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MAY/JUNE - 2014



Contents 05.



03. News Energy Management Awards 2014..................03 KenGen to add 840MW power by 2016.........06 Fiber for counties............................................10 Google releases android wearable technology..11 IEK Launches Women Engineer Chapter.............13

14. Features New & Old Technology for payment card...........14 Building a National Schools Network.................16 Manufacturing Sector........................................21 Telecommunication Infrastructure Sharing........37 Construction Sector..........................................39

41. IEK IEK holds its monthly luncheon.......................41

44. ESA ESA’s year that was..........................................44


A Definitive Publication of Engineers in East Africa & Beyond, since 1972

MAY/JUNE 2014 Editorial Board: M Kashorda - Chairperson N O Booker - Secretary J Mutulili F W Ngokonyo J N Kariuki A Muhalia A W Otsieno S K Kibe M Majiwa

Managing Editor Kevin Achola Associate Editor Ayanna Yonemura Editorial Assistant Mercy Nduati Peninah Njakwe Design & Layout Daniel Wakaba Ndung’u Sales & Marketing Joy Thuo Joyce Ndamaiyu Phylis Muthoni Teresa Atieno Published by:

P O Box 45754-00100 Nairobi Tel: +254 20 4443649/50/72 Cell: +254 719 207 712 Fax: +254 20 4443650 Email: Kenya Engineer Magazine


Correspondence should be addressed to the publisher. Kenya Engineer is published every two months. Views expressed in this Journal are those of the writers and do not necessarily reflect those of the Institution.

Editor’s Note


his issue of the Kenya Engineer Magazine features articles focusing on Information and Communications Technology (ICT) developments. The articles highlight some of the lesser known but very important mobile and Internet engineering developments which have been responsible for high Mobile and Internet penetration in Kenya.

In November 2013, McKinsey Global Institute released a report titled “Lions Go Digital: the Internet’s Transformative Potential in Africa”. This report provided the first estimate of the Internet’s contribution to the GDP’s of African countries. The estimate is 1.1% compared to 3.7% for the developed economies. The report further identified Senegal and Kenya as the two leaders in Africa with contributions of 3.3% and 2.9% respectively. The report based these estimates on 2012 data which did not take into account Kenya’s National Broadband Strategy of 2013. Kenya continues to be ambitious and, at the Connected Kenya 2014 Conference in April 2014, launched the revised Kenya ICT Master Plan 2017. In his article titled “Telecommunication passive infrastructure sharing” Allan Muhalia of Safaricom LTD. explains how, over the last 5 years Kenyan telecommunications operators have been sharing capital-intensive passive telecommunications infrastructures in order to achieve rapid expansion and coverage. The emerging specialized field of Internet Engineering requires new measurement tools for monitoring the quality of broadband Internet. In “Internet Measurements,” Kennedy Aseda, a network engineer at KENET, describes how Kenyan Internet operators and Global Internet companies like Google and Akamai used the Nairobi measurement lab node to measure the health of broadband Internet in Kenya and Africa in general. The industry ICT regulator could also use these tools to collect data for monitoring the implementation of the Broadband Strategy. Meoli Kashorda, in the article titled “The Nairobi Schools’ Fiber Connectivity Pilot Project,” describes the Nairobi County Governor’s project that was launched by Governor Kidero on March 4, 2014. The project aims to provide broadband Internet connectivity to 245 schools in West of Nairobi by June 2014. This project is also a CSR initiative of the fiber network operator Wananchi LTD. and will provide the fiber connectivity to schools in collaboration with KENET. KENET will operate the schools’ Internet services and provide a safe and secure educational portal. The July/August issue of Kenya Engineer will feature articles on Engineering Education. We especially invite engineers from industry who want to see changes in engineering education in Kenya to send in feature articles by June 6th 2014. We also invite feedback from you using our twitter, Facebook or simply e-mail to Let us know how we could improve the Kenya Engineer journal. M. Kashorda, PhD, MIEEE, MIET Chairman Editorial Board Next issue will be out by 1st July, 2014 Copyright © 2014: Reproduction of any article in part or in full is strictly prohibited without written permission from the Intercontinental Publishers Ltd. Disclaimer: To our readers, verify all the advertised courses with Engineers Board of Kenya. KENYA ENGINEER - May/June 2014



Kenyan Companies Save Ksh 10 Billion Through Efficient Use of Energy


riday the 4th of April 2014 saw the Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) hold their 10th Energy Management Awards Gala night at Nairobi’s Hotel Intercontinental. Bidco Oil Ltd emerged the 2014 overall winner with Sarova White Sands Hotel emerging winner under the best service sector award. Under the Green Building award, Catholic University of Eastern Africa was the best. University of Nairobi, crowned the Green architect, department of architectural and building of the year award. Energy Management Awards Gala Night is an annual event that is organised by KAM and seeks to recognize companies that have demonstrated energy reduction initiatives in their daily operations.Speakers at this year’s gala night emphasized on the efficient use of energy in reducing the cost of production and improving the competitive edge of Kenyan goods in the regional and global market. Speaking at the event Petroleum and Energy Cabinet Secretary, Davis Chirchir, noted that efficient usage of energy would make Kenya an investors’ destination. Chirchir reiterated the government’s commitment to generate additional 5000 megawatts and eventually cutting down the cost of energy from the current 20 US cents to 9 US cents per kilowatts hour. Chirchir also noted that though there had been significant rise in demand for energy usage in the country, there had been no parallel growth in generation hence the need to use what is available efficiently. “The Centre for Energy Efficiency Conservation (CEEC) at KAM is a product of the ministry created to spearhead efforts to save energy in the country. We want to optimise energy use in the country by auditing its usage and CEEC seeks to promote the resource’s efficient utilisation,” said Chirchir. In her address, KAM CEO Betty Maina said that between 2004 and 2014, companies that participated in an energy audit exercise,


KENYA ENGINEER - May/June 2014

Delegates follow proceedings during the EMA’s Gala Night 2014 at Intercontinental Hotel

initiated by the Kenya Association of Manufacturers saved about Sh10 billion. She however decried that the shortage of qualified energy audit managers might hold back efforts to promote efficiency energy in the country. While speaking at the same event, Acting Energy Regulatory Commission Director General Fredrick Nyang’ noted that this year alone, companies that observe efficient energy usage had so far saved about Sh164 million.

“The Centre for Energy Efficiency Conservation (CEEC) at KAM is a product of the ministry created to spearhead efforts to save energy in the country. We want to optimise energy use in the country by auditing its usage and CEEC seeks to promote the resource’s efficient utilisation..” Davis Chrichir Cabinet Secretary, Enerqy and Petroleum

List of Winners 1. Electricity Savings Award Gathuthi Tea Factory 2. Service Sector Award - Sarova Whitesands 3. Green Building - Catholic University of East Africa 4. Green Architect Recognition - University of Nairobi Dept. Of Architecture and Building Science 5. Best Energy Management Team - Sarova White sands 6. Best New Entrant - Wire Products 7. Sustained High Perfomance Bidco Oil Limited 8. EMA Silver Honours - Spin Knit Limited 9. EMA Golden Honours KenAfric Limited 10. Overall Winner - Bidco Oil Limited The Kenya Engineer editorial team wishes to congratulate not just the winners but all the nominees for a year of, unwavering commitment to conserving energy and reducing their respective companies carbon foot print in an effort to keep Kenya green.


Government Calls for Coal Expression of Interest


ollowing the discovery of over 400 metric tonnes of coal in Mui Basin and Kitui, the government via the Ministry of Energy, has called for an Expression of Interest for the “development of one 900-1000MW coal power plant by private investors.” “The Ministry of Energy and Petroleum now invites private investors with experience in coal fired power plants to express interest in developing the power plant and sell power to KPLC,” said the Ministry of Energy in a statement. In the country’s 5,000MW energy plan for 2016, coal plays a major

Kenya’s power demand projected to reach 15,000MW by year 2030

role with an expected 1,920MW of energy to come from this natural resource. The government seeks to have two new coal power generation plants constructed, one near Mui Basin in Kitui County and another one in Lamu. The plants will each have a production capacity of between 9001000MW.The Lamu plant will however use imported coal in the preliminary stages. “The tender for the Lamu coal plant which will initially use imported coal is already underway, with ten firms having been prequalified,” points the Ministry of Energy in a statement.The Kitui power plant is

scheduled for completion by December 2016 and will coal newly discovered in Mui Basin. The feasibility study for a Kitui (Mui)-Nairobi East 400kV transmission line that will see power evacuated from the plant is underway. The investor for the plant will among other things be required to finance, design, construct, own, maintain and operate the power plant. Power generated from the plant will be sold to Kenya Power under a long term Power Purchase Agreements (PPA) framework.

Nuclear Energy Plant by 2025


enya is expected to become the next producer of nuclear energy if it passes a thorough test by the International Atomic Energy Agency. The government planns to have a nuclear reactor built between 2022 and 2025 to increase the country’s energy capacity as the energy needs are growing by more than 10 times the current installed capacity of 1,700MW. The plant, with a planned capacity of

1,000MW will either be located at the Coastal region or near Lake Victoria due to large volumes of water needed to operate it. The government estimates the plant to cost about Ksh 301 billion. The plant will see the cost of electricity going down and attracting more investors into the country. This project will also improve the economy by dealing with the issue of unemployment and underemployment as job opportunities will be created.

KENYA ENGINEER - May/ June 2014



ERC Drafts Rules for Electrical Appliances

AFD Grants Kenya 239 Million for Renewable Energy


anufacturers, importers and distributors of electrical appliances will soon be required to get clearance from the Energy Regulatory Commission to sell their merchandis. Failure to comply might mean heavy penalties of up to Sh1 million for non-recall of revoked appliances and Sh100,000 for sale of appliances not meeting the energy performance criteria. ERC’s acting director general, Fred Nyang’, has published draft regulations on appliances’ energy performance and labelling for public comments. The regulations affect manufacture, importation and distribution of self-ballasted and double-capped fluorescent lamps, ballasts for fluorescent lamps, refrigerating appliances, non-ducted air conditioners and three-phase cage induction motors. Those involved in this business will be required to have a sample of the appliance tested by an accredited laboratory and be registered by the ERC. Registration will cost Sh3,000 for selfballasted and double-capped fluorescent tubes, Sh5,000 for refrigerators and Sh10,000 for non-ducted air conditioners and three-phase cage induction motors. Registered appliances will get ERC labels. “A person whose appliance is registered,


KENYA ENGINEER - May/June 2014

fails to submit data to the commission on a yearly basis within six months after end of calendar year shall pay a fine of Sh100,000 for each year or part thereof that the data is not submitted,” the proposed regulations read. According to the ERC, “(Those) who fail to comply with 9(4) -- recalling from the market all suspended appliances within six months after their registration certificate is revoked -- shall pay a fine of Sh1 million for each subsequent six months that the appliances are not recalled.” ERC said the proposed binding checks would facilitate efficient energy use as per minimum energy performance standards and promote use of energy-saving products. Other expected benefits include incentives for the industry to develop and invest in energy-efficient product design and help Kenya meet climate change goals and prevent pollution. A registration certificate issued under the proposed regulations will be valid until the next revision of relevant standards after which a dealer will be required to apply for a fresh certificate. The revised standard and accompanying label will apply to appliances imported or manufactured a year after the rules are passed and retailed or distributed two years after the rules are passed, according to the proposed regulations.


enya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) signed a multimillion shillings project with the French Development Agency (AFD) in an effort to increase production of renewable energy. The energy project, set to cost Ksh 239 million, is under the Regional Technical Assistance Programme (RTAP) and is aimed at relieving Kenyans of frequent energy shortages. The project will support Government policies in increasing power generation and the share of renewable energy. It will aslo improve energy efficiency by financing selected investments in renewable energy. The fund will be distributed through the private sector to assist in boosting energy capacity in the country.


“There’s need to amend the energy bill soon”

KenGen to Add 840 MW Power by 2016

Mr. Chirchir, CS Energy


here’s need to amend the energy bill soon according to Mr. Chirchir,CS Energy. The Ministry of Energy, in March, held a National Validation Workshop at Bomas of Kenya at which the public were to air their views in regard to the draft National Policy and Energy bill, 2014.The bill which is due to submission to parliament will be finalised soon and passed on for their approval. While the country is at the wake of taking on alternative forms of energies oil and other mineral resources have been discovered, it was deemed necessary to have the bill looked at again and amended to fit the country’s current situation. The Cabinet Secretary for Energy, Davis Chirchir, who was the main speaker at the workshop, pointed out that it was important to have the bill finalised and passed as soon as possible. This is necessary so that the country will have well laid out policies for managing mining and marketing.

Steam pipes in Olkaria II power station


h e c o u n t r y ’s l a r g e s t p o w e r generator, KenGen, has plans to have its currently installed capacity of 1,252MW raised to 2,092MW by the year 2016.

The power generator has also successfully drilled one of the biggest geothermal wells in the world, boosting Kenya’s quest to triple power generation capacity to 5,000 megawatts.

The parastatal plans to raise Sh15 billion through a rights issue as the shareholders have decided to increase the number of KenGen’s ordinary shares by 2.2 billion. Part of the proceeds from the rights issue will be used to increase the parastatal’s power capacity input into the grid, which currently stands at 70 per cent of the total, by 840MW.

The well, with a production capacity of 30 megawatts, is Africa’s biggest and is located in the geothermal-rich Olkaria area. Known as Olkaria OW-921, the well is 3,000 metres deep and took 46 days to complete. It will be connected to Olkaria IV.

The money raised via the rights issue is part of a Sh430 billion expansion plan to see KenGen through to 2018.Under that plan, the power producer seeks to raise its generation capacity to 3,200MW. The 840MW power is in line with the Government’s plan to increase installed capacity by 5,000MW over the next 40 months.

The firm is expected to commission an additional 280 megawatts by September 2014 from geothermal to help meet Kenya’s growing demand for electricity as the country implements the Vision 2030 of becoming an industrial economy. To accelerate its geothermal power production programme, KenGen has also resorted to mobile wellhead plants which are faster to deploy. One such mobile wellhead was installed in 2012 with a capacity of 5MW. Fourteen such wellheads are expected to be complete by 2015.

