JAN 2016 Kshs. 300 / Ushs. 9000/ Tshs. 6000/ RWF. 2200
DISRUPTING THE ONLINE JOB SCENE A CELEBRATED I.T STARTUP BETS ON INNOVATIVE TECHNOLOGY TO REVOLUTIONIZE THE ONLINE JOB SEARCH
Best Wellness Programme In Town
The Changing Landscape Of Content Marketing
10 Things They Did Not Tell You About Rwanda
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EDGE FOCUS 16. TECHIE In partnership with Google, Intel and USIU-Africa, Tech Republic Africa has taken up the responsibility of demystifying the essence of computer technology to children at a younger age.
18. ENTREPRENEUR Her journey towards the top has been phenomenal. She wants impact more lives through her startup company that provides health and wellness services to improve individualâ€™s health outcomes
MANAGEMENT AND OPINION 20. EXECUTIVE TALK
ENTERPRENUER 4. WELCOME 6. BITES AND PIECES 7. MAIL 8. BRIEFS 12. PICTORIAL
The investment firm bets on professionalism and innovation to create value in real estate sectors.
24. INNOVATION A Key Factor For Survival In The 21St Century
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26. MARKETING The Changing Landscape Of Content Marketing And Why It Is Crucial To Stay Relevant
MAIN STORY 28. FUZU Fuzu.com, an IT start-up bets on disruptive technology and growing internet access to change the landscape of recruitment and job search in the region
REAL ESTATE 30. SUPERIOR HOMES Ian Henderson speaks on how he formed the country’s leading real estate firm and how it has been driving decent housing solutions for Kenyans
EDGE FOCUS 32. CPF Edge Magazine interviewed Hosea Kiili, group managing director, CPF Financial Services to get insights on the firm’s competiveness and its relevance over the years.
TRAVEL & LEISURE
36. SKILLS DEVELOPMENT - YALI Through the Young African Leadership Initiative (YALI), the US is investing in the next generation of African leaders to improve leadership skills and strengthen entrepreneurship in the continent.
40. CHEKI Cheki.co.ke is an online marketplace where major car dealers, importers and private sellers post their cars for sale
TRAVEL & LEISURE 44. RWANDA Ten things they did not tell you about Rwanda
46. ART OF WRITING A short personal essay on writing by Oroni Tendera. He vividly describes what he goes through as a writer before penning down a creative article
Managing Editor Sylvester Okumu email@example.com Editor Oroni Tendera firstname.lastname@example.org Staff writer Jenny Nyawira email@example.com Contributors Peter Kamande Paul Macharia
Business Development Manager Murrel Aluoch Marketing Executive Nelly Wambui Operations Washingtone Terry
Creative director Felix Rurigi firstname.lastname@example.org
Published by Fine Edge Media Longonot Building, 3rd Floor, Apartment 2A, P. O. Box 74298-00200 Kijabe Street, Nairobi, Kenya. Tel: (+254) 20-2088776 Cell:(+254) 724 113 683, (+254) 715 507 024 (+254) 770 467 370 E-mail: email@example.com Website: www.finedge-media.co.ke
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The views expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the position of the publisher. Readers are advised to seek professional advice before acting on any information contained in this publication. January 2016
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he year 2016 is here with us. January blues have set in already. New demands and renewed dreams are competing for attention.Inspiration is running low as desperation threatens to break loose. Worry not, you are great. You have made the right decision, choosing The Edge magazine. You won’t regret, that is our promise to you.
The past year was successful for Kenya as far as trade and investments is concerned. The high level visits by United States President Barack Obama for the Global Entrepreneurship Summit, Pope Francis and the recently concluded World Trade Organization (WTO) ministerial conference was a huge diplomatic achievement for the country. This among other developments exemplifies the country’s growing economic clout in the region. In our current issue, we introduce to you new players in the real estate industry, offering novel solutions to Kenya’s housing problems. We also have good news for job seekers committed to secure either entry level jobs or managerial positions. Fuzu.com has simplified your work. In the same vein, the CEO of Brighter Monday, EvaSloutweg, recently introduced a new job search solution in Nairobi. Read on to find out what she launched. Our guest writer, Paul Macharia, a Market Research expert, looks at the changing landscape of content marketing and how to remain relevant in the digital age. In our Question and Answer section,Hosea Kiili, the group managing director of CPF financial services, gives insights on how the firm has withstood the storm of time. For the adventurous holiday makers, we highlight ten reasons why Rwanda should be your next travel destination. For these and more exciting stories, turn the pages. Sylvester@finedge-media.co.ke
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Bits And Pieces Chris Kirubi, Business Conglomerate, Kenya “Business is always a struggle. There are always obstacles and competitors. There is never an open road, except the wide road that leads to failure. Every great success has always been achieved by fight. Every winner has scars….The men who succeed are the efficient few. They are the few who have the ambition and will-power to develop themselves. So choose to be among the few today.” Chris Kirubi is a Kenyan businessman, entrepreneur, industrialist and philanthropist. He is the current Chairman of Centum Investment Company Limited, a business conglomerate, in which he is the largest individual shareholder. Njeri Rionge, Serial Entrepreneur
“Ladies, it’s like learning to ride a bike or driving a car. You need only to believe in yourself, trust your gut feeling and develop a clear plan or strategy, keep it simple and implement that plan step by step with courage, conviction and love above all. Ultimately be open minded and flexible to change course when needed and listen to your customers.”
Rionge co-founded internet service provider Wananchi Online that has since been transformed into Wananchi Group Holdings – one of east Africa’s leading providers of pay-tv, broadband internet and VoIP services.
Co-operative Bank has won a global Financial Times award for financial inclusion Co-op Bank has been recognised as the ‘bank of the year 2015 for financial inclusion in the banker’s awards’ because of its use of the co-operative societies model. Besides providing credit to MSME’s, the bank also offers consultancy services to cooperative societies. Gideon Muriuki, the bank’s chief executive said, “Co-operatives are a sustainable vehicle for the delivery of banking services to the vast majority of people in Africa and Co-operative Bank will remain focused on developing this model into the future.” Eva Muraya, Founder and CEO: Brand Strategy and Design “I am an advocate of business being an important instrument of development. In fact, business is the fabric for development.”
Muraya is the founder and CEO of Brand Strategy and Design, a regional brand strategy development agency. Her entry into the business world came only after a great personal tragedy – the loss of her husband. Muraya started Color Creations Africa Limited, a branded merchandise company
Lori Greiner, inventor, QVC host and ‘Shark Tank’ investor “Dear optimist, pessimist, and realist -- while you guys were busy arguing about the glass of wine, I drank it! Sincerely, the opportunist!”
The “Queen of QVC,” Lori Greiner, who joined the ABC show Shark Tank in 2012 alongside Barbara Corcoran. Greiner has hosted a QVC show called The Clever & Unique Creations Show since 1998 and hawks her popular products, such as jewellery organizers, on the channel. She also runs a product development and marketing company in Chicago.
lETTERS To The Editor
am a subscriber of the Edge Magazine and this is my sixth month being an avid reader. I must commend you for the good work that is characterized by informative stories from various sectors. Most remarkably, I like reading the ‘entrepreneurs column’ and I would recommend every budding or would-be entrepreneur to read it. Keep up the good job!
Edwin Onyango, Accountant, Nairobi.
he New Year is around the corner but the question is: How prepared are you? Most people think preparing for the holidays is merely about buying gifts for their loved ones, travelling and having family parties. As much as this is true, it is important to remember that come 2016, there is school fees and house rent to pay among other necessities. This calls for the need of financial planning. I believe that people should spend their finances wisely by deciding the right things to buy. ‘God expects us to have faith, but also to use common sense and wise planning in allocating the resources He has given us.”
Duncan Korir, Student, Moi University
he World Trade Organization members concluded their Tenth Ministerial Conference in Nairobi by securing a historic agreement on a series of trade initiatives. The so called “Nairobi Package” pays fitting tribute to the Conference host, Kenya, by delivering commitments that will benefit in particular the organization’s poorest members. The package contains various decisions on agriculture- including a commitment to abolish export subsidies for farm exports, cotton and issues related to least-developed countries. However, although that was accomplished, it is my wish that it will be implemented. In Kenya, agriculture is the backbone of our economy and eliminating agricultural subsidies means empowering farmers, the youths most of whom have become agribusiness entrepreneurs and the economy at large.
Wanjiru Maina, Agribusiness Entrepreneur, Nyeri Via Email
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Kenya holds tenth World Trade Organization Ministerial Conference
Negotiators representing rich countries tentatively settled on 2020 as the last date by which their taxpayers will be shouldering the burden of farm subsidies.
Other than that, WTO members representing major exporters of information technology products agreed on a landmark deal to eliminate tariffs on 201 IT products valued at over $1.3 trillion per year. Negotiations were conducted by 53 WTO members, including both developed and developing countries but all 162 WTO members will benefit from the agreement. The list of 201 products was originally agreed by the Information Technology Agreement (ITA) participants in July 2015. “This is a very significant achievement.
Liberian president Ellen Sirleaf Johnson and president Uhuru Kenyatta duringthe opening ceremony of WTO conference in Nairobi. High-level visits by United States President Barack Obama, Pope Francis and the recently concluded tenth World Trade Organization (WTO) Ministerial Conference are a stamp of approval at the international level of the Kenyan position in the community of nations. It was a huge diplomatic achievement for the country. It is the first time the WTO ministerial conference took place in the African continent.
Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed said that it is an historic opportunity for Africa to instill the African perspective in determining the future of international trade through a fully functioning multilateral trading system. The conference brought together roughly 7,000 delegates from 162 countries who were set to discuss on matters regarding multilateral trade agreements.
