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Corporate News From Africa

  1. KCB secures Sh10bn from MasterCard for jobs plan:

KCB Foundation, the social investments arm of KCB Group , has secured Sh10 billion funding from the MasterCard Foundation to scale up the bank’s 2jiajiri job creation Programme. The funding, part of a Sh30 billion MasterCard Foundation kitty that will also benefit Equity Bank Group, was extended to KCB Foundation under the ‘Young Africa Works’ Programme which was launched in Nairobi last week. “For 2jiajiri, the initiative will focus on providing technical training to 114,000 beneficiaries from micro and small enterprises in the three economic sectors of agriculture, manufacturing and construction in Kenya, in line with the government’s Big 4 Agenda,” said KCB Group CEO Joshua Oigara. “One of the priorities this year is to drive business growth while contributing to the economic growth of all the markets we operate in. ”KCB launched 2jiajiri in 2016 with the aim of benefiting at least 500,000 entrepreneurs in five years with access to credit.

2. Chinese companies register rising income from Uganda:

Chinese companies with construction projects in Uganda have in the last 20 years earned more money than any other foreign company, grossing about $8.7 billion (Ksh881 billion) over the period. These are the annual revenues earned by the companies between 1998 and 2017, according to data by the China Africa Research Initiative. In 1998, Chinese companies made $14.9 million, which was maintained in 1999, but later increased in 2000, rising to $19.1 million. While there was a slump in the following years, revenues bounced back in 2003 with $20.3 million and have since then risen to $2.1 billion (Ksh212 billion) in 2017.The increase in revenues could partly be explained by increased lobbying between the Uganda and Chinese governments.

3. France’s Orange eyes Ethiopia’s telcom sector:

France’s leading telecommunications company Orange believes the planned liberalization of the sector in Ethiopia will take shape in 2020.Ethiopia is one of the last countries whose telecoms industry remains in the hands of the government. Orange is one of the leading contenders seeking to benefit from the end of state-controlled Ethio Telecom’s monopoly, pushed by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. Sources told Reuters earlier this month that the government aimed to award telecom licenses by the end of 2019, with the new operators expected to launch services next year. However some industry executives have expressed scepticism over the timetable. “The most likely scenario as of today seems to be the opening of the incumbent’s capital to a minority shareholder who could play a significant role within the company,’‘ Orange’s Chief Financial Officer Ramon Fernandez told Reuters on Friday. “And, in parallel, the opening of the market through the sale of at least one license to an operator,” Fernandez added.

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Corporate News From Africa

  1. Jumia adds 150 pick-up points, eyes 450 more:

Online shopping site Jumia has grown the number of pick-up locations across the country by 150 this year, as it races towards recruiting 450 more agents before the year ends. The site has since recruited an additional 20 agents in Eldoret in its latest drive. The e-commerce firm’s new strategy relies on an agency model, through which existing entrepreneurs earn a commission by hosting Jumia pick-up stations in their existing facilities. The site has in the last few months withdrew the Jumia-run flexible offline pick-up points alternative to focus on their core business. “We see a growing potential and many unserved customers in areas outside of Nairobi…Our expanded pick up station network will enhance customer confidence and provide them a convenient shopping experience,” said Jumia MD Sam Chappatte.

  • MasterCard Foundation gives Kenya Sh30bn to boost youth jobs, training:

Kenya will receive Sh30 billion from the MasterCard Foundation to help the youth access jobs and further their businesses as part of a joint strategy with the government aimed at benefitting at least five million people. Speaking during the launch of the initiative dubbed ‘Young Africa Works’ in Nairobi on Thursday morning, President Uhuru Kenyatta thanked the MasterCard Foundation for its partnership with the State and local organizations to help Kenyan youth become “productive members of society”. Also part of the initiative are the Equity Bank Group , KCB Group  and their respective foundations which will provide billions in capital and business development services. “Kenya has a vibrant entrepreneurial culture, a strong private sector, and an enabling policy environment… Young Africa Works in Kenya builds on this momentum to prepare and connect young people to opportunities that will grow the economy and transform their lives,” said Reeta Roy, President and CEO of the MasterCard Foundation. President Kenyatta condemned the get-rich-quick mentality which he said has led to corruption on the country.