KENYA ENGINEER - May/June 2014



Laptop Tender Cancelled

New Regulation to Benefit Local Mining Dealers

One Laptop One Child project in Ethiopia


he laptop tender award of Sh24.6 billion to Olive Te l e c o m m u n i c a t i o n s w a s cancelled by the Public Procurement Administrative Review Board. “Olive Telecommunications lacked financial capability to implement the project and the quoted Sh1.4billion was higher than the required threshold,” said board’s chairperson, Josephine Monga’re. The board claimed that the company had quoted Sh23.2billion instead of Sh 24.6 billion adding that the excess amount included by the company was to be used for some services which were supposed to be offered for free. “Considering and taking into account all the circumstances of this case and the public interest involved, the award of tender for the supply, delivery, installation and commissioning ICT integration in devices and solutions for primary schools in Kenya Lot 1 to Olive Telecommunications PVT, is hereby annulled,” Monga’re said during the ruling. On financial capability, the board noted that Olive Telecommunications did not meet the annual turnover of Sh8 billion during the last three years before the tender was awarded. In the year 2010, 2011 and 2012, the company’s annual audited results were


KENYA ENGINEER - May/June 2014

Sh6.9 million, Sh14.2 million and Sh767 million respectively. This figures are far below the requirement for the Lot 1 of the laptop project. The bid, therefore, ought to have failed to pass the preliminary evaluation stages. The board said that Olive Te l e c o m m u n i c a t i o n s d i d n o t m e e t requirements for an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM), and therefore, did not meet the tender awarding requirements. The process will now be reviewed from the Best and Final Offer involving Haier Electrical Appliances Corporation Limited of China and HP. “The procuring entity is directed to proceed with the tender process from the point of the opening of the Best and Final Offers and, thereafter, we will conduct the due diligence in accordance with the criteria under clauses 34.2, 34.3 and 34.4 of the tender document,” the chair ordered. The ruling came after Haier Electrical Appliances Corporation Limited of China and HP filed applications on February 14 and 13 respectively to block the award of the tender by the Education Cabinet Secretary Jacob Kaimenyi on February 7. The first batch of 400,000 laptops to various schools was expected by the end of March this year.


ining companies and small scale dealers are set to enjoy new rates of dealership permit acquisition at Ksh 1,000 a year. This new rate is for small scale dealers who previously paid Ksh 20,000 for dealership licences and is intended to reduce illegal trade in minerals. New mining dealership requisition to be published soon, will introduce exploration and mining permits that will be cheaper than the existing prospecting and mining licences. The rules will apply only to Kenyan mining firms and will offer permits targeting investors of KShs 5, 000 a year. A penalty of Ksh10, 000 per square kilometer will be accorded to those who fail to give up part of their exploration acreages after the lapse of the period. This will make the local extraction sector competitive by minimizing the hoarding of prospecting land by mining companies. Currently, foreign and local mining companies pay Ksh250 and Ksh 600 per square kilometer respectively for prospecting and mining licenses.


Lamu-Turkana Pipeline System Tendering to Start This oil pipeline project is among the major infrastructural projects that KPC has in place as it seeks to overhaul the entire pipeline infrastructure in the country. KPC also seeks to replace the Mombasa-Nairobi line as well as to renovate the Nairobi-Eldoret pipeline. An LPG (Liquefied Petroleum Gas) storage and bottling facility along the Nairobi-Mombasa highway is also in plan.

The Turkana to Lamu pipeline is estimated to cost $255 billion


he Lamu-Turkana pipeline is reportedly set to be completed by the year 2016. Works on the project are to begin soon as the government was to issue the international tenders for the pipeline’s design and construction by the end of first quarter of this year. The tenders will be conducted on a turnkey model whereby the contractor will carry out the project with their own funds before selling it back to the government upon completion. Companies involved in exploration can also participate in the bidding for the construction and design of the pipeline since the government dropped its restriction of exploring companies from participating in laying down of the pipeline. The pipeline is estimated to cost $255 billion and will run from Turkana to Lamu, a distance of 1 288km, and extend 427km into Southern Sudan. The pipeline is part of the LAPSSET Corridor Project which will include: • • • • • •

Lamu Port and Manda Bay Standard Gauge Railway Line from Lamu to Juba Road network/highways Oil pipelines (Southern Sudan, Kenya and Ethiopia) Oil refinery at Lamu Airports at Lamu, Isiolo and Lokichogio

Plans are underway to see Eldoret connected to Kampala via a pipeline. This will be undertaken in a joint partnership between the governments of Kenya and Uganda. The governments of Kenya and Uganda together hold 49% of the pipeline with each having a 24.5% share. The pipeline will be extended from Eldoret in Kenya, through Malaba on the border (110 km), through Jinja (130 km from Malaba) then to Kampala (80 km).

Three resort cities (Lamu, Isiolo and Lake Turkana)

According to the initial LAPSSET draft report, the oil pipeline was to have a 500, 000 barrels capacity per day and another pipeline transmitting refined oil was to be built with a capacity of 82 400 bbl/day. Speaking to the press during the National Validation Workshop held at the Bomas of Kenya in mid March, Cabinet Secretary for Energy, Davis Chirchir pointed out that the government was making sure that the new pipeline system would be laid down together with a fibre optic cable network and power transmission lines along the corridor. The country expects to start oil production in 2017-2018.

Pipeline operator seeks countrywide overhaul of pipeline system In a move to ease transportation of oil between Kisumu and Eldoret, Kenya Pipeline Company (KPC) will be constructing a 112km pipeline. The pipeline will run from Sinendet to Kisumu. The ten inch multi-product oil pipeline is considered a good alternative to the increased truck traffic on the route resulting from increased demand of petroleum products in the region.

Kipevu Oil Terminal Relocation to cost 120 Million USD


enya Ports Authority is set to move the Kipevu oil terminal to a new site to create space for more large tankers. The country’s largest petroleum relocation will cost $120 million and the preliminary design will cost $1.7 million as agreed by all stakeholders.“The current oil terminal at Kipevu and Shimanzi allows only one tanker to disembark at a time,” said Gichiri Ndua, the KPA Managing Director. “The new terminal will accommodate four tankers weighing 150,000 tonnes berthing at the same time to pave way for the construction of two additional berths of 350 meter long,” he added. Kipevu oil terminal is located on the mainland of Port Reitz which allows crude oil tankers of up to 100,000 tonnes whereas Shimanzi terminal accommodates vessels of up to 30,000 tonnes.The relocation will aim at improving port capacity and efficiency.

KENYA ENGINEER - May/June 2014








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Fibre for Counties

Motorcycle Dealers Open in Western


n efforts to connect the counties to the world, the Government has set out plans to lay down an additional 1,600KM of National Optic Fibre Backbone Infrastructure (NOFBI) from May this year after approval by roads authority. This will mark Phase II of the already on course project with Phase I having seen to the laying down of 4,300KM of fibre. “Survey of the fibre route is complete in all the 47 counties,” said ICT Minister, Fred Matiangi, while addressing the press. The project will include installation of Local Area Network (LAN) in three buildings at each county headquarter and also the construction of a Metro Fibre Network in the counties. Going “Paperless” The Government is also making efforts to go paperless as it seeks to establish a National Digital Register Services (NDRS).The new registry process will see to registers of people, land, establishments, birth and death records as well as assets done. The Minister pointed that the Civil Registration Department was already on course with the digitisation of the births and deaths records. Roll Out of 4G Network The government also announced plans to roll out 4G (fourth generation) internet network next year. The move to launch the high speed broadband network is part of its efforts to raise the Internet’s contribution to economic growth to 10 per cent in 2017 from the current 2.9 per cent. The country’s internet penetration currently stands at 47 per cent, but the government seeks to have this increased to 60 per cent in the next three years.


he growing demand for boda bodas has attracted Asian motorcycle dealers into Western Kenya.

Dealers like Yamaha, Honda, Bajaj, Kingbird, Lifan and TVs have set up a shop in Kakamega, Busia and Kisumu to increase sales in the towns where residents mainly rely on boda bodas as a means of transport. According to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics, 125,508 motorcycles were sold last year compared to 93,970 units the previous year as demand is rising. Honda, which is the latest entrant in the region, opened an assembly and service plant in Kisumu last month with plans to stock new motorbikes and spare parts.

Honda representative to Kenya Shansuke Miyazaki said that the region is good for investment adding that the Kisumu assembly and service plant will also serve as a service station for other brands of motorcycles, saving transporters the extra costs of going out of town for service. Though the biggest competitor in the region is Yamaha, a franchise of Toyota has unveiled new designs targeting boda boda operators. The company has also introduced the crux 100 cc model motorcycle, targeting 100,000 riders in the region. It is also set to release a financial plan that eases the burden of having to make one off payments and reduces the risk of motorbike riders losing their jobs.

New System to Curb Corruption in Tender Applications


he government is set to launch the “Procure to Pay” (P2P) system in an effort to reduce corruption arising from tender processes. This system will be part of the components of the Integrated Financial Management Information System (IFMIS) that was unveiled earlier by the Treasury to improve efficiency in public finance management. The P2P system, which will go live in July, will help one do all the procurement

procedures online with ease and will accommodate applications from both national and county levels. Treasury IFMIS Department Director, Jerome Ochieng noted that online submission of tenders and online bidding would improve intrusion in to tender processes and documents which is common in manual and face to face bidding.The system will help reduce the probability of suppliers interacting with the people buying hence diminish corruption.

KENYA ENGINEER - May/June 2014



Google Releases Android Wearable Technology itself. The early wearable landscape is reminiscent of the tablet market when manufacturers sought to respond to Apple’s iPad by using Android for larger screen devices before Google had fully optimized the platform,” he added. Innovation Continues

“Google would be a competitor in the market but also an enabler if it helps Android developers,” Delaney added.


oogle is branching out in the wearable technology market with the release of a software development kit. This kit will allow developers to create wearable devices such as smart watches and fitness trackers using the Android operating system. Google’s senior vice-president of Android, Chrome and Apps, Sundar Pichai said, “We want to develop a set of common protocols by which they can work together.” Samsung’s Gear 2 uses Tizen instead of Android, which its predecessor used. Samsung’s Galaxy Gear smart watch did run a version of Android but, after concerns over its interface and battery life, it switched to the Tizen software platform for its latest watch, the Gear 2. Google Glass is the company’s main foray into wearable technology so far. The device includes eyeglass frames equipped with a camera and small display controlled by voice command. The product is not yet on general sale but is being tested by selected people. “Google is taking wearable seriously and it wants everyone else to,” said John Delaney, vice-president of mobility research at analyst firm IDC.

Apple is reportedly working on a smart watch that could use the operating system used on its iPhone and iPads. Android is already the most used operating system on smartphones and more than 1.1 billion devices running on Android are expected to ship this year, according to the research firm Gartner. Geoff Blaber, an analyst at CCS Insight, said it was a logical move for Google.“From Google’s perspective, it’s essential it introduces some consistency into a fastfragmenting wearable space,” he said. “Without consistent software development kit there was a danger that the wearable space would quickly result in a fragmented array of implementations that would make it harder for Google to control and monetize. Google is striving to avoid history repeating

Google Introduces a 3D Smartphone with Image Sensors Google has also unleashed a prototype Smartphone with customized hardware and software that enables it to create 3D maps of a user’s surroundings. The sensors allow it to make over 250,000 3D measurements every second and update its position in real time. It has an indoor application system that assists the visually impaired to navigate through unfamiliar indoor places without being assisted. The phone was developed in a project called Project Tango with help from researchers in various institutions with the aim of making human beings understand how space and motion relate to mobile devices. Earlier this year, Google announced that it is working on a smart contact lens to be used in measuring the amount of glucose in tears. Later on this year, it is set to release Google Glass into the market.

“The industry thinks wearable is the next big thing as sales of smartphones start to plateau in developed markets and this is the latest attempt to build momentum behind it,” he said. • Google Android based phones


KENYA ENGINEER - May/June 2014


AfDB Loans Sh79 billion for Infrastructure and Education


he Africa Development Bank approved a five-year Sh79.2 billion financing deal for Kenya to increase economic empowerment through job creation. The funding, to be dispersed between 2014 and 2018, targets programmes in tertiary education and infrastructure development. The designed Country Strategy Paper (CSP) outlines two main pillars. The first one is to enhance the physical infrastructure like roads and energy and bring out an inclusive growth. The second one is to develop skills for the emerging labour market for Kenya’s transforming economy. “Investing in energy, transport and water will enhance access to affordable and reliable electricity; improve transport connectivity; reduce transport cost and time; enhance access to reliable water supply and later, stimulate structural transformation and generate employment,” said Gabriel Negatu, AfDB Regional Director for Eastern Africa.

The funds will also lead to Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) of mid–level skills. The skills will prepare technicians and artisans for the current and emerging labour market in Kenya and across the region. Enrollment in TVET will

target post primary and secondary school graduates between 15 and 30 years old and will offer apprenticeship programmes and training. The training will focus on skills for in infrastructure like roads, energy, water and ICT.

Construction Authority warns unregistered contractors


he National Construction Authority (NCA) has sent out a warning notice to contractors operating without being duly registered by the authority. This comes at the wake of the authority’s completion of the nation wide registration exercise of all contractors. According to the National Construction Act, no person should carry on the business of a contractor unless the person is registered by the Board. “Any person who contravenes section 15 (1) of the Act commits an offense and shall be liable on conviction to a fine, not exceeding on million shillings, or

imprisonment…” states a section of the NCA Act. NCA has called upon all procuring entities, developers and employers requiring contractors’ services, as defined in the Act, to insist on the production of proof of registration before engaging their services. A complete register of contractors is available on NCA’s website. Over 20,000 contractors have been registered in the registration exercise which commenced early this year and the certificates were due for issuing from April

01-15 2014 as follows:• Nairobi contractors to collect certificates at the former Ministry of Public Works Supplies Branch, off Likoni Road, Industrial Area. • Mombasa, Kisumu, Kitui and Nakuru contractors to send to 0700 021 222 to confirm their county. Certificates will then be delivered to NCA’s respective county offices. • Contractors in counties not listed above were advised to collect their certificates from the former Ministry of Public Works Sports Club in South C, Nairobi.

KENYA ENGINEER - May/ June 2014



Women Engineers Launch Chapter

Parastatals Face the Axe


en agricultural parastatals are on the verge of shutting down following the resolution by the Ministry of Agriculture to establish the Agriculture, Livestock and Food Security (AFFA). In January last year, AFFA Act 2013 was gazetted with the Crop Act 2013 and the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Act 2013. This is in line with the Vision 2030 blueprint, according to which, the current agriculture sector regulatory framework must be reviewed and new policies need to be developed. A n e l e ve n m e m b e r c o m m i t t e e has been set-up to oversee the establishment of AFFA. The committee will take over functions of these authorities and agricultural boards. An interim management committee was established to operationalise the AFFA Act (See Gazette Notice No 1363, dated February 28, 2014). Parastatals facing the axe include Ke nya S u g a r B o a r d , Te a B o a r d o f Ke nya , H o r t i c u l t u r a l C r o p s Development Authority, Pyrethrum Board of Kenya, Coffee Board of Kenya, Cotton Development Authority, Kenya Sisal Board and Kenya Coconut Development Authority, National Cereals and Produce Board and Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate. Operations of the Dairy Board, Kenya Meat Commission, Pig Industry Board, Pests Control Board, and Kenya National Artificial Insemination Centre will be collapsed into the envisaged single Livestock Authority.