The issue of the lifting of agricultural subsidies by developed countries including Australia, the United States and Europe EDGE Magazine
was most contentious. In fact, it has remained controversial since the Doha Round talks that began in Qatar in 2001. During the opening ceremony, President Uhuru Kenyatta urged the developed countries to stop the heavy subsidization of agricultural products, if the continent especially the least developed countries (LDCs) are to benefit from the WTO.
Kenyatta said agriculture is of key interest to Africa as majority of the population (over 70%) in the continent depend on it. He said there are so many distortions in the agriculture sector especially the unfair production and export subsidies that rich countries offer their growers. ‘There is no way African farmers can compete with heavily subsidized agricultural products from the developed countries’, said Kenyatta. However, a deal was reached as rich countries agreed to phase out marketdistorting farm subsidies in five years.
Eliminating tariffs on trade of this magnitude will have a huge impact. It will support lower prices — including in many other sectors that use IT products as inputs — it will create jobs and it will help to boost GDP growth around the world,” said WTO Director General Roberto Azevêdo. The WTO is an international intergovernmental organization dealing with the formulation and implementation of international trade rules. It also deals with the arbitration of trade disputes between its Members.
The organization’s objectives is to raise the standards of living for members, ensuring full employment, large and steadily growing volume of real income and effective demand, expanding the production of and trade in goods and services, while allowing for the optimal use of the world’s resources and seeks to both protect and preserve the environment and to enhance the means for doing so in a manner consistent with members respective needs and concerns at different levels of economic development. The business of the WTO is conducted through the Ministerial Conference, which is the highest decision making body of the organization. The conference is held every two years.
National Bank announces best performance in its 48 years as Profits hit Ksh3.2 Billion in Q3 2015
Nairobi Garage expands reach by opening a new branch in Westlands Nairobi Garage has expanded by opening a new branch in Westlands, making it Africa’s largest and coolest co-working space. The space opened doors on 1st December, 2015.
House Majority Leader Adan Duale and Senate Speaker Ekwe Ethuro join National Bank Managing Director Munir Sheikh Ahmed during the announcement of National Bank’s Q3 2015 financial perfomance. National Bank announced a profit before tax (PBT) of Ksh.3.22 Billion in the nine months ending September 2015, in what will pass as one of the best performance by the bank in its 48 years history. This performance is a 79.5% increase in PBT- compared to a similar period in 2014 when Ksh 1.8 Billion was reported. Presently one of fastest growing lenders in Kenya, National Bank has been undergoing massive restructuring with an aim to transform into a top 5 tier1 lender in Kenya.
NBK performance has improved each year since Managing Director & CEO Munir Sheikh Ahmed commenced the transformation works at the bank. In 2013 it reported Ksh 1.8B trading profits which rose to Ksh 2.43B in 2014 and now has jumped to Ksh3.22B for Q3 2015.
Mr. Munir said the remarkable achievements shows the effort and dedication put in by the Bank’s Board, management and staff. “Our performance over the years since 2013 is testimony that structures that have been put in place to ensure that business runs efficiently and meets the international banking standards - are delivering excellent results. We expect this to go on as we implement the remaining projects in the transformation plan,” he said. The bank’s transformation has seen the bank diversify its revenue streams, roll out multiple delivery channels such as NatMobile (mobile banking), NatConnect (inter-
net banking) and the National Bank Agency and launch new products for its customer segments which has boosted both loyalty and growth of the customer base. NBK has increased service distribution by 25 new branches to give it a total of 80 in Kenya. In the nine months period, total operating income rose by 21% to Ksh 8.8B. The bank also excelled in cost reduction, cutting an impressive 4% on operating expenses for the nine months from 5.0bn from 5.2bn in similar period 2014 even as it invested heavily in new branches countrywide.
On the back of deepening relationships with customers, NBK loans advances went up 28% to Ksh 73.6 B, from Ksh 57.6B same period 2014 with customer deposits at Ksh 90.8B. This was driven by newly introduced customer focused structure which has seen new strategic business units established alongside customer segments which has enhanced services. The Institute of Customer Service (ICS) Kenya Chapter is among institutions that have recognized the bank for its improvements in customer satisfaction, after NBK customers voted the bank the “best Bank in Customer Service” in 2015.
“In the past years, we have noticed an overwhelming demand for people wanting to become a part of Nairobi Garage community. We found ourselves turning down amazing companies, since we could no longer physically host everyone.” That’s how the idea of our 2nd co-working space in Nairobi was born. It was crazy six months of brainstorming, creating and problem solving and finally, the Westlands branch has been launched.
The new Garage offers Nairobi-based businesses an additional 400 desks, plus a number of team rooms, meeting rooms and a kickass event space. “We expect to host around 70 companies, bringing our Nairobi Garage family to 100 startups, SME’s and ecosystem players.” As with the current space on Ngong Road, the Westlands branch offers its members all-inclusive 24/7 office facilities, access to an in-house café Amanda’s Kitchen, events and workshop series tailored for entrepreneurs and techies, meeting rooms and presentation/event area.
The Managing Director said National bank’s remaining project’s will see it increase profitability and growth this year, on the back of growing goodwill from its customers and Kenyans powered by the new brand and the bank’s transformation program.
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BRIGHTERMONDAY ANNOUNCES A NEW CAREER CENTER
says Opar. In Techno Brain, family comes first; it’s not only about how productive or efficient a candidate is.” Says Opar. It is therefore critical to be able to match the right personnel who will fit in the organization culture because the candidate’s behaviour and values cannot be altered.
With a current employer database of over 6000 from various industries and recruiting for various professions and employment levels, BrighterMonday is tasked with understanding its partners’ individual challenges as well as develop products that are best suited to solve their recruitment needs. With the company’s tenure and experience, and by gathering feedback they have been able to innovate and lead the job sector market with integrity through meaningful partnerships.
BrighterMonday CEO Eva Slootweg.
BrighterMonday recently announced a new career centre that will be used tocommunicate with variousaudiences who are either new entrants in the job market or experienced job seekers purposing to change theircareers. Speaking during a breakfast event withtop human resource professionals at Dusit Hotel in Nairobi, Eva Slootweg, the CEO BrighterMonday highlighted that one ofthe recruitment challenges in the region has either been having too manyjob seekers or not having underqualified candidates.
Slootweg who has 18 years experience working in human resources, described the career centre hosted on Brighter-Monday’s new website to have thecapabilities of a quality short-listingmodule that is used
to narrow down thenumber of applicants. With componentsof skilled sourcing, workflows, candidate relationship management and data analytics, BrighterMonday recruitment platform keeps the pace with current shiftsin the recruitment landscape which do notonly focus on the candidates’ productivity and efficiency but also how best thesecandidates fit in the organization cultures.
Maureen Opar, Talent and Resourcing Manager-Africa, Techno Brain who recruits for 26 countries in Africa said getting the right candidate to fit to the organization culture has been one of the biggest recruitment challenges in Africa. “I drop 9 out of 10 candidates because they simply cannot fit into the company’s culture”,
According to Geoffrey Omondi, Deputy Labour Commissioner, at Ministry of Labour, Social Security & Services, the global unemployment rate is at 200 million, there is a decline in long-term jobs with elements of fundamental principles, social protection and room for dialogue in case of disputes.
From a government perspective, recruitment challenges mainly emerge from fake employment agencies, which do not conform to eligibility measures that contribute to hurt job seekers and the government is trying its level best to weed them out. “The government encourages professional & skilled agencies that understand job seekers needs and avoid those that might mislead them to clandestine operations and offering exaggerated contracts”, says Omondi.
BrighterMonday aims to continue engaging its audience through such thought leadership forums and understand various recruitment challenges faced in Kenya and provide solutions through improved strategies and innovations as a preferred recruitment partner.
KCB Group recognized best employer in Africa
Kenya Commercial Bank Group Human Resources Director Paul Russo (right) receives the Best Employer Brand award from the chairman of the Employer Branding Institute in Africa, Saugata Mitra, during its annual awards ceremony in Mauritus. Photo/COURTESY KCB Group has won Africa’s Best Employer Brand award. It was feted by the Employer Branding Institute during the second edition of the Africa Best Employer Brand Awards ceremony held in Mauritius. The yearly awards ceremony is aimed at recognizing top organizations in Africa, which have stood out in building the employer brand and have in the recent time emerged as a stimulus in establishing a culture of contribution and innovation. “The award sums up and recognizes all the achievements the Bank has achieved in the past year which is a confirmation
of the brand’s excellence and supremacy and most befitting of our position as an industry leader,” said Mr. Paul Russo, Kenya Commercial Bank Group Human Resources Director.
“This is recognition of our brand’s excellence and brand supremacy and most befitting of our position as an industry leader.” According to Mr. Russo, the various employee reform programmes that have been put in place in the recent past have truly set us apart from our peers who now have to play catch up and emulate our steadfast growth. Furthermore, the recognition is an important milestone for the Group as it goes a
long way in affirming its continued and deliberate investments in the people agenda which has now placed the Bank ahead of Africa’s biggest corporations when it comes to offering top-notch employee value proposition. Other than that, KCB Group has also been voted one of the most attractive employers of talent in Kenya by Universum, a global research firm, in its 2015 talent research survey.
The talent surveys that were carried out in Kenya, Ghana and Nigeria polled a total of 3, 993 participants in Kenya who were interviewed on which brands they would wish to work for and what attracts them to the said brands. January 2016
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Chase Bank Kenya Best Bank in Prepaid Cards Award during the Visa Awards Ceremony 2015
CIC insurance Assistant General Manager Mr. Henry Njarenga, presents the overall winner award to Mr. Rajab Shah during the CIC Insurance golf tournament at thika golf club.
National Bank of kenya team receives Visa Business School Award during the Visa Awards Ceremony 2015 .
CBA team receives Visa Premium Award at the Visa Awards Ceremony 2015.
