3.2 cubic metres of space can fit in the back. Plus, these small refrigerator vans feature six load lashing rings to secure loads. Getting things in and out is easy too with a low 574 millimetre floor height.


Air France joins the KLM - Kenya Airways joint venture Air France are now back in the Kenyan skies after an 18 year hiatus

(Uganda), Harare (Zimbabwe), Juba (South Sudan), Khartoum (Sudan), Kigali (Rwanda), Kilimanjaro (Tanzania), Kisumu (Kenya), Lilongwe (Malawi), Livingstone (Zambia), Lubumbashi (Democratic Republic of Congo), Lusaka (Zambia), Maputo (Mozambique), Mombasa (Kenya), Moroni (Comoros), Nampula (Mozambique), Ndola (Zambia), Seychelles (Seychelles), Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe), Zanzibar (Tanzania). Air France inaugurates Paris-Charles de Gaulle - Nairobi In addition, on 25 March 2018, Air France inaugurated its new service connecting Paris-Charles de Gaulle to Nairobi (Kenya). The company will serve the Kenyan capital with 3 weekly flights operated by Boeing 787, equipped with the latest long-haul travel cabins. Flight times operated (in local time) AF814: leaves Paris-Charles de Gaulle at 20:50, arrives in Nairobi at 6:00, the next day.

Flights operated on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays.


s from March 25th, Air France will be part of the joint venture that has been in existence since 1995 between KLM Royal Dutch Airlines and the Kenya Airways, a Skyteam partner. This move will consolidate the Air France-KLM group’s capacity in East Africa. Air France, KLM and Kenya Airways’ customers will be able to reserve flights operated on a code-share basis by one of the three airlines on round-trip services between Paris-Nairobi and AmsterdamNairobi. Travellers will thus benefit from 24 daily flights between Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Amsterdam-Schiphol and Nairobi • 3 flights operated by Air France between Paris-Charles de Gaulle and Nairobi;

• 14 weekly flights operated by Kenya Airways including 7 Paris Charles de Gaulle – Nairobi flights and 7 other Amsterdam Schiphol – Nairobi frequencies; • 7 weekly flights operated by KLM between Amsterdam-Schiphol and Nairobi. With this new agreement, customers will benefit from a streamlined travel experience between Europe and East Africa through the three hubs and improved connections to 26 beyond Nairobi’s destinations Addis-Ababa (Ethiopia), Bangui (Central African Republic), Blantyre (Malawi), Bujumbura (Burundi), Dar Es Salaam (Tanzania), Djibouti (Republic of Djibouti), Dzaoudzi (France), Entebbe

AF815: leaves Nairobi at 08:20, arrives at Paris-Charles de Gaulle at 15:50. Flights operated on Mondays, Thursdays and Sundays.

This new flight offer is in combination with the daily flights code-shared between Air France and Kenya Airways on CDG-Nairobi. Air France-KLM in Africa This summer, the Air France-KLM group’s airlines will offer 51 African destinations thanks to 489 weekly flights • Air France: 34 destinations and 258 frequencies from Paris-Charles de Gaulle; • KLM: 13 destinations and 75 frequencies from Amsterdam-Schiphol ; • Transavia: 15 destinations and 146 frequencies from Europe; • Joon: 2 destinations and 10 frequencies from Paris-Charles de Gaulle. As from 1st April 2018, Joon will begin serving Cape Town (South Africa) from Paris-Charles de Gaulle.

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Destin africa  

Destin Africa provides insights and critical information covering the local to global business scene, from established businesses to the sma...

Destin africa  

Destin Africa provides insights and critical information covering the local to global business scene, from established businesses to the sma...