KENYA ENGINEER - May/June 2014

Top: Women’s Chapter Chairlady, Eng. Rosemary Kungu, giving a speech during the launch. Bottom: Group photo taken during the launch of women Chapter


nstitution of Engineers of Kenya (IEK) in March, this year launched the Women Engineer’s Chapter at the Silver Springs Hotel, Nairobi. The event was attended by members of both Institution of Engineers of Kenya (IEK) and Engineer Board of Kenya. This chapter seeks to encourage women to pursue a career in engineering. Speaking at the launch, Eng. Rosemary Kungu, chairperson of women engineers chapter said, “This chapter seeks to call on all women engineers, from all over the country, to come out and enjoy their profession despite all the responsibilities that surrounds them.” “We are proud to be launching this chapter today as it will create a place where all engineers can live together and share ideas on building Kenya as a whole,” IEK Council Chairperson, Eng. Riungu said. He added that all issues concerning women engineers will be accommodated

and solved so that women do not feel left out. The objectives of the chapter are to provide forums to support women engineers: create a platform where women engineers mingle with women of different disciplines; promote professional excellence; organize scholarships and award them to outstanding students and increase the number of women engineers both locally and internationally. Statistics show that out of the total 2,124 registered engineers in the country, only 170 are women. This is only 8 per cent of the total. In a move to improve these numbers, this new chapter seeks will recognize and honor women in the engineering sector, acknowledge employers who employ women engineers and organize conferences and seminars. Did You Know? The first lady engineer in Kenya graduated in 1975 from the University of Nairobi.

ATM Card Technology

New and Old Technology for Payment Card by Raj Singh - Senior International Banker until all merchants become more familiar with chip technology. Lastly, are Chip Cards safer than magnetic-stripe cards? The short answer to this question is, “YES.” Chip Cards are inherently safer than magnetic-stripe cards because they rely on a two-factor authentication process. In other words, someone using a Chip Card must be in possession of two things, the card and the PIN number that verifies that card.

he new ATM, debit and credit card technology is EMV which stands for Europay, Mastercard and Visa. This new technology is a global standardized, inter-operational integrated circuit card which is also known as a “chip card“. It is a joint effort initially conceived by Europay, MasterCard and Visa to ensure the security and global interoperability of chip-based payment cards. A chip card has a built-in microchip that provides greater security and convenience. The microchip is encrypted, which means that it is extremely difficult to copy or counterfeit.

Chip Cards are safer for consumers because they are not susceptible to “skimming” scams. Skimming scams are a common problem with magnetic-stripe cards and involve a criminal illegally recording or accessing a person’s card information by rigging card readers. The criminal can then use the victim’s card information to “clone” a new magnetic-stripe card. EMV cards cannot be cloned, as each embedded chip is uniquely encrypted for a specific card. However, it should be noted that Chip Cards are still vulnerable to “card-notpresent” fraud (i.e. fraud committed via the Internet or telephone banking). Several countries have seen internet-related fraudulent card use rise after the implementation of the chip system.

Chip technology, already in wide use around the world, makes a secure payment system even more secure by reducing fraud. The encrypted microchip is very difficult to counterfeit, and cardholders are required to enter their Personal Identification Number (PIN) for all chip card transactions. Chip card transactions also provide enhanced security, because your card never leaves your sight.

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How is a chip card different from the card you use today? When you make a transaction at a chip terminal, you insert your chip card into the terminal. Your card stays in the terminal until the transaction is complete. You’ll need to use your PIN for ALL purchases at chip terminals. When the transaction is complete, you’ll be prompted to remove your card from the chip terminal. Non chip cards are swiped, and the card remains out of the terminal while the transaction is authorized. Chip-and-PIN cards can also be used online or over the phone. Depending on the card provider, virtual transactions will either require users to enter the three-digit security code on the back of their card or a secure password provided by their card provider.

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Will the magnetic stripe be removed from chip cards? Chip cards will continue to have a magnetic stripe on the back. This will ensure that chip cards will continue to be accepted in other countries that have not moved to chip technology. Chip terminals will accept both magnetic stripe cards and chip cards for several years to come.

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Do you need to sign a receipt after you’ve entered your PIN? You won’t need to sign a receipt when you make transactions with your chip card. Your PIN validates and completes your transaction. However, during the transition to chip cards, some merchants may still ask you to sign for card transactions. This will be temporary,

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KENYA ENGINEER - May/June 2014

Schools Network

Building a National Schools Network by Meoli Kashorda, PhD, MIEEE, MIET

Professor Meoli Kashorda is currently the Executive and CEO of Kenya Education Network, the national research and education network for Kenya. He is a former lecturer in the Department of Electrical Engineering, University of Nairobi and, currently, a Professor of Information Systems at USIU. He has served as journal committee member since 1992.

Introduction n March 4, 2014, at Moi Girls High School, Nairobi, the Nairobi County Government launched the Nairobi Schools Fiber Connectivity Pilot project that aims to connect 245 schools in West of Nairobi area to the Internet. This was a very big event attended by principals, teachers and students from about eight Nairobi schools. The Nairobi County Governor was represented by Mr. Christopher Khaemba, the Nairobi County Executive in charge of Education and Youth Affairs and Teachers Service Commission. The project is a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative of the Wananchi Group that aims to connect Nairobi schools to


the Kenya Education Network (KENET) backbone network using their existing expansive home fiber network in Nairobi. The pilot phase starts with 245 schools. KENET will in turn provide the local and international Internet and content distribution services to the schools in the same way it does for the higher education institutions in Kenya (See The Wananchi Group CSR will pay for the total cost of operating the network during the pilot phase, including the cost of international Internet bandwidth for the schools. This will therefore be a FREE service to the 245 schools during the pilot phase with the plan to connect all the 2,715 schools in Nairobi County within five years. The pilot project is expected to run for a period of 15 months to allow the partners to develop a sustainability framework and to assess the e-readiness of the schools. The author is not aware of any other large-scale schools connectivity project in Kenya. The project will therefore provide the schools, the Nairobi County government and commercial operators and partners with invaluable knowledge of the challenges of operating a schools network in Kenya. It will also be the basis for scaling

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Schools Network up to a fully-fledged National Schools Network as envisaged in the National ICT Master Plan that was launched in April 2014. While this article identifies the key Internet engineering and ICT infrastructure investment requirements for building and operating a National School Network, we emphasize that the main motivation for the network is to improve the quality of education by transforming teaching, learning and administration of schools in Kenya. For example, the network could be a platform for continuous capacity building of teachers or efficient distribution of educational digital content, including e-books to all schools in Kenya. However, these educational issues are outside the scope of this article. In the following pages, we describe how the 245 schools will be connected to KENET backbone network and then present a possible solution for scaling up the network to a National School Network by leveraging on the KENET network. Our conclusions are that, although building a National School Network is a large and exciting engineering project, it needs to be led by education professionals as part of digital transformation of education in Kenya. KENET Broadband Network and the Nairobi County Schools Connectivity Pilot Project KENET is the national research and education network for Kenya ( that provides broadband Internet and shared services to higher education institutions and research institutes. KENET had connected 144 campuses of higher education member institutions in 29 counties as of March 2014 (See Figure 1 - KENET network coverage map.) These campuses have a combined student enrolment of over 450,000 the majority being university students. KENET network had a national distribution capacity of over 30 Gb/s and was generating about 4.0 Gb/s of international Internet traffic as of March 2014. It is therefore one of the largest IP networks in Kenya with direct peering with other NRENs in Africa and the rest of the world (e.g., TENET in South Africa or Internet2 in the US).

About 76% (108 of 144 campuses) of the campuses are connected to the KENET backbone using commercial leased lines. Most of the inter-PoP links also use commercial leased lines. Thus, it the expansive mobile and fiber network developed by commercial operators in Kenya that has made it possible for KENET to build a national broadband network in the past five years. This article proposes that the National School Network should leverage on the existing national KENET broadband network infrastructure. The high non-recurrent and recurrent costs of connecting of campuses, particularly those outside Nairobi, limits the growth of the KENET broadband network and is the main reason why broadband Internet prices remain higher than those in developed countries. For example, the average non-recurrent cost of connecting a campus outside Nairobi is about 5,000 USD without counting the cost of network and power equipment required. The recurrent costs of the leased lines can be as high as 250 USD per Mb/s outside Nairobi. Figure 1 shows a typical setup for connecting a campus to the KENET backbone. Connecting one such campus takes on average 3 months from the time the engineering surveys are conducted to the commissioning of the sites. Building a National School Network using the commercial leased lines would therefore be slow, and it could take a very long time to connect all of the 30,000 public schools in Kenya. However, the approach adopted by the pilot project described in the next section has the potential to connect large number of schools in a relatively short time by using the Wananchi local access fiber network rather than leased lines.

Figure 1 - Typical campus connection via commercial leased lines

The Wananchi Schools Fiber Connectivity Pilot Project Wananchi Group operates an expansive home fiber network in Nairobi. It uses the home fiber network to provide what it calls the ZUKU Triple Play services – Internet, TV and Telephony. The Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative of the Wananchi Group aims to connect 245 schools in West of Nairobi area to the Internet in partnership with KENET and the Nairobi County Government. The connection of the 245 schools in the pilot area will take only 3 months because the Wananchi fiber already passes next


KENYA ENGINEER - May/June 2014

Schools Network to all the schools! Figure 2 shows components of the network school to Wananchi fiber and installation of Wananchi terminal equipment that provides a connection to the school LAN and a KENET Wi-Fi hotpot.

suggests that most of the 245 schools shall not be ready to use the Internet connection for teaching and learning because of lack of campus ICT infrastructure and the capacity of teachers to use Internet to support their teaching activities.

Wananchi will also install the fiber link between Wananchi data center and KENET data center as shown in Figure 2. All the schools will, therefore, be part of the KENET network and will use KENET IP addresses. KENET will aggregate all the Internet traffic from the schools and provide access to the Internet and educational content available in Kenya and in the global Internet. The only difference between the schools campuses and the autonomous university campuses is that it is the school VLANs that are extended to KENET network over a VPN tunnel rather than a connection through the access router and a leased line (i.e., layer 2 rather than layer 3 connection). The international connection will be via a TEAMS circuit to Fujaira initially provided by Wananchi Group as part of the CSR.

Unfortunately, the development of school campus networks and capacity building for teachers is outside the scope of the CSR funding and will require other partners and government support. Even if only 20% of schools have adequate levels of e-readiness, they will provide valuable experience on what it takes to operate a schools network successfully.

Figure 2 - Nairobi County Schools Fiber Connectivity Using Wananchi Fiber

KENET will operate Internet services and connect schools to appropriate educational and research content. All the schools will be required to register a school domain name (e.g., moigirls. through KENET and will be provided with some limited web-hosting storage space through the umbrella schools heads associations (e.g., Kenya Secondary School Heads Association). As explained earlier, the last mile connections attract high installation (non-recurrent) and recurrent costs and are the main limiting factor in provision of broadband Internet to educational institutions. The use of Wananchi Home Fiber infrastructure is a very significant contribution to Nairobi Schools Network pilot. The Wananchi Group engineering team has the capacity to connect all the 245 schools in just three months compared to the 3 months per rural campus site over a leased line. However, the CSR initiative assumes that each school would have at least a computer lab, stable power, ICT technical support, and that teachers have the capacity to use ICT for teaching and learning. These are basic measures of e-readiness for schools. It also assumes that the schools and KENET shall deal with issues of cybersecurity and access control. Anecdotal evidence

Scaling Up the Schools Connectivity Project The National ICT Master plan launched in April 2014 envisages that all schools in Kenya will be connected to the Internet. This will be part of the digital transformation of primary and high school education and an extension of the government laptop project that aims to provide 50 laptops to each of the 20,000 public primary schools in Kenya. The author is not aware of any other large-scale pilot schools connectivity projects or any project feasibility studies undertaken on building a national school network. Connecting 10,000, 20,000, or 30,000 schools would be a flagship project that would require careful engineering project planning as the author explains in this section. Moreover, a National School Network is just one component of the education eco-system. The greater challenge is to transform and improve teaching and learning in order to improve the quality of education in all parts of the country. In the following, we first describe what will be required to scale up the pilot project to a Nairobi County Schools Network as part of the CSR initiative. We then describe a possible method of building a National School Network by leveraging and upgrading the existing KENET broadband network. We argue that creating a shared school network infrastructure is more costeffective that building 47 separate County Schools Networks. However, each County will need to invest in the school campus networks in each school in their counties.

Scaling Up the Nairobi Pilot School Connectivity Project to a Nairobi County Schools Network Figure 2 summarizes the components of the schools’ network as follows: 1. Schools’ campus network. This includes building a backbone fiber network, providing Wi-Fi cover and/ or computers for teachers and students and capacity building initiatives. The pilot project is only providing one Wi-Fi hotspot and connection to an existing computer lab or principal’s office. 2. Last mile fiber network to KENET PoP. In this is being provided by Wananchi, and it is possible to scale it up to all the other 2,500 schools in the period 2015 – 2020 (five years). The engineering challenge is simply developing Wananchi fiber in all parts of the Nairobi County Government. The Nairobi County Government might invite other commercial operators to provide the connectivity to schools in areas not covered by Wananchi fiber in order to speed up the rollout.

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Schools Network 3. Traffic aggregation, identity management and international capacity provided by KENET. The aggregation router provided in the pilot phase could support up to 2,500 schools to be connected. However, the international capacity of only 600 Mb/s (1 x STM4) will need to be upgraded possibly to about 1 x STM16 (2.4 Gb/s). This capacity could be donated by the National Government. The identity management to make sure every user is authorized and authenticated will need to be scaled up by installation of a large server Each of the above components requires a team of high-end network engineers, project engineers, developers, teachers and educational content providers in the design and deployment phases. The shared infrastructure at the KENET data center will be adequate for scaling up to the Nairobi County Schools Network. The challenge shall be to develop the schools’ campus networks and improve the e-readiness status of the 2,715 schools, including capacity building of the teachers. This is expected to be a slow process and could take up to five years after the pilot phase of the project. In addition, with just an expected uptake of only 10 Mb/s per school, 2.7 Gb/s of international capacity would be required!

urban areas such as Mombasa or Eldoret where a metro or home fiber has been established. The County Schools Networks would then be interconnected using the KENET backbone network as shown in Figure 3. Note that the Government or partner funding would still be required to upgrade the KENET broadband network, for developing the Campus Network infrastructure of the schools, and budget support for developing the technical capacity of schools to manage campus networks. Since the majority of public schools in Kenya are not in urban areas with well-developed home fiber or metro-fiber coverage, the model of the Nairobi County Schools network cannot be scaled up. The schools in dispersed areas of Kenya would still be connected using commercially leased lines or over 4G mobile networks to the nearest KENET node at a PoP or University campus as shown in Figure 4. As a minimum each university campus node would have an aggregation router as well as an authentication server similar to the one installed at the KENET data center in Nairobi. Assuming that each University node connects up to 300 schools in a particular geographical area, then 100 University nodes could connect up to 30,000 schools. Connecting more schools would simply require upgrading the aggregation routers as well as the capacity of the last mile links from the University nodes to the KENET backbone.

