governor KSHS 300 | TSHS 6,000 | USHS 9,000 | RWF 2,400 | US$ 4
County Focus | Business | Economy
Looking for ways to stimulate growth at the counties
What to do with the epidemic of joblessness
City Housing Crisis: Why the answer’s in the sky
How I will deal with Nairobi’s motoring nightmare
Focus on Nairobi
County Feature Revamping roads for growth
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Economy Transport Sector
Growing your Business through Franchising
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Contents News from other Counties
Business unusual-Tackling the Nairobi Challenge
10 11 13 14
Nairobi: the region’s transport hub
24 25 28 32 34
How I will deal with Nairobi’s motoring nightmare Take 5 with Evans Kidero
From marshy colonial outpost to megacity: the story of Nairobi Metropolis Revamping our Kenyan Roads for Growth Unemployment: What to do with the epidemic of joblessness Green Urban planning
Investment Bright Prospects for Nairobi’s Real Estate
Business Growing your Business through Franchising
Environment ‘Save the World’ from your Home
Entertainment The Nairobi Fashion Market - creating platforms for business Movers and Shakers in the entertainment industry
Travel Nairobi National Park - A unique city game drive Unique spots in Nairobi
38 38 40 40 48 48 50 50 52 54 54 56
Simon Kimutai Chairman
Matatu Owners Association
Interviews KEPSA: Looking for ways to stimulate growth at the counties Access Kenya - Tailoring innovations to serve the counties Matatu Owner’s Association - Steering the Matatu industry
16 36 22
Columnists Presidential Cycles and your Small Businesses- Michael Musau A new dawn for the business community-George Awalla Expectations from the county governments- Dismus Mokua Guest columnist City Housing Crisis: Why the answer’s in the sky - Elijah Agevi
42 46 58
Book Review - China Inc Music Review - David Anthony Movie Review - Nairobi Half-Life
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Why the Governor?
e are now living in a changed Kenya, the March 2013 General Elections having ushered in the new era under our new Constitution. With the devolved system of government being the lynchpin of the new Constitution and the 47 Counties in place, it’s all systems go. The creation of these Counties has opened up new and exciting opportunities for economic and social development. From a centralized system, the Country has moved to a devolved government structure, via the establishment of County governments. However, a lot is yet to be known about these new Counties. The challenges that devolution of government is facing reflects the complexity of this transition. All these County governments are being set up from scratch and some areas are still a little fuzzy as to how the structure ought to be. It is walking the unbeaten path, setting up new institutions and systems that present challenges. These drawbacks notwithstanding, the mood in the air is a hopeful one for each Kenyan. Since power and resources have been devolved from Nairobi, the focus has now shifted to the usage of these powers and re¬sources at the County level. What change will it bring to the people, how soon? Some of the Governors have hit the ground running whereas others are quietly settling into their new roles. It is with this in mind that we thought of putting together an exciting premier publication focused on unveiling more about the various Counties, their respective leaders, the business and economic opportunities available therein as well as the socio-cultural issues of these counties. With this informative new publication, we aim at revealing the potential of each county in order to reap the benefits which the new county system holds. The governor is therefore a must-read magazine for all Kenyans. Our focus in this inaugural issue is Nairobi County, famed for its many opportunities and vast resources. We unveil the plan that the Nairobi’s first Governor, Dr Evans Kidero has for Nairobi. We also have eye-opening articles in our investment column highlighting real estate opportunities in the county and five riveting, yet informative features containing unique insights about Nairobi, from revamped roads to unemployment. Did you know that the megacity that is Nairobi today was once a mere colonial outpost? Go back in time with us in our historical column. We are setting out on a journey to our rich and unique Counties; take the trip with us each month. The journey starts in Nairobi. We look forward to being on this journey with you.
governor KSHS 300 | TSHS 6,000 | USHS 8,700 | RWF 2,500 | US$ 4
County Focus | Business | Economy
Looking for ways to stimulate growth at the counties
What to do with the epidemic of joblessness
City Housing Crisis: Why the answer’s in the sky
How I will deal with Nairobi’s motoring nightmare
Focus on Nairobi
County Feature Revamping roads for growth
Economy Transport Sector
Growing your Business through Franchising
PUBLISHER Cosmopolitan Media, No 3 laikipia road Off ring road, Kileleshwa P.O.Box 7192-00100, GPO, Nairobi Tel: (020) 232 2647 Email: email@example.com Website: www.thegovernor.co.ke EDITOR: Beth Kimani (firstname.lastname@example.org) STAFF WRITER: Lanoi Siyomit (email@example.com) DESIGN AND PRODUCTION Shadrack Munene CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Peter Muiruri, George Waweru, Dismus Mokua, Michael Musau, George Awalla, Beth Mbatia, Dennis Karia,Elijah Agevi, Dr. Issac Kalua PHOTOGRAPHER: David Gathogo COVER PHOTO: Courtesy ADVERTISING SALES Taka Awori (firstname.lastname@example.org) Kagwe Maina (email@example.com) CIRCULATION: Lanoi Siyomit PRINTED BY: Atlas media communications FZZLLC, Dubai EDITORIAL ENQUIRIES: we accept no responsibility for unsolicited proposals and submissions. For all editorial related enquiries please email firstname.lastname@example.org. While all efforts are made to ensure that all the information herein is accurate before printing, the publisher regrets that they cannot accept responsibility for any errors that may appear or for any consequence of using the information contained herein Letters to the editor We welcome the feedback from our readers. Please include your name and address and telephone number. Email: email@example.com
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Columnists MICHAEL MUSAU Michael Musau is a seasoned investment banker with over 10 years’ experience in the sector. He has in the past five years structured over 50 deals covering financial modelling, valuation, strategy, and investment planning. He has vast experience in fundraising for SMEs in mining, oil and gas, agriculture and agribusiness, financial services, as well as logistics.
DISMUS MOKUA Dismas Mokua is the Deputy President of Sadiki East Africa, a trade and political communications practice in Nairobi. He is extensively involved in political and trade analysis for local and international media.
George Awalla is the head of programmes at VSO Jitolee. For over 10 years he has been actively involved in community development work and civil society strengthening through various community programmes. He has worked both in East and West Africa and managed projects in over 18 countries. He has an MBA degree in Strategic Management and is trained in programme management, advocacy, and leadership
Elijah Agevi is a housing and urban planning development expert, the CEO of Research Triangle Africa, with a cumulative experience running over 25 years. His is a published writer of various publications and articles on subjects ranging from building materials, urban planning for city leaders, service and urban resilience to reformulating Building and Planning Regimes in African countries.
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News from other Counties
Homa Bay County strikes goldmine with Sh590 billion grant. Homa Bay County has signed a partnership that will transform it into an agri-city dotted with unrivalled businesses and infrastructure and other social amenities. Good Earth Power, Urban Green Energy of the United Kingdom and the county signed an MoU that will run for 30 years. The project will involve the construction of 100,000 houses, modern roads and communication infrastruture and the generation of clean energy. Also earmarked in the project is water purification, sewage treatment, waste management and construction of modern recreational facilities. Homa Bay County Governor Cyprian Awiti signed the agreement on behalf of the county.
Machakos gets 290 billion at investor conference. Some Kshs.290 billion was pledged during the May 17 Machakos Investor Conference. At least 70 memoranda of association were signed during the conference. In attendance were investors from Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, and as far away as South Korea, China, the United Kingdom and the United States. Meanwhile, Machakos Governor Dr Alfred Mutua held a meeting with President Uhuru Kenyatta at State House, Nairobi. The two held discussions on ongoing plans for the development of the Machakos New City and make it a get-away destination for Nairobi City families. Machakos County has set aside some 10,000 acres of land owned by the defunct municipalities to lure investors and other partners.
Nakuru Governor deplores traffic snarl-up on highway. Nakuru County Governor has protested the traffic snarl-ups that is experienced at the Gilgil Weighbridge. Addressing a business forum in the town, Kunithia Mbugua deplored the cost of the time wastage and the fuel consumed in the long queues. Mbugua asked the Kenya Revenue Authority and the police department to resolve their issues to save motorists the agony of sleeping in the cold. On several occasions, passengers have been forced to sleep in the open following major traffic snarl-ups along the Nairobi-Nakuru highway that often last for over 12 hours.The jam usually stretches for 15kms on both sides of the road, completely paralyzing the flow of traffic.
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Photos By: Gina-din Corporate Communications
FROM LEFT Milka Kinyua of CIC Group, Rita Kavashe MD,GMEA and CIC CEO Nelson Kuria unveil the CIC Lady Insurance Auto Policy
CIC Launches CIC Auto Insurance Policy
CIC Insurance Group CEO, Nelson Kuria, presented an appreciation award to General Motors East Africa Managing Director Rita Kavashe for her exemplary performance in the motor industry. This was during the launch of the CIC Lady Auto Insurance policy which targets female motorists. The policy will enable female motorists claim compensation for loss of personal valuables while traveling in an insured vehicle and other benefits like reimbursement for medical expenses incurred on trauma counseling following an accident.
CICâ€™s Milka Kinyua shares information on the Lady Auto Insurance Policy
Speed Cameras Handovers. General motors(EA) donates a binary speed camera at a handover ceremony by National Roads Safety Trust as part of the events to mark the UN road safety week which ran between 6th and 12th May 2013. A total of ten cameras, each costing 1.3 million were purchased by various coprates including GMEA and were handed over to the police.
GMEA MD Rita Kavashe(center), Dr Karanja Kibicho(left) and Traffic Commandant Samuel Kimaru
Ruth Mugugu and Simon Kimutai.
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Kidero’s promise to deal with Nairobi’s motoring nightmare
fter his swearing in as Nairobi governor, Dr Evans Kidero declared that it was down to business. And true, he has got down to real work. Dr Kidero, is dreaming big for Nairobi. He says the gridlock that defines city motoring and life nowadays will be gone in six months. His seven-pillar programme is anchoring his development agenda for Kenya’s capital city. These are; unemployment, insecurity, water, sanitation, housing, health and transport. None stands out like transport because of the manhours, the fuel that goes to waste every day in traffic jams. Add to that the pollution. On average, at least Sh70 million ($800,000) is lost in traffic per day in Nairobi, according to World Bank figures. Study history. In history lies all the secrets of statecraft, Winston Churchill said. For Dr. Evans Kidero, remembering his youthful days in the streets of Nairobi illuminates what it used to be and provides guidance on what it needs to be today. As the first Governor of Nairobi, he intends to bring about renewal in the former City in the Sun. Dr. Kidero was elected the new governor of Nairobi County in a tight race against Ferdinand Waititu and Jimnah Mbaru among other contenders. What he took up was the largest county in the country. Dr. Kidero was born and raised in Nairobi, one of the reasons why he has so much passion for the county. “I grew up in Pumwani area of Nairobi. Looking back, I remember how efficiently things used to run, though it was less populated,” he reminisces That was in the 1960s. “Knowing the history of Nairobi, I would like to see things work and that is what motivated me to run. Considering its history, things are not as they should be and I want to make the difference through change.” Taking on Nairobi, the big city in the sun and full of promises is not an easy task. Shortly after taking office, he was presented with a Sh22 million bribe which he promtptly turned down. Head on, he began tackling the issues. “I have no tolerance for the grabbing of public property,” he declares. He intends to make Nairobi a world class city and bringing matters to order is a priority. Land grabbing, in the past, has been carried out by the political elite,
and those “close to power”. “There is a clear stand on city resources. The days of condoning grabbing of public land are gone,” he declared. “Recently, we visited Easteleigh where people have encroached on public land and they will have to move out,” he said. “Another important step is documentation. Together with the National Land Commission, we are going to collaborate to ensure that all the council land is documented,” he added. To carry out these roles, one has to be resilient and devoted. “It’s a 24hour role and my driving force is the will to serve the people of Nairobi with zeal as a custodian.” Needless to say, the expectations are high. With a population of over 3 million people and a proposed allocation of Sh11.7 billion, and a list of promises to be fulfilled. Will he manage to turn around the fortunes of the city? His prove that he will deliver, he says, lies in his past track record. The results he exhibited while in the Nation Media Group, GlaxoSmithKline and recently Mumias Sugar Company (MSC) are prove that he is capable. In his manifesto, he has laid out various plans. Education is one of them. “The rate of school dropout is high. Polytechnics have been upgraded to universities leaving a gap in transition. We will set up institutions to absorb the students that may not make it into the polytechnics.” He promises to create avenues to attract investors, expand small and medium enterprises. “Nairobi has many investment opportunities. It’s a strategic entry point for the African markets especially the southern African market and the eastern market. Nairobi is known for IT and skilled programme developers. We can invest in IT villages. Nairobi can provide the necessary infrastructure for Konza city. We have the necessary capital and are fairly well networked as opposed to other counties,” He encourages companies to set up base in Nairobi due its proximity and strategic positioning. Other investment opportunities lie in housing, solid waste management and power generation. The Governor
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Cover Story “The opportunities are enormous. We are hoping to set up investment conferences in the future”. Another pledge is to improve housing and living conditions of all, especially those in the informal sector, adding that through Public-Private Partnership programmes, he will endeavour to put up about 5,000 new housing units annually. He adds that efficient railway systems, the introduction of trams and other high capacity vehicles will be his plan to decongest the city and also expand existing roads. Dr. Kidero argues that Nairobi contributes 63 per cent of Kenya’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which if properly utilized, could transform the county and reduce the high poverty level. He says the fund allocated to the county does not factor in urban poverty despite the fact that “it is
worse than rural poverty.” For Dr. Kidero, residents also have a huge role to play in making Nairobi flourish. “They should recognize that they also need to meet their statutory obligations and pay the necessary rates and licenses. Such payments will go a long way in ensuring that the County Government effectively provides required services like health provision. In conclusion, he has advice for private sector members who have aspiration set towards public service. “Public service is for the public good. Its focus is not on profits or power of office. It’s about making a difference in people’s lives and requires commitment,” he concludes.