Etihad Airways General Manager Joan Mwaniki (centre) presents an air ticket to the winner of Kenya Golf Trophy 2015 Kirti Chauhan (left).
Muigai Kamau (left) receives an air ticket from Etihad Airways General Manager Joan Mwaniki (centre) Kamau was 2nd overall in the Kenya Golf Trophy 2015.
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Team from Family Bank Visa Special Recognition Award 2015 at the Visa end of year client event 2015.
Commercial Bank of Africa Team at the Visa end of year client event 2015.
BCD Travel S.G Kaka and Sahra Abdi (Centre), winners of the Top Three sellers of Premium Cabin category with Maurice Phohleli (L) VP, Africa, Sub-Sahara and Indian Ocean and Joa.
From Left; CIC Group Human Resources Manager Ms. Pamela Oyugi and Institute of Human Resource Management ( IHRM) Executive Director Samson Osero discussing an employment manual.
All smiles: KCB team members receive Managing Risk Award at the Visa end of year client event 2015.
Standard Chartered Visa Efficiency Award Visa end of year client event 2015.
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Empowering Students Through Computer Technology In partnership with Google, Intel and USIU-Africa, Tech Republic Africa has taken up the responsibility of demystifying the essence of computer technology to children at a younger age. By Jenny Nyawira
t is a known fact that the tremendous growth of technology is transforming the world. That means, in the future, Information technology will be the backbone of every job. In that view, various organizations are mentoring children in Information Technology, early enough, to enable them become competitive in the global economy. One such organization is Tech Republic Africa. Launched in 2014, the firm is
committed to expand engagement in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) skills and computer science by making them available to students, while boosting participation by women as well as individuals from less privileged backgrounds.
According to Amanda Gicharu, a co-founder of Tech Republic Africa, youth across Africa lack exposure to education in computer science skills early enough to shape their educational performance, life outcomes as well as career preparation to meet the growing demand in the current economy. Amanda also observes that young people in the continent, unlike their counterparts in the west, are exposed to computers at a rather late stage in life. Diaspora experience Arnold Kemoli recollects, while studying in Germany for his Bachelors and Masters degree in Computer Engineering, other students were far ahead of him.
“In Europe and the US, children are introduced into computer technology as early as three years, whereas here in Kenya, it is optional in the curricula and people get engaged when they are around fourteen years old,” says Kemoli.
“Our aim is to demystify computer science and technology to children as early as seven years and ensure that every student has the opportunity to learn such skills. This is the only way Africa can compete at the global level as far as technology is concerned. “ In order to live up to its mandate, the hybrid organization has partnered with the United States International University –Africa, Google and Intel. Amanda, who has previously worked with Google and the United Nations’ development programme, is conscious of the knowledge-gap that exists in Kenya with reference to technological training. “While technology has become a significant part of daily life, and almost every occupation, Tech Republic holds
that computer science and computer programming should be part of the education system’s core curriculum.” Modules
The organization’s programmes are packaged in a variety of modules that appeal to the interests of young learners. They include music and sound, game design, art, social media, fashion and design and storytelling. Other than that, the technology firm also provides modules in business and soft skills encompassing techpreneurship, personal branding, public speaking and general pitching skills.
“Our approach is centered on creativity, collaboration, critical thinking and communication. We are teaching our students to create and grow their own apps and online presence whilst maintaining a strong academic and practical focus,” offers Amanda.
Innovation boot camps In August 2015, Tech Republic Africa held its inaugural innovation camp at the USIU – Africa. The camp brought together 75 young minds representing more than 36 schools, with instructors drawn from Intel and Google. The two companies also established a web based curriculum designed to teach the participants various aspects of computer science and technology with an aim of demystifying the spirit of computer technology.
The five day program consisted of handson computer science exercises, tech talks, breakout sessions, a panel on ICT careers, and hardware demos. The content covered a variety of computer science topics including Game Design, Software & Hardware Programming, Audio/Video, Machine Learning, User Interface and Social Media. Participants watched videos, responded to questions, earned badges and completed quizzes as they stepped towards mastering critical technological skills and professional-level software.
VITAL STATS Players: Amanda Gicharu and Arnold Kemoli
“We also held one-on-one sessions where the camp participants and Tech Republic Africa staff could meet privately and discuss topics of personal interest, such as how to develop a compelling application, how to enter relevant computer science competitions and how to apply for further computer science learning support.”
ESTABLISHED: 2014 Funding: It has partnered with Usiu-Africa, Google and Intel to boost capacity.
The camp’s jam-packed agenda provided upper primary pupils and secondary students aged 12 -19, a great opportunity to build and strengthen their computer science skills.
Business: Tech Republic Africa is a computer technology firm that aims to empower students with the relevant skills in science, technology, engineering and mathematics
‘X’ FACTOR: The Company’s approach is centered on creativity, collaboration, critical thinking and communication, as well the experience and talent of its founders.
The inaugural innovation camp class shall continue to nurture the participants’ computer science skills through various aspects. Plans are also underway for the Tech Republic Africa team to kickstart weekly mentorship programmes to members of STEM clubs at selected schools in Nairobi.
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The Lady With An Eternal Spirit Of Health Promotion Who Is Impacting Lives Her journey towards the top has been phenomenal. She wants to impact more lives through her startup company that provides health and wellness services to improve individual’s health outcomes By Sylvester Okumu
ary Wanjau fell in love with health and wellness at a tender age of 9. She was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis that almost rendered her immobile for life. Three days after undergoing specialized treatment in Nairobi, she began walking. Her joy was insurmountable and hence her passion for health and well-being blossomed that very day. She is now 33 years old and that passion is still unfazed. Ms. Wanjau holds graduate degrees in Nursing, Masters in Project Management and Planning. She is pursuing a PhD in EDGE Magazine
Health at the University of Nairobi, where she is working as a lecturer as part of her PhD studies.
Inspirational journey Her journey towards the top has been inspirational. In 1999, she graduated from high school with top grades and was a pioneer girl of the Equity bank preuniversity mentorship programme. Then a 17 –year- old girl, she was upbeat about career development and professional success. She further enrolled for a Bachelor of Nursing at the University of Nairobi in October 2001. After completing her studies, she was invited back to Equity bank to set up an employee health promotion unit, a position she quickly embraced. “I joined Equity when it was a building society and gradually grew with it. I started the wellness promotion unit with 200 lives which quickly grew to 11,000 by the time I left the bank. Despite its potential, the employee wellness unit was not an
independent department. It was still attached to the human resource department where I was sitting as an assistant,” Ms. Wanjau recalls.
During that time, the need to embrace employee wellness started to grow across the industry, more so among individuals and corporates. Ms. Wanjau realized there was a gap in helping organizations embrace employee wellness. For that reason, she resolved to extend her services to tap on this emerging market segment.
Setting up WanBeat Wellness Center Limited In this view, Ms. Wanjau formed WanBeat Wellness Center in September 2012. The word was coined from her parent’s names ‘Beatrice’ and ‘Wanjau’ in view of their constant devotion to help her live a healthy lifestyle, a dream she had shared with them at the age of 9. According to her, setting up the firm was a challenging but exciting experience. Although she resigned from her job when she had just been offered a promotion, her commitment was to identify societal health needs and help individuals improve their health outcomes through an independent firm.
In addition, she formed the company during an electioneering period-dealing a blow on its operations. It was not until after April 2013 that she secured her first contract with Central Bank of Africa.
How did she succeed in this unchartered path? “I started off alone. However, I had a lot of support from the networks I had established. I got a legal counsel, an ICT expert, an auditor and health providers who gave me invaluable assistance. My family and my close friends were also very supportive. Having been in charge of wellness programme at Equity bank also gave me great insights.” Health and wellness She says that the organization focuses on all areas of health. From social, physical, mental to financial health, the programmes are tailor-made to serve individuals, communities and corporates.
The firm lays emphasis on preventive measures as opposed to curative to combat ill health. “Curative measures should complement preventive services. It is sad to see individuals and corporates spend a lot of money and resources on curative measures which can be largely prevented through early detection and proper management of ailments,” comments Ms. Wanjau. It was a fairly new concept locally. Therefore,
the necessity to come up with a holistic approach that assesses the needs of clients and address them was an obligation. She points out, “We have robust mechanisms that assess the impact of our programmes on clients and establish the return on investment in wellness. Corporates have leading factors that help us identify their needs. We assess their organizational structure, budget, medical scheme, attitude and behavior of employees as well as the type of business to develop relevant interventions.” The firm thereafter comes up with measures such as training, counselling and sustainable arrangements and activities that monitor progress in a person’s behavioural-change journey. These programmes are further designed to help employees understand their health risks and adopt healthy behaviours.
Enhancing people’s productivity The founder says that studies have indicated that there is a direct relationship between individual’s wellness and their productivity. Therefore, corporate wellness strategies should focus on productivity of the organization. The firm has tailor made services to address this. “We assess employee’s health risk using indicators such as blood sugar, blood pressure, cholesterols levels and body mass index. We also look at their behaviours and habits such as smoking, diet, exercise, substance abuse and other lifestyle assessments. These are critical in identifying the areas of need, monitoring the implementation and ultimately assessing the impact.”
In its third year of operation, the firm has tightened the grip in this line of business. Health and wellness has gained recognition prompting the firm to expand its reach. Currently, it has an extended clientele who include financial service providers, health service providers, schools, leading corporates and the government of Kenya among others.
sensitize the public on investment in health. “We are working with the ministry of health to mainstream health promotion in the work place,” she reveals.
Despite the health challenges affecting Kenya, Wanjau is upbeat for a bright outlook. “It is unfortunate that individuals and employers get concerned with their health when there is a crisis. This should change. With the right health awareness, risks can be detected earlier and prevent further damages. Individuals, communities and even employers in the work place have the ability to prevent ill health early and if ailment occurs, embrace the necessary treatment and compliance measures for improved health outcomes. To this end, Ms. Wanjau says that health promotion and awareness should be a collective effort. Each and every stakeholder should embrace healthy lifestyles for improved health.