We note that the rule of the thumb in terms of investments in the different segments is a ratio of 1:10:100 for international, distribution and campus network investments. That is for every US dollar invested in the international segment, 10 USD are required for the distribution segment (includes data center) and 100 USD in the school campus networks in total. Thus, even if Wananchi Group and other commercial operators were to extend the connectivity part of CSR to all the 2,715 schools, the schools or the Nairobi County Government would still need massive investments in the schools’ campus networks and capacity building of teachers. A cloud-based school ERP might also be required for efficient management of the public schools under the county government. However, scaling up to the Nairobi County Schools Network should be achieved as part of the National School Network that would also connect all other public and private schools in Kenya. As we highlight in the next section, building a National School Network is much more challenging outside Nairobi in terms of last mile connectivity and availability of ICT technician skills in different parts of Kenya. Scaling Up to a National School Network The shared network facilities to be established at the KENET data center during rollout in Nairobi will have the capacity to serve the entire country. Although this is likely to be one of many schools connectivity projects driven by commercial operators, we describe one possible method of scaling up the pilot project to a fully-fledged National School Network by leveraging on the KENET research and education network. The Nairobi County Schools Network described in Section 3 above aims to connect all the 2,715 Nairobi schools to the KENET PoP in Nairobi. This model could also work in other


KENYA ENGINEER - May/June 2014

Figure 3 - National Schools Network with multiple operators

Although the commercial leased lines could be upgraded to 1 Gb/s or 10 Gb/s, the high recurrent costs for broadband leased lines in Kenya would make the national school network unsustainable. A possible cost-effective solution would be to purchase dark fiber pairs from fiber network operators and then light them in order reduce recurrent costs. Such fiber network operators include National Optical Fiber Backbone Infrastructure (NOFBI), KPLC, and other Tier1 commercial fiber network operators like Liquid Telecom or Jamii Telecommunications. The purchase of dark fiber pairs and the associated fiber lighting equipment would have to be funded by the County or National

Schools Network

Government. The Ministry of Information and Communications has, in the past, used KENET as an implementation agency for the Kenya Transparency and Communications Project. A similar approach could be adopted for efficiency reasons and ease of project implementation. Sustainability of a National School Network As we have explained, building a county or national schools network shall require Government funding, because it is unlikely that CSR initiatives could scale up to connect 5,000 or even 30,000 schools. The investment would be in the following areas: i. School campus networks ii. Last mile connection to a KENET node iii. Upgrading the KENET backbone network to at least 10 Gb/s iv. Upgrading to KENET nodes used to aggregate traffic from the schools to at least 1 Gb/s v. Upgrading the international capacity to at least 1 x STM16. As explained earlier, investments in the schools and in last mile connection can be very high compared to upgrading the KENET backbone broadband network or the international links. Implementation of the project would also require a large number of contractors and effective project engineering management. Although building the human capacity to operate the different segments of the networks is a challenge and would require to be phased over a period of about five years, the biggest challenge is finding a method for the schools to pay for the high recurrent costs of a large national IP network. This needs to be factored in the project planning by the Government or any donor investing in schools connectivity. Unlike universities and higher education institutions that have a significant ICT and Internet bandwidth budgets, most schools in Kenya have no capacity pay the recurrent cost of connectivity. The County and National Governments might then have to factor the recurrent costs for each school in their budgets.

Conclusions In this article, we have highlighted the engineering challenges of building and operating a National School Network. It is unlikely that any CSR efforts would build sustainable schools networks. This article proposes that the School Networks (National or County ) leverage on the existing broadband national research and education network operated by KENET. Apart from the broadband network infrastructure, KENET also has a critical mass of high-end network engineers that could design, build and operate the national network. This is also the approach that has been used in the US where Universities are considered as anchor institutions for rolling out the broadband community networks (See However, each school would still need to build capacity to operate a school campus network. This would require extensive training of the teachers and employing some ICT technicians for each campus. With 30,000 public schools and an estimated equal number of private schools, this could create employment for up to 60,000 ICT technicians in different parts of the country. Apart from the massive ICT infrastructure investments in schools campus networks, last mile connections, and in upgrading the KENET broadband network, the recurrent costs of operating a National School Network can be very high. The recurrent costs include cost of leased lines, operations and maintenance cost of the networks, replacement and insurance costs as well as payment of ICT staff and engineers operating the large network. Moreover, computers, laptops and tablets have a limited life of about 3 years on the average. Careful planning is therefore required, and this needs to be treated as a large engineering project with a lead project manager. The national governments and the county governments of Kenya must find ways to pay both the non-recurrent and recurrent costs of maintaining the National School Network. A National School Network or County School Network offers very exciting opportunities for cost-effective educational content distribution and the use of cheap devices like tablets and smartphones for teaching and learning. Implementation of schools’ networks will create a whole new industry of multimedia and interactive content development. Teachers could start using new teaching methods that develop critical thinking and analytical skills of students. It could even improve the quality of Science and Math teaching by using virtual labs and interactive learning materials that are already available as Open Education Resources. This would increase the pool of high school graduates ready to pursue engineering education. However, implementation of schools’ networks must be viewed not as a technology or engineering project but as a transformation of education in Kenya project. It will be a huge management effort that shall require strong leadership by high school principals, trainers of teachers and the Ministry of Education. It must be planned and implemented over a 5-year or even 10-year planning window.

KENYA ENGINEER - May/June 2014


Manufacturing Sector by Maina Maringa, PhD, CEng & MIMechE

Investment within universities to support indigenous manufacture in Kenya Maina Maringa Associate Professor of Mechanical

for social investment. Yet there exists a dire need to uplift the majority poor to levels of existence that make them productive and self sustaining.

Engineering Acting Executive Dean, Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment The Technical University of Kenya

INTRODUCTION he republic of Kenya, like most developing nations, is characterised by the absence of indigenous, home grown industries and in particular of, high technology industries. This means meant that, with expansion of the economy, increase of inclusion into the mainstream economy, expanded education and increased travel, and the attendant increasing understanding and adoption of modern ways of living with their demands, this nation and others like it have become more and more dependent on the proceeds of industry from other nations. Thus, even with an expanding middle class, and ever increasing national budgets, the need for money continues to outstrip its availability. This challenge cannot simply be attributed to increasing populations. After all, every well educated and skilled person is a production index with an output in excess of his/her needs. The increasing competition for money and increasing demand for the proceeds of industry, coupled with scarcity or lack of industry is an unstable basis



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The high unemployment rates, ever rising crime rates, increasing social dysfunction, distress on land, continuous emigration of nationals, and increasing number of petty traders are all consequences of the inability of society to develop its own solutions to its needs within the modern context. The clamour for innovation, entrepreneurship and industry, the increasing appreciation of the potential value of skills training and the very welcome understanding of the difference between science and technology in training and application, all demonstrate a keen awareness of the problem. Given the heavy investments in education over the years, the foregoing would indicate that education as previously defined and executed in the country is not the means of creating real independence with respect to the needs of the society (Education has typically taken the lion’s share of the national budget, between 20 - 30%, in the last 50 years.) This demonstrates the obvious fact that education that is solely focused on knowledge and, as has become common today, passing of examinations cannot adequately address the needs of a nation. This emphasises the fact that education without focus on production only serves to create dependence. This is particularly so with science and technology based education, given the significant role played by technology in today’s world. The questions arise therefore as to whether this awareness is enough or are interventions in the education

Manufacturing Sector system necessary in order to ensure that it empowers and propels graduates to become providers of solutions to the needs of the society? The answer to these two questions are no and yes, respectively. In this nation, the last 50years have been characterised by policy calls for more practical education, linking of industry with educational institutions, increasing funding for research, entrepreneurial training, skills development, incubation and so on. This has not, however, translated to a significant expansion of indigenous industry, despite the continuous training of competent artisans, technicians, engineers, scientists, financial experts, managers and all types of professionals and an ever increasing number of education institutions and programs. Clearly then, the awareness of, talk about or policy addressing the need for indigenous industry are not the solutions to the lack or low levels of indigenous industry. The emergence of the Jua Kali sector and subsequent mounting of numerous exhibitions of its products in the country and region has not yielded indigenous industry able to compete at an international or local level. The obvious fact that production that is divorced from science cannot lead to the emergence of competitive modern industry appears to have been overlooked in the development of the Jua Kali sector. This is likely to be a result of low levels of understanding of science and technology and the manner in which they lead to and support modern manufacture, by nationals and particularly those responsible for developing and leading the implementation of policy. Though not surprising, given the country’s historical background of education, the world of work, and governance, the nation has to stop being habitually captive to an externally contrived history and own its present and tomorrow. The market is presently inundated by a plethora of products from this sector without reference to quality, and with little regard to material properties or production processes and principles. The Jua Kali sector today has no solid link with the institutions of higher learning from whence issues of quality, material properties, as well as production processes and principles can be sought. There clearly is a missing ingredient in all the talk, policy and initiatives which

characterise the nation over the last 50 years. If introduced carefully this missing ingredient would convert the heavy investment in education with its attendant large and well educated manpower, and the numerous needs in society, into industry. It is this missing ingredient that this article attempts to address. THE PROBLEM Simply put, the biggest challenge facing the nation today is that of developing a culture that supports continuous evolution and implementation of industrial solutions to its needs. In developing a solution to the conundrum of industry in the nation, it is necessary that the reality of this challenge be accepted and understood clearly. Moreover, we must understand what industry means, aside from the talk that has almost invariably characterised the nation’s application to this challenge so far. In simple terms, industry may be defined as a combination of materials, processes, energy, equipment, and human resources necessary to manufacture products of acceptable quality and utility. It relies strongly on principles of science to guide the selection and utilisation of materials, processes, energy systems, equipment and human systems. It is this understanding and the utilisation thereof that forms part of the missing link in the search for industrialisation in the nation. The citizenry illiterate and semi-literate in science and technology cannot evolve the necessary solutions to industry as is clear from a close study of the Jua Kali sector. Existing industry (mainly secondary goods industries) in the country cannot offer the required solution given insudtry’s origin and prevalent ownership structure. Education institutions in the country today, with their traditional emphasise on pure research and mainly on teaching and largely absent linkage with industry and the world of work, cannot, without a major shift in emphasis offer the required solutions to industry. The financial sector, given its history, focus and technical and scientific inability, cannot offer the solution. While the Government has the financial ability to support evolution, establishment, and sustenance of a possible solution, the many and varied demands on its resources do not allow it the opportunity and focus to shepherd the solution either.

Clearly, the required solution must be sought away from the obvious entities. The overemphasise on management that characterises the economy today, particularly in the public sector, has historical origins that must be clearly understood even while seeking for and implementing solutions to the identified problem of growing domestic industry. Ownership of resources by a few in exclusion of the majority demands an approach that places emphasise on management, absolute control, and little or no investment in the growth of capacity outside the structures of ownership and control. Policies that profess the net transfer of resources and their benefits away from one economic entity to another also demand the same. This, in a nutshell, defines the philosophies that advised the formation of our nation prior to independence and fingers the not very apparent challenge with which the nation has been struggling with and still continues to. Departure from such principles must, at the onset, recognise that management cannot be a cause unto itself and that it does not precede capacity but, rather, it is capacity that demands for management. The economy must therefore be based on growth of production capacity as a priority, on the basis of whose demand management grows. Such an approach will ensure that management is held captive by production and is, therefore, forced to continuously justify itself. PROPOSED SOLUTION It is proposed here to set up a lean system that is based on productivity that integrates research, innovation, product development and manufacture but, also preferably ,marketing and sales. This, it is expected, will reduce the time lost communicating between these integrated facets of the evolution and utilisation of solutions, while laying emphasis on efficiency. The proposed system shall be comprised of both form (institution) and processes. The form is necessary given the magnitude of the challenge and the need to have a structured approach for the implementation of the developed solution. Issues of sourcing and channelling of funding, equipment and human resources are best addressed within the form. The development of efficient and production driven management structures

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Manufacturing Sector and systems to propel and support the developed solution is best done within the form. Well thought out processes that are focused on productivity, support and facilitation of the units of production (man and machine) within the developed solution at all stages are necessary. These will exist in the form of policy guidelines, rules and regulations, as well as standards and procedures to guide the formation of units to support the establishment and operation of the developed solution. It is necessary for both the form and processes to make a complete break with tradition in order not to be constrained by negative history and past unproductive processes. Focus must be on implementation and not talk, processes and not paper, value and not volume, as well as on function leading form and not the reverse. Form (Institution) Given their mandate of offering technology training, though certificate, technician and degree programs. The recently established Technical Universities and those to be established in the future are uniquely placed to serve as the vehicles through which the elusive goal of creating and stabilising indigenous industries is achieved.Their linkages to Technical Training Institutes in the country for upgrading of their graduates give them access to a large resource base of well trained artisans, craftsmen, technicians and technologists. Their status as institutions

of higher education coupled with their ethos of technology training enables them to draw budget from the science and technology as well as from the TVET wings of the Ministry of Education. Their programs are expected to uniquely pursue training in technology of pure and applied sciences, social studies, engineering and the built environment. Their teaching staff, drawn from graduates of technology training institutions and from traditional universities, form a rich mix for the development of solutions and technology at the same time. The universities, therefore, not only have the right combination of students and staff for nurturing of industry but, also, a wide financial resource pool in government. The brand of the universities in industry (given their past as polytechnics), both locally and regionally, as a place for training and developing human resources with readily utilisable practical hands-on skill also places them in very good stead to source for finances from and partnerships with industry and the world of work. Processes In order to support the end process of manufacturing, it is necessary that each one of these universities establishes an innovation, product development and manufacturing fund on the back of an already functional research fund; from their own sources, from government, from industry and from donors, to support: 1. Research in the development of technology for society 2. Product development comprising of