Lands, Housing and Physical Planning Tom Odongo Deputy Governor - Nairobi City County He holds a Master in Urban Planning from Oxford Brookes University. Jonathan Mueke, He has 33 years’ experience as Assistant Director of Planning, direcJonathan is 36 years old, with an undergraduate degree in Computer tor of City Planning and Town Clerk. Science and a Masters in Global IT and Entrepreneurship. He brings a youthful look into the new Nairobi County. Before taking up his new role, Trade, Industrialization, Co-Operative development and Tourism he was the director of eManage Africa Ltd. Anna Othoro She is a holder of a Bachelors of Sociology & Philosophy from the County Executive Committee Members University of Nairobi. She also has a Master’s in Business AdministraAgriculture, Livestock Development and Fisheries tion from USIU Anne Kamais Lokidor She holds a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from the UniWater, Energy, Forestry, Environment and Natural Resources versity of Nairobi, and is currently undertaking her Master in Business John Gakuo Administration at the University of Nairobi. He holds a Bachelors of Arts degree in Government and Sociology from the University of Nairobi, as well as having undertaken variPublic Service Management ous courses in Singapore, Harvard, John Kennedy and Eastern and Mercy Wambui Kamau Southern Institute. She holds a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Nairobi, a post graduate diploma from The Kenya School of Law, Certificate in women Information, Communication and E-Government empowerment from Georgia University, Masters in International RelaMohammed Abdullahi tions from University of Nairobi and Master of Laws from University of He holds Diploma in Human Resource Management from the RailNairobi. ways Training Institute, and also holds a Bachelor of Commerce Degree from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa. Finance & Economic Planning Gregory Silvanus Mwakanongo Health Services He holds a Masters in Finance from the University of Nairobi. He is Dr.Timothy Moki Kingondu a Certified Public Accountant (K) and holds a Bachelor of Commerce He is a holder of a Bachelor of Medicine degree from the University Degree. of Nairobi, Masters in International Medicine from London University and Respiratory Medicine from New York University. He has over 18 years’ experience serving as a medical doctor and also as a director at Kenya Medical Training College and Kenyatta national Hospital
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In one statement, what do you want to achieve as governor of Nairobi during your first term? I would like to bring order to the city of Nairobi. All amenities should be in running order. This includes service provisions. Garbage should be collected and city lights should be working, people should obey the rule of law including the littering law and revenue should be paid and collected on time. We should set up orderly systems that cut across all sectors. Enhancing inter-ethnic relations cannot be ignored in a county with so many tribes living therein.
What are your top priorities as governor? Nairobi is too large to prioritize, but I have put together 7 pillars. Thereâ€™s unemployment, insecurity, water, sanitation, housing, health and transport. On top of these are the provision of every personâ€™s rights and the management of the city resources.
On Public Private Partnerships (PPP), how do you plan to engage the private sector? Nairobi is the entry into the country. It is strategically positioned to the east, central and southern Africa. Most large and international organizations have offices set up in Nairobi. For example we have the UN offices, Habitat, UNEP which is upgrading its office to a headquarters status among others. So basically, Nairobi is important not only for Africa, but globally in terms of diplomacy and environment. It is also accessible, being four hours flight to any other African city and about six hours flight to any other city and major financial
cities like London and Singapore. So it is attractive to investors. But we have to create the necessary conditions for them to invest in Nairobi. We are considering coming up with land banks, where investors can come in, set up factories or whatever they would like to invest in. We provide the land and they provide the resources. With such ventures, both the public and the organizations benefits in terms of service provisions and employment creation. Our part is to create the necessary conditions through transparency, provide the land and necessary registration, easy acquisition of licenses, giving incentive packages to enhance the partnership. But with all this, we still need to stay within the confines of the law.
What message do you have for the youth in Nairobi who is currently unemployed? The youth make up about 60% of Nairobi and we cannot ignore them. I understand that majority of the people who relocate to Nairobi move to the informal estates. We have about 80% moving into the over 200 informal settings in Nairobi. These youth are idle and therefore need to be empowered. It is for these reasons that the aspect of the youth has been well addressed in the County Cabinet set up. The other option to explore is enterprise development and employment creation. Out of 4 million people in Nairobi, about 1.1 million are in formal employment. The over 2.5 million unemployed are looking for opportunities to grow and they can do so if given access to credit, trading locations and if we focus on the development of new markets to trade in and the expansion of the established ones. I want to ensure that we provide opportunities for the youth to make a living.
On a personal level, as a politician and a family man, how do you balance it all? Being a Governor is a full-time Job. So is being a husband and a father. We all have priorities, but family always comes first.
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Cover Story Business Unusual Tackling Nairobi’s Challenges
By Beth Kimani
or years, the Nairobi County has been grappling with the same challenges. They are the subject of every election campaign. The elections keep coming and going, but not the challenges. Flipping through a copy of Governor Kideros vision for Nairobi plan, I pick out some of his top most concerns. They are not new concerns but he shares his solutions. There are seven pillars in Kideros vision. In each pillar, he outlines how he intends to make the vision a realization. The pillars are; unemployment, insecurity, housing, health and transport not to mention the management of city resources. Unemployment continues to plague most in Nairobi County. Kenya’s most populous county has a high percentage of unemployed. In the slums, over 50% of the youth are unemployed. In the same breath, there has been an increase in insecurity. So much so, that there has arisen a need to address it in Phase II of the implementation of vision 2030. Interestingly, representatives and stakeholders in Nairobi County identified insecurity and unemployment as some of the major issues affecting Nairobi residents during the County Consultative Forum for the Sec-
ond Medium Term Plan (MTP) 2013-2017 of the Vision 2030 held last year. But Governor Kidero sees another angle to insecurity. On one end, it is a symptom whose cause is unemployment. “If the youth are able to acquire jobs, thus not having so much idle time in their hands and being able to provide their daily needs, then we will have less insecurity,” he reasons. Other proposed solutions include increased lighting, increased police presence and even community policing. On health, the county government has set aside Sh1.7 billion for the rehabilitation of health facilities in the county. Fifteen health facilities will be upgraded to sub- district hospital levels, at least one hospital in each of the constituencies that make up Nairobi. Pumwani Maternity Hospital will get Sh600m for its upgrade to a referral training institute. Dr.Kidero feels that the issue is larger than the county. “The health issue is a countrywide issue. For it to work, we have to be in partnership with the government. Presently, we are doing the best with subsidized charges. We are still exploring options as we await guidance from the government.”
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Aerial view of the Nairobi County
Gridlock on the Nairobi roads is a major concern. Authorities have been juggling strategies to sort out Nairobi’s unending traffic mess; from tough traffic rules to use of technology to expanding the road network. But still, nothing seems to be working. Recent studies show that despite impressive investments in building road networks, inefficiencies in Nairobi’s transport system cost the economy an estimated Sh50 million a day in lost productivity, fuel consumption and pollution, negating the benefits of an otherwise significant road infrastructure and limiting economic growth. This translates into Sh18.2 billion annually. The governor is seeking out solutions by calling in all major players to share ideas in efforts to formulate permanent solutions. “Recently, I met with officials from Kenya Highways authority (KeNHA), Kenya urban roads authority (KURA), Kenya Roads Board, Nairobi Traffic Commandant and the World Bank, which has set aside money for the construction of the missing links. We plan to have monthly roundtable meetings to keep a finger on the progression of the proposed solutions. We hope to wipe out traffic jams within the next six months,” he says. The solutions are focusing on two areas. One is the public transport which will see the over 5,000 matatus plying city routes
drop and pick up passengers outside the city centre and the other is the opening up of roads which have been eaten up by constructions along the bypasses. “Buildings and everything along this public land will have to come down. This requires permanent measures,” he says. Corruption is rampant and poses a negative effect on the economy as looting of public funds continues. It has become a practice in almost all sectors. Mechanisms have to be set up to contend with the issue in terms of revenue collection. “The first solution for this is that under the new constitution, Kenyans have been empowered to take actions against corruption and they should use such rights. For me, if the systems are right and the county government staff should practice integrity and focus on being stewards and custodians of public property. An attitude change is required so in this view, all county government employees will within the next six months undergo training in order to fully understand service provision. We are also putting up structures and one thing in focus is a county ombudsman office to take up any cases of corruption.”
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Looking for ways to stimulate growth at the counties By: Beth Kimani Photo: David Gathogo
Caroline Kariuki, CEO KEPSA
hen most people think about economic growth, they have in mind the government. But the reality is that growth depends more on the private sector. The private sector comprises the vast informal, commercial sector, small and medium economic enterprises, private companies, public companies, not-for- profit companies, partnerships and sole traders. All such sectors are part of Kenya Private Sector Alliance.
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Cover Story The Kenya Private Sector Alliance came into existence 10 years ago. It was introduced during President Mwai Kibaki presidency “with an aim of giving one voice to the private sector and promote the development of the private sector.” The private sector in Kenya holds the key to economic growth, while the goverment is a facilitator. In the 2012/13 Budget are proposals about economic policies and structural reforms aimed at facilitating private sector expansion, promoting productivity and building the resilience necessary for employmentcreation and poverty reduction. Under the KEPSA umbrella, the private sector can function as one entity with a common agenda. They can engage the major players on matters pertaining to their interests as a body. “Before setting up the private sector alliance, all private companies were functioning independently, it was not always
An expanded business and investment opportunity is also availed to members who get to meet with visiting foreign business people and this also offers them access to opportunities they may not be aware of. Over the ten years, the alliance has achieved several milestones. One of them is the involvement with the Kenya Youth Empowerment Project (KYEP), that provides training and internship to youths between the age of 15-29 years. It is funded by the World Bank. “We have been able to reach over 11,000 youths in the last four years. Over 70% of them have either been employed or started their own enterprises,” she says. According to the African Development Bank (AfDB) the youth represent 70% of unemployed Kenyans. On the other hand,
the United States Agency for “under the Public Private Partnership, so effective.” Carole Kariuki, International Development KEPSA’s CEO said during an members have the opportunity to (USAid) claims that the youth interview. access various projects or partnerships actually constitute 75% of the There have been roundtable jobless population. meetings with the government which can be passed on to their mem- Based on demographics from and other stakeholders. Currentbers to grow their businesses” the NCCK, 3 million out of 11 ly, KEPSA has over 200 corporate members and 80 associations countrywide. million Kenyan youths looking for work in the formal sector are Now, with the implementation of the devolved government, unemployed. It is with these factors in mind that KEPSA dethere are new structures, new players to engage with for the cided to be part of a solution. “We joined up with KYEP since private sector. “Some structures remain the same, but we most jobs that Kenyans are searching for are in the private have to explore ways of stimulating growth at the county level sector putting us at a vantage point to assist. So we decided to and help counties generate resources and create and main- come in and provide the training and therefore help such youth tain an enabling business environment.” either acquire jobs or start their own,” she said. Each county government must get involved with the private Another fundamental success was the peace campaign before sectors that are set up in their geographical areas. For the the March elections. The 2007-2008 post-election violence had various KEPSA members though, the benefits will still con- a huge impact on the economy. Transport came to a halt, busitinue. “Through engagement in the different KEPSA mecha- nesses were set ablaze and workers were displaced. It crenisms under the Public Private Partnership, members have ated losses in various sectors and in preparation for the 2013 the opportunity to access various projects or partnerships election, KEPSA took up a peace campaign that advocated for which can be passed on to their members to grow their busi- peaceful elections and this had a positive result. nesses,” she says. There are positive milestones but they are still forging ahead During networking and capacity building meetings, members towards continued growth. Theirs is an economic focus and get assistance on how to access financial support and raise with a continued good relationship with the new government, issues. Through such networks, businesses share ideas and progression will remain a definite result. flourish. The Governor The Governor July 2013 FINAL.indd 17
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Cover Story Transition Authority -
Paving devolutions Unbeaten Path
By: Beth Kimani
enyaâ€™s devolution agenda is in operation. The governors have now settled into office. They are all learning and experiencing new administration. For those who had served in the government previously, they may have a level of understanding of government bureaucracy. This is not the case for all governors and the numerous other new county government officials. There are new faces in governance and new structures with complex frameworks and procedures that may not be immediately comprehensible to them or to those who have been in governance before. Without correct information, confusion is likely to occur. It is for the purpose of evading that eventuality that we have the Transition Authority. This is a critical institution charged with the responsibility of overseeing the implementation of devolution under the Constitution. According to Mr. Kinuthia Wamwangi, the success of devolu-
tion leans strongly on huge resources and public awareness. The powers in the new county governments begin with the governors. His roles include appointment of a county executive. He also submits county plans and policies to the county assembly for approval and represents the county in all State functions. It is the governorâ€™s responsibility to promote the competitiveness of the county by following through on the delivery of services to the county. For most governors, these services are some of the many promises they made to the citizens during the election campaigns. There are also the county transition teams whose first priority is to help setup county governments ensuring that there is service provision in the counties. They also establish the county treasury to ensure that starting in July, these governments are prepared to receive and spend their funds. These teams were accountable to the transition authority
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Cover Story for county operations and county service delivery until the governor was appointed. Now, they are accountable to the Governor. County governments have come up with budgets for 2013/2014. Last year, former Finance minister Njeru Githae indicated that county governments would receive at least Sh230 billion in the 2013/2014 budget. They have been allocated Sh198 billion shillings, a move that has been stongly protested by the governors. These budgetary allocations are meant to finance all functions that have been transferred to the county governments. These include the running of the county assembly, the county executive and functions related to county administration, including the public financial management planning, human resource management, information technology among other functions. The Transition Authority is managing the process of defining functions and mapping out how they will be transferred. For this purpose, ministries that are responsible for devolved functions have established Function Analysis and Competency Teams (FACTS) which includes experts in specific function fields and they will provide advisory support. Under the new dispensation, it is the responsibility of the county governments to deliver urban services. These include abattoirs, refuse removal and waste disposal, county transport, parking and street lights, trade development including licensing, water management and firefighting. Previously, provision of these was by the local authorities which have ceased to exist. The county governments also take over what were formerly municipal functions, except for those that are no longer county functions. An example of this is education. This is under the national Ministry of Education although they can seek to delegate the responsibility for the schools to the respective county governments. County revenue sources will comprise of the equitable share of national revenues, at least 15% of the nationally collected revenue, grants and donations, their own revenues which comprise of property tax and other taxes as authorized by Parliament and through borrowing with the guarantee of the national government and the approval by county assembly.