  • Ex- Deloitte boss & Gulf Energy chief executive join BAT board:

British American Tobacco Kenya (BAT)  has tapped immediate former Deloitte East Africa chief executive Samuel Onyango to its board as a non-executive director. Mr. Onyango, who retired from the audit and advisory firm last year after serving it for about 38 years, joins the cigarette maker’s board alongside Gulf Africa Petroleum Corporation Kenya managing director Samson Irungu. “The chairman and directors of BAT Kenya congratulate and welcome Dr M Irungu and Mr. S Onyango to the board,” BAT said in a statement announcing the appointments Thursday. The duo will be expected to among other roles help develop strategy, review management proposals, scrutinize performance of management and bring an external perspective to the board. Mr. Onyango, a bachelor of commerce graduate from the University of Nairobi and a certified public accountant and company secretary, had an illustrious career at Deloitte.

  • America based insurer targets expatriates in Kenyan entry:

American health services company, Cigna, has ventured into the Kenyan insurance market with the launch of its African headquarters in Nairobi. The international insurer, which is targeting multinationals and locally-recruited staff working at inter-governmental and NGOs, said it is looking to make Kenya its hub for Africa. Cigna’s entry will step up competition for global health insurers such as Bupa International that equally provides health insurance services to the growing middle-class, mid-level executives and expatriates living in Kenya and travelling in and around Africa, including those seeking treatment in South Africa, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Cigna chief executive Arjaan Toor said the firm’s success would be driven by betting that the future of health insurance is managing its clients’ needs holistically, rather than just one aspect of their medical care. “We see more and more multinationals setting up shop locally and more Kenyan companies are setting up office in other countries and so we thought that there is a need for global insurance service providers in Kenya that will cater to the needs of this increasingly global market segment,” he said at the office’s launch yesterday.

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Corporate News From Africa

  1. Safaricom starts reverse calling:

About 31 million Safaricom  customers are now able to make reverse calls in a move allowing subscribers to foot bills for calls made by loved ones. The service enables a caller to transfer the cost of a call to the receiver by adding ‘#’ before the number they are dialing. For instance, to transfer the cost of the call to 0722000000, a customer is required to dial #0722000000.“This innovation is in line with this commitment and has been tailored to mirror the relationships between our customers with a goal of empowering them to always remain connected with their loved ones,” Safaricom’s chief customer officer Sylvia Mulinge said in a statement yesterday. Ms Mulinge said that the reverse call feature works in such a way that a customer receiving a reverse call request will see the caller’s details appear on the screen as normal, but once they pick the call, they will receive a voice prompt asking them to key in “1” to accept the reverse call.

  • Win for firm in trademark row with state agency:

The High Court in Mombasa has quashed a decision by the Registrar of Trademarks to expunge a trademark belonging to a solar firm in a bitter dispute pitting the company against the Anti-Counterfeit Agency (ACA).Justice Eric Ogola quashed the decision made on September 3 last year, which rectified the register by expunging Uwin Investment Africa Company Ltd.’s ‘GDLITE’ trademark from the register. The judge also declared that the ACA’s decision to seize and detain two containers with Uwin Investment Africa Company Ltd.’s goods bearing its trademark was unlawful and a breach of the company’s right to a fair hearing. “The Registrar of Trademarks decision is tainted with procedural impropriety, falls short of the requirement envisaged under Article 47 (2) of the Constitution and Section 4 (3) b of the Fair Administrative Action Act 2015,” said Justice Ogola adding that the decision was null and void.He further ruled that ACA took into consideration irrelevant matters in arriving at its decision to seize and prefer criminal charges against Uwin Investments Africa Company Ltd.’s officers.

  • Carrefour moves to fill Nakumatt void in Uganda:

French retailer Carrefour is set to open its first branch in Kampala as it moves to take up space previously occupied by struggling Kenyan retailer Nakumatt. Carrefour, whose local franchise is held by Dubai-based conglomerate Majid Al Futtaim, said the store set to be opened in the next few months at Oasis Mall in Kampala will employ about 150 locals. It will stock fast-moving consumer goods such as packaged foods, beverages and electronics among other household items. In a statement Tuesday, Majid Al Futtaim chief executive Hani Weiss described the planned opening of the new store in Kampala as a key milestone in the firm’s East Africa expansion plans. “Uganda is considered one of the fastest growing economies in Africa, and we are delighted to partner with local stakeholders to offer a world-class retail experience to the Ugandan community, specifically tailored to their needs,” he said.