VITAL STATS PLAYER: Ms. Mary Wanjau, 33
BUSINESS: WanBeat Wellness Center is a health and wellness promotion firm
ESTABLISHED: September 2012
FUNDING: She used her own savings
‘X’ FACTOR: Ms. Wanjau love for healthy living has enabled the business to set new standards for
health promotion in the work place
At the moment, the firm is working with the government and other stakeholders to
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Cytonn Takes The Industry By Storm
The founding team at Cytonn Investments.
The investment firm bets on professionalism and innovation to create value in real estate sectors. By Sylvester Okumu
ne of the most important goals in life is to achieve financial success. Nonetheless, it is a subtle and uphill task. Its footing is grounded on preparation and the relationship that money has with other aspects of one’s life. There is no precise formula of attaining financial success but emphasis is laid on the need to set financial goals and creating action plans of achieving them among other things. However, alternative investments stands out as a key option in helping one transcend this journey. Real estate is coming of age across developing and emerging markets. Young demographics, good infrastructure and robust economic fundamentals have fuelled the rapid growth of real estate sectors in Kenya. As a result, the country
is first emerging as the next economic frontier for global property investors.
The Edge Magazine team met with Edwin Dande, the managing partner & CEO of Cytonn Investments Management Limited at his office to expound on the firm’s collective investment experience. Mr. Dande is an investment professional with over 15 years of experience in diversified financial services experience. He has spent the better part of his career working in private equity, investment banking and management and real estate. In late 2014, he set up Cyton Investments together with his business partners. Cytonn, described by its CEO as a ‘closeknit family of 50 professionals,’ is an investments management firm with
VITAL STATS Players: Edwin Dande and Co. Elizabeth Nkukuu ( Chief Investment Officer & Partner), Patricia Wanjama ( Head of Legal & Partner) Business: Cytonn Investments Management is an investment firm with interests in real estate and private equity Funding: It was mostly from the founders’ savings and embraced partnerships with leading global investors. ‘X’ Factor: The Company’s approach to investors, based on trust and respect, its comprehensive assessment of development projects, and the experience and talents of its leaders. On The Look-Out For: Cytonn has established many personalised relations with investors, and is always open to more. It aims to be the preferred regional partners for global investors.
Finish private equity fund Taaleritehdas Director Antii-Jussi Ahveninen, Finland’s Ambassador to Kenya H.E. Tarja Fernandez and Cytonn Investments CEO Edwin Dande at the Amara groundbreaking ceremony in Karen.
a speciality in real estate and private equities.
Cytonn is client focused. “We know our clients personally and every service is tailored to address their desires. We understand their diverse set of investments objects and we assist them to come up with best investment returns for their needs.” The firm has a number of key investment solutions which are personalised. He further shares, ‘’ Before offering our products to our investors understanding the key pain areas is important for us, and our team of financial advisors will always sit with the client to discuss and agree on the best solution.” While most investments firms in the region focuses on money markets,
bonds and equities, Cytonn has opted for an unorthodox path to specialize in private equity and real estates. Mr. Dande comments that to succeed in this sector, one need to employ professional experience. It is very crucial in winning a client’s trust. Exciting experience Cytonn has turned real estate into an attractive and affordable investment options. Through its investments instruments, one can get access to a range of investment portfolios. It has comprehensive developments in Ruaka, Amara, a gated community in Karen and Situ Village.
“Our products are attractive to both local and international investors. In this view,
we have opened Cytonn Diaspora an office in Washington DC in the US to tap into the international market,” reveals Mr. Dande.
He furthers says the firm values client’s needs. “When an investment opportunity arises, we prioritise our clients. When they are not able to take up the opportunity we acquire it.”
Investment is a practice just like any other profession such as law or medicine. In view of this, Cytonn has invested on improving its human capital. “We train our team to be the best in the industry. For instance, the Cytonn Young Leadership Programme which trains interns and new recruits for the job market.” Furthermore, prior to setting up the firm,
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Despite successfully operating in the region, admits that the industry has its share of problems.
“From the onset, the biggest single most challenge we have faced is to identify fresh and energetic talent who are passionate about investments. It is tasking to get an individual with a knack for success.” This has forced Cytonn to further employ mechanisms that are helpful in identifying the right talent. He adds, “We spent a lot of resources in our last recruitment exercise which took up to six months. Ultimately, professional training can take up to two years.” Family: Cytonn Investments Management team members pose for a group photo. Mr. Dande reveals that the leadership team had worked together for 4 years. Collectively, the team has professional experience that spans over 45 years. He adds that his regional and global experience with firms such as Britam Asset Managers, KPMG and Bank of America/ Merrill Lynch among others gave him great insights into the industry. With his MBA, Finance Major from the Wharton School University of Pennsylvania and Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from Monmouth University, he is upbeat to drive his team towards success. He is also a Certified Public Accountant. The team’s professionalism and its drive for success is unmatched. This has seen it bag major investment deals. For instance, Taarelitehdas of Finland have invested close to Kshs 2 billion in the firm. Overly, it has Ksh 50 billion projects under mandate.
What makes the firm tick? According to the CEO, “If you can be professional, be trusted and deliver, there is exponential room for success. No one has institutionalised real estate in Kenya. No one has built a successful brand. That is why we are stepping to fill the void left. We have the expertise, capital and capacity to deliver credible solutions,” The sector has enormous room for growth, however, the competition is dull. That is why Cytonn has come up with innovative EDGE Magazine
models of marketing the projects prior to development.
Comprehensive real estate development model Statistics indicate that the rate of urbanisation in Kenya far outweighs the available infrastructure. The problems of unreliable water, sewer, road and power exemplify this. To curb this, the Cytonn runs a comprehensive real estate development model. For instance, the firm’s ongoing housing project in Ruaka has backup water and power options. There is also reliable sewer, trusted security as well as welldeveloped roads. In view of strengthening its grip in this line of business, the firm is working on a strategy to come up with mixed development options. Apparently, this model enhances convenience and sense of place as it incorporates different development models into one location. For example, such a project will include a shopping mall, office complex and residential serviced apartments in one location.
Cytonn further looks to diversify operations throughout the East African region. “Investors will enjoy variety as well as better returns in different areas we will be venturing.”
Current trends The recent rise of interest rates has affected the industry- bringing uncertainty. In addition, corruption has made operational costs to skyrocket. The demand for housing units far outweighs the supply which has been attributed to high population growth and urbanisation. Larger percentage of the population still lacks access to reliable housing instruments. Therefore, if an institution is ready to offer reliable residential apartments it will definitely succeed. This is a positive trend for the industry going forward.
“For Cytonn, it is fulfilling that we are creating jobs for Kenyans and promoting economic development. We have employed close to 1000 individuals across our housing projects, and the fact that clients are happy with our solutions, it is satisfying,” avers the CEO. Mr. Dande comments that Kenya should borrow a leaf from Singapore’s success story. “We are building that environment here with Cytonn. Singapore reduced corruption, brought in talents and made it easier to do business. The standards of living and income ultimately grew.”
Future outlook Cytonn picked a good spot from the onset. It has managed to bring global capital into the region. With its exponential potential, the firm is upbeat to be the preferred regional partners for global real estate investors.
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Innovation In Business: A Key Factor For Survival In The 21St Century By Peter Kamande
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.
What is Innovation? Innovation can be regarded as â€˜the means by which the entrepreneur creates new wealth producing resources or endows existing resources with enhanced potential for creating wealthâ€™. 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.
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.
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.
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 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). 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 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 employeesâ€™ 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: email@example.com
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The Changing Landscape Of Content Marketing And Why It Is Crucial To Stay Relevant By Paul Macharia
he approach and technique, by which business enterprises market products and services, are constantly changing. With the emergence of social media tools such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, many firms 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 business enterprises 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 todayâ€™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. However, according to marketing statistics, nearly 40 per cent
Regardless of the industry â€“ 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. of companies are currently using blogs for marketing purposes, and more than 46 per cent of people read blogs more than once per day. Many companies are engaged in content marketing because it is not only easy but also cheaper compared to running television adverts. The company website, 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.
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 business Content marketing confers 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 and can be reached on pmachaa@gmail. com.
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Fuzu Lighting Up The Digital Job Space
Fuzu.com, an IT start-up bets on disruptive technology and growing internet access to change the landscape of recruitment and job search in the region
By Sylvester Okumu
he advancement in information and communication technology has opened up the local internet space to a global audience. Individuals, tech-firms, the government and entrepreneurs have joined cue to tap on these emerging opportunities. Lately, Kenya’s upsurge of internet usage has been phenomenal. Many people can now access the internet via simple devices such as mobile phones, tablets and personal computers among others. Globally, brands like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn have cashed in on the traffic generated by internet users to popularize their brand and grow their businesses. EDGE Magazine
Similarly, Fuzu.com, an online advisory and career management platform that links job seekers to potential employers was launched in Kenya in late September 2015. The firm aims to change the landscape of recruitment and job search services into an inspiring journey. Fuzu is a Swahili verb which means ‘to qualify’ or ‘to excel’.
Users of the platform have an opportunity to showcase their professional profile by developing a digital resume. The system runs an automated algorithm that analyses certain aspects of job seekers such as personality, education qualifications
and job experience. It then looks at the available job opportunities and matches them to applicants.
Fuzu.com is a simplified platform. Individuals can access the websites via simple internet enabled devices such as mobile phones, personal computers, tablets and laptops. It is owned by a group of investors who include Jussi Hinkkanen, CEO of Fuzu, Jussi Impo and Robert Kimani, who was the former CEO of Brighter Monday EA.