Understanding the Transition to a devolved system of government. What is the relationship between national and county government? The national and county governments are distinct and interdependent and they shall conduct their mutual relations on the basis of consultation and cooperation. In the performance of functions they may set up joint committees and joint authorities. It also requires that national governments and county governments to embrace a system of consultation, negotiation and consensus building in the running of state affairs. What are the powers of the transition authority? The powers provided are to make recommendations and facilitate the distribution of assets to the national county governments. The transition period has two phases. Phase one commenced after the first election, March this year. Phase two is the period between the date of the first election and three years after the first election under the constitution. What will happen to public officers and local authority staff during the transition? The current public officers serving in the various counties at the date of the formation of the county government shall be deemed to be employees of such county governments on secondment from the national government on the same terms of service. The same applies to local authority staff employed under delegated authority hence they are public offices. During transition, transfer and secondment of staff to national and county government will be facilitated by the transition authority. Both national and county governments will be governed by the same norms and standards of hiring, promotion and dismissal of staff. What will happen to public assets? Can assets and liabilities be transferred? The transition to Devolved government act (TDGA) section 35 is categorical that state organ, public office, public entity or local authority shall not transfer assets and liabilities during transition period. They may transfer assets with the approval of the authority in consultation with the national treasury and other authorized bodies. If a public officer transfers assets without following due process, he commits an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding 10,000,000 Kshs or imprisonment for a term not exceeding seven years, or to both.
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Nairobi the Region’s
ver since the arrival of the “Lunatic Line” or the Uganda Railway at the then swampy ground known as Uaso nyrobi or the place of cool waters, Nairobi has continued to be the hub of transportation within the region. It is also the main connection centre for international travelers. Thus, infrastructure development within the city is of paramount importance with the hope that part of the Sh125 billion being channeled towards this sector in the current financial year will go towards improving the state of the capital’s infrastructure. Through the Lamu Port, South Sudan and Ethiopia transport corridor (Lapsset), the government seeks to improve the region’s rail and road transport, the biggest such endeavour ever since the British built the Uganda Railway over a century ago. In the meantime, there are efforts to introduce modern commuter trains to serve the city and its suburbs to reduce the legendary traffic gridlocks within the metropolitan. Late last year, the government commissioned a 2.2km railway line that will connect Syokimau with the old line at Embakasi at a cost of Sh200 million. Another proposed new section will link Embakasi with Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in an ambitious project costing Sh24 billion that will also see Nairobi linked with its satellite towns with a high speed commuter train. In Kenya, roads constitute a large segment of the transport system with the immediate former regime allocating large amounts of cash to revitalize the sector. Most of the roads within the city have or are being renovated by the Kenya Urban Roads Authority (KURA). It should be noted that the Nairobi Metropolitan area contributes 60% of Kenya’s Gross Domestic Product with a good road network playing a vital role in this growth. The construction of the southern bypass is currently underway, completing the development of a series of roads that will
By: Peter Muiruri Photo: David Gathogo
see traffic diverted from the main roads within the city. To ease travel from the city to central and northern Kenya, over Sh30 billion has been spent in the construction of the Thika Superhighway in a joint venture between the Kenya government and the African Development Bank. The only one of its kind in the region, the highway has a daily capacity of more than 80,000 vehicles. In addition, the road is part of the international trunk road and a vital link to the Trans-African Highway (Great North Road) and a flagship projects under Kenya’s development blue print, Vision 2030. Built to the same standards as the highways of Europe and North America, the Thika Superhighway consists of several underpasses at various intervals, interchanges and service lanes. At its widest points between Muthaiga and Kasarani, the road has a total of eight express lanes (four on either side); underscoring that the city has come of age as far as road transport is concerned.
“there are efforts to introduce modern commuter trains to serve the city and its suburbs in a bid to reduce the legendary traffic gridlocks within the metropolitan”.
According to Simon Kimutai, the chairman of the influential Matatu Owners Association, good urban planning is essential for transport business to thrive. “Any good transport system should be efficient, reliable and affordable. The first step in achieving the same in any society is by improving infrastructure as this will spur more investments in the same sector. The previous government has set the pace in this field and it is up to the new regime to up the game,” says Kimutai. For this to succeed, however, Kimutai says the public transport
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Economy system needs to move from private hands to corporate entities similar to the metropolitan transport systems in developed countries. Such a move will protect investors from arbitrary regulations that do not meet the expectations of all. “It is good to note that we now have a National Transport and Safety Authority that will be in charge of all policy formulation and enforcement in the transport industry. Previously, we had different ministries issue guidelines about the sector without proper consultations,” says Kimutai. Stakeholders in the local public transport industry agree that the entire system needs complete overhaul if it is to remain relevant in the current economic dispensation. There have been plans to phase out the 14-seater matatus and replace them with larger capacity vehicles. However, many matatu owners opposed the move saying it would destroy employment opportunities to the youth. Over 20,000 matatus operate in the Nairobi city alone. Majority of city dwellers countrywide working either in offices, industries or the informal sector, rely on the matatus.
Another boost to the county’s economy is the upgrading of Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, the hub of air transport in the region. Serving 49 scheduled airlines, private charters and a host of international aid organizations, the airport handles 5 million passengers annually. This makes it the busiest aviation hub in the region with direct flights to most African cities, Europe and Asia. To further increase its capacity, the airport is currently being upgraded at a cost of Sh8.5 billion through a joint venture between the Kenya government and the World Bank. The works include the doubling of the airport from the current 276,220 to 594,400 sq. ft.that will guarantee more aircraft parking and additional taxiways, and the separation of departure and arrival sections. When completed, the airport will have the capacity to handle over 9 million passengers annually. Taking advantage of the airport’s upgrade is the national carrier Kenya Airways that aims to double its fleet from the current 34 to 68 planes through the recent Sh20 billion rights issue, the largest in East Africa.
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STEERING THE MATATU INDUSTRY Photos and story by Peter Muiruri
Simon Kimutai, Chairman, Matatu Owners Association
hoever coined the phrase that one should never judge a book by its cover may have had Simon Kimutai, the chairman of Matatu Vehicle Owners Association, in mind. His press briefings appear combative while the altercations with authorities leave no doubt about the man’s fighting spirit. This is not surprising taking into account that Kimutai once served in the Kenya Airforce before he lost his job during the attempted 1982 coup. Yet, the father of four is a soft spoken individual who wears an easy smile. He was born 51 years ago in Kericho as the son of a white settler father and a Kenyan mother. “I am a Kenyan who has a passion for the local transport industry and will stop at nothing in articulating what I know to be right for our people,” he tells me. His turbulent escapades in the transport industry began when he bought his first 14-seater matatu in 1991 through the proceeds of a carpentry shop in
“I am a Kenyan who has a passion for the local transport industry and will stop at nothing in articulating what i know to be right for our people,” Dagoretti Corner in Nairobi. The resilient mobilizer was instrumental in the formation of Starbus, a company whose net assets are now worth over 400 million shillings with a fleet of about 100 buses. He is also one of the brains behind the MOA Compliant vehicles, regular features on Nairobi city roads. His business acumen saw him revive Invesco Insurance Company that had been placed under receivership owing to many unpaid claims from the same transport industry he was fighting for. Kimutai was thrown into public limelight when he vigorously opposed the ‘Michuki Rules’ meant to tame the chaotic matatu industry. He became the human face behind a nationwide strike that paralysed the local public transport system leaving thousands stranded. Recently, he was in the news again, this time opposing the newly gazetted regulations that will see traffic offenders pay hefty fines. However, Kimutai says he is not opposed to the regulation of the industry, but the manner in which it is done. He says any set of regulations that do not include the stakeholders in the transport industry are bound to fail from the word go. “We must ask ourselves why the much-praised ‘Michuki rules’ failed in the first place. The enforcement arm of the government has never been serious in implementing such decrees. The current raise in fines is just a way of raising the bribes for those unable to pay the fines,” argues Kimutai. He hopes the National Transport and Safety Authority will harmonize the rules governing the industry and avoid the many conflicts between vehicle owners and the authorities.
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County Feature Government Road, Nairobi, 1917, currently Moi avenue
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County Feature FROM MARSHY COLONIAL OUTPOST TO MEGACITY:
THE STORY OF NAIROBI METROPOLIS
By Dennis Karia
Photos by: Kenya National Archives
By Dennis Karia
airobi has a rich and fascinating history. The capital city, ranked the 12th largest city in Africa is home to 3 million inhabitants, according to the 2009 census. Bestriding the famous Nairobi River and situated at an altitude of 1795 metres above sea-level, Nairobi is also the headquarters of the recently established Nairobi County. Popularly known as the Green City in the Sun, it has a temperate sunny climate, and has also won recognition as the safari capital of the world. Internationally famous for different reasons, the expansive metropolis has over the years hosted numerous world-renowned personalities, including film stars, heads of State and others attracted to Kenya by its allure as a safari destination. Covering 696 square kilometres, Nairobi is also recognised for
its renowned sophistication, as well as for its economic, political and administrative importance at the national, regional and global levels. Not surprisingly, the city has also captured the attention of Hollywood for the making of such acclaimed movies as White Mischief and the award-winning Out of Africa. In addition, it has been the location for such British-made movies as The Constant Gardener, which was filmed in the sprawling Kibera slums. Interestingly, Nairobi has in just over a century evolved from a marshy colonial outpost founded by the British in 1899 as a depot on the railway line linking Mombasa to Uganda. Established along the famous Lunatic Express railway line that has over the years become the stuff of legend, the outpost was located deep The Governor
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County Feature inside the African equatorial savannah. The location for the nondescript camp was chosen due to its central position between Mombasa and Kampala, as well as for its network of rivers offering a reliable and convenient supply of water that was expected to be cool enough – as a result of the location’s relatively high altitude - for use by those who would later set up residences there. But whereas the cool temperature at the camp was a welcome relief from the heat and humidity of Mombasa, malaria was also prevalent, and the British had to contend with it as they built the railway. Despite the location’s other attractions, the malaria threat was increasingly real and resulted in at least one attempt to move the early settlement known as Nairobi, which derived its name from a Maasai phrase meaning “a place of cool waters”. The original settlement in later years lent its name to the city of Nairobi, whose name was a corruption of the Maasai phrase for the location of the early railway camp, which was set up near a waterhole known as Enkare Nairobi. As for the “Lunatic Express” tag given to the Mombasa-Uganda railway, it was coined by British sceptics who opposed the project, vociferously doubting its economic worth. The undertaking went on anyway, but clearly the builders of the railway line had no idea, in the early days, that they were laying the foundation for what would later become one of Africa’s largest cities. Completely burnt down after an early outbreak of plague, the steadily growing outpost had to be completely rebuilt in the early 1900s. By 1907 the originally obscure railway outpost had become a bustling town with great commercial, social and administrative significance.
