Strategies to revive tourism bearing fruit, says Balala

Despite a series of hurdles, tourism continues to pick up steadily, with the country banking on cruise ships to return the sector to its former glory.

Tourism cabinet secretary Najib Balala said the country is beginning to reap the fruits of aggressive efforts to boost the sector.

He said a total of international arrivals for tourists in January to September 2017 by air and sea were 723, 174 compared to 657, 438 in 2016.

Kenya’s development efforts lead to improved World Bank rating

Kenya is among five countries in Africa that have made progress in supporting development and poverty reduction in 2014.According to a World Bank report released last week, Kenya scored above the African average of 3.2 in the latest Country Policy and Institutional Assessment (CPIA).
The Government’s effort to enhance economic growth by initiating development projects, and its implementation of sound strategies to reduce poverty levels has helped boost its rating.
World Bank’s Africa Region Acting Chief Economist Punam Chuhan-Pole, who also authored the report, said the CPIA analysis rates the performance and challenges of poor countries.
The survey found that 26 per cent of governments and institutions in made progress in supporting development and poverty reduction last year, with 10 countries seeing an improvement in their overall CPIA score.

Kenya gets Sh50bn World Bank loan for roads

Kenya has signed a Sh50 billion infrastructure loan with World Bank to fund part of the Eastern Africa Regional Transport, Trade and Development Facilitation Project.

National Treasury Cabinet secretary Henry Rotich said the funds will be used to rehabilitation the 287 kilometere Nakodok- Loichangamatak that traverses Trans Nzoia, West Pokot and Turkana counties.

The government will also develop a 40 kilometre section between Loichangamatak and Lokichar (Turkana County) at a cost of Sh17.6 billion.

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Bad weather hurt milk processors

Consupmtion of processed milk has reduced significantly since the beginning of 2015 due to what processors attribute to unfavourable weather.

The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics data sourced from the Kenya Dairy Board shows January, February, March and April 2015 recorded milk intakes was 47.3, 35.7, 36.8 and 30.4 million litres, respectively.

Milk consumption stood at 54, 46.6, 49.3, and 45 million litres in January, February, March and April last year.

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Growth in plastic card payments slows down as Kenyans opt for mobile money

Plastic card payments in the first four months of the year rose only marginally relative to the same period last year, but remained well below the high achieved in the same period in 2013. The amount settled through the cards was just 0.7 per cent higher at Sh427.6 billion in the period compared to Sh424.8 billion in the same period last year, data from the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) shows.

Analysts attribute the fall in the value of card payments to the increased popularity of mobile money platforms such as Safaricom’s  M-Pesa, and Airtel Money.

Equity steps up competition for mobile money customers with cheaper transfer service

Equity Bank has stepped up competition for mobile money customers by making it free for its subscribers to send money to Airtel subscribers and within its network while capping fees charged on transfers to other banks at Sh200. Users of the new Equitel service will send any amount of money to customers within the bank and up to Sh1 million from their mobile phones to other banks, a significantly higher sum than the current maximum transfer of Sh140,000 per day on Safaricom’s M-Pesa, which must be done in two instalments.

Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES)

The 2015 Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) will be held in Nairobi Kenya, on July 25-26 2015. It will be the sixth annual gathering of entrepreneurs at all stages of business development, business leaders, mentors, and high-level government officials. GES is a global platform connecting emerging entrepreneurs with leaders from business, international organizations, and governments looking to support them.

Co-hosted by the Government of Kenya,the 2015 GES will mark the first time that the event will take place in Sub-Saharan Africa.

It will be graced by His Excellencies Uhuru Kenyatta -President of the Republic of Kenya and Barrack Obama-President of USA.

Kenya’s economy grows by 4.9 per cent in first quarter

Data from Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) indicates that Kenya’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew by 4.9 per cent in the first quarter of 2015, a marginal 4 per cent increase from the 4.7 growth recorded over a similar period last year with inflation easing downwards 5.8 per cent compared to 6.8 per cent. The Government’s statistics body, however, states that even as the country’s economy experienced relative stability over the first quarter of 2015, the shilling depreciated by 6 per cent against the US dollar, an issue that continues to be of concern to traders.
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Local SMEs beat large companies in tech uptake

Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) firms have overtaken large companies in the use and adoption of technology in East Africa. PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Kenya revealed in a survey that over 60 per cent of respondents during the CIO100 Survey 2014 said most technologies were being used in projects for the first time.

The report further notes that innovation was mostly executed in mobile or wireless technology, databases or data warehousing and virtualisation of servers. Speaking during the announcement Muchemi Wambugu, partner/director PwC said unlike others, the survey says most companies — especially the SMEs have increased their investments in, and uptake of, technology — in a bid to have an edge in business processes.