Robert Kimani joined Fuzu as the president of business development. Edge Magazine met him at Nairobi Garage where he shared
Although the start-up is a few months old, Kimani argues that it has the highest advanced ranking system in the world. “No other model walks with the jobseekers and employers like we do. Our partnership with Accenture to introduce free online development courses to the applicants exemplifies this.”
“No other model
walks with the jobseekers and employers like we do. Our partnership with Accenture to introduce free online development courses to the applicants exemplifies this.”
Users can access free online learning and self development courses. These short courses include finance, entrepreneurship, leadership and communication among others.
Robert Kimani, business development, Fuzu.
his experiences of the start-up journey and how it has revolutionized the online job hunt in Kenya.
The idea to start Fuzu blossomed in 2010 when Nokia organized a large investment conference in Nairobi. Jussi Hinkkanen, the then Nokia vice president of corporates affairs in Asia, Middle East and Africa launched a job search for an executive driver. “They advertised in the local dailies and got over 1000 applicants. It was tasking to get the right candidate,” he shared.
It was evident that the system used was not effective in getting the right candidate for the job. Back then, had Nokia advertised on Fuzu.com it could have been effective on getting the right candidates. For instance, the automated algorithm could have shortlisted the top 10 candidates and Nokia could have easily selected the qualified candidate. How the system works? The online recruitment portal eases the difficulty experienced in the job search and recruitment processes. Through an automated algorithm, Fuzu.com matches a job applicant to potential employers. This is based on the analysis of their resumes and metric scores.
“Unlike other models which are tasking, Fuzu aids you through the whole process making it an inspiring journey. Our tag line is very simple, let work find you,” pointed out Kimani.
Since it was launched in late September 2015, data indicates that the system has helped human resource managers enhance their recruitment processes by over 50 per cent. “Our business model is unique, it helps you find the relevant candidates much easier,” assures Kimani. Kimani further cites that the platform benefits are priceless. It goes beyond just matching a candidate to a potential employer. As one builds his or her profile online, it ranks him or her to other candidates who have got similar roles within the platform through metric scores. Thus, it guides applicants on how they can polish their resumes to increase the chances of securing a potential job.
Job applicants undergo thorough analysis as the employers have a chance to investigate applicants online. It is the first of its kind in the market to keenly consider experience and talent in linking job seekers to employers. Accordingly, applicants have a chance to access premium services on the platform. For instance, it costs a job seeker Kshs 200 to get feedback for a specific job he/ she applied for. The website further encourages employers to give feedback to applicants so that they can know their fate. In the same way, employers get a freebie for the first vacancy they advertise on the platform. They are further entitled to other packages depending on the range of services they wish to access.
Exciting experience Generally, Kimani comments that it has been an exciting experience since launching the firm in Kenya. The executive who has a wealth of experience in the online recruitment landscape in the region further reveals that many choice employers have found value in the firm’s cost effective hiring solutions. “Employers are now approaching us for our services.” At least over 80 tier-1 employers have subscribed to Fuzu.com with Equity Bank, G4S, KCB, Accenture and Techno Brain leading the pack. The firm also partnered with the Rockefeller Foundation to boost its capacity of employment in the digital space. Fuzu.com has over 30,000 users on its platform with massive followers on its social media pages.
“As a start-up, there are roles we cannot fulfill but we are growing to offer more capacities. We are growing our clientele as the uptake has been phenomenal despite being in operation for a few months.”
A report by the United Nation suggests that the labour force in Kenya far outstrips the number of available opportunities. The report further ranks the Kenya as the leading nation with highest number of informal sector employment in Africa. Fuzu aims to bank on these to grow its usage. The firm projects to be profitable by 2016 and have over 10 million users by the end of 2017. It first launched operations in Kenya because of the countries technological clout and potential for digital growth. It looks to grow into East Africa and replicate its services to the rest of Africa. Fuzu ultimate outlook is to be a global brand. January 2016
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HOW SUPERIOR HOMES IS DRIVING KENYA’S DECENT HOUSING SOLUTIONS
Ian Henderson speaks on how he formed the country’s leading real estate firm and how it has been driving decent housing solutions for Kenyans
he rapid growing middle class and their preference for better lifestyles has driven the demand for decent housing structures in Kenya. This upsurge in population coupled with increased literacy levels and better economic conditions means people are going to demand for more housing structures. Inspired by the need to fill the growing housing gaps and provision of better EDGE Magazine
housing estates, Superior Homes Kenya set up its operation in 2006. “We came into Kenya and analysed the economic conditions. We indentified a growing educated population with increasing disposable incomes and preference for better lifestyles. At the time, very few institutions were servicing their needs. We saw this as a viable opportunity for growth,” shares Ian Henderson, managing director, Superior Homes Kenya.
Rolling its sleeves to begin operation, the firm established a well designed and planned housing structures to be executed in a safe and secure environment. This was done with the vision of creating a sense of sustained families and communities. Two years down the line, the firm has already completed its first housing project in Kenya. In love with Africa Ian says that he has been in Africa since
1980, undertaking construction projects majorly in Uganda, Ethiopia, Mozambique and South Sudan. His experience in Africa, managing African workforce and understanding of the African diverse settings served as an invaluable component in inspiring his housing projects and designs. “Our projects suit the African context because we understand the culture and what Kenyans need”, he shares. Nearly a decade after the inception of his company in Kenya, Ian has no regret for his decision. It has been an exciting experience for him. Just two years after completing the first project, the firm won buyers trust. Ian reveals, “We began selling units after units. Buyers trusted us because of our unique design, quality and affordable housing. They have since enjoyed every other project and our gradual growth can attest to this.”
Biggest housing project So far, Superior Homes has managed to put together one of its biggest housing projects along Mombasa road. He says that creativity, security and affordability are the hearts of the firm’s operation.
For instance, Green Park project that sits on 162 acres of land along Mombasa road has an open plan with over 700 houses and a very low density. The estate is located in a high growth area next to Athi River and with proximity to the proposed standard gauge railway.
Located in a serene environment, the estate is serviced with good social amenities. It has a school, sports facilities such as a tennis court and swimming pool and conferencing facilities. Each housing units within the estate has two sources of water. In addition, the units have an underground water tank that stores rain water. According to Ian, the firm’s housing products mainly targets the middle and upper middle class. Product diversification In view of becoming the leading real estate firm and satisfy the clients’ various needs, the firm is undertaking a leisure development project dubbed Lake
Mr. Henderson, though glad that the industry has a vibrant outlook, is worried that the exorbitant interest rates will affect the affordability of houses.
Buy over long term In order to enhance affordability of their projects, the firm has introduced BOLTbuy over long term. The concept allows buyers to buy the housing units over a long period without straining their resources. BOLT has been rolled in partnerships with banks which finance buyers to own homes. Buyers can then repay the bank over a long period of up to 5 years.
Elementaita Mountain Lodge in Naivasha. The project aspires to settle Kenya’s conferencing and leisure needs. Superior Homes has specialised in residential and leisure property which is in-line with its visions and strategies. Ian explains that they always engage reputable experts- such as architects and surveyors - to ensure that clients get the best out of their projects. Despite enjoying exponential growth, Mr. Henderson admits that setting up operation in the country was challenging. “We were visionary, innovative and skilful in identifying potential development land. Sadly, we did not have enough funds to drive business growth. Financial and development institutions did not believe in us. We had to find ways of utilising the available resources without straining our operations.”
“The outlook of the company is bright. We are optimistic about a gradual growth. There are exciting opportunities in the counties which we would wish to tap on in the long run,” reveals the executive. Ian and his team are upbeat that clients will continue getting the best. Having settled them in better housing facilities, the firm looks forward to strengthening its grip in this line of business.
VITAL STATS Players: Ian Henderson
BUSINESS: Superior Homes is a real estate company which focuses on providing decent housing structures ESTABLISHED: 2006
FUNDING: It started off from the founder’s savings
‘X’ FACTOR: Ian’s genuine passion for Africa and construction has enabled the firm to set up reliable housing apartments
ON THE LOOK-OUT FOR: Superior Homes is optimistic for a gradual growth to continue offering reliable housing solutions to Kenyans
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CPF Financial Services Ltd Bets On Its Rich History And Innovation To Improve Livelihoods Across Kenya Edge Magazine interviewed Hosea Kiili, group managing director, CPF Financial Services to get insights on the firmâ€™s competiveness and its relevance over the years. Here are the excerpts
EM: A brief background of CPF Financial Services Ltd (CPF) and its mandates? HOSEA: The organizationâ€™s history dates back to 1929 when it was a pension secretariat of the Nairobi Municipality Superannuation Fund. We are one of the oldest Pension Scheme Administrators in the country. During this time the
organizationâ€™s original core mandate was in pensions management-serving the former Local Authorities (now County Governments). That market remains through our Defined Benefits Scheme (DB), Defined Contribution Scheme (DC) and a Trust Fund for the DB and DC schemesâ€™ beneficiaries. We now offer a wider variety of financial and other services through the CPF (Individual) Pension Scheme (IPP) and our three subsidiary companies. CPF now offers a wider selection of services to a greater number of people through its subsidiaries including Insurance Brokers offered by Laser Insurance Brokers (LIB), Property management and development under Laser, Infrastructure and Technology Services through LITES. The entire business is now referred fondly as CPF Group. Our main client (DB Scheme) has evolved and consequently rebranded through the years from Nairobi Municipality Superannuation Fund to The Kenya Local Government Officers Superannuation Fund (KLGOSF) in 1963 to Local Authorities Pensions Trust (Laptrust) in 2005. EM: What are CPFâ€™s meaningful innovations that have improved livelihoods?
HOSEA: CPF Group is founded on certain values that are core to the organization and that anchor our business operations; innovativeness is one of these values. Throughout the group entities, we
strive to do things differently by being more efficient, creating better customer experiences, and embracing continuous improvement. All our services therefore have an innovative edge to them.