Practically bursting at the seams as it expanded rapidly, the town gained rising importance as an administrative centre and confluence for tourism that was initially based on big game hunting. Later years saw an influx of besotted British settlers who arrived in the colony in pursuit of new economic opportunities, and who used Nairobi as their first port of call. That avalanche of foreigners visiting Nairobi resulted in the building of several spectacular grand hotels in the city. Among them were the Norfolk and The New Stanley, both mainly patronised by British game hunters, as well as by the increasingly visible settler colony. Already a veritable pot-pourri of the races and cultures that characterised the East African region at the time, Nairobi had in 1905 replaced Mombasa as the capital of the Kenyan British Protectorate, and by 1907, Nairobi was the capital of the entire British East Africa. Continuing to grow relentlessly over the years, Nairobi became the chosen home of many Britons who settled within its famed leafy suburbs. Predictably, the tiny early railway settlement had to eventually change status, and in 1919 Nairobi was declared a municipality, a move that paved its way to emergence as a major city, which status it gained in the early 1950s. Today easily one of the most prominent cities in Africa, Nairobi has over the years been twinned with other cities across the globe. These include Denver in the states of Colorado and Raleigh in North Carolina, USA, as well as such diverse sister cities as China’s Kunming City and Colonia Tovar city in Venezuela. For decades recognised as a major regional, continental and international communications hub and also as an established location for business and culture, the huge metropolis today known as Nairobi County is also home to thousands of Kenyan businesses. In particular, the city bears the pride of hosting the United Nations Office in Nairobi (UNON), the main coordinating centre and headquarters for the UN in Africa and the Middle East. In addition, Nairobi hosts over 100 major international companies and organizations, among them the UN’s Habitat, which focuses on human settlements, and the Gigiri-based United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). As for Nairobi’s burgeoning economic significance, it is best exemplified by the Nairobi Stock Exchange (NSE), acknowledged as one of the largest in Africa and the second oldest one on the continent. Nairobi city in the 80s
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Revamping Kenyan roads for Growth
By: George Waweru Photo: David Gathogo
eing a commercial business centre, Nairobi stands to gain from flourishing businesses owing part of their success to the improved roads network. Kenya Urban Roads Authority (Kura) has ensured that despite the challenges faced, the planned projects will be successful. Road infrastructure is key to the development of countries. It is the predominant mode of transport in Kenya, carrying about some 93% of all cargo and passenger traffic, so its importance cannot be overemphasised. For the longest time, though, urban residents have paid dearly for the government’s turning a blind eye on the sorry state of the county’s infrastructure. However, Vision 2030, Kenya’s blueprint for economic success, was a welcome relief. Infrastructure is a basis for some of the key pillars that make up the plan. Among its dreams is a “Kenya with a good road network of roads that will enhance business” within the country. Nairobi, being the country’s economic hub of the country stands to gain much from development in infrastructure. Responsibility for management of the roads network falls under the ministry of roads and is implemented through the Kenya National Highways Authority, KeNHA, among other government institutions. KeNHA has had a daunting task of making this dream a reality. Flagship projects like the Thika Superhighway have been have been a big boost to the economy both of the county and of the country. Constructing and rehabilitating major roads in the capital city is estimated to cost Sh55 billion for projects like the Thika Super Highway, the Northern, Eastern and Southern by-passes. Most of these roads are near completion. These road projects have opened up a wealth of business opportunities. For instance, the value of property along the Northern by-pass and Thika Road has shot up. There have been
huge investments in malls and housing projects in every corner of the city from Kasarani to Langata, to Westlands. According to Mr. Charles Njogu, KeNHA Corporate Affairs officer, the biggest challenges so far have been unpredictable weather. Rains, for instance, hampers construction projects sometimes even for days and weeks. Inflation and the high cost of fuel has made the government dig deeper in order to complete the projects. Vandalism has also been rampant. “We are planning to spend up to Sh120 million to contain the damage that will have occurred on the Thika Superhighway and Mombasa Road,” he says. There was also resistance from some residents whose property had to be shaved off to pave way for road expansion. For example Kenya Wildlife Service was offered Sh1.8 billion compensation for the 150 acres of land that was hived off Nairobi National Park, though this brought a loud outcry from environmentalists. In some areas, some structures had to be demolished to pave way for the expansion of major highways. Included in this list are people who are legitimate owners of land but who found out later that they had actually purchased land reserved for a road. There are other projects still coming up. Ongoing projects
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County Feature SAFE PROPERTY OWNERSHIP In order to avoid being duped into purchasing property that has been set aside for road expansion here are some tips
Investigate before you make an offer. Involve a lawyer who will make sure that all records pertaining to the property are checked. First, request for a search from the relevant District Lands Office or the Ministry of Lands. This is to ensure that the land is unencumbered, that the land is not a buffer zone road reserve or public land.
Thika super highway under pass
Go through the title records including the title deed, any rates or loans on the land. You could also do this with a lawyer who will ensure all details are in record and explained to you.
“We are planning to spend up to Sh120 million to contain the damage that will have occurred on the Thika Superhighway and Mombasa Road,”
Get everything in writing. Oral agreements are useless and not legally binding; make sure everything is done in writing. Once property has been chosen and a price is agreed upon, a sale agreement must be prepared by a reputable lawyer and signed by both the buyer and the seller.
include the upgrading of the 2km stretch of Langata Road from the KWS gate to the Bomas of Kenya, the construction of the Western Ring Roads, Upperhill roads. Others are the upgrade of Eastleigh roads, the rehabilitation of South C Roads, Syokimau-Katani road and Kasarani-Mwiki-Githurai link road. No doubt, Nairobi has become the center of business in the region and Nairobi County stands first to gain from flourishing business that owes part of their success to improved roads network. According to the 2013 MasterCard African Cities Growth Index, Nairobi was ranked the 6th city out of 19 cities in Sub-Saharan Africa with economic growth potential, two places above Johannesburg, four places above Durban and five places above Cape Town. This is an indicator that the efforts to improve road infrastructure have largely paid off.
Find out about the person/ organization you are dealing with. Make sure you check their license status, people they have worked with before and anything about them that might help you make a decision based on trust. Follow up on tips. Find out how genuine the property is by doing background checks. Always take time before making decisions pertaining to acquisition of property. You’d rather lose a ‘hot’ deal than a lifetime investment of both time and money.
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HOUSING CRISIS: WHY THE ANSWER’S IN THE SKY
By: Elijah Agevi, Photo: Courtesy
airobi is witnessing a series of massive urban development. There is a great opportunity to take advantage of this to change the face of the county for the better and have communities that have a sense of identity and maintains social balance and respect for the environment. But equally there are grave fears that the mistakes of 20th Century may be repeated, resulting in rigid zoning, and more ‘nowhere’ places especially for special groups like those living in slums, people with disabilities and women. During a 2011 Expert Group Meeting in New Delhi, discussions relating to the sustainable cities were held. One such discussion centred on the spatial distribution patterns of various cities and
Kibera slum upgrading project
the impact that has on sustainability. This conversation was punctuated by contrasts and comparisons between various urban entities like Atlanta, USA and Barcelona, Spain. Whereas the linear spatial distribution development pattern of Atlanta covered an area of 342.9km square with a population of 432,427, a compact Barcelona, on the other hand covered an area of only 101.9km square with 1,621,000 people. In essence, Barcelona had effectively utilized vertical space occupation to fit a population size double that of Atlanta. Vertical space occupation, refers to high rise dwellings. Comparing this to the cities of the developing world, particularly Africa, either by design or accident, there is a marked prefer-
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County Feature ence for linear settlement patterns especially along the major arterial ways almost mirroring Atlanta, designed in such a way that makes car use a necessity by separating different activities and social groups into different neighbourhoods. Yet many of these poverty stricken cities grappling with serious housing deficits and slum proliferation are using their meagre resources in an unsustainable manner thereby compromising livelihoods, the environment and exhibiting diminished social capital. Therefore, the compact city model as in the case of Barcelona, with its vertical space occupation — that puts dwellings, retail, leisure and commercial uses into much closer, walkable proximity, and supplements this approach with effective public transport connections, among other advantages— offers for consideration serious solutions and benefits to the crisis-hit cities of the global south, including Nairobi. The sad reality is that the principles of sustainable urbanisation are not yet being applied on the ground in many.
“the opportunity presented by vertical space occupation is immense which however continues to be fraught with risks”
The problem of delivery is multifaceted. However, there are two key aspects: Property investors, developers and landowners suspect that sustainable communities are more costly to plan and develop. Planning authorities are not well informed about the social, environmental and economic benefits associated with sustainable development. Closer home, Nairobi (covering an area of 696km square with a population of 3,138,295 according to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics) a silent, but nevertheless persistent revolution has been occurring; the conversion of former single dwelling purpose buildings into multiple dwelling purposes. Though trendy, many of these private developments such as those occurring in Kileleshwa and Lavington and in Eastleigh are only playing catch-up to established trends though of questionable quality in other areas of Nairobi such as Kayole, Umoja, Dandora and Huruma as well as public housing delivery actors such as the National Housing Corporation, Ministry of Housing
and the City of Nairobi who long before, successfully tried vertical space occupation in Buru-Buru and Madaraka estates. Add to these slum upgrading programmes that have long embraced vertical space occupation as a solution to housing crisis and numerous proposals gathering dust at City Hall that sought to transform the old city council-managed estates in Eastlands into high rise buildings. While previously a lot of prestige has been drawn from having the use of a singular space by an individual, this is unfortunately no longer the case. Currently, many choose to stay in vertical spaces of questionable quality and standards either because of their affordability as in the case of Kayole, Huruma and others. Others do so owing to their proximity to available opportunities to eke out a livelihood. Though vertical space occupation has clear advantages, the other key question ought to revolve around sustainability which involves an appropriate mix of dwellings of different tenures, sizes and types, and a variety of spaces and buildings for recreational and community activities, as well as for service providers and commercial enterprises. Already the trend in vertical space occupation; be they in Kayole or Kileleshwa is experiencing problems associated with constrained service delivery. Key among these has been lack of water resources that seem to be stretched. Yet vertical space occupation is a reality that beckons with every waking hour. This is because the cost of land/real estate is going through the roof and is now only affordable to a select few leaving the majority with little option. For a City grappling with a serious housing shortage, the opportunity presented by vertical space occupation is immense. For Nairobi, vertical space occupation will in the long run provide a viable option in solving the housing crisis. Housing must move away from just being a single issue of having a roof over the head to being an urban phenomenon with multiplier effects of transforming the urban space of Nairobi City through employment and enterprise creation. In conclusion, whereas Nairobi currently has more than its fair share of challenges when contrasted with Barcelona, it also possesses much more potential: there are many more open spaces to begin vertical occupation to alleviate the housing crisis and to create a more compact city that is energy and resource efficient.