• Industrial set-up at Kipevu III power plant


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product design and specifications 3. Product manufacture 4. Product marketing and sales. It is expected that the above processes will come from the proceeds of basic research conducted within and outside the universities. The realisation of products through this process and the channelling of part of the financial benefit of selling such products back to the researchers and innovators should encourage increased productivity in research and innovations. Where the research fund does not exist, it must be established and made functional. It must be mentioned here that research and its cause cannot be predetermined in detail but only in broad focus areas and only by persons that are technically competent to do so. The urge to manage research purely from a management perspective is retrogressive and must be avoided. Joint or Single Commercial Ventures It is proposed that items 2 – 4 listed in the previous section be persued through the formation of joint commercial ventures with respective researchers and/or innovators and created as vehicles to carry the processes. By adopting this approach, the universities will ensure that the proceeds of research and innovation are converted into value, instead of being stored in reports to accumulate dust in libraries and offices. This would be a good break from tradition and an effective way of convincing society, through delivery of value to it, to support increased funding to them. Since it is expected that the greater majority of research and innovations will be from within the staff and student population in these universities, such an approach will ensure that the institutions not only develop human resource capacity but will also guarantee staff and students livelihoods, through support to transform them into owners of industry. This not only will be a first in the nation but a sure way of addressing the challenge of growing indigenous industry, providing employment for the youth of the country, and growing wealth. It is a novel approach which, if well implemented, has the potential to transform the nation rapidly and the surrounding countries as well. The foregoing is best done within a framework supported by policy that must:

Manufacturing Sector 1. Remain focused on the development and commercial exploitation of ideas obtained from researchers and innovators from within and outside the institutions that are identified to be of economic, financial and social value. 2. Recognise past failures and short comings of the financial markets in supporting and encouraging the emergence and sustenance of indigenous industry. Such a policy must recognise the reality that appears to have escaped the financial markets and players in the nation so far which is that money and its possession cannot be the sole basis for investment in growing a self sustaining economy. The quality and viability of ideas must be prioritized 3. Appreciate the reality of the fast changing world on the back of fast changing and emerging technologies so much so that competitiveness of any economy today, and in the perceivable future, is and will be predicated on its ability to develop and utilise new and novel ideas. This way then, and on the basis of existing and growing competent technical and financial capacity in the universities to understand and develop science and technology, the universities are able to vet, and therefore, invest in ideas primarily on their quality and value. The nation will be therefore able to avoid the losing or killing ideas which comes from undue emphasis on issues of equity, on the whole and at the onset, that have continuously plagued the financial markets in the country. Such a focus and its practice should encourage the financial market and investors away from the regressive practice of only financing proven businesses under the catchy phrase, “spreading the risk by leaving the market risk to the client while taking the financial risk themselves. In doing so, the universities will be able to demonstrate the principle that knowledge and understanding of the science and technology of ideas must be fundamental to the determination of risk above and beyond other considerations. It is expected that such an approach will focus the finances available in the country to support new ideas and products of science and technology, even in the absence of proven business records, and, therefore, make the economy competitive on an international platform while providing employment as well. 4. Attach importance to the growth of an economy that is stable and being anchored on ideas and products that are grown internally and not externally. In adopting this approach, the universities will be charting desirable new waters in the country that will lead financial markets and players away from their prevalent practice of embracing and overvalueing all things foreign in preference to locally grown ideas and products. 5. Appreciate the urgent need to create and sustain a sense of self worth in the population of this nation, through the support of process for the development of ideas and solutions that are of high value in both the local and international market. It is necessary that the importance of this last factor in weaning off the population from both intellectual and physical dependence on external

interventions be clearly understood. The policy must, additionally, provide for the: 1. Creation of a joint or sole venture fund to be used in financing the setting up of profit making enterprises, particularly in manufacture. This will involve: • Defining the fund and its objectives. • Procedures of raising the funds required to meet the set objectives. • Clearly stating the rules and regulations governing the utilisation of funds acquired to achieve the stated objectives. • Clearly stating the rules and regulations governing the utilisation and sharing of profits arising from investments that are beneficiaries of the fund. • Developing a management structure for the fund. • Developing a policy for accounting to the contributors of the fund. 2. Delinking of the management and day to administration of the setup ventures from the university administration in order to avoid undue interference with the ventures. This is necessary in order to allow the ventures thus set up to function as private entities in which the universities have an interest. It also protects the ventures from a carryover of any inefficiencies and bad practices that may be inherent in the university systems. Moreover, it is expected to encourage the ventures set up to develop the capacity to compete with other players in the market on their own

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KENYA ENGINEER - May/June 2014

Manufacturing Sector





strength. Development and establishment of policy that clearly outlines how personnel within the universities are allowed access, to or are sourced by, the established ventures in order to, in the first instance, avoid undue interference with the ventures. It further ensures that distortions and inefficiencies are not introduced in the ventures, while supporting the growth of a strict system of accountability and productivity in them. Establishment of investment vetting guidelines for setting up of sole and joint ventures that demand a proper understanding of the science and technology of ideas as a fundamental in arriving at their worth. Creation of legal safeguards of any ideas presented to the institution for purposes of seeking support from the institution to enter into joint ventures, at any stage in the process. The legal safeguards will protect the rights of the innovator or researcher as well as those of the universities. The legal safeguards will protect the ideas from being utilised in manners not agreed upon and by persons not duly authorised in perpetuity. They will also recognise their sole ownership by the innovator or researcher, unless authorizes otherwise the innovator or researcher Setting up of professional and competent non permanent committees to review any ideas presented by innovators and researchers, which



will be responsible for ensuring strict adherence to the legal safeguards stipulated in the policy developed under item 2 above. Development of mechanisms for sharing of inputs with joint venture partners in the establishment of the identified and agreed upon ventures. Creation of an ownership structure of any joint ventures set up. This will involve membership to the boards of the enterprises thus set up with provisions such as: • The position of director of finance for any enterprise set up under this arrangement shall be set aside for the universities or whichever of the two partners is the key financier of the venture, in addition to any other positions on the board as may be agreed upon. • The investor or researcher shall be appointed as Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of the venture with such powers as are normally consistent with such appointments. • The board on the balance will be so constituted as to principally protect the interests of the innovator or researcher at all times. • Upon full recovery of the initial capital invested by the universities and sharing of such profits as will have been agreed upon during formation of the

enterprise, the membership to the board of the universities will be reduced in order to transfer ownership of the enterprise to the researcher or innovator, in proportions equal to the eventual residual income share holding (proposed as 10 – 20%) agreed upon during formation of the enterprise. The principle here is to maximise the share holding and therefore returns that accrue to the innovator or researcher in order to encourage others like them to move in this same direction. It is also recognises the fact that the universities are better off with this small percentage share holding and accruing returns from many ventures, rather than none at all. 9. A mechanism for sharing of the profits arising out of any enterprises set up as joint ventures. The mechanism should target rapid return of any monies raised by the innovator, researcher and university without starving the enterprise set up, and a long term small (about 10 – 20%) residual income for the universities, upon return of the invested principle. Such an arrangement is expected to encourage innovators and researchers to bring their intellectual property to the universities as an avenue of actualising them and eventually owing enterprises. This is expected to drive the push for more and more research and innovation output, more and more products for manufacture or production lines for establishment and the ground for the establishment of the institutions as the centres for the development industry in the country and beyond. 10. C r e a t i o n o f l e a n m a n a g e m e n t structures that are characterised by efficiency, productivity, and demonstrated as well as sustained competency. This can only be achieved by: • First defining the management structure with focus on its objectives and processes, • Th e n d e ve l o p i n g t e r m s o f reference that are solely guided by expected roles and productivity, followed by

KENYA ENGINEER - May/June 2014


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Recruitment that is based solely on such developed terms of reference, • Delegation on the basis of the developed terms of reference with a firm focus on productivity and accountability, and then • C o n t i n u o u s e va l u a t i o n o f performance accompanied by attendant reward and censure. Creation of a recruitment policy of personnel for any ventures set up, that are based on the afore mentioned terms of reference and on demonstrated competency and efficiency as the first priority. The recruitment process must also capture the interests of the partners in the case of joint ventures. Hiring out of space to the venture for the manufacture, assembly and storage of products and their related inputs, within the university workshops, as well as access to university testing and manufacturing facilities. S e t t i n g u p o f a r e s e a r ch a n d development policy for each venture that can preferably be executed within the university premises, or in those of its research and development partners. In the case of the latter option, legal safeguards of the ideas and products as well as processes in the venture must be put in place. Rental or outright purchase of facilities for carrying out manufacture, assembly and storage of products and their related inputs, outside the university premises if such are not available within the institution.

Sourcing for Funds It is anticipated that funds will be sourced directly from the wings of Government that deal with research funding, Government Ministries and Parastatals in pursuit of their respective terms of reference, Country Governments pursuant to their respective objectives, private investment funds, private companies and businesses, industries, international donors and international research donor institutions. It is necessary that a clear procedure for vetting and subsequent funding of ventures be put in place, complete with procedures for monitoring the utilisation of funds given. This information, if made available to the sources of funds is likely to be sufficient along with to guarantees by the institution of good use of funds thus given. The vetting procedures should include: • The existence of technical vetting committees, or policy on the manner of setting them up, as outlined earlier in this document. • R e q u i r e m e n t s f o r p r o p o s a l s submitted to the vetting committee in respect of: • Objectives • Details of the innovation or output from research • Requirements for equipment and space • Requirements for material inputs • Requirements of manufacturing processes equipment and manpower. • Costing of the project • Identified markets and expected volumes of sale, and expected returns. • Long term assessment of the market • The existence of a funding policy

that outlines sharing of capital and recurrent costs, operational responsibility, and profits thus arising. It is important to underline here that the financiers need not know every detail of the specific project to be financed, as this is the ambit of the institution. Rather, they should be focused on the bigger picture of the fund and its broad objectives. This serves to limit the financiers to broad financial agreements and avoids possibilities of them attempting to micromanage projects whose technical details they are not likely to understand. This last bit is important such as if micromanaging is not stemmed , it will hamper projects due to existing scientific and technology based weaknesses of the financial systems outlined in the preceding section. Funding Sourcing Unit A lean, efficient, capable and energetic team to pursue the goal of seeking for funds to support this objective should be established with very clear and strict performance requirements based on volume and quality of funds sought, over specified periods of time, for instance monthly, quarterly, and annually. The initial objective should be to quickly accumulate a funds pool in excess of existing or medium term projected demand. This team must be comprised of persons with good demonstrated knowledge of: 1. 2. 3. 4.

Applied Science Engineering Financial management Marketing and sales

At the onset, one member each with competencies in one of the above four enumerated areas will suffice. The teams may then grow around these areas as a function of need and output. Members of the team must also possess or accumulate quickly, a good understanding of the various areas of research and teaching existing in their parent university as well as the strengths of its personnel, laboratories, and workshops and their possible value to industry and the world of work. This knowledge is important in advising their sales pitches to possible financiers of the

KENYA ENGINEER - May/June 2014


Manufacturing Sector institutions’ funds kitty. It will assist them undertaking preliminary negotiations with such financiers in order to speed up the process of acquiring such monies. The members of the team must also have a good understanding of the workings of Government and its flow of finances through budget, loans and donations, in order to indentify target funds within Government that can be attracted to support the institution’s innovation, product development and manufacturing fund. They must be conversant with the policies of Government, such as Vision 2030, and their implementation structures as well a projected implementation processes, for purposes of directing key personnel in Government and the funds allocated to support these policies to the university innovation, product development and manufacturing fund. It is also necessary for the team members to have or develop a good understanding of industry and business in the country and its structure with respect to geographic location, products manufactured, raw materials, components and parts and their sources, as well as markets. These should then be matched with the capacities of their university in order to advise investment in research, processes, manufacture, and training, in addition to advising the development of strategies to attract industry. A good understanding of the donor community and investment funds in the country, their sources of, targets and criteria for funding is critical. The institution can be marketed to them either as a direct destination for, or as

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a provider of solutions to projects or sectors that are targeted by, such funds. Prior to sourcing for members of this very critical team in the implementation of the developed solution, it is necessary that funds be set aside to provide facilities and equipment to support their work. This way, they can hit the ground running and can be held accountable to agreed upon performance targets right from the onset. Fund Management Research, Innovation, Production and Manufacturing committees should be set up at Faculty level to undertake vetting of any proposals for funding in order to verify their technical viability as well as the economic and social utility of their expected proceeds. These same committees will be responsible for monitoring the progress of any research work funded from the established fund and for ensuring proper utilisation of such funds granted. The committees shall comprise: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

The Executive Dean of the Faculty All Professors in the Faculty The Heads of School in the Faculty The Chairman of the Source Department The owners of the innovation or research proceeds under discussion 6. At least two persons who are considered experts in the area of application of the proposed project. These persons may be sourced externally if not available within the university 7. A representative from the School of Business and Management Studies to provide oversight on the financial and business aspects of the project The committees shall meet regularly every fortnight, in order to consider any new project proposals and to receive reports on the status of ongoing projects. The meetings shall be well structured and managed with proper and accurate recordings of all proceedings. The minutes arising from these meetings shall promptly be made available to all present, with copies to the offices of the Vice Chancellor, Deputy Vice Chancellor Academic, Deputy Vice Chancellor Research, and the Fund Management unit. Each funded project/industry is expected to generate and submit progress reports on their project/industry at least once each quarter. Upon submission, the management of the project/industry must then avail itself to discuss the contents of their report and any other matters that may arise. Continued funding of any project/industry will be depended on submission of these reports and a positive return of them by the relevant Faculty Research, Innovation, Production and Manufacturing committee. Sanctions may be imposed by the Faculty Research, Innovation, Production and Manufacturing committee for non-performance.