M Pension is our latest innovation which has changed the face of the pensions sector as it were. M-pension is a mobile based product of the CPF (Individual) Pension Scheme that is accessible to all individuals regardless of their economic activities or status. All economically active Kenyans can therefore subscribe and start saving for their future through this mobile based platform.
Majority of Kenyans cannot afford to retire mainly because they do not have a pension to sustain them. The trend in Kenya and indeed most of Africa is that after retirement, one starts a small businesses that can at least put a meal on their tables for as long as they can; mainly because pension arrangements have for the longest time been exclusive only to those in formal employment, and even then, not all employers accorded employees this benefit.With such innovations like the M-pension, the inability to access a pension product is now a thing of the past. The power to plan for the future has now been transferred from employers to individuals. Kenyans in both the formal and informal sectors have taken advantage of this opportunity and subscribed to M-pension because of its flexibility and efficiency. One year since its launch, M-pension has seen over 10,000 subscribers and that number is rapidly growing. EM: How has M-pension improved lives and livelihoods?
HOSEA: M-pension is a pension product for all. There is no restriction on the basis of age, occupation, gender or any other demographics and this has improved livelihoods by giving them hope for a better future. EM: What informed your decision to introduce M-pension?
HOSEA: Since its Launch in October 2014 the growth of subscribers has been tremendous which goes to show that M-pension is a revolutionary innovation and Kenyans are embracing it.
10,000 subscribers is sure evidence of the wave M-pension is causing across the country.
EM: CPF has been recognized as a leader in the Pension Administration Industry, what strategies have you put in place to maintain this position? HOSEA: At CPF we have core values that guide us; one of them being Innovation. It is the cornerstone of our business. In the highly turbulent modern day business environment, Innovation is key to a competitive advantage. I therefore encourage out of the box thinking here at CPF at all times; and that has definitely yielded results.
The other strategy is putting the customers first. Without our customers we have no business. Being customer focused has been very instrumental in enabling us identify areas of growth and improvement. As an institution, we embrace continuous growth and improvement. EM: What challenges have you faced? Are there any possible interventions?
HOSEA: Like any other business, CPF has faced various challenges over the years. One such challenge is stiff competition from other industry players.
Today very many companies offer financial services in social security and other related services. Innovation therefore remains our major intervention strategies. EM: Any other pertinent issue?
HOSEA: CPF Group will keep providing satisfactory financial and consulting solutions to all clients and aims to do all this in a strategic yet sustainable way that not only brings business to our organization but also fulfills the lives of customers and the community we operate in.
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Taking Leadership To New Heights In Africa Through the Young African Leadership Initiative (YALI), the US is investing in the next generation of African leaders to improve leadership skills and strengthen entrepreneurship in the continent. By Jenny Nyawira
ngagement with young African leaders is a major focus of the United States commitment in Africa. The country has accelerated outreach to young Africans and developed programs to train and support aspiring business and civic leaders.
One such program is the Young African Leadership Initiative (YALI), whose objective is investing in Africaâ€™s next generation of leaders. It is a flagship program of the President of the United States, Barack Obama.
Just recently, the first lot of young African trainees graduated from the YALI East
Africaâ€™s Regional Center located in Kenyatta University. The center was launched by President Obama during the 2015 Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) held in Kenya. The 78 trainees were delighted to celebrate the end of the 12 weeks thorough training in improved leadership skills and
transformational learning. Among them were 28 Kenyans.
The initiative focuses on providing skills, networks and opportunities to young African Leaders. Besides, it is a platform for supporting them to spur their growth and prosperity, strengthen democratic governance, while enhancing peace and security in the continent.
Speaking during the ceremony held at Kenyatta University, YALI’s Regional Director Mark McCord stated that the trainees, who were selected from thirteen countries in East and Central Africa, have been equipped with knowledge to provide leadership solutions to the various problems facing their own communities.“The training programmes are customized according to the needs of African people,” says McCord. According to the Regional Director, the training aims at generating innovative and enterprising individuals, who are capable of engaging their own communities through private and public alliances.
“The result is economic cohesiveness and entrepreneurship among the young African generation.” This is linked with President Obama’s wide-ranging and unprecedented efforts to fuel entrepreneurship and innovation among youths and women. “In Africa, about 60 per cent of the total population is under 35 years, while one in three is between the ages of 10 and 24.” Training programmes YALI was launched by President Obama in 2010 as a signature initiative of investing in the emerging generation of African leaders. This is deemed essential for the success of Africa’s democracies and its economies. Selected participants go through rigorous training programmes, which include civic leadership, public management and business and entrepreneurship. Business and entrepreneurship caters for aspiring and budding entrepreneurs who desire to undertake leadership responsibilities in the private sector or start their own enterprises across the world.
On the other hand, civic leadership targets individuals who wish to serve the public through community based organizations or non-governmental organizations. Lastly, public management is oriented to those who desire to work in the government sector, international and regional organizations.
Throughout the program, participants are required to contribute both individually and in groups to a practical education course through project based development. Through YALI, the US has committed considerable resources to improve leadership skills, strengthen entrepreneurship, while connecting young African leaders with each other. In addition to that, YALI has pooled resources from private and public sectors, as well as nongovernmental organizations to uphold and advance youth leadership opportunities in the continent that support growth.
to new heights in their countries, while bringing about positive change in their own communities.
Fabian Shayo – Tanzania “For the 12 weeks spent at the center, there is no doubt that I have experienced real transformation,’ says Fabian Shayo, a participant from Tanzania. As a co-founder of the Youth Alive Africa, Shayo believes that he is now better placed to use the skills gained at YALI, not only to transform his community, but Africa at large. Youth Alive Africa focuses on empowering youths with leadership and entrepreneurship skills across the continent. According to Shayo, the teaching methodology was excellent. “Program facilitators taught through real life experiences experienced in Africa.”
The YALI Regional Leadership Center- East Africa ,serves fourteen countries in East and Central Africa. They include Kenya, Burundi, Tanzania, Uganda, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Rwanda, South Sudan, Somalia, Sudan, Djibouti, Democratic Republic of Congo and Central African Republic. The center is designed to build capacity among the young generation to take more responsible leadership roles. It has partnered with Kenyatta University, the MasterCard Foundation, United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Deloitte among other organizations in the private sector. Apart from Kenya, other YALI centers are situated in South Africa, Ghana and Senegal.
The YALI Regional Leadership Center is among the three models designed to empower young leaders. Others include the YALI Network and the YALI Mandela Washington Fellowship.
Participants’ commitments At the end of the YALI training in Kenya, all participants vowed to take leadership
Shayo, who has a passion for agriculture says that once back in his country, he will be committed to empower young people who aspire to take part in the field. Going forward, he desires to start a fish farming project in Tanzania and he is optimistic that it will become a large and lucrative venture within one year.
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Sabina – Ethiopia “YALI has transformed me tremendously. Who I was before joining the initiative and who I am now are two different people,” opens Sabina, an Ethiopian participant. “In five years time, I know what I want to become, challenges that may arise on the way and how I can address them,” she adds. The jovial participant says that by interacting with the participants who were selected from various cultural backgrounds, she realized that Africa has a future. “We can make Africa a land of milk and honey. Together, we can contribute to the transformation of our continent.”
Elsa Araya – Eritrea Elsa Araya, a participant from Eritrea, holds a Bachelor degree in Nursing. She is currently pursuing her master’s degree and expecting to graduate in June 2016. “Combined with the knowledge I have gained from YALI, this will play a major role in my campaign towards improving women and children’s health in Eritrea. This is particularly on matters of child birth where I will advocate for safe delivery.” Like some other countries across Africa, Eritrea is very conservative. “That is why I will also address the cultural beliefs and norms affecting the country and stand up for women and children who are greatly affected by the problem.
Currently working in a government hospital in Eritrea, Araya hopes to secure a job in a non-governmental organization that advocate for disabled children. “This is my long-term commitment; to help disabled children in my country who are socially excluded due to the strong cultural ideologies. I will work diligently to raise public awareness about disabilities and offer information on how to provide necessary care to those afflicted.”
Currently a student at Addis Ababa University pursuing a degree in law, Sabina’s commitment is to transform the education sector in Ethiopia. This will involve changing the current public University education policy to a free education system. While admission
and attendance to such universities is principally free, students must pay back after graduation when in employment. The institutions usually retain students’ academic certificates until they complete repayment, making it had to secure a job or proceed to master’s degree. Additionally, Sabina is committed to help visually impaired students in her country. “In Ethiopia, being a blind person causes daily hardships. Visually impaired students mainly come from disadvantaged backgrounds and suffer from lack of educational support, such as lack of Braille and audio study materials.” To address this, Sabina says she will join the YALI Mandela Washington Fellowship that advocates for movable libraries and work with the US embassy in Ethiopia. “My long-term goal for this project is to lure government support, which would help in improving infrastructure and employing competent people to assist visually disabled students throughout Ethiopia,” she concludes.
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Kevin Kibiego (second left), marketing manager, Cheki EA with colleagues during the Cheki car bazaar at Carnivore Grounds.