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What to do with the epidemic of joblessness
By: Dennis Karia
ccording to experts, the spectre of unemployment that has for years haunted the Nairobi metropolis and others in Kenya can only be tackled through serious efforts geared at enhancing the spirit of entrepreneurship among the youth. However, little attention has been given to making self-employment seem more desirable. More importantly, the communityâ€™s view of entrepreneurship is not favourable, regarded as it is, as an option for those who fail in their preferred careers of choice. While fervently arguing that entrepreneurship and self-employment are key factors in resolving many of Nairobi Countyâ€™s
problems, the experts warn that, even as the prospect of mega cities becomes a reality in Kenya, poverty levels in the country are rising at an alarming rate. According to the experts, those hardest hit have been the youth, who seeing no prospects for a job, are despairing. There is hope for them though. According to entrepreneurship and business development consultant Dr Gethaiga Kibuka, the problem of youth unemployment is not intractable. On the contrary, he says, there are many possibilities for the countyâ€™s youth to orient their skills towards self-employment. Continuing exoduses to the urban areas, according to him, have resulted in aggravating the poverty and unemployment challenges in
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County Feature the already clogged major urban centres, including Nairobi County, where they are starkly manifested by the sprawling informal settlements. According to him, those dingy settlements have for decades been harbouring rising numbers of disillusioned youths, many with fairly good education levels and armed with skills that could be more beneficial if properly applied. But according to Dr Kibuka, past urban-based development models have not worked because of the mismatch. “The major problem in this country is that we tend to focus too much on the negative realities of our economic situation,” Dr Kibuka says. “The irony is that while we only see gloom and a miserable future for the majority of the population, there are always solutions staring at us in the face, but which we rarely focus on.” Insisting that developing countries must adopt development paradigms that are different from those applied in western countries, he explains that the uncontrolled growth of mega cities comes with reduced load carrying capacities and congestion. That notwithstanding, he argues that self-employment is infinitely more rewarding than the drudgery of the elusive formal employment openings that today’s urban-based youth so desperately yearns for. Kibuka is involved in training 35,000 youths - split into 40 groups based in the Mathare slums and elsewhere within Nairobi County in entrepreneurship. Specifically focusing on business creation and growth, the programme has the objective of offering the poorest of the poor a lifeline in these hard economic times. A part of the challenge, Dr Kibuka says, is to change the attitudes of young people towards self-employment. That view is shared by Mr Aleke Dondo, the Managing Director of Kenya Rural Enterprise Programme, K-REP, one of the largest micro-finance institutions in the country. According to Mr Dondo, cash-strapped entrepreneurs need an enabling environment in order to succeed. But regrettably, he said, local authorities in Kenya have in the past been riddled with corruption and chaotic rules that have made things difficult for smallscale entrepreneurs. With the establishment of Nairobi County, he argues, there is an urgent need for better rules and more orderly allocation of spaces for traders. Expounding further on prevailing setbacks for aspiring entrepreneurs, Dr Kibuka argues that in the past there have been wrong attitudes about self-employment. Saying that researchers have established that attitude is critical in influencing self-employment, he insists that potential entrepreneurs need to view self-employment as “personally desirable, socially endorsed and feasible.” Dr Kibuka, who has researched and extensively written on selfemployment opportunities in Kenya, lauds the attempts made in the
past to deal with rising unemployment. He however, regrets the fact that many school leavers and college graduates still do not make any effort to go into self-employment. Instead, they stubbornly continue to seek elusive salaried employment. The result, according to Dr Kibuka, is that unemployment levels in Kenya continue to rise year after year. Today, he points out, it is estimated that over 750,000 youths graduating from various institutions every year cannot find employment. Alarmingly, these hordes of disenchanted young Kenyans find themselves joining an estimated 2 million youths who are already in the streets dreaming about employment opportunities that simply cannot be found for all of them. “Many of them remain in the job queue for approximately 6 years, a very frustrating experience even for the most hardy,” Dr Kibuka remarks, adding that the predicament of the young generation is the result of a mind-set that self-employment is for the uneducated and social failures. That misconception, according to the self-employment guru, is further aggravated by parents who are stuck in antiquated attitudes that all their children should become doctors and engineers. They therefore view self-employment as a last-choice career. But despite the many setbacks to the growth of entrepreneurship among the youth, Dr Kibuka believes the option is feasible and arguably indispensible. Indeed, the expert says that, currently spiralling unemployment and poverty levels leave the youth with no option but to embrace entrepreneurship. “Not only is it the only way,” he says, “but it’s the way of the future.” According to him, developments during the last 18 years indicate a radical and positive change in attitudes, with more and more people embracing entrepreneurship as the only viable option for them. Dr Kibuka further explains that in 1993 there were 1.5 million people employed in the public and private sectors in Kenya, while an equal number was engaged in self-employment. The situation today is radically different, with 2 million Kenyans in formal employment, while 8.8 million are in self-employment. Dr Kibuka says the vast numbers in self-employment today are a result of ‘pull’ and ‘push’ factors’, which respectively refer to those who opt for entrepreneurship, as opposed to those who are forced into it. “We need to change the attitudes of the youth towards self-employment,” Dr Kibuka concludes. “We need to create a vibe for entrepreneurship among the youth, who should see it to be as cool as going to the disco. To attain this objective, the benefits of self-employment must be enhanced and made more visible.” The Governor
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Green Urban Planning
By Dr.Isaac Kalua
orries grow as floods cripple Somali towns.’ ‘Floods in Mombasa cut off water supply.’ ‘Mayhem as floods hit Dar es Salaam.’ ‘Nairobi flood victims receive Red Cross help.’ ‘Flood victims accuse Lagos Government of falsehood, abandonment.’ ‘Hundreds left homeless after Johannesburg rains.’ ‘Scores homeless in Brazzaville floods.’ ‘Death toll mounts as floods devastate Algiers.’ These headlines are real and from newspapers all across Africa. Every time heavy rains pound Africa’s cities, these urban centers are turned into centers of death and destruction. Why does this happen? How can it be stopped? How can we turn our cities into sustainable cities that will turn floods of destruction into ever-abundant freshwater? This is worth pondering about. Why does this happen? Why is it that every time the heavens open up in most African cities, destructions occurs, tears flow and lives are lost? This question was put across at a forum and one person answered: ‘I think there are six vital words that will make all the difference, better drainage, better drainage, better drainage.” Another one said simply that, ‘floods will only stop causing trouble if we build better buildings.’ In different ways, this captures the gist of the matter. A paradigm shift for the built environment and the infrastructures that support it is needed. But to do this successfully, it is important to remember that the built environment cannot exist and thrive without the natural environment. This has been succinctly captured in the publication, ‘Liveable Cities – the benefits of urban environmental planning.’ It states that, ‘a successful city cannot operate efficiently in isolation from its environment. It must balance social, economic and environmental needs.’ Back to the question – why do floods turn Africa’s cities into centres of death and destruction? Because they don’t balance social, economic and environmental needs. They have residential areas that are not equipped to house residents. Remember what happened last year at Imara Daima and South C, two residential estates in Nairobi. Although they are middle-class neighbourhoods, the strain of floods was too much for them. People were even reported to have taken refuge on the roofs of their houses as they fled from floods. For others in informal settlements like Mathare and Mukuru kwa Njenga, the situation was dire; their houses had been swept away by floods. Cities where dwellers are marooned by floods must pull up their socks. It is all
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County Feature about planning because as it has been said before, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Many African cities still have facilities that were made for independence era populations that have since tripled or even quadrupled. It is akin to expecting four litres of water to fit into a one-litre container. Lagos, one of Africa’s mega cities exemplifies the challenges of urban planning. Nigeria’s legendary musician Fela Anikulapo-Kuti captured these challenges lyrically when he sang that: If you want to wash, na water you go use T’o ba fe se’be omi l’o ma’lo If you want cook soup, na water you go use T’o ri ba n’gbona o omi l’ero re If your head dey hot, na water go cool am T’omo ba n’dagba omi l’o ma’lo If your child dey grow, na water he go use T’omi ba p’omo e o omi na la ma’lo If water kill your child, na water you go use T’omi ba pomo re o omi na no Ko s’ohun to’le se k’o ma lo’mi o Nothing without water Fela Anikulapo-Kuti captures the astounding irony of floods. This irony is so mind-boggling. How is it that cities which host millions of people and face dire scarcity of water end up allowing the millions of litres of flood waters go to waste? How is it that millions of people in Lagos and Nairobi lack water to wash and cook, yet when floods come, water that is inherently life-giving ends up causing death and destruction? In three words, the answer is poor urban planning. If Lagos and Nairobi; Cairo and Cape Town; Kinshasa and Accra; Tunis and Lusaka together with all other African cities embrace sustainable urban planning, then the following will happen: If you want to wash, there will be water If you want to cook soup, there will be water If your head is hot, there will be water to cool it If your children need water, there will be water There will be water because when the heavens open up and release volumes of water, it will mostly be harvested and stored. Whatever little that will end up on the ground will flow into a drainage system. All this will happen because of sustainable urban planning. It is however important to point out that sustainable urban planning is only possible through a holistic embrace of sustainability. As we put up sufficient drainage infrastructure in our cities, we must pull down illegal structures that either block waterways or stifle riverine ecosystem because they are located on riverbanks. We must similarly enact laws that ensure the unhindered flow of rivers and widespread rainwater harvesting. So then; how can we turn our cities into sustainable cities that will turn floods of destruction into ever-abundant freshwater?’ You never know when the rains will pound your city and leave it flooded. You never know. But what you should know is that when that happens, it can be a blessing and not a curse. It will be a curse if your city will fail to plan for tomorrow and continue to operate beyond its capacity. Rainwater harvesting is a sure way of stopping this blessing from becoming the curse of floods. Rainwater harvesting and all other sustainable practices must therefore become the cornerstones of our cities’ urban planning. The Governor The Governor July 2013 FINAL.indd 35
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Bright Prospects for Nairobi
Real Estate Sector
Story & photo by Peter Muiruri
airobi, like the country itself is a city of contrasts. Despite hosting one of the largest informal settlements in Africa, Nairobi has also emerged as a top real estate investment destination. According to the Prime Global Rental Index report released recently by Knight Frank, Nairobi recorded the highest rise in rental prices in a survey of 16 major cities around the world last year. “Nairobi recorded the highest rise in rentals amounting to 5.2 percent for the months of September –December and an annual spike of 17.9 percent for the year 2012,” says the report. Interestingly, the report says Nairobi surpassed London whose rentals went down by 3.2 percent due to the ongoing Eurozone crisis and the economic slump witnessed a few years ago. In a trend witnessed in other African cities, the demand for proper housing in Nairobi is being fuelled by rapid urbanization that is producing a vibrant middle class whose purchasing power continues to rise by the day. The last ten years have seen an increase in the number of construction projects in the city with areas such as Kilimani, Kileleshwa, Lavington and some parts of Westlands changing from single housing units to high rise apartments. Moreover, infrastructure expansion projects initiated by the government have given the city a new lease of life. The construction of bypasses and expansion of Thika Road to a superhighway have had developers stampeding to take a piece of real estate pie. “Business within the city attracts high human traffic and that is why property prices in Nairobi may not be coming down any time soon. Infrastructure improvement is a key driver of real estate growth. When one knows that he can get to his place of work in the shortest time possible, he is willing to pay a higher price for a home,” says Charles Peter Kamau, a Nairobi property valuer. Before 2003, participation of local investors in the industry was almost zero as the sector was seen as the most risky in terms of
invested funds. Fuelling the city’s construction boom is the fact that Kenyans in the diaspora have chosen to invest their savings in the industry in the hope of realizing long term capital gains. However, some have said that the city’s real estate gravy train may grind to a halt as the country moves to the devolved governments. Proponents of this notion argue that Nairobi will no longer occupy the prime position it had for decades as new centers of power created by the new Constitution entrench themselves. “Regardless of the move to the counties, Nairobi will still be the capital of Kenya. As such it will continue to attract more attention not only from the county government but also the central government. The city generates at least 60 percent of the country’s GDP owing to the many local and multinational industries located in the city,” Kamau says. He adds that being an international transport hub, Nairobi will continue to grow in terms of real estate owing to the many conferences that currently take place within the city. Nairobi’s investment prospects are further enhanced by the fact that the city plays host to a number of multinational organizations such as UNEP, UN-Habitat whose personnel require globally accepted standards of living. In addition, many posh areas of the city such as Muthaiga, Runda, Gigiri, Loresho and Riverside are occupied by diplomatic missions whose purchasing power continues to drive property prices in the suburbs. “These are institutions that have given Kenya global recognition and need to be in prime locations within the city mainly for security reasons. There are many developed countries that do not house such UN agencies making Nairobi a preferred international destination,” adds Kamau. That notwithstanding, Nairobi’s growth faces serious challenges that may hamper its long term growth. The city lacks proper planning with the current master plan aged over 50 years old and in need of an overhaul. The import of this is that developers will soon run out of land in which to erect new projects. This has already pushed a number of them to the periphery, preferring to source for land in the peri-urban areas bordering the city in what planners refer to as urban prowl. Areas such as Mlolongo, Kitengela, Athi River, Rongai and Ruai- now referred to as Nairobi’s dormitories –are among the beneficiaries of scarcity of land within Nairobi. This need to house the city’s population has seen many coffee plantations in Kiambu convert to high-end gated communities with observers raising the red flag over food security. Paradoxically, a number of posh estates sit on prime land with low population densities, something that city authorities say may not be
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“Nairobi recorded the highest rise in rentals amounting to 5.2 percent for the months of September – December and an annual spike of 17.9 percent for the year 2012,” sustainable in the long run. Tom Odongo, the clerk to Nairobi County, says the shortage of land within the city is artificial. He blames people who hold land for speculative purposes hence the high asking prices that lock out many developers. He adds that current property price per unit in the city is not compatible with similar economies elsewhere. “Of course the current master plan for the city restricts us from availing land for housing units. A comprehensive review of the same will be completed in April 2014. Only then, shall we properly assess the availability of land within the city. People in the city must be willing to accept change if they are to enjoy better living standards since Vision 2030 will not be realized by adding more and more people in slums,” says Odongo. But developers also point an accusing finger at the central government for what they term as hoarding of land within the city.
Peter Muraya, the CEO of Suraya Property Group says government must free some of the undeveloped land it holds in prime locations. “It is a pity that some government agencies are sitting on idle land that is currently surrounded by private developments in high density areas. The land has remained dormant for decades. It is illogical to continue hoarding the same... it should be released to private developers,” he says. It is this scarcity that makes room for rogue agents who fleece prospective developers searching for land. Many believe that one is more likely to be conned in land transactions within the city than in the rural areas. This thought is shared by Daniel Rono of Maestro Properties in Nairobi. “Everybody wants to own a piece of Nairobi and people will always go for what seems to be cheaper without knowing that the deal might be too good to be true. However, many developers are now wiser and are looking outside the confines of the city for affordable property,” he says. Despite the challenges, the property boom being witnessed in the city in the recent past shows no signs of slowing down. The Governor
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Business Tailoring Innovations to serve the counties
By: Beth Kimani
ccessKenya has over 10 years experience in the thriving data market. In this period, the company has matured in internet connectivity and IT solutions provision to become a major player in Kenya’s ICT sector. The firm is presently a one-stop-shop for ICT solutions. It has grown in scope and specialty serving corporate giants, emerging businesses, government and non-governmental institutions with outstanding consistency and expertise. Over the years, the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) listed firm has developed service-enhancing technologies rightfully fitting as
Through continual innovations, they have diversified their products and services. One such service is the versatile cloud storage service, a model of networked enterprise storage, where data is stored not in the user’s computer, but in virtualized pools of servers. Such efforts are aimed at enabling businesses gain access to IT solutions and services. Importantly, the cloud solution provides businesses with access to large data storage, with impeccable safety and retrieval settings at affordable rates. “The advantage of this solution is that businesses across the country no longer need to worry about their mounting data storage needs as this solution now
a dependable growth partner. “Our innovagives chief executives enough room to focus tive efforts have been successfully realized on issues that affect their bottom-line as opby adopting emerging proficiencies through posed to data and IT needs,” notes Senanu. engaging in strategic partnerships with repuThis service also comes in handy for busitable local and international service providnesses and institutions with multiple branchers. This has worked exceptionally well in es across the counties as they can equally developing tailor made solutions that are cut obtain high-level networking solutions develto offer ideal solutions to businesses and oroped by the firm. The company has various ganizations,” says AccessKenya MD, Internet networking solutions including the highly Division, Mr. Kris Senanu. rated Multi Protocol Label Switching (MPLS) Presently, AccessKenya owns and operates which guarantees secure inter-branch conthe largest metropolitan fibre optics network nectivity. County governments are best in the country, stretching at over 400km in placed to benefit from this solution through Kris Senanu, MD Access Kenya Nairobi and Mombasa. Already, over 500 secure linkage with the central government buildings are connected to this high speed connection with many for efficiency. more expected to enjoy this utility. On top of this, the firm operates “Our future projections going forward, is to work closely with countwo wireless networks, Motorolla Canopy and Wimax networks ty governments to empower people across Kenya on how best they can gain from ICT. This we plan to do by also engaging with which are available across the country. This foresight to build reliable and world class networks has driven businesses, institutions as well as individuals in understanding the AccessKenya on an expansion course, extending its services and technological gap and providing the right fit for growth”, he further solutions to every corner of the country. Strategically, this expand- assures. ed ventures provides organizations, government institutions, non- “What we are aiming at is engaging with institutions so as to undergovernmental organizations (NGOs), multinational institutions and stand their needs across the counties. This will strategically posilarge scale enterprises access to the most effective and suitable tion us as the right partner to provide specific tailor made solutions internet and IT solutions to actualize communication and business that will support the development and ability of each county,” goals. “We have activated our services with branch offices across Giving back to the society remains a key segment of this Kenya the country catering for the Coast, Western Central and North Rift startup success company. Through an elaborate Corporate Social regions and we are in the process of opening three new ones to Programme (CSR), the firm has deliberately aimed to touch and further enhance the efficiency of service provision in more areas of impact on the lives of needy and disadvantaged members of the society. Thika School for the Blind is a beneficiary. the country”, said Mr. Senanu.