Manufacturing Sector


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BENEFITS ARISING FROM IMPLEMENTATION OF THE PROPOSED SOLUTION It is expected that the solution as outlined above, if implemented well, will make the universities financially independent quickly to the extent that they will be able to determine remuneration levels for members of staff, focus researchers and innovators on their respective fortes, and acquire the most competent and productive researchers, innovators, lecturers and administrators. The utility of education taught in the universities will be to the right requirements of industry, and as through the model proposed here, the institutions will be a continuum of their own home grown industries. Finding places for practical industrial attachment will cease to be a problem as the universities, through industries established by them, will have ample capacity to absorb their students, while other industries will desire to provide places for universities’ well trained and skilled students. The Technical Universities, through the solution proposed here, have a unique opportunity of transforming themselves into distinct, modern, high profile and productive institutions in which there is no discontinuity between learning and

industrial practice or research/ innovation and product development and eventually manufacture. In the technical universities, tools for design, management, finance, marketing and industrial psychology will be taught and applied to their own industries as well. The turnaround time from concept to utilisable solutions within the institutions will therefore be diminished, thus giving the institutions and their industries and businesses a great edge over others. The nation would benefit through the establishment of domestic processes for the growth and establishment of home grown industries. The processes proposed here will also see nationals continuously establish themselves into industries that are solidly linked to centres of excellence in teaching and research. Through the type of ownership proposed here, these industries are guaranteed to see continuous improvement in the quality and efficiency of products and manufacturing systems that are easily able to compete on the international market. The benefits for society will be continuous and ever increasing output of research ideas, technology and well priced, high quality

and available products that are within easy reach. Income levels of nationals will be expected to increase on the back of savings from cessation of external purchasing and the benefit of value addition, earnings from external sales, and the knock on effect in the entire economy of having locally existing efficient and robust industries. Once a culture of innovation, research and their subsequent conversion to products through locally grown industries and businesses takes root, the nation will be ready to provide solutions to its needs at both small and large scale. This will work to enhance the self respect and dignity of nationals and give them control of their destiny. The children of the nation are then able to dream with a credible hope of achieving their dreams. The knock on effect of this regionally and in the continent is immense. Even while the universities embark on getting the proposed solution off the ground, there are other priorities of a greater magnitude in the nation, which they can impact along with other players in the country. Because of their scale, these priorities, if well addressed internally, are capable each on its own of supporting the establishment of a plethora

KENYA ENGINEER - May/June 2014


Manufacturing Sector





The Kshs 21.5 Billion LAPSETT program if fully executed internally in terms of all its requirements of steel for the port facilities, rail line, rolling stock, and earth moving equipment, provides a huge market for the steel industry, while providing employment to large numbers of skilled and semi-skilled Kenyans, directly and indirectly. It is necessary that the existing expertise at the technical and research levels in the country is brought to bear on realising this goal. The technical universities can act as centres for this, within their Department of Materials and Metallurgy, Mining and Minerals Engineering, and Material Science. It will be a great loss to the country if the requirements for steel in this project are imported into the country already processed.


The huge deposits of coal existent in Kitui and other areas of the country, whose extraction is very simple and only involves open pit excavation and subsequent transportation are, if exploited fully with local human and technical resources, capable of not only providing employment to a large number of skilled and semi-skilled Kenyans but, also, of providing large quantities of coal for the production of energy and processing of steel. The existence of huge deposits of iron ore, in some instances high grade iron ore, in various parts of the country can be extracted and refined locally for use in providing steel based products to industry. It is evident from items 1 – 3 that the basis for setting up of an integrated steel manufacturing industry in the country does exist. This is in the form of an expanding domestic market in the form of immediate infrastructural and long term industrial needs for steel, and the existence of necessary raw m a t e r i a l s . I t i s n e c e s s a r y therefore, that the establishment of domestic capacity to enable the

KENYA ENGINEER - May/June 2014

coastline are replete with vast quantities of sand an alumino-silicate. The use of sand in the country so far has been limited to the construction industry as bulking material for mortar. Industrial sand which has a higher silica content (> 95% SiO2) and better controlled sizing has many uses including as the primary raw material for the manufacture of glass products such as flat glass for buildings and automobiles, container glass for foods, beverages, and tableware. It finds use in the pulverized form for the manufacture of fibreglass insulation and reinforcing glass fibres. It is also used in the manufacture of scientific equipment such as pipettes, test tubes, and beakers, and in the manufacture of incandescent and fluorescent lamps, television and computer CRT monitors. A further use for sand is in the metal industry as foundry sand for metal casting due to its comparatively low thermal expansion coefficient and as flux in metallurgy to lower the melting point and viscosity of slags to make them more reactive and efficient. Lump silica is used either alone or in conjunction with lime to achieve the desired base/acid ratio required for purification. It is also used as a chemical source for siliconbased products in its reduced metallic form (Si), in food processing, soap and dye production. It is a component of chemicals such as sodium silicate, silicon tetrachloride and silicon gels that are used in the manufacture of household and industrial cleaners, fiber optics and even in the removal of impurities from cooking oil and brewed beverages. Ground silica finds use in the manufacture of ceramics for tableware, sanitary ware and floor and wall tiles. It also finds use as a media for the filtration of water, additives for paints and in the production of oil and gas as a hydraulic fracturing media.

extraction, purification and further processing of iron ore and coal into products of various grades for different uses be prioritised. It should be noted here that an integrated steel manufacturing industry is the Holy Grail for industrialisation and one which the nation must therefore work to establish. The technical universities are very well placed to support this initiative, with their history of training technical staff, and their present staff that combines persons that are competent in technology as well as research. Their Departments of Materials and Metallurgy, Mining and Minerals Engineering, and Material Science are strategically placed with respect to this need.

of industries and indeed economies. They include:


As the extraction and purification of minerals is important in any modern economy and exploration of mineral resources today is largely based on GIS technology, the existing depth of human resources in Geospatial Science and Engineering, Geology, Metallurgy, and Materials Science, Mining and Mineral processing can be used to ensure internally driven and supported exploration, extraction, transportation and refining of petroleum, natural gas, and other minerals. The attendant development of technology and growth of knowledge in related areas such as the all important petrochemical sector and high technology metals such as zirconium, titanium, chromium will have immeasurable benefits to the country. One of the greatest costs of drilling is the cost of specialty steel drilling bits. Unlike high speed steel that relies on alloying with the right level of carbon, such drill bits are also alloyed with rare metals such as titanium. It is instructive today that there is an ongoing effort to mine and export raw titanium powder, which if processed internally, would then form a high priced product for sale to the oil exploration sector in and outside the county. The vast semi-deserts of the northern parts of the country and the Kenyan


Development of solar energy solutions, hydrogen fuel cells and solar panels for instance, given the vast tracks of unutilised land in the country and coupled with long periods of high intensity solar radiance, has

Manufacturing Sector

the capacity to grow a large solar energy technology based economic sector in the country, in addition to providing much needed energy solutions. Presently, all this technology is being developed in and imported from nations with comparatively few solar resources. The growth of industrial capacity to provide solutions in solar energy works well to release the bulk grid power for use by industries, while low power consumption for lighting and small appliances in offices, institutions and homes is serviced from solar power generators. The vast tracts of empty land with high levels of solar intensity may also be used to farm solar energy for injection into the grid. 7.

The warm climate in most of the northern part of the country makes for very short growth cycles for food, and, particularly ,fruits and vegetables. Therefore, given adequate quantities of water, this region has immense potential for requiring engineering support for the supply and distribution of water, controlling the incident solar energy, controlling growth environment and of, course, processing and packaging the harvested products. While creating value and employment, such an industry will help open up otherwise unutilised large sections of the country.


Component Manufacturing, in respect of house appliances and the transportation industry must also be a priority, A typical car today comprises of anything between 5,000 10,000 parts. These include alternators; air conditioning unit, batteries, voltage regulatory systems, fuel injections systems, carburetion systems, electronic controls and indicators, lighting systems, brake pads, servos, drums and discs, suspension springs and dumpers, suspension and steering linkages, gears, synchronisers, plastic components, sheet metal parts, plastic reinforced composite panels, chassis, exhaust system, air intake system, cams, valves, springs, crank shaft, piston liners, engine block, radiator, pumps, drives, upholstery, mats and so on. All these represent production lines and industry that can be grown locally and at low cost. This is so given the depth of technical personnel and experience servicing, maintaining, replacing and modifying the parts for different types of vehicles. The missing link is rationalisation and coordination of the whole sector in order to ensure coherency and mutual support of its various components. Financial and technical support are also necessary in order to ensure the establishment of modern production processes that are based on a good understanding of the science and technology of modern production, materials and processes. The present depth of the market for vehicles is so low as to ensure that, with local manufacture and increase of buying power, the sector can only grow. The same approach can be applied to the numerous domestic appliances that have become a necessary feature in many homes such as televisions, cookers, microwaves, toasters, refrigerators, music systems, washing machines, hoovers, lawn mowers and so on. It also applies to mobile phones and computers. Investment in

the establishment and subsequent growth of the foregoing production lines and more, within the universities of technology where the scientific and technical knowhow exist, will ensure that the production lines can take off quickly and with a good solid foundation. Moreover it ensures the development and use of modern and up to date production equipment and processes supported by continuous research and development in order to guarantee that the products made are of a quality that can compete on an international platform. SUMMARY There is a lot to be gained by the technical universities from setting up structures to support joint or single ventures in manufacturing, based on the resources of students and members of the technical and academic staff within them. This is one way of ensuring the institutions meet the expectations of Government and the society and that they catalyse the emergence and sustenance of industry in the country. It also ensures a break with the past during which institutions of higher learning educated and trained students to be dumped into the world of work with the assumption that opportunities for employment and application would arise. It ensures that the universities carry the responsibility of not only educating citizens but, also, of ensuring their gainful employment as providers of much needed products and solutions to the nation. It provides an alternative perspective to education and industry that could serve the nation, region and continent well.

KENYA ENGINEER - May/June 2014



KENYA ENGINEER - May/June 2014

Internet Measurements

INTERNET MEASUREMENTS; Quality of Broadband Internet Service by Kennedy Aseda, BSc MKIF, MIEE

Kennedy Aseda Kennedy Aseda is a Lead Network Operations Engineer at KENET and has been working at KENET since 2008. He holds a Bsc, in Electrical & Electronic Engineering from the University of Nairobi and is a member of Kenya’s National IPv6 Task Force as well as National CIRT/CC. He primarily works on KENET’s core network and focuses on routing, switching and configuration backup of network devices. He also has a passion for process automation of network tasks and notification.


nternet has become an integral part of our daily activities and and serves as a communication tool for businesses, academia, students and individuals. End users are also moving to real-time applications such as video conferencing, voice over IP and large data set transfers that require seamless working of their applications irrespective of location. With the reduction in costs of internet infrastructure, as well as the increase in affordability of end user equipment for Internet access and the use of bandwidthsensitive real-time applications, users are always looking for reliable ways to ascertain the actual bandwidth provided by their service providers. Service providers are also judged by the perceived performance of the internet measurement results obtained by users and in some countries, active measurement of internet links is used to enforce service level agreements between service providers and customers. Most end users make Internet measurements without considering factors that may affect performance of their Internet connections or even interrogating the results obtained to understand why the results vary from their subscriptions. Service providers also use wrong metrics in marketing campaigns. This article will analyse some of the factors that affect Internet measurements as well as the metrics used in Internet bandwidth measurements. Finally, we look at a number of tools that can be used to measure endto-end Internet bandwidth with specific focus on Measurement Lab that is used worldwide to give end users metrics over time on performance of the Internet. Bandwidth Metrics Network throughput is measured in bits per second (bps) with magnitudes of Kilo (Kbps), Mega (Mbps), Giga (Gbps), Tera (Tbps) and so forth. This is different from the measurement of data storage size that is done using bytes and orders of magnitudes


KENYA ENGINEER - May/June 2014

Internet Measurements in the form of KB, MB, GB and TB. Thus, when conducting a data transfer, it is typical to see units like 12MB/s that indicate data transfer per second. A typical network throughput of 100Mbps is capable of transferring data files at 12.5MB/s while 1Gbps link throughput can transfer data files at 125MB/s. This phenomenon is because data file storage is measured in bytes which is equal to 8 bits. It is also worthy to note that a rated speed of 100Mbps link or hardware may not achieve the theoretical 100Mbps but a lower throughput rate due to factors like transmission overheads, protocol overheads, network conditions, system limitations among others. Access technology in place also impacts the throughput measured in an end-to-end test. Wired Ethernet connections can achieve full duplex throughput while wireless technologies may not necessarily achieve full duplex unless the implementation uses multiple transmitters to achieve duplex connectivity. As such, conducting a bidirectional test on a traditional wireless access link will achieve less than half the rated throughput of the hardware. The Bandwidth Problem Most applications in use today are either TCP or UDP based ranging from Email, Web, VOIP, file transfers and video conferencing just to mention but a few. Some of these protocols were designed when bandwidth was a limited resource but over time have been modified to enable them be more robust. Internet bandwidth throughput is affected by a number of factors that among others include: • • • •

Cross-traffic interaction Latency/Delay TCP flow control TCP congestion control

The above factors generally mean that your bandwidth throughput can be affected by other user traffic on the connection, the delay on the network from the end user to the server as well as TCP window scaling capabilities of the systems in use. Other factors include system limitations and load

on the end user or server infrastructure. Connectionless protocols like UDP are neither affected by end-to-end latency nor TCP receive window size. Unlike UDP, TCP and other connection-oriented protocols that verify data integrity, latency as well as TCP receive window size are crucial in transfer of large data files or data transfer over high latency connections. Traditional internet connections were small in capacity and the TCP window size did not have a large impact on the end-to-end bandwidth. Currently, last-mile connections are on the scale of 1Gbps with some single trans-continental connections as high as 100Gbps. This poses a high challenge since latency is increased in trans-continental connections and high bandwidth connections to the end users. TCP was designed to detect delays and congestion on the end-to-end connection as well as adapt to the perceived network conditions. Thus, for TCP data transfers, end-to-end bandwidth is a factor of the endto-end delay and the TCP window size. For high bandwidth, high latency connections, also referred to as LFN (Long Fat Networks), TCP window scaling was introduced to allow for high data transfer rates over high latency connections. Operating systems have default TCP window sizes of 64Kbyte and a maximum allowable TCP window size. While some allow for window scaling, others require user customized settings to be able to adjust

the maximum TCP window size up to 1G byte. Table 1 shows maximum bandwidth achievable under different latency values without TCP window modifications. Table 1: Bandwidth/Latency Relationship

Maximum Bandwidth (TCP Window 64KB)











Different access technologies exhibit different latency based on distance. Typical data transfer is based on the speed of light and when testing mobile data access technologies, latency of 200ms to 600ms are typical. Thus, without TCP window optimization or window scaling, bandwidth as perceived by a single user cannot be more than 2.56Mbps even if only one user is accessing the network. This problem is expounded when the last mile connections are 1Gbps and latency of 20ms. Strategies have emerged to accelerate TCP Data Transfer. Some of these strategies include: • • • •

Data Compression Increase window size Caching - Reduce latency Parallel Data Transfer

KENYA ENGINEER - May/June 2014


Internet Measurements The main strategies being pursued all over the world is reduction of latency to the end user. This has led to use of caching and content delivery servers close to users in order to keep content as close to the user as possible. Such strategies are employed by big content companies like Google, Akamai, Netflix among others. Bandwidth measurement has not been left behind by the need to reduce the latency between the end-user and the test server. Online measurement tools like Measurement Lab and Speedtest have set up distributed test servers around the globe to ensure that the test results from the end user are as accurate as possible and not affected by latency and TCP window scaling challenges.