Leading Vehicle Listing Website Transforms Car Buying Experience In Kenya
Cheki.co.ke is an online marketplace where major car dealers, importers and private sellers post their cars for sale
heki.co.ke is the leading motor vehicle website with more car buyers and sellers than any other site in Kenya. “It is an online marketplace where top dealers, importers and private sellers post their vehicles for sale in the country,” observes Kevin Kibiego, Cheki’s marketing manager. The online company provides a state of the art advertising medium for Kenyans to sell and buy cars, vans, trucks and bikes among other automobiles. It also provides a one EDGE Magazine
stop destination for all buyers of Japanese import cars to Kenya, by centrally hosting cars from leading Japanese dealers and importers. Established in 2010, Cheki.co.ke is a division of Cheki Africa Media which operates and invests in leading marketplace websites in several East and West African countries. It offers a safe and secure online platform for car sellers and buyers to interact and purchase their
vehicles at no additional cost. Besides, Cheki provides other resources including car insurance and financing, price guide information and motor vehicle loans to help potential buyers find their dream vehicle. “Shopping for cars tends to be a difficult process due to lack of authoritative resource,” affirms Kibiego. Therefore, the need to set up Cheki originated from the desire to create a marketplace for buyers
and sellers while enhancing convenience within the market by providing a host of information for users. Additionally, the online company wanted to make shopping for cars simple and transparent.
Competitive advantage In the aggressive business world, especially in today’s economy, every advantage counts to establish a business in the top of the industry. To this end, Cheki has created an edge over its competitors. “Key to success has been the trust of the brand as the key selling point,” affirms the marketing manager. The company provides comprehensive information therefore, buyers know what to expect before meeting a potential seller. Issues of security have been effectively dealt with. Cheki has a strong account management team responsible for verifying details provided by the dealers and private car sellers including the model, mileage, price, and if it is a new or used car. In some cases, the company’s team is responsible for photographing and uploading photos on the website. This facilitates the verification process ensuring that what customers see on the website is similar to what they expect to see on the ground. Kibiego observes that Cheki provides a wide array of safety tips to individual car buyers to enhance safety.
The provision of a price guide helps potential buyers to know and compare the current market rates of automobiles in any region.
Most remarkably, Cheki has partnered with a number of leading loan and asset finance providers, making financing much easier. With access to multiple banks and finance companies including CFC Stanbic, CIC and Family bank, buyers will easily find the best deal at the lowest possible interest rates. “Financing is up to 90% value of the vehicle but varies from one bank to the other,” avers Kibiego. The applicant would have to put up the difference as a deposit. Growing by leaps and bounds Since establishment, Cheki has grown rapidly and has attracted major dealers within the market who have come to showcase their inventory on the website.
Key achievement is the interaction between car sellers and buyers. The online company currently connects over 20,000 buyers and sellers every month, making the car buying process simple and convenient.
It acted as a touch point between Cheki and its customers, besides offering an opportunity to do additional market research by understanding the trends within the market from dealers, suppliers and partners.
The online company has two revenue streams. Private sellers, who lack a physical location to showcase their cars, are charged Kshs. 870 to post them online. On the other hand, there is a flat monthly fee for dealers who have an inventory of more than 50 vehicles. Some dealers such as Smart Autos and General Motors have a custom domain on the portal allowing for individual branding.
According to Kibiego, the event aimed at educating customers and exposing them to a range of car purchasing options alongside information that would enable them to make great decisions in regard to selling, purchasing and maintaining cars because this is what Cheki is all about.
According to Kibiego, Cheki’s success in the Kenyan market informed the need to replicate the same in ten other countries across Africa including Nigeria, Ghana, Uganda and Tanzania among others.
Cheki.co.ke goes offline Powered by trust and good online reputation, cheki.co.ke hosted a car bazaar at the Carnivore Grounds on July 2015 dubbed Cheki Sato. The online company extended its value offering by organizing a face to face meet up with an aim of connecting buyers and sellers and educating them about the motor industry.
VITAL STATS PLAYERS: Cheki Africa Media
BUSINESS: Cheki is an interactive motor vehicle website which connects buyers to sellers ESTABLISHED: 2010
‘X’ FACTOR: The trust the brand has created is a key selling point ON THE LOOK-OUT FOR: Cheki is optimistic to sustain its market leadership and enhance brand awareness
Participants had the opportunity to get professional advice on buying, selling, financing and maintenance of vehicles from Auto experts as well as other event sponsors.
“Between 1500 and 2000 people attended the event,” says Kibiego. Moreover, there were 11 partners including Shell, Kingsway Tyres and CFC Stanbic who provided significant value and expressed their total satisfaction.
Cheki Sato provided a good platform where users who were not familiar with the Company’s brand expressed their interest as they saw the value of doing their car shopping online. The event brought on board about 1,000 vehicles that were carefully selected and vetted through Cheki’s curated price guide, which determines the market rate for any car make and model within the Kenyan market. This ensured only the best quality at market competitive prices was showcased. Customers enjoyed a pleasant, seamless car buying experience at Cheki Sato, just as they do on Cheki.co.ke. What the future holds The online company focuses on updating its website to include additional resources and toolkits for car buyers and sellers, making it easy to find a car on the portal. It also focuses on maintaining market leadership. This will be achieved by creating brand awareness and incorporating a wide variety of marketing strategies, as well as providing options for high-end car users.
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ACHIEVING UNIVERSAL HEALTHCARE WITH LOW EXPENDITURE To many, out-of-pocket payments to access healthcare prevents them from seeking and receiving the needed services as many do not have enough resources. Some opt for alternative methods of accessing treatment such as traditional doctors while others die helplessly as the cost of health services is skyrocketting on a daily basis. Many countries are now working on ways to offer its population universal coverage of health services but one of the main questions facing these countries is how their financing system can maintain this. Universal healthcare or coverage means everyone is covered for basic healthcare services, and no one is denied care as long as they are legal residents of a country.
While it takes years to achieve universal coverage, many countries are striving towards this goal. According to World Health Organization, Singapore is generally acknowledged as having one of the most successful healthcare systems in the world, in terms of both efficiency in financing and the results achieved in community health outcomes. The key to Singaporeâ€™s success in offering universal coverage to its citizens is the emphasis on the individual to assume responsibility towards their own health. The use of compulsory deductions has also helped significantly in private funding for hospital expenses. According to Singapore Ministry of Health, the government has EDGE Magazine
also ensured that overall health expenditure does not fall victim to the inflationary pressures by regulating the supply and prices of healthcare services.
It is however important to note that while Singapore is tops in universal coverage, their system runs concurrently with development of the country which is politically stable and the fact that it has a small population. It might not be as easy for other larger countries but definitely achievable. Kenya has also made strides with their system. The National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) is the primary provider of health insurance in Kenya with a mandate to enable all Kenyans access quality and affordable health services. It offers a family based health insurance cover which is available to the contributor, spouse and children regardless of whether they are in the formal or informal sector.
Like Singapore, Kenyaâ€™s system has been running concurrently with the development of the country allowing successive governments to introduce consistent measures relating to individual responsibility, compulsory savings and regulatory control of healthcare services and costs.
Indeed NHIF has continuously improved its cover since its inception over 40 years ago. The NHIF health cover has been expanded to allow as many Kenyans as possible to benefit and has been achieved by opening
membership to informal sector, with no age limit and no discrimination based on ailment.
However, while there has been increased awareness of importance of being insured against unforeseen situations like sickness in the country, there is still a gap in a large percentage of the population, especially the poor, vulnerable and pastoral communities who cannot access quality healthcare. Hence the increased emphasis in the capturing of the informal sector membership by NHIF as it strives to reach out to all these groups. Kenyaâ€™s NHIF covers dependents of the member automatically including spouse, children under the age of 18, students (even if over the age of 18 as long there is proof that they are attending school/ college or are disabled and are dependent on their parents for support. Other adult
Corporation (IFC), there is need to revise the rates to go hand in hand with the ever increasing cost of living. The proposed changes will also see other sectors of the government, non-governmental organizations and other well-wishers able to purchase NHIF cover for indigents.
Once the rates are increased, NHIF plans to introduce outpatient care. However, the proposed changes are currently under judicial review and have not yet been implemented.
NHIF membersâ€™ benefits package includes comprehensive inpatient cover and maternity cases. NHIF has put hospitals under: Category A which mainly includes government hospitals where members enjoy a full comprehensive cover including surgery. Category B includes non-profit private hospitals, faith-based hospitals, and private hospitals in rural areas or areas not adequately served by the public sector where members enjoy comprehensive benefits but in the case of surgery, the contributor may be required to chip in. Category C includes higher cost private hospitals where NHIF provides a rebate per day of hospitalization. family members require separate premium contributions to be covered.
NHIF requires compulsory membership for all salaried employees with contributions automatically being deducted through payroll. These contributions are remitted by the employer on a graduated scale based on their gross income. The self- employed members and retirees contribute a standard amount of Kshs. 160 per month. NHIF has about 2 million contributors spread across 41,000 employers. Together with their dependants makes more than 10 million people who the Fund takes care of. Although a new proposed increase in premiums gazetted in June 2010 was met with bottlenecks, plans are still underway to revise the rates which have been in existence for at least the last two decades. According to a study conducted by PriceWaterHouse Coopers (PWC) and International Finance
NHIF works with a wide network of over 600 accredited government, private and faith-based health providers spread across the country and repays hospital claims as per agreed contracts. Contract A and B providers are reimbursed through feefor-service provider payments. Contract C providers are reimbursed through a rebate system. Claims are submitted to the Fund by the hospitals or in some cases contributors after members have been discharged from the hospital. NHIF has computerized the claims processes and strives to pay within 14 days upon receipt of the claim. The organization has managed to stay on top partly due to visionary Board of management. The representative board comprise of persons from diverse specializations who therefore enrich the vision of the Board. Such stakeholders represented include the Ministries of Medical Services, Treasury and the Directorate of Personnel Management, Kenya Medical Association (KMA), Christian Health Association of
Kenya (CHAK), Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT), Central Organization of Trade Unions (COTU), Federation of Kenya Employers (FKE), Non-governmental Organizations (NGO) and KNFU.
To enhance service delivery, NHIF has also put in place an efficient system of member identification in form of electronic photo cards which are designed to solve key concerns such as contribution compliance, identification and surveillance. NHIF has now embarked on a hospital connectivity exercise where most of its over 600 accredited hospitals are being equipped with a magnetic card reader. Linked hospitals can now connected directly to the NHIF database and access online information on the status of contributions and confirm the memberâ€™s declared dependents.