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Business Growing Your Business through Franchising
By: Beth Kimani, Photo: David Gathogo
ula Korner is a food chain famed for its healthy foods and impeccable staff. The business is a brainchild of Dominic Kosen. His business has been such a success that he turned it into a franchise. It is arguably common belief that franchises are in the hospitality sector. It is reasonable to believe that, seeing that the concept has been working for decades in this sector having in mind KFC and Debonairs to mention a few. Dominic has a background in the hotel industry. “For 15 years, I worked in hotels both locally, like Masai Mara and Serena Hotels and across the borders. I worked in South Africa where
Kula Korner, Hurlingham
the franchising concept is the norm,” he says. A franchisee is a contract or agreement, either expressed or implied, whether oral or written, between two or more persons by which a franchisee is granted the right to engage in the business of offering, selling or distributing goods or services under a marketing plan or system prescribed in substantial part by the franchisor. Under this plan, the operation of the franchisee’s business pursuant to such plan or system is substantially associated with the franchisor’s trademark, service mark, trade name, logotype, advertising or other commercial symbol designating the franchisor or affiliate. With the establishment of the new counties, Dominic is planning to
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Business expand his business to other counties. Kula Korner is already successfully established in Nairobi County and four other counties, Narok, Kakamega, Nakuru, and Kajiado. Dominic says the secret is in the product and its presentation. “Fast foods joints are in plenty. But such foods are the cause of many a number of lifestyle diseases. We pride ourselves in providing African dishes, organic foods for proper health.” The other side of the secret he learnt in the early days of his career. Service delivery and cleanliness of a facility is key to success. “Now that the franchise is expanding, buyers will have the advantage of receiving training of their staff from their point of operation at no extra cost. Once a person buys the brand for a one-off price of Sh3 million, there will be no extra cost. By giving such training, we will maintain what is already selling about our created brand,” he says. A reason why some hotels close shop soon after venturing in is because they may not be able to break ground after entering into the market. “People usually opt for a business they are familiar with and when after venturing in there is no breaking ground, most of the new businesses just go down.“ This downside wiped out by the franchising system. Franchisees are able to benefit from already set brands. The company has already set up a customer base and a business niche identified. It also comes with the added advantage, a support network and saves the time involved in the startup process of a business. The franchise sets the
guidelines of business operations so one enters into a business with a tried and working structure. This substantially reduces the risks of failure. For Dominic, he wants to spread this advantage to all the counties with the only Kenyan owned franchise. His passion is driven by resilience and over the next five years, his plan is to start 40 new Kula Korners in all corners of Kenya.
“ People usually opt for a business they are familiar with and when after venturing in there is no breaking ground, most of the new businesses just go down. “
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Presidential Cycles and your Small Business
B: Michael Musau
hen Uhuru Kenyatta took over as the fourth President in April, he promised to implement the Constitution fully. No doubt, the new Constitution has many tidings for small businesses. Time will tell whether this will be realised. But one thing remains for sure. Just like in the past; some obvious trends have to play out during the 5-year-cycle of his first term. The first year for example, is always marked by a great deal of excitement. The first term of the previous government saw many campaign promises fulfilled and this pushed the economy to a 7 percent growth. This was necessitated by a very friendly operating environment which saw the return to profitability for most banks thereby extending more credit to the small scale sector. Further, there was increase in foreign direct flows as well as diaspora investment. The second year on the contrary comes with a bit of disappointments. Notable are the number of campaign promises not met and people’s resolve, mostly, to deal with the usual expectation that politicians are bound to disappoint. Small enterprises find ways of absorbing the shocks and finding ways to better deal with the situation at hand. By the third year, everything is bound to have gone wrong as the new government adjusting to the mishaps of power, finds ways of dealing with its overdrives and underperformance, defecting ministers, possible corruption claims and other shenanigans... For businesses, it’s a moment to recap and take stock of the gains and the losses. For opportunistic start-up entrepreneurs, it is a time to deal with the worst while reviewing strategy for a comeback. The fourth year differentiates the overcomers from the rest of the crowd. For the small business, anything that is bound to go wrong will obviously go wrong if you had not worked out some contingency measures. The fifth year is always marred by outright slowdown as people await for likely scenarios- a new government in place or
a second term for the sitting President. Going by history, he has had the opportunity to rule for more than one term if he is scoring by getting a lot in his to-do-list right. For businesses, it could mean at least 7 to 8 years of accelerated growth before general fatigue attributed to slow policy implementation, judicial confusions as politicians fight for relevance as well as monetary interference- synonymous with most African governments. Coincidentally, my once small business is just as young/old as the Grand Coalition Government that ceded power to the Jubilee team. We have had our fair share of mixed fortunes, reached some very extreme lows as well as witnessed some interesting trends, not highs. I however, believe that times could have been better, but unfortunately they were not; only exciting to say the least. Take the case of Kibakis-cum Raila Odinga’s government; we got some things wrong on policy that saw the government over-borrow from the domestic market, and many question marks emerged over possible currency manipulation. By the time the market had an idea of what was happening, Kenya’s exchange rate to the dollar was at 3 digits and bond rates were at double digits. The same had a ripple effect on bank’s lending rates which rose to the over 25 percent margins. The
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long-term gains, though guaranteed, were too long-coming for small businesses to survive the wait. In 2010, I opted to re-engineer my business model after 2 years of doom brought about by a mix of the global financial crisis and the post-election violence. The operating environment was a mess- from high interest rates, electricity prices, power, inflation. But even in that year alone, the new strategy didn’t work, namely- moving away from retail clientele and focusing more on corporate clients. After a year of trial and error failed to yield much, I tried to work on a few Shariah deals despite the fact that I couldn’t afford to pay a consulting Shariah scholar, which
“as an entrepreneur, you have the ability to constantly evolve, innovate and adapt so that your business is not rendered unproductive”
was paid through a shareholding deal in the company more than 2 years later. In the end, we survived a very turbulent period that could easily have cost us our 4 years in business. What was the cost of this? I gave up a few shares in the business for what finally bore fruit. It was a risk worth taking. Post- election excitement is here again with us. For your small business, two questions linger; will it be doom or glory? You may not tell; but one thing that you can do like I tell most SMEs is; your ability to succeed is over 75 percent as a result of what you do and less than 20 percent as a result of government policies. Why is that so? Because as an entrepreneur, you have the ability to constantly evolve, innovate and adapt so that your business is not rendered unproductive. The new youthful president is proyouth/small enterprise and has the best intentions to grow the two. Except the fact that he will not align your strategy to tap into the tidings. And after what is believed to have been a peaceful transition from a coalition government to a Jubilee government, the question on everyone running a small business is; will the next 5 years be like the past 5, or will we witness what was last seen in 2003- a run? Or worse still, will it be like the Kenya in 1997 to 2002? The best can still happen; that Kenya is dragged into a double digit growth that has never been witnessed before- just like the re-emergence of South Korea, Malaysia, Singapore and other Asian nations that defied all odds to record sustained growth for over a decade. So, as we glide slowly into another uncertainty, what are some of the quick takes for SMEs? The most important one is the fact that it is more important to be persistent. We are all inclined to the fact that things will be rosy with the new regime, but the fact is; it will be dark before we see light. The government has to keep borrowing to fund our huge deficit, and that doesn’t mean well for tax payers and SMEs. Secondly, you cannot ignore politics- and it will get murkier as politicians fight for survival. Luckily, we can sniff around and find development-focused counties and ignore those that are badly run. What if the nature of your business does not present opportunities except for Nairobi County and other major cities like Mombasa? Three principles to keep you going; plan to do it, believe in what you plan for, ensure that you achieve what you planned. Learn when to change and do it right because the world is not static, and like politicians, they will keep orbiting from one end to the other.
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A Clear Focus on Visual Impairment
By Lanoi Siyomit
eronica, a manager at a leading company in Nairobi, spends a great amount of time sitting in front of the computer in her office. Recently, she has noted that she has a slight strain with her sight. Peter, on the hand, an engineer, was involved in a car accident that left him completely blind. This did not change the fact that he still had to care for his family and develop his career. These two individuals could be any of us. The lifestyle we are living might cost us our sight in the long run. Talk of the ICT world, the poor nutrition attributed to our fast lives, the terrifying probability of accidents and many more. Visual impairment is a real problem today. The number of visual impaired people is on the rise. According to statistics from the Kenya Society for the Blind, in 2002, there were approximately 300,000 people who were visually impaired around Kenya. In 2009, there were around 518,000 people. This means that the number of visually impaired people is increasing by around 36% annually. According to those statistics, 80% of these cases are curable or can be prevented. The main reason why many of the cases are not treated or prevented is because the victims simply did not know. Most people are of the notion that visual impairment is a reality far from their reality. That is a false notion. Anyone can become visually impaired. Many people are gradually and unknowingly going blind. Some of the illnesses that may cause blindness have very obvious symptoms such as a sharp pain in the eye. However, most illnesses that are associated with blindness are not obvious at all. A person may go
years without knowing that they are slowly going blind. Cataracts The most common disease that may cause blindness is the disease, Cataracts. A cataract is like a cloud or a blurring object on the lens of an eye. A cataract develops slowly. It could begin at birth and the individual will not go blind for many years. It is also very hard to detect. If you find that frequently, your optician has been changing your eyeglass lens prescription; this might be cause for alarm. These are a few of the signs that you may detect even before you visit the hospital. Otherwise, a cataract may be growing in your eye and you would not know it. Thankfully, cataracts can be detected by specialists with specific machines. They are effectively rid through surgery. Cataracts are usually caused by aging. But because of changing lifestyles, younger people are getting cataracts as well. It has been found that drugs, especially cigarettes, may sometimes cause cataracts. This applies to whether the individual was bound to get cataracts later or not. â€œDrugs and steroids could cause cataracts. Especially these eye drugs that people buy over the counter,â€? says Dr. Mureithi an optician at the Lions Sight First Eye Hospital. Another somewhat modern cause of the disease is radiation. This may be from everyday things such as phones or even medical procedures such as having X-rays. These machines radiate in minimal amounts. But a combination of minimal radiation and other unhealthy optic behaviors may cause cataracts. Computer Vision Syndrome Today, occupational health and safety concerns are focused on the office worker, particularly those workers who spend a considerable amount of time at computer displays. Majority of the people who are
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Health constantly using computers will develop the illness. Symptoms include blurred vision, headaches, double vision, dry red eyes, eye irritation and even back and neck pain. These symptoms sound familiar to many people. The disease is made even more intense if your computer has bad lighting or if you are wearing eyeglasses that are not prescribed to you. Cataracts and CVS are only two of many diseases that affect sight. Most of these diseases are only preventable or minimally treatable. But some of these diseases may just sneak up on you. Peter, mentioned earlier, suddenly went blind after an accident. With such sneaky diseases, one needs to be prepared to live with them, especially if there is no cure. Peter was determined to push ahead and was fortunate enough to find the Kenya Society for the Blind, a society whose main work is focus on visual impairment. You will be surprised that with a little knowledge and a good attitude, Peter is currently still growing in his career as an engineer. The KSB has helped Peter and many others through their rehabilitation process. The rehabilitation covers almost everything that a person needs to know in order to function with visual impairment. Johnson Kitetu, the resource manager at the Kenya Society for the Blind explains: “The first stage is the stage of basic counseling where the individual is helped to cope and accept the situation. Secondly, one is taken through basic education and taught how to go about doing things including an orientation, familiarizing themselves with their environment and surrounding such that they can easily move about from one point to the next and function without depending on another person.” The person can also still carry out some household duties. “Knowledge is given about how to go about daily activities such as cooking and cleaning and ironing. There is also training on how to conduct one’s specific business, training on how to continue with the careers they were in before they lost their sight.” Most interesting is that part of the training includes computer training. This is done by the Center of Adaptive Technology (CAT) in Nairobi where even those who are completely blind learn to use the computer with softwares designed for them. “All these processes will not cost more than Sh110’000 and usually do not take longer than one year,” he says. Visual impairment can happen to anyone. We should try our best to take preventive measures, but we should also be prepared.