Bandwidth Measurement Tools Two strategies are used to measure Internet bandwidth to the end-user: passive measurements and active measurements. Passive measurements are non-intrusive measurements of real utilization of user traffic on the connection. This is normally done by collecting data from network equipment using protocols like SNMP. Active measurements on the other hand are intrusive in nature and send active probes using bandwidth measurement tools. It is always advisable to conduct active measurements when other users are not utilizing the connection to ensure accuracy as well as minimal interruption of user traffic. A number of tools are available for testing internet bandwidth. Some of these are online web-based tools while others are client-server based tools where a user runs an application when testing bandwidth. Some of the tools include iPerf, Pathtest, NPAD, NDT, TTCP, Netperf, Speedtest, Perfsonar and Measurement Lab. Iperf has been a widely used bandwidth measurement tool using both TCP and UDP protocols and is based on a client-server model where both client and server run iPerf tool during the test. This tool can be used to measure an end-to-end connection both unidirectional and bi-directional. However, for high bandwidth and high latency connections TCP tests using iPerf may require TCP window tuning to improve on accuracy of the results.


KENYA ENGINEER - May/June 2014

For online web measurements, Speed test is widely deployed and can be used to measure speeds to the end user from a server that is closest to the user. Perfsonar is a web-based online measurement tool for the academic environment. This is an open-source collection of tools that can be set up anywhere and to conduct tests on other local servers, to end users or to global servers. Some of these tests using Perfsonar can be scheduled to run during off-peak hours. Measurement Lab is an open collaborative framework for testing Internet connections, and sharing Internet measurements supported by various industry players, academia and interest groups. Measurement Lab makes use of open source tools in its framework as well as open collaboration for researchers to test Internet measurement tools and monitor net neutrality patterns. Internet Measurements Lab Measurement Lab is an online web-based distributed Internet measurement framework with nodes in the Americas, Europe, Middle East, Asia, Africa and Australia. Two nodes have been active in Africa with Nairobi, Kenya hosting one of the Measurement Lab nodes. Each of the nodes includes three (3) high end servers that patch on to a 1Gbps to the local Internet exchange and 50Mbps Global Internet traffic. Measurement Lab makes use of open source tools including Network Diagnostic Tool (NPAD), Network Path & Application Diagnosis (NPAD), Mobiperf, Glasnost, Neubot, etc and is able to perform a wide range of tests on a user connection and give

results that include: • • • • • • •

End-to-end bandwidth Duplex configuration problems Last mile cable problems TCP tuning problems TCP buffer problems Link congestion Traffic shaping by service provider

With a locally hosted Internet Measurements Lab and a properly tuned test computer, it is possible to test up to 1Gbps end-to-end from an end user’s perspective since the servers queue tests best on the bandwidth being tested and available bandwidth they are configured to handle. The servers have also been optimized and the TCP window tuned for accurate results. Data collected by Measurement Lab servers is openly available and can be interrogated by researchers and policy makers to gauge impact of broadband strategies being deployed. Conclusion Broadband Internet is essential for education, business and communication. In order to achieve accurate broadband Internet measurement results, factors that affect bandwidth measurements must be isolated, end-to-end latency reduced and TCP tuned. Internet measurement lab framework is able to conduct bandwidth measurement tests and inform where the bottleneck is as well as detect best TCP tuning needed to achieve accurate results. Data obtained over a duration can also be used by policy makers to influence broadband penetration and/or future investment by companies.

KENYA ENGINEER - May/June 2014


Infrastructure Sharing


A must for Kenya’s growing Telecommunication sector by A.C. Muhalia - BSc Electrical & Electronic Engineering, MSc IS UoN A.C Muhalia He has worked for 13 years as Telecommunication Engineer and currently working with Safaricom Limited

employ in order to share infrastructure, and thereby, provide better service and reduce costs. Sharing refers to two or more network operators utilizing network capacity together, and telecommunication infrastructure includes the physical facilities and organizational systems which support technologically-based long distance communication. This sharing falls into the active and passive categories, and like the rest of the industry, operates under sector specific guidelines and regulations. The power of regulation lies with the Communication Authority of Kenya. The 2013 Kenya Information and Communications Act (KICA) promotes sharing and ensures that operators interconnect in order to offer critical services such as cross network calls, short messages and emergency services. Regulations mandate that operators in this sector must procure network facility provider licenses in order to participate in infrastructure deployment.Infrastructure sharing has three pillars: first commercial considerations, second technical considerations and finally regulatory considerations. These pillars form the basis of successful infrastructure sharing whether that sharing is active or passive. Technical considerations are the glue that holds commercial and regulatory considerations together. Active sharing necessitates the technical capacity for compatibility to host another player. Active sharing is when stakeholders share some or all of the electronic elements which belong to one operator. These elements include frequency spectrum, core network elements, antenna systems, transceivers, microwave equipments, lit fiber optic cables, long term evolution, 3G nodes and routers.Passive infrastructure sharing involves no electronic components but is concerned with joint utilization of non-electronic elements such as towers, land, power, cable ladders, ducts, antenna poles, shelters, manholes, air conditioners and fire extinguishers. In passive sharing, individual operators maintain separate elements which together form the active network. For example, the radio access network (RAN) in the base transceiver station (BTS) setup are individually owned and include antenna systems, radio frequency cables, BTS, and core network elements.

A telecommunication Mast


nfrastructure sharing can minimize unnecessary service disruptions in rapidly growing telecommunications environments like Kenya’s. As telecommunication demand outpaces the development of infrastructure, service disruptions frustrate consumers who rely on the infrastructure for their business and personal communication. Aware that smooth service delivery is necessary to maximize economic growth, this article describes the methods which operators can


KENYA ENGINEER - May/June 2014

Passive infrastructure sharing takes place between operators and includes a variety of stakeholders. For example, to mount an antenna for community broadcasting, a community based organization can lease space on an operator-owned tower in order to mount an antenna for broadcasting, and a manufacturing company can lease tower space to mount a repeater station for very high frequency communication. Through commercial arrangements, utility companies like Kenya Pipeline, Kenya Power and KETRACO offer stakeholders resources like rights of way, fiber optic cables and manholes. The equipment must meet

Infrastructure Sharing active sharing as it covers situations where different services can exist within the same bands’ technical parameters. Examples of this include satellite links sharing bands with fixed links, running low power services in GSM bands and using the white space within TV bands for deploying broadband network. In some parts of the world, operators may share frequency spectrum and Radio access network (RAN) infrastructure. In this situation, operators share all the passive elements, the active RAN and the transceivers. Spectrum is channelized and for primary GSM in 200 KHz channels, 3G in 5MHz channels. With channel numbers, it is possible to identify and link specific channels to a particular operator. This type of active sharing is complex • Different forms of sharing given that, for optimal operation, it involves a great deal of logical separation and network element configuration. the Communication commission of Kenya’s (CCK) standards such as CCK approves and assigns frequency use. Thanks to The telecommunication industry requires intense capital augmented fiber cable infrastructure, Kenya’s transmission investment as the physical infrastructure absorbs most of the speeds have increased tremendously over the last decade. With capital expenditure. For successful sharing, the investor must passive sharing, multiple operators can share fiber cable ducts. recoup some of the costs from the operator. This recovery could An operator can lay cables in ducts which another operator has take the form of negotiated commercial rates or the barter trade developed. This sharing is achieved through the deployment of model according to which one exchanges similar infrastructure multiple ducts, each of which carry several cores of fiber cable, with another, i.e. one meter of duct for one meter of duct. or through micro duct technology in which a single duct can Recently, some companies have been developing infrastructure have several micro ducts. for licensed stakeholders’ use which implies that, in these cases, companies have fully monetized sharing. This monetization is Steel structures form the bulk of the global system for mobile significant in Kenya where the licensing framework provides (GSM) network physical infrastructure and passive sharing. These infrastructure development through network facilities provider structures have transmitting microwave antennas which are high licenses. enough to provide a line of sight to the next tower. Also, they have GSM panel antennas which are used for cell phones and For monetization to work, operators must agree on the finances RF up and downlink communication. These structures also carry or off-the-shelf rates for accessing the infrastructure. A good waveguides which connect to networks’ active components. example is the arrangement which Airtel, Safaricom, Telkom With passive sharing, several operators can use tower Kenya Ltd., Essar, broadcasters and learning institutions have for infrastructure simultaneously as long as each operator mounts sharing towers. They utilize bartering and monetizing. its own equipment on the tower, sufficient space is available and the tower’s structure is stable. Tower-sharing saves operators’ For sharing to take place, the infrastructure has to have capacity costs and mitigates against environmental concerns about to accommodate sharing or to meet the compatibility criteria. tower proliferation. Assuming operator A requires x number of For example, for a duct to carry extra stakeholders, it has to towers to cover a country and operator B requires the same, have extra ducts or space to accommodate more cables. In with coordination and assuming that the operators’ coverage the absence of extra capacity, stakeholders must upgrade the obligations and goals are the same, the operators will require x infrastructure or add new development. Several years ago, towers instead of 2x towers. as most operation licenses were issued at the same time, every operator moved to deploy single user infrastructure When they share ducts, operators enjoy cost savings, reductions and developed towers and ducts without provision for extra in cable cuts, and thanks to standardized installation, higher stakeholders. As a result, upgrades are now mandatory and, in quality of service. Several operators can share fiber cables which some cases, old infrastructure must be demolished. have junction points for dropping or splicing services. Deploying ducts which can be passively shared is one way of dealing with Multiple user designs and deployments are expensive at first the limitation of rights of way and way leaves which continued but, in the long run, they are cost effective and efficient. road network infrastructure expansion is currently causing. WellAgain, stakeholders can recoup costs by sharing with other developed duct and cable systems have very low maintenance stakeholders who may not be able to deploy themselves due costs and, hence, reduce overhead operational costs. financial constraints. Telecommunications infrastructure sharing is a must in Kenya and other countries where operators need to Frequency spectrum is very scarce yet it is the telecommunication minimize service disruptions and costs. industry’s lifeblood. Spectrum sharing is a broad area within

KENYA ENGINEER - May/June 2014



KENYA ENGINEER - May/June 2014

Altaaqa Global Opens East Africa Office scale infrastructure development, economic reforms and new discovery of energy and natural resources. Kenya, among other African countries, is expected to become a vital regional financial and business hub, with a consistent 5% to 7% economic improvement year-onyear. Tanzania, Somalia, Uganda and South Sudan are also predicted to make inroads into economic stability, following the discovery of oil and gas in their territories. Additionally, Ethiopia and Rwanda are projected to show remarkable development, owing to an expansion in agricultural activities and a strong reform record, respectively.


ubai - based Altaaqa Global CAT Rental Power, a global provider of temporary power solutions, has recently opened a branch in Nairobi, Kenya to serve the East Africa territory. The office will cater to several countries, including Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda, Kenya, Somalia, Ethiopia, Sudan, South Sudan, Djibouti and Eritrea. Peter den Boogert, General Manager of Altaaqa Global, said, “The business activities in the East Africa region are flourishing and the economy has been thriving throughout recent years, resulting in an increased demand for power. At Altaaqa Global, our objective is to be on the ground as quickly as possible when customers require our energy solutions, and our new branch will enable us to reach this region faster than before. We realize that our industry is driven by emergency needs and hard deadlines, but uses equipment that requires substantial lead times to acquire. With the combined fleet of our sister company in Saudi Arabia, Altaaqa Global has approximately 1,400 MW of rental power readily available so that we can focus our efforts on rapid deployment and customer satisfaction.” Steven Meyrick, Board Representative of Altaaqa Global, commented, “This strategic expansion is in line with our vision to be the leading and the most preferred temporary power solutions provider before year 2020. During our geographic expansion, we will continue to heavily invest in human resources, further improve our business processes, and expand and diversify our fleet of CAT power generators. We now have the capability to provide power plants running on various fuel, such as piped natural gas (PNG), liquefied petroleum gas (LPG),

compressed natural gas (CNG), liquefied natural gas (LNG), flare gas, diesel, dual-fuel (70% gas and 30% diesel), and, very soon, heavy fuel oil (HFO).” Altaaqa Global will also provide environmental and social programs in East Africa. Meyrick added, “As part of our commitment to help local communities in East Africa and, eventually, in the entire Sub-Saharan region, we are actively embracing corporate social responsibility initiatives that will help alleviate the social needs of our immediate environs.” “East Africa has a promising economic outlook within the energy and engineering sectors,” said Majid Zahid, Strategic Accounts Director of Altaaqa Global. “We are delighted to open our new office to provide interim power plants ranging in size and with the latest power generation technologies. We are determined to serve various industries, such as oil & gas, petrochemicals, mining, electric power utilities, industrial manufacturing and maritime. Through our office in East Africa, Altaaqa Global will be able to provide our clients with uncompromising personalized service. In the energy rental industry, all requirements are treated as individual and unique, and we will be able to deliver the exact rental power station to all of our enquiries using our local knowledge and global expertise.” East Africa has experienced encouraging economic growth in recent years, and is gradually being regarded as an important supplier to different markets around the world. Market analysts attribute the notable growth of the region to several factors, including large-

About Altaaqa Global Altaaqa Global, a subsidiary of Zahid Group, has been selected by Caterpillar Inc. to deliver multi-megawatt turnkey temporary power solutions worldwide. The company owns, mobilizes, installs, and operates efficient temporary independent power plants (IPP’s) at customer sites, focusing on the emerging markets of Sub-Sahara Africa, Central Asia, the Indian Subcontinent, Latin America, South East Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa. Offering power rental equipment that will operate with different types of fuel such as diesel, natural gas, or dual-fuel, Altaaqa Global is positioned to rapidly deploy and provide temporary power plant solutions, delivering electricity whenever and wherever it may be needed. press-releases About Zahid Group Zahid Group represents a diverse range of companies, offering comprehensive, customercentric solutions in a number of thriving industries. Some of those include construction; mining; oil & gas; agriculture; power, electricity & water generation; material handling; building materials; transportation & logistics; real estate development; travel & tourism; waste management & recycling; and hospitality. About Middle East Electricity Awards The Middle East Electricity Awards recognise the outstanding achievements of individuals, departments, teams or an organisation that have contributed to the growth and development of the energy industry with a focus on the power, lighting, new & renewable, nuclear and water sectors.