NHIF has a well-organized branch network spread across the countryâ€™s major towns and smaller offices in national, provincial and district hospitals. The branch offices are connected to the headquarters in Nairobi for effective and efficient service delivery to the customers. Further to improving on quality service to its members, the NHIF has already attained ISO 9001:2000 certification which will enable the organization to improve its responsiveness to customer requirements by putting in place Quality Management Systems (QMS). NHIF is certified in Occupational Health and Safety OHSAS 18001:2007 to ensure its premises meet the safety requirements for staff and customers alike. The organization was recently ranked second best nationally in the government performance evaluation for state corporations. This is a major achievement for NHIF as it is evidence of compliance with the government reforms introduced through performance contracts efficiency.
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Did Not Tell You About Rwanda By Oroni Tendera
Is Rwandaâ€™s story summarized in one simple phrase, the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi? If your answer is yes, kindly fasten your seat belt and cruise with me in a minute-ride of enlightenment January 2016
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TRAVEL & LEISURE
Rwanda is the best African country to be born a girl. Women rule Rwanda. More than 60% of legislators are ladies. Moreover, Violence against women , early pregnancies and marriages are part of the past. The age of consent is 21 years, polygamy is illegal and wife battering has always been neutralised with heavy penalties. There is only one indigenous language in Rwanda, Kinyarwanda, a Bantu language that is mutually intelligible with Kirundi. It is the national language and an official language, along with English.
Next time you may consider referring to this point before asking a Rwandan if S/He speaks Kitutsi or Kihutu.
Rwanda is one of the worldâ€™s cleanest countries. At Kigali International airport and all border posts, police officers pounce on bags of new International arrivals, not in search of hand grenades or hard drugs, but polythene bags. Use of polythene bags in Rwanda is illegal and plans are underway to ban plastics. Away from the airport and border posts; spotlessly clean roads, streets , open air markets and bus parks will embrace and probably impress you. EDGE Magazine
Rwanda sits on hills. Driving through Rwanda from Byumba in the North to Nyamagabe in the South will prove to you that indeed you are in a country of a thousand hills. You will snake around green hills. Like in a roller-coaster, the feeling will be pleasantly sickening. Get ready to puke if you wonâ€™t withstand the sharp turns and twists.
The largest mountain rainforest in Africa is found in Rwanda. Described as the best preserved mountain rain forest in Central Africa, Nyungwe Forest National Park covers an area of approximately 940 KM2s and stands elegantly at an altitude of 1600-2950 meters above the sea level.
Nyungwe’s biosphere is unique and diverse. It is home to 280 species of birds(25 of which are endemic) and 13 species of primates including endangered species of monkey(the owl faced and the golden monkey). An average of about 2000mm of rainfall is received yearly. Rain that falls on the eastern side of the forest, flows into the great River Nile while on the west feeds the Congo River.
Rich in art and culture Art and culture have always been the heartbeat of Rwanda since time immemorial. Traditional songs and dances, Contemporary Rap, Reggae, Spoken word, Hip-hop and Rumba give life to the rather interesting Rwandan entertainment sphere. Live performances of both traditional and contemporary music have become trendy in respected Rwandan night clubs Spoken word Rwanda, on the other hand, organizes and facilitates a monthly event of poetry in Kigali. Poets and lovers of the
spoken word get a unique opportunity to develop and devour art.
Rwanda’s art scene is not confined to music, dances and poetry. Handicrafts including Imigogo cow dung paintings, Agaseke basket, ceramics and wood carvings can be spotted almost everywhere in the country. Lake Kivu, one of the three lakes in the world with large concentration of Carbon dioxide dissolved in them, is found in Rwanda. The other two lakes are found in Cameroon. Beautiful Kivu beaches and calm soothing water at Rubavu in western Rwanda are sights to behold for any adventurous holiday maker. Rwanda is more secure than many first world countries. Car-jackings, muggings, cases of robbery with violence and terrorist attacks are extinct vices in Rwanda.
You can walk anywhere any time in the country of a thousand hills without worrying about your safety. Zero tolerance to corruption Unlike her sister countries in Africa, corruption is not entertained in Rwanda. Cases of corruption are accorded the seriousness that they deserve and anyone found guilty gets a free ticket to prison.
Home of Mountain Gorillas. Rwanda’s story is incomplete without mentioning gorillas. There are only 900 Mountain gorillas on earth, distributed in three African countries: Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda. Virunga volcanoes that straddles the borders of the three countries is home to half of the world’s gorilla population. (The rest are in Uganda at Bwindi Forest) Volcano national park, part of the great Virunga, in Musanze district of Northern Rwanda, is inhabited by ten troops of gorrilas. January 2016
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ART OF WRITING THE
A short personal essay on writing by Oroni Tendera. He vividly describes what he goes through as a writer before penning down a creative article
t’s three am. The silence in my traditionally noisy neighborhood is unusually deafening. Harsh fluorescent light overhead glare at my paper, pen and I. A bone freezing breeze is blowing furiously into my crib, thanks to the lone open window. For that reason, my thin hairy legs are partially parted-back arched forward-face elongated. “I have been waiting for inspiration to strike for the past thirty minutes. What am
I supposed to write?” I wonder. “Write anything literary, you will literally start from there,” I muse.
My cold fingers clasp around my pen. I hold the pen tightly upon the paper, trembling. “I shall write an absurd drama. Like the theatre of the absurd, life is a repetition of empty clichés and mysteries. No, life is no mystery. I shall write a tragedy. Like a tragedy, life is a journey whose final destiny is darkness. No, writing a tragedy is a heroic but horrific experience. I have to write a high comedy. No, our society is too lazy to
unearth humour in a high comedy. What of penning a poem? A sonnet that blends Shakespearean and Italian structures? No, that sounds too scholarly.
I tilt my pen. My head snaps with a click. I feel a sharp pain crawl down my spine. My pen jumps out of my hand. I slump deeper into my seat. “I want to write right now,” I cry. The whole of my body is immobile. My neck is stiff. My eyes are pulsating with pain. My lower and upper teeth have become inseparable. My hanging lips have
not because I must write. Writing because I have something to write that I must write. Therefore, I am writing. By the way, I am not writing a play, poem, short story, flash fiction, novel or novella.
This is my own writing - flowing freely from my heart, head, hand and finally falling on paper. As I write, my right hand becomes light. My head is jerked from the headrest to an upright position. My biceps contract and relax involuntarily. I feel fresh warm air fill my lungs. Renewed energy entangles my body. I write, write and write. Will I write forever? As I write, I read what I am writing. As I read what I am writing, I see my fears on paper - I shudder. As I read what I am writing, I smell my fungi infected
foot - I laugh at my ignorance. As I read what I am writing, I perceive my pride as well as shame - I fidget. Nonetheless, my pen dances nonstop to the rhythm of write-read. My eyes, running through my writing, are seeing slanting characters. My cocked ears, are listening to the sound of pen waltzing on paper. My sweaty vibrating nose, smells fresh ink on paper. The tip of my thumb, index finger and middle finger, feel the hard pen as the honed edge of my palm caresses the crispy paper. My pen stops spitting ink. “What the hell!” I curse. “It is running short of ink,” I realize. “Where is another pen? I shall write to my grave,” I scream. “Where is another pen? I shall write to my grave,” I hear the echo of my voice immortalized on paper
grabbed each other like copulating couples. I cannot stick out my long tongue. I can’t think. I can’t see. I can’t feel. I can’t smell. Am I slipping into a comma? VROOM! Traffic is rekindling outside. “I must write before it is too late,” I mutter. I struggle to lift my head. It falls back to the headrest. I manage to lift my right hand, albeit painfully. I get hold of the pen. My hands are shaking. My head is still on the headrest. “I shall write my own writing,” I groan. My pen slides on paper. Little by little - a letter is written, a word is woven, a sentence is structured and a paragraph is crafted. I do not know how this writing will end or climax. I am just writing. Writing
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Hujambo? This is Adelle in East Africa By Oroni Tendera
ello, East and Central Africans, Adelle’s hit song , ‘Hello’, Swahili rendition is officially out, thanks to Kenyan pop singer, Dela. A creative clown of Adelle, she retained its original theme, tone, mood, strong vocal and instrumentals in the translated lyrics. From the beginning to the end, Dela’s fruity voice, fresh and fleshy, rolls smoothly to the orchestral strings and piano chords. As the song spirals slowly, the mood and tonal impact become apparent. It sinks into the deepest part of the listener’s heart, grabs forgotten but living memories, grants them tight bear hugs before waltzing with them this way and that way. Both the fragile hearted and stone hearted listeners will find themselves reminiscing people they have never met, as their memories meet Adelle’s. Adelle’s ‘Hello’, is the fastest selling single of 2015. The internet was interrupted on 23rd October, upon its release by XL Recordings as the lead single in her third album, 25. The music video hit a record of over 27 million views on YouTube within 24 hours span and moving forth to set a new record for shortest time to attain 100 million Vevo views, previously held by Milley Cyrus. Reinforced upon the foundation of a deadly diction, ‘Hello’ lyrics tackle the theme of Nostalgia boldly and remorsefully. ‘’Hello, it’s me/ I was wondering, If all these years/ you’d like to meet me…/At least I can say that I’ve tried/ To tell you I’m sorry for breaking your heart..’ ‘Hello’ (whether in Swahili or English) is a must listen and re-listen for any human with a heart.
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Edge is Kenya's premier business and lifestyle magazine specifically for business leaders, management executives, entrepreneurs and young an...
Published on Jan 22, 2016
Edge is Kenya's premier business and lifestyle magazine specifically for business leaders, management executives, entrepreneurs and young an...