GIVE THE GIFT OF
By: Varish Sheikh, District Governor, Lions Club International
In Kenya today there are over 3,000 people visually impaired because of a damaged cornea. Shockingly, most of these people are between 10-30 years old. The cornea, which is the outermost part of the eye, cannot be repaired once damaged. This means that if one’s cornea is impaired, the individual must get a new cornea. Before the eye bank at Lion’s Sight First Hospital was opened, corneas were imported from other countries. From the United States, one cornea costs around $2,800 which is roughly Sh232,000. That is excluding the cost of surgery and other hospital expenses. There is no need for such expensive procedures if Kenyans donated their corneas to the sick. This procedure can only be carried out after an individual passes away. The donation requires that you sign a consent form that names you as a donor. The form must be signed by a close family member stating that he or she has agreed to carry out your wishes when the time comes. Participating in such a noble cause ensures that the number of visually impaired people in the future is greatly reduced. Sadly, superstitions based on some of our cultures have lead many of us to believe that it is wrong to donate any organ after death. Some religions do not permit believers to do so, but certainly not all. In fact, the main reason why most people do not pledge to donate any organ is because they do not know how to go about it. Also, many people are ignorant of what their spiritual beliefs may or may not allow them to do concerning this. If you are past superstitious cultural beliefs and your spiritual affiliation permits such an action, you should definitely donate. It will only take signing a form. Furthermore, the doctors at Lions Sight First Hospital only retract the cornea and replace it with an artificial one ensuring that you look the same. The hospital needs to be informed at least 11 hours immediately after the passing. When this is done, the doctors will go where the body is and carry out the procedure. With that, you will save two people from going blind. Visit Lions Sight First Hospital in Loresho along Kaptagat Road or visit their website for more information. The Governor
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A New Dawn for the Business Community
By: George Awalla
he new Public Benefits Organizations Act 2013 has ushered in a new era. The business of community development and social work has changed forever. Fly by night and briefcase NGOs will have to find a new place to hide. Word on the street has it that the abbreviations NGO now stands for ‘Nothing Goes On’. The PBO Act 2013 sets a new legal, regulatory and institutional framework that will govern the operations of the over
7,500 civil society organizations (CSOs) in the country. The PBO Act sets out clear mechanisms for registration and retaining the ‘coveted’ PBO status. After all is said and done all NGOs and CSOs currently registered under other Acts of Parliament will have to seek fresh registration within a year. One great leap is that PBO registration has now been devolved to the grassroots level. Non - governmental or not for profit organizations will not have to troop to Nairobi to lodge their applications
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Development and make follow ups - a costly affair for grassroots civil society organizations. There will be uniformity in how the government deals with civil society as a sector, and CSOs will be expected to be more transparent and accountable to the public. The Act provides for tax exemption and structured platforms for funding NGOs and civil society organizations. It is widely anticipated that the government will be fair, firm, and broker honestly. The PBO Act outlines mechanisms for self-regulation and promotes adherence to a set of standards or code of practice. The
“The PBO Act beautifully outlines mechanisms for self-regulation and promotes adherence to a sets of standards or code of practice”. PBO Act also aligns itself to Vision 2030. It also protects and respects the rights of the citizens of Kenya in line with the Constitution of Kenya 2010. The Act provides for the establishment of an independent mechanism for complaints and redress. Through the establishment of a Tribunal, aggrieved PBOs or members of the public with complaints on PBOs will have their cases heard and determined. This will be a great relief for a sector that has been bedeviled by complaints from a variety of stakeholders including staff and volunteers within the civil society organizations. An interesting aspect of the PBO Act 2013 is that it does not establish mandatory rules or standards of internal governance of CSOs, but leaves the setting of standards, codes of conduct and certification to other self-regulation mechanisms set up by CSO networks or regional bodies. There is also no agreement on what the purpose of a certification system would be. Would it be towards improving the quality of development and social outcomes? Or enhancing credibility; accountability or professionalism within non-profit organizations? There is however no evidence that certification mechanism actually improve quality. There is an assumption that strengthened organizational systems and processes, automatically lead to better programming results and quality of services to the poor. Some ISO certified organizations, within the private sector, have continued to give poor
quality services and sell poor quality products to consumers. Yet they still keep the ISO standard certification. They have all the right processes in place, yet still develop poor quality products and render poor service. This is likely to be the situation for public benefits organizations or non-profit organizations. In Kenya, the civil society has come up with a set of standards called ‘Viwango’ which is also a certification mechanism that attempts to address both organizational and programming issues. Viwango is new in the market and is at the pilot phase. It is a shot in the arm. It uses good practice picked from the private sector and social development sector, which incorporates self-evaluation against agreed set of standards; a peer review mechanism and an external review leading to certification based on evidence and recommendations against set criteria. A good certification system has to be flexible so that it can be adapted to different needs and contexts. Despite the good provisions in the PBO 2013 Act, Kenyans need to remain vigilant. There will be legal implications to organizations that choose to seek new registration. They will lose nontransferable benefits like work permits for expatriates and foreign technical staff. Existing exemptions from registration and benefits that accrue from these will disappear for international agencies which have had special relationships with the government. There are also incidental costs of lodging a new application so as to comply with the law, and the challenges of winding up an old entity as a new body corporate is formed. With the ever raging debate of whose interests civil society represents, the stage is set for bruising battles between a variety of stakeholders who lay a claim to represent the interests of Wanjiku. Public benefit organizations must open themselves up for scrutiny in line with the new law. Some of the public benefit organizations have more money than government units and some county governments. The organizations must demonstrate accountability and professionalism. Public benefits organizations are mainly operated using ‘other people’s monies’. The people need to know what is happening to their money. The time for poor coordination; lack of professionalism; duplication of effort and wastage of resources is over for what was previously known as NGOs. It will be business unusual.
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Environment Starting from your home:
‘Save the World’.
By Lanoi Siyomit verything is going green and for a good reason. Many large companies are contributing to one ECO cause or another. SMEs are both fit in for the same. The world is shouting that we should all play a part. Many of us do not have the resources to change the environment globally but you can ‘save the world’ from your own back yard. When most people hear the word ‘recycle’ the contents of their dustbins come to mind. What many people are finding out is that waste management is not the only aspect of recycling. Water recycling, a different aspect, is becoming popular in Nairobi. Some of us are already saving rain water. That is water recycling. But water recycling is broader than fixing gutters to the roof edges of your home. The idea is to save water in all possible ways. Be it rain water, tap water, water used domestically- even the water from your bathrooms and toilets. Peter Paterson, a resident of Nairobi is a making the best of domestic water. His focus is not just the organized system of his house gutters but the pond in his backyard. A pond in anyone’s backyard sounds expensive. If you consider regular exchange of water, draining and cleaning, taking care of the flowers in the pond and so forth. However, it cost him nothing to keep the pond and an even bigger pond in his compound as he tells me. The water from the pond is from his recycled domestic water. This is recycled water from his house use and grey water (water from the bathroom and toilet). This he gets not just from his home but he has also tapped his systems into his neighbour’s homes. The water is passed through a purifier, which makes it clean. Not clean to drink, but once recycled, it is safe enough to be used for household chores, irrigation and in this case, a beautiful pond. This is not the only way he recycles water. Behind the pond, he has a tank that has a holding capacity of 5,000 liters of water. All the gutter systems of the buildings in his compound lead to this tank.
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Environment According to the Metrological Department, Nairobi is estimated to be receiving 900mm-1500mm (36-60 inches) of rain annually. During the rainy periods, if one has a collecting point, one can save the rain water, enough to last until the next season. Kenya has scarcity of water. Not because of scarcity of rain. During rainy seasons, most areas are riddled with floods. A few weeks later, the same areas are experiencing drought. A way has to be formulated to bridge these areas from one rainy season to the next. There are ways to save and recycle water even for city dwellers. Methods to be considered are large tanks. Peter’s land could easily accommodate a tank with a radius of 2meters. Few people will put a tank that big in their compounds due to space constraints in Nairobi. There are alternatives, though, such as rooftop tanks and underground tanks. Lighter tanks are easily available and easy to install. For an underground tank, all that one needs to do is to dig a large hole and cement it all around and cover it then direct all the water to this area. The addition with this system is that you need to acquire a water pump to retrieve it and you may still need another large container to transfer the water being pumped out if you want to use. A household of six people in Nairobi uses an average of 200 liters of water per week. But, for those who are living in apartments and close fenced estates, this amount is reduced by a quarter. If you multiply 200 liters by the number of weeks in the year, you will find that on average we use 10,400 liters of water per annum. Therefore, if you save around 4,500 liters of water between March and May- you have cut that to 5,900 liters annually. Through, regular collection of rain water this is achievable Add to this the 4,000 liters between September and mid- December; you will be using 1,900 liters a year. You could cut this down further if you recycled your domestic water. You could use recycled water all year. Water recycling from home is more than common in developed countries- it is the norm. Take for instance, Dubai. The rains there usually fall between December and March. During these four months, the city receives almost 6 inches of rain. But despite being in a desert, they have enough water to last them to the next rainy season. This paradox can be attributed to the fact that there are so many recycling related industries in Dubai, a contrast to Nairobi. Nairobi receives 6-10 times more rain than Dubai. The recycling industries are still new in Nairobi. But if harnessed, it is bound to become a very lucrative business. Also, it will help develop Kenya in terms of environment conservation and economic growth. Before we get to that level though, it would be good for you
to learn to recycle the water in your home for your ‘individual economy’. You will be surprised at how cheap it is to recycle such a precious commodity. Water recycling is an economical option. As for the environment, it is our duty to play a part in the conservation of our environment for the next generation. This is one way to go about that.
Conserve Water At Home. Shower Bucket- Instead of letting the water pour down the drain, stick a bucket under the faucet while you wait for your shower water to heat up. You can use the water for flushing the toilet or watering your plants. Turn off the tap while brushing your teeth. Don’t let all that water go down the drain while you brush! Turn off the faucet after you wet your brush, and leave it off until it’s time to rinse. Turn off the tap while washing your hands. Do you need the water to run while you’re scrubbing your hands? Save a few gallons of water and turn the faucet off after you wet your hands until you need to rinse. Fix your leaks. Whether you do it yourself or hire a plumber, fixing leaky faucets can mean big water savings. Re-use your pasta cooking liquid. Instead of dumping that water down the drain, try draining your pasta water into a large pot. Once it cools, you can use it to water your plants. Just make sure you wait, because if you dump that boiling water on your plants, you might harm them. Head to the car wash. If you feel compelled to wash your car, take it to a car wash that recycles the water, rather than washing at home with the hose. Cut your showers short. Older shower heads can use a lot of water. Speed things up in the shower for some serious water savings. Choose efficient fixtures. Aerating your faucets, investing in a low-flow toilet, choosing efficient shower heads, and opting for a Water Sense rated washing machine can add up to big water savings. Shrink your lawn. Even better: lose it completely. Instead, opt for plants that use less water or thrive in drought conditions.
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The Nairobi Fashion Market: Creating Platforms for business
lar promotional opportunities. They too were missing a platform to showcase their talents and harness its full potential. She decided to try and play matchmaker, bridge the gap between the wealth of talent and products available locally, and the fast growing urban middle class market that were seeking these products and services. She conceived the idea to put together a market day that would bring together all the players, setting them up in a huge exhibition of products. On implementing her concept, she has been able to provide the budding entrepreneurs with opportunities to market their products. NFM is put together in a fun, friendly and versatile environment in Nairobi , making it a great day out to enjoy the shopping, entertainment, networking and socializing, and more importantly, allowing the businesses to grow and thrive. The day provides for casual shopping for a wide range of items including
airobi Fashion Market (NFM) is the largest outdoor retail event in Nairobi. It showcases intelligent, innovative opportunities for progressive, established, and emerging designers and business entrepreneurs. Here, collections are showcased to media, celebrities, national and international buyers, and an enthralled crowd of 5,000 consumers. The event is held bi-annually, a “Spring Edition” in March and a “Fall Edition” in October. Lynette Anderson is the brains behind this foundation. She conceived the idea in 2010. She was struggling to raise awareness of her small business of interior soft furnishings. She had no store, worked on her designs from her living room and had a very tight budget to embark on a good marketing campaign or even setting up a shop. On further research, she realized she was not alone. She came across a lot of young, talented business owners, entrepreneurs, designers and artists, yearning to leverage off simi-
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clothing, make-up, hair products, household goods and even holiday stays. Audiences are entertained by the live music performances and fashion shows throughout the afternoon by upcoming and well known fashion designers. Exhibitors find the event profitable at the retail level and also benefit from significant exposure and establish long term customer and business relationships Over time, the NFM is growing to be known as a successful brand and marketing platform for a number of industries exposing some of these professionals to market their products both locally and internationally.