KENYA ENGINEER - May/June 2014


Construction Sector

The Kenyan Government Must Employ Set Asides to Foster Growth in the Construction Sector by Eng. J M. Matu

Eng. Matu He serves as the Chairman of the KEPSA Infrastructure Sector Board and as a Council Member of ACEK. He is also the Chairman of APEC, Ltd., an engineering consulting firm. He was the Project Coordinator for the Nairobi-Thika Superhighway and holds a B.Sc. (Hons.) in engineering from the University of Nairobi


n the last volume, Kenya Engineer asked readers to contribute to its debate on the role which the Kenyan government should play in fostering the construction sector’s growth. I firmly believe that the government must play an active role by using set asides, also known as affirmative action, to support this sector, and I advocated for this approach at the Presidential Roundtable on 14 February 2014. President Kenyatta, Deputy President Ruto, some Cabinet Secretaries, the Chief of Staff and the Head of the Civil Service were present at the Roundtable. The Government of Kenya (GoK) must first set aside some contracts for Kenyan firms then set aside some contracts for joint ventures between Kenyan and foreign firms and finally require international donor organizations to award contracts to Kenyan-foreign joint


KENYA ENGINEER - May/June 2014

ventures as opposed exclusively to foreign companies. These measures are necessary because increasing the number of Kenyan and Kenyan-foreign joint venture contracts is essential to building capacity in Kenya. It also develops the construction sector and related sectors of our economy. R e c e n t l y, K e n y a h a s s e e n t h e commencement and, in some cases, completion of important mega-projects such as the Thika Superhighway, the Athi River-Namanga Superhighway, the Nairobi-Mombasa Railway Project, and the Greenfield Terminal at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, but Kenyan firms have little or no involvement in these projects. As a result, our firms are missing out on essential opportunities to build capacity

which could strengthen their ability to execute similar projects in the future. Sadly, also, our university and college graduates are missing out on critical on-the-job training opportunities. What type of capacity must Kenya build in its construction sector? We already have considerable capacity for constructing these mega-projects. Over the last fifty years, our consultants and contractors have been handling small to medium-sized projects which have given them excellent technical preparation. The key areas for capacity building pertain to the financial muscle and organizational skills necessary to win big contracts. As a result of this financial and organizational paucity, Kenyan firms lack the necessary experience for winning

Construction Sector

big contracts. Furthermore, the eligibility requirements to undertake such projects are fixed at levels which lock them out. Also problematic is the fact that Kenyan firms and the nation, as a whole, are missing out on revenue and the chance to participate in creating more employment. While foreign firms create some employment, the benefits of awarding them contracts are inadequate considering that the country will struggle for years to repay the loans which finance the projects. Also, foreign firms extradite large portions of the mega-projects’ profits out of the country, thereby, denying the exchequer finances. Joint ventures will increase the exchequer’s purse, because a certain portion of the money will remain in Kenyan where it will be taxed. For example, the NairobiMombasa Railway Project, the Greenfield Terminal at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport and the Lapsset Pipeline Project cost a total of around KSH. 1.088 trillion. If 30% of the contracts for these projects went to Kenyan firms, KSH 300 billion would go to Kenyans and be taxed in the forms of corporate tax and VAT. Assuming that the total tax would be 25% of Kenyans’ income on these projects, the exchequer would benefit by KSH 75 billion within three years! The absurd reality is that in all the construction sectors, e.g. roads, water, building, energy, etc., foreign firms compete unfairly as these firms are largely not profit making companies. Their advantage is due to the fact that their governments support many of them. Even on Government of Kenya contracts, Kenyan firms face unfair competition from Chinese contractors. Currently, as per the procurement law, the government sets aside projects valued at less than KSH one billion for Kenyan firms. The current legally stipulated margin of preference for Kenyan firms on tenders is not helping, because foreign firms’ quotes are so low, and they are even lower than the real market value or project cost. In Kenya, foreign firms have virtually taken over the building industry, and if something does not change, our situation will be like that of Angola, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi and the Democratic of Congo where construction capacity building is all but over.

A global perspective provides positive as well as negative examples. China, India and Korea were very poor countries thirty to forty years ago. In order to come out of poverty, they identified infrastructure development as a key pillar of economic growth. At that time, these countries had little or no capacity to develop infrastructure, and therefore, depended heavily on Western nations. China, India and Korea made sure, however, that they developed their capacity by ensuring that their firms invested in human resources and took on joint ventures with foreigners. Today, these Asian nations can rely on their own capacity for infrastructure development and are far ahead of Kenya in terms of development despite that they were more or less at par with Kenya fifty years ago. The current laws which regulate construction set asides include the Public Procurement and Disposal Act of 2005; the Engineers Act of 2012; the National Construction Authority Act of 2012; and the July 2013 Presidential Directive on procurement. These laws only apply to governmentfunded projects not to multilateral and bilateral donor-funded projects. They have not been sufficiently effective in ensuring local content in projects, and therefore, are not contributing to capacity building in Kenyan firms. Either the government must amend these laws or pass completely new laws so that there is local content in all Kenyan development projects regardless of whether or not the projects are government or donor-funded. The most important action is for the government to craft a law that mandates Kenyan content in at least 30% of all construction projects and at least 51% of all engineering consulting. One of our representatives needs to draft a new bill and table it in parliament as soon as possible. Furthermore, during loan negotiations, government officials need to advise donors that the government of Kenya stipulates that a minimum percentage of all contracts must be set aside for Kenyan firms or Kenyaforeign joint ventures. I commend President Kenyatta for setting aside 30% of government tenders for youth, women, and people with disabilities. The

Treasury Cabinet Secretary issued a circular (Treasury Circular No. 14 2013) to ministries and parastatals informing them that the President Kenyatta directed them to award 30% of their contracts to youth, women and persons with disabilities, but some ministries and parastatals are still not complying. In regard to construction, Kenyan firms could benefit from a similar Presidential directive assuming that ministries and parastatals implemented the directive. While currently Kenyan companies are losing out due to unfair competition from foreign firms, we don’t need to compete against foreigners. We want to build capacity by working with them in joint ventures. The country will benefit from these joint ventures significantly. We will create the right environment for retaining construction professionals who are currently finding better and more lucrative opportunities in foreign countries. Technology foreign to Kenya will spur industrial growth and catalyze innovation; lead to stronger Kenyan organizational skills; and the work ethics necessary to provide world class services. Entrepreneurs will establish industries to provide construction materials and, thereby, create jobs. Kenyan firms will have more opportunities whereas they currently rely heavily on government of Kenya contracts which are limited by the available budget. Lastly, the country will develop its own capacity and be able to successfully compete throughout East Africa for infrastructure projects. It is imperative that this government focus on capacity building in regard to infrastructure construction to ensure that Kenyans benefit as much as possible from infrastructure projects. Set asides are the best way to establish this focus. When it comes to roads, airports and railways, for example, Kenyans should be able to benefit during the construction of the projects in terms of economic growth and capacity building opportunities just as we benefit after the projects’ completion when we are enjoying more efficient transport. A country which allows others to use it as a dumping ground for old technologies, materials and equipment may find itself left with a huge infrastructure and no capacity or finances to maintain that infrastructure.

KENYA ENGINEER - May/June 2014



IEK holds it’s monthly luncheon


he Institution of Engineers of Kenya (IEK) held its monthly luncheon on 4th day of April 2014 at Athi River. The event, hosted by Rhino Cement

a product of Athi River Mining, brought together engineers from all sectors. The aim of the trip was mainly to give the engineers an insights into how cement is produced right from conception to commissioning. “This luncheon consisting of a trip to the Rhino Cement manufacturing plant seeks to foster the association between academics and the practical application of knowledge,” said Mr. Bhatia, the Commercial Director Rhino Cement, while addressing the Engineers at the luncheon. Mr. Bhatia noted that the main challenges which ARM encounteres include the high costs of power. He called on the governement to subsidise the cost of power in order to promote local products. Athi River Mining has been producing cement since 1974. The firm had its first plant in Mombasa which produced 36,000 tonnes of cement. The company has since opened branches in Athi River and other towns in East African countries. Currently the Athi River plant, their largest, produces 75000 tonnes of cement to accommodate the growing market. The mother plant in Kaloleni is strategically located for easy access to raw materials.

Rhino c e m e nt e nsu re s th e p la n t is environmentally friendly by installing dust control equipments which are installed in the plant. This equipment helps keeping the dust in one place.

can’t access quality education in Kajiado County.

Rhino Cement participates greatly in

The IEK luncheon was a wonderful

giving back to the community by initiating

opportunity for the engineers to tour the

projects that help in conservation and, also,

firm and demystify the cement industry

protecting endangered animals like rhinos.

on infrastructure development depends so

They also offer sponsorship to students who



KENYA ENGINEER - May/June 2014

Top: ARM Commercial Director, Mr. Bhartia and others during the IEK April 2014, Luncheon Middle: Eng. Muchemi (Centre) with Eng. Rosemary Kungu during the plant visit. Bottom: Engineers during a plant visit to ARM Cement plant in Athi River

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Letter to the Editor

Greetings, I write to let you know that I have just read the Kenya Engineer publication. I must confess from the onset that although I haven’t read all the articles (which I will definitely do), I found it to be an authoritative journal given the character, profile and diversity of its contributors. The writing is also accessible even to one who is not an engineer like me however I work with engineers daily. I actually work at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) in the Corporate Communications Office. I am enjoying the wide coverage of topics you have featured in the January February issue. Keep up the good editorial work that is evident in the publication. Thank you and congratulations for the good work once again! (

Pat rick A m

u n a yi

Share your views with the editor:

Kenya Engineer Magazine @KENYAENGINEER 47

KENYA ENGINEER - May/June 2014

Student Engineer

ESA’s Year That Was


he Engineering Students Association (ESA) is a professional body within the School of Engineering at the University of Nairobi that brings together students in the engineering departments with the aim of providing them with a platform to grow. ESA seeks to promote academic welfare of its members as well as to bridge the gap between industry players and the students through partnerships with organizations in ways that benefit the students. This is done through different programs and activities dubbed the ESA 360 view which includes strategy, continuous learning, corporate partnership, editorial, team building, internships, projects & innovation, mentorship and community outreach. Outgoing ESA chair, Nancy Joy Ogechi, led her executive committee in delivering these services: The Student’s Dinner Last year’s Engineering students annual dinner was held at the Sarova Panafric Hotel on 29th November, 2013 in Nairobi. The event graced, by top engineers in the country among them IEK Chairman, Julius Riungu, was sponsored by, among others, Jyoti Structures. The annual event acts as a platform for students, engineers and other professionals to interact and share ideas in this exciting industry. Last year’s theme for the dinner was ‘The strides Engineering students should take in order to fit in the industry.’ The students had a chance to meet and share ideas with each other as well dance and eat to their fill. Community Outreach ESA was involved in community outreach projects aimed at giving back to the community through mentorship in schools as well as through giving to the less fortunate. As the first activity in 2013/2014 academic year, ESA planned a community outreach programme to Pumwani Boys High School on Saturday 15th June 2013. The intention was to mentor and encourage

Engineering Students during last year’s ESA’s Dinner

the young boys who were just about to sit for their KSCE examinations. The Engineering Students Association members also joined the members of staff from the School of Engineering in the 100 day rapid result initiative. They cleaned up the Central Police Station. This fostered a good relationship between the police and the students who are believed to only meet during riots. ESA also visited the Good Samaritan Children’s Home in Mathare on 22nd February, 2014. The students got to play with them as well as spread some love and goodies

between the companies and the institution. ESA Publication: The Student Engineer ESA’s publication is aimed at spreading useful, current and relevant information to its members and the student body at large. Through this magazine, ESA enables its members and other engineering students to be up to date with current trends in engineering and technology. The first issue of this year focused on infrustructure development and is a great read.

Events ESA attended the15th annual East Africa Power Industry Convention (EAPIC) that took place in Nairobi.

ESA Elections The University of Nairobi’s Engineering Students’ Association has a new executive committee. This follows the peaceful and well organized elections that took place on the 4th April 2014 at the Civil Engineering Block. There was a turnout of 752 voters. Cynthia M. Osundwa was elected the new chairperson.

Mentorship Talks Through the mentorship program, ESA endeavors to bridge the gap between students and the work environment. The aim is to allow companies to mentor and work with upcoming engineers, bestowing ideas, challenging the students’ capabilities and, in turn, creating a close working relationship

May ESA enjoy another prosperous year. KENYA ENGINEER - May/June 2014



IEK COUNCIL NAME POSITION J Riungu Chairperson R K Kosgei 1st vice Chair M E Okonji 2nd vice Chair M Shiribwa Hon Secretary R K Chepkwony Hon Treasurer D M W Maina Retiring Past Chairperson P Wambua Chairman - Western Branch J Kioni Chairman - Central Branch C A Ogut Member H S Amaje Member R Kungu Member C G Juma Member G L Apiyo Member E Mwangi Co-opted J Mutulili Co-opted

MEMBERS OF IEK COMMITTEES MEMBERSHIP COMMITTEE M E Okonji Chairperson O Nyaguti Member R Kungu Member S Charagu Member W Okubo Member

MEMBERS OF IEK COMMITTEES FUNCTIONS & CONFERENCE COMMITTEE J M Riungu Chairman D M W Maina Retiring past Chair C Juma Vice Chair E K Mwongera (CBS) Member H Amaje Member J Mutulili Member E Mwangi Member G L A Onyango Member R Kosgei Member M Okonji Member R K Chepkwony Member TRAINING & CAPACITY BUILDING J M Riungu Chairperson C Ogut Vice Chair P O Okaka Member S Ouna Member G Njorohio Member DISCIPLINARY & DISPUTE RESOLUTION W R Okubo Chairperson E K Mwongera (CBS) Member C. M Ndonga Member F W Ngokonyo Member A Rogo Member WELFARE & DEVELOPMENT R K Kosgei Chairperson A Kosgei Member J Riungu Member D M W Maina Member R Chepkwony Member WOMEN ENGINEERS CHAPTER R W Kungu Chairperson J Mutulili Member G L A Onyango Member C A Ogut Member E C Ruto Member YOUNG ENGINEERS CHAPTER C Juma Chairperson G L A Onyango Chairperson ADVOCACY, PUBLICITY & JOURNAL COMMITEE E Mwangi Chairperson J Mutulili Vice Chair G Nyangasi Member F. W Ngokonyo Member N. O Booker Member INDUSTRIALIZATION AND DEVELOPMENT H S Amaje Chairperson K W Makudiuh Member O Jura Member B Wamaya Member G L A Onyango Member


KENYA ENGINEER - May/June 2014

Kenya engineer may june 2014  

The May-June Issue of the Kenya Engineer Magazine. Theme: Information Communication Technology

Kenya engineer may june 2014  

The May-June Issue of the Kenya Engineer Magazine. Theme: Information Communication Technology