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Entertainment Movers and Shakers in the Entertainment Industry
ou cannot expect money to knock at your door and say ‘Here I am,Use me’ Says Jackie Nyaminde to the young people in the entertainment industry. Jackie plays a character in the hilarious ‘Papa Shirandula’, a well-loved local show on Citizen TV, as Wilbroda. Jackie attributes her success to doing her research and being a go-getter. She went in armed with knowledge and determination. She understood the loops of the industry and how it functions. This enabled her to know where to go and who to talk to. Such knowledge is acquired over time. Jackie has patiently but steadily risen up the ranks to get to where she is. After climbing the ladder of fame, she did not stop working hard. She became a favourite of many Kenyans and ventured out even further. Diversifying roles, she turned her career into a brand. On creating the hype, she went ahead to cash in on her popularity. Celebrities make money through bookings; that is showing up for events, and endorsements, commercials in the media, be it print, radio or TV media. She has gained from endorsements from large organizations like Buzeki Dairies, appearing on adverts for their product. The advert was such a hit that Ipsos Synovate, a global firm providing research services, reported that the advert was the most effective in the Kenyan market. All these escalated her fame even higher and
earned her a position at Citizen Radio where she is on air from 5pm to 10pm. Riding the wave of her fame, she is clearly cashing in and transforming into a brand. Being an excellent performer keeps her marketable. Jackie may be the funniest woman in the Kenyan entertainment industry. Her humour can be understood by any one and is still relevant after a long while keeping her career sustainable. Jackie is also the producer of ‘Undone Theater’ where she says she mentors budding artists. She is therefore a success as a performer, a business woman, a mentor and a mother too.
eartstrings Kenya is one of the most successful theater groups in Kenya. Not many groups make as much money or have as many people talk about them. Their plays are greatly anticipated and when they have a show, the tickets sell faster than newspapers. This is mainly because the plays Heartstrings put on are different from any other. They tackle current issues head on despite whose toes they might be stepping on. Not to mention the fact that they are unforgettable and rib-breaking hilarious.
Heartstrings Kenya impacts people. The strength and message of the impact is the director’s job. The director in this case is Victor Ber. He is also the creative director at the prominent entertainment and events company, Laugh Industry. Daniel Ndambuki (Churchill) identifies the director he frequently works with and says, “This man (Victor) has the ability to take something raw and turn it into gold. That is an extremely rare quality.” Together, they have directed and presented very bold Kenyan Cultured plays such as ‘The 43rd Kenyan Tribe’, ‘Ndukatavye Mundu’ and recently ‘Different forests, same Monkeys’. These plays have become a favourite to Kenyans. In fact, some theatre groups are borrowing their techniques of performance, scripting and presentation. Looking at his track record, Victor seems to have the ‘Midas Touch’. Victor was not born with the ability to turn written word to the wonderful plays presented. It took time and patience. When he began in the industry, theatre was not wholly accepted as a career. At the time, the pay was insufficient, the players indifferent and the general public inconsiderate. People have given up their talents for lesser reasons but not Victor. “The passion I have for my work is what kept me here. I did not even realize when they started reviewing the plays in the papers”. Victor says. The directors’ patience was not in vain. A performance from Heartstrings Kenya is synonymous with a packed venue. Notwithstanding that the group performs one play multiple times in a week and different plays in a month. It’s safe to say that in Victor’s life, patience is paying.
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Entertainment BOOK REVIEW
Title: CHINA INC. Author: RODERICK MACLEOD Reviewer: SHIRA MBATIA If the 20th century belonged to the American’s, then the 21st belongs to the Chinese, undoubtedly. They are doing businesses internationally. This book is on how to do business with the Chinese. Its contents share solid points to note when one intends to acquire wealth through multibillion projects and investments. China Inc. is written as a guide for those considering business. The book is well written, and quite an enjoyable read. Its style is not the usual prose you would find in most books, but rather a book filled with sub topics and chapters describing vivid scenarios. Different sections in the book impart a lot of useful information, both from a business and psychological standpoint, portraying how China has managed to secure its diversity and its march to success. The book still offers many great tips for the aspiring businessperson. The author covers different concepts, in order to show real-world scenarios and how if the concepts were correctly applied, there could have been a much more successful business venture.
Music review Album title: As above So Below Artist: Anthony David For years, R&B/Soul singer Anthony David has been one of the most underappreciated singers in music. The album is characterized by, thought provoking and cerebral vocals which are, uplifting and well sung. It’s one big drawback however, is that sometimes it’s more laid back and low-key than his brilliant previous albums. Going down the track list, there’s some light and airy material. But the majority of songs are R&B for mature, thinking people who don’t mind a few messages in their music. Boyz II Men Shawn Stockman joins him in ‘Rule the World.’ The difference lies in the vocal interpretations of David and Stockman, both bringing their own distinctive styles to the track. The standout track on the album has to be ‘Backstreet.’ With this one, Anthony David delivers his familiar and inimitable style of artful and creative storytelling, every bit as ‘street’ as it is intelligent. He remains diverse, versatile and strong throughout in his vocal delivery and songwriting, exploring themes that are both familiar and new. It’s a must listen.
Movie review Title: Nairobi half life Reviewer: Beth Kimani
The movie Nairobi Half Life is about a hopeful young man, ‘Mwas,’ who in a plan to beat the odds, relocates from the countryside to Nairobi city in search of his dream to be a successful actor. Mwas is not a lucky Kenyan. He is from an ordinary background, a drunkard father and a poor home. His first day in the city is riddled with tragedies. He is robbed, arrested and as he sits on the floors of Central Police station, his life crosses with an uncanny and unwise thief, ‘Oti’, who introduces him, on their release, to his gang. Having entered into the underworld, his life is a contention with double crossers and his daily living sucks him deeper into the mire as he struggles to keep his heart and intentions pure. The movie is captivating. One roots for the believer and dreamer depicted by Mwas getting by in the harshest of cities, something we can all relate. The Governor The Governor July 2013 FINAL.indd 53
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Nairobi National Park -
A Unique City Game Drive
By: Beth Kimani
Nairobi National Park, Kenyaâ€™s first ever National Park is a unique and unspoilt wildlife haven within sight of the cityâ€™s skyline. It is the only one in the world within the proximity of the city. Rhino, buffalo, cheetah, zebra, giraffe, lion and plenty of antelopes and gazelles can be seen roaming in this open plains country with a section of highland forest as well as stretches of broken bush country, deep, rocky valleys and gorges with scrub and long grass. Ornithologists get to see over 400 recorded bird species including the Secretary bird, crowned cranes, vultures, peckers and many more it is also home to the highest concentration of black rhino in the world It is the most accessible of all Kenyaâ€™s wildlife parks, being only a few kilometers from the city centre. The park has been around since 1946 and wildlife here is plentiful despite the backdrop of looming skyscrapers and the roar of jets coming in to land at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.
The western side has a highland dry forest and a permanent river with a riverine forest. To the south are the Athi-Kapiti Plains and Kitengela migration corridor which are important wildlife dispersal areas during the rainy season. Man-made dams within the park have added a further habitat, favourable to certain species of birds and other aquatic biome. Nairobi National Park is not fenced and wildlife is still able to migrate along a narrow wildlife corridor to the
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Travel Rift Valley. This means that you have to pick out specific times of the year to catch up with some of the wild animals that may cross further than you can tour. The concentrations of wildlife are higher in the dry season as animals migrate into the park where water is almost always available. This is an ideal time for Wildlife lovers to get a fulfilling trip and great for photographers to capture rare shots with their cameras. Inside the park, there are spots one can pause and be one with nature and enjoy a picnic. in plain sight and therefore, it takes time and patience to spot them. Close to the entrance of the facility is the Nairobi Safari Walk, a sort of zoo-meets-nature boardwalk with lots of birds and other wildlife like leopards and lions. Other attractions include the Ivory Burning Site Monument, the animal orphanage and the walking trails at hippo pools.
Nairobi National Park hosts a club house as well as several picnic sites, Mokoiyet, Kingfisher and Impala being the most popular. At The club house, which was recently renovated, visitors can hold parties and events under one roof, enjoying the ambience of the wild outdoors. Inside the park, one finds several picnic spots that overlook amazing views of the vast plains, with the city of Nairobi shimmering in the background. Well equipped with a cooking area, benches and wash-rooms, the picnic sites offer a quiet alternative to relax outdoors. While most might be worried that there could be animals lurking in the vicinity, there are KWS rangers who patrol the areas ensuring that visitors to the park are safe. Being a large area, it is wise to begin the game drive early, and this way, you will have time to make brief stops along the way to enjoy watching the wild animals scattered across the park. Some of the animals are not The Governor The Governor July 2013 FINAL.indd 55
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Travel By: Lanoi Siyomit
The Kenya National Museum Botanical Gardens
In contrast to the chaos of city streets, the botanical gardens are the definition of serene. An escape from the hustle and bustle of the city, you can take blissful walk and inhale the soothing scents of 600 indigenous plants and the splash of colour from over 100 exotic spicies of flowers on the garden that was designed during the recent facelift. It takes away the sounds of the usual Nairobi traffic. All you hear are the soothing sounds of the flowing Nairobi River and the songs of chirruping birds up the trees. The place is ideal for a healthy workout. The arrangement is suitable for both aesthetic purposes and educational purposes. Besides the garden, there is a coffee house should one need to refresh and a snake park for the unafraid. If one is a lover of shopping, there is an art gallery. This area, located just 1.5km from the CBD, is truly unique.
The David Sheldrick Orphanage for Rhinos and
Unique Spots in Nairobi The farm was owned by Danish Author Karen and her Swedish husband, Baron Bror von Blixen. A few other people owned the home after Karen and Bror. The Danish government bought the compound and the home later. They then gave it to the Kenyan government as a gift. In 1986, when the house was turned into a museum, it became popular because of how different it was. Every detail of the home is ancient. When the movie ‘Out of Africa’ was released, the popularity of Karen Blixen went international. A museum shop offers handicrafts, posters and postcards, the Movie ‘Out of Africa’, books and other Kenyan souvenirs. The grounds may be rented for weddings receptions, corporate functions and more. This includes spacious rooms, horizontal layout verandas, tile roof and stone construction typical of scores of residences built throughout European suburbs of Nairobi. Not to mention, with the new renovations, the museum has new items to exhibit. The museum located in Karen on Marula lane, off Karen road is opened to the public from 9.30am to 6pm. This includes holidays and weekends.
Here, you can watch baby elephants play and have fun bathing in the sun. It is absolutely a heartwarming experience, It is open to all age groups, it is open daily and the entrance is Sh500. This lasts for one hour between 11 am and noon. It’s an opportunity to feed the elephants and take photographs.
Visiting Karen Blixen Museum is like stepping into the past. The building embodies the distinctive characteristics of its type, period and method of construction.
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The Final Say
Expectations from the County Governments
Kenya cannot offer economic leadership in the region unless the government promotes programmes that will entice the private sector to take advantage of export markets. To attain that, President Uhuru Kenyatta’s administration will have to deliberately work out a raft of incentives to energize the manufacturing sector so that Kenya penetrates the export markets. Kenyan companies must start producing for regional markets like the EAC and COMESA. The youth form the bulk of the unemployed in Kenya. Supporting the Youth Enterprise Fund to give young people skills and provide Konza city, Machakos County By: Dismus Mokua them with start-up grants as well as loans at It is no secret that the national and county governments will reduced rates for business expansion, is one way of cutting have to work together to drive the devolution agenda and enable down on unemployment. Wanjiku to understand the new system. Most important will be The Fund can help the youth penetrate virgin markets and specific laws that catalyze regional and international business. reward entrepreneurs who show passion and resilience. Such This will afford county governments the opportunity to influence entrepreneurs should be given marketing support services and foreign policy and Kenya’s export business. mentorship programmes. Kenya has amazing potential. However, the national government The Konza City project will have to catalyze ICT use- as a way needs to make deliberate attempts to create an enabling envi- of opening up Kenya as a regional ICT centre. ronment to do business in the private sector. Kenya’s diplomatic missions can also act as marketing agenIt can do this by encouraging governments to participate in in- cies where ambassadors and High Commissioners become ternational trade and enable export markets form the basis of salesmen of Brand Kenya. employment-creation, wealth-creation and double-digit economic Commercial agriculture, ICT and manufacturing could then be growth. used as catalysts to turn around Kenya. Kenya has had noMoreover, regional trading blocs offer Kenya trading opportuni- table success in recent years in expanding its wage-based in ties with an estimated market of over 240 million people. Kenya com¬mercial farming and if this is sustained, it could bring can borrow a leaf from Germany, which runs an export-oriented much needed change. economy and as a result, has built a very strong economy sur- Commercial agriculture and skilled services must continue to viving global shocks like the 2008 World Economic Crisis that receive consideration with the export market in mind. A good crippled economies in the West. working relationship with industry organizations like KEPSA, Germany has used the private sector to supply high quality KAM, KARA and other private sector organizations is another goods all over the world. That is why the European Union looks ingredient of sustainable development. This way the national at Germany for economic leadership. and county governments will understand the private sector’s problems and offer solutions. C
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