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Good News From Africa

  1. Portuguese companies eye Kenya investments:

Portuguese companies looking to invest in the country will now find it easier to locate targeted opportunities following the launch of the Portuguese Business Council Kenya, a lobby group set up to help the firms advance their agenda locally and in Lisbon. The lobby is eyeing increased trade in the pharmaceutical, technology, agriculture, and manufacturing industries in Kenyan. “The Portuguese Business Council Kenya will provide networking opportunities for businesses and individuals from both nations while at the same time working with relevant agencies to ensure there is ease in carrying out this trade,” said, João Ramos a founding member of the council. This latest development follows efforts by Portuguese and local state officials to have Nairobi and Lisbon re-engage. “The bilateral instruments of co-operation that have been signed in the diverse fields have also provided the much-needed impetus for enhancing these relations,” said International Conferences & Events Director-General Benson Ogutu at the launch of the lobby group.

  • Tullow Oil pays State Sh49.6m License fees:

London-based Tullow Oil Plc. paid the Kenyan government Sh49.6 million in license fees and infrastructure improvement payments last year, down from Sh64.6 million paid in 2017.This is according to a disclosure in the multinational’s consolidated report for the year ended December 31, 2018, which reveals payouts made to various governments in accordance with the UK’s Reports on Payments to Governments Regulations 2014.The sum paid to Kenya is a three-year low. In 2016, it rose to Sh61.4 million with a further increase in 2017. However, the amount is expected to rise in future when commercial oil production starts. The firm had disclosed in January that it plans to invest Sh7 billion in its Kenyan operations this year as it steps up preparations for commercial production starting 2022.“The group’s 2019 capital expenditure is expected to total approximately $570 million (Sh57.5 billion), comprising … Kenya pre-development expenditure of circa $70 million (Sh7 billion),” Tullow said in a January trading update.

  • Kemsa to get title deeds ‘by the end of this month’:

The Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (Kemsa) says it is in the process of acquiring title deeds for its land parcels in Kaka mega, Kisumu, and Eldoret. The State agency, however, did not disclose when it is set to acquire the same for its prime property in Mombasa, Garissa, Nakuru and Nyeri. “We expect to have the title deeds for Kaka mega, Kisumu, and Eldoret parcels of land by end of June 2019,” said Dr Jonah Manjari, Kemsa CEO in a statement. This comes after the Auditor- General said in a report last year that Kemsa risked losing land worth Sh183 million located in different parts of the country since they lacked proper documentation. Dr Manjari last year appeared before the Public Investments Committee (PIC) to answer to why the agency lacked title deeds for some of its land. He told MPs that the process of acquiring ownership documents has been ongoing and that Kemsa had hired advocates to follow up on the title deeds for its property.

  • Kenya’s trademark, patent applications rise to historic high:

Patent and trademark applications in Kenya hit a record high of 7,788 last year, surpassing requests recorded in the country’s history and signaling increased awareness among innovators on the need to protect their intellectual property rights. However, the number of patents granted reduced to 245 despite 914 applications compared to the 410 patents granted in 2017, according to data released by Kenya Industrial Property Institute (Kipi).Kipi Managing Director Sylvance Sange said most of the applications did not meet the requisite conditions and were therefore rejected. A patent is an exclusive right granted for the protection of an invention. To be granted, the invention must be new, be capable of being used in some kind of industry and must not be obvious. “Some of these applications did not meet the requirements of the Industrial Property Act (IPA 2001) on patentability such as novelty, inventive step, industrial applicability,” he said.

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Good News From Africa

  1. Addressing Africa’s Infrastructure Challenges:

Inadequate infrastructure remains a major obstacle towards Africa achieving its full economic growth potential. With Africa seen as one of the world’s fastest growing economic hubs, meeting the demand for key infrastructure has been identified as a priority. This translates into exciting opportunities for global investors who need to look past the traditional Western view of Africa as a homogeneous block: By André Pottas, Deloitte Corporate Finance Advisory. One of sub-Saharan Africa’s top developmental challenges continues to be the shortage of physical infrastructure. Greater economic activity, enhanced efficiency and increased competitiveness are hampered by inadequate transport, communication, water and power infrastructure. The world is eager to do business with Africa, but finds it difficult to access African markets, especially in the interior, due to poor infrastructure.

  • Africa50: an innovative African solution to an African Challenge:

Its COO, Carole Waianae, talks to African Business about how Africa50 is building a team to support its mission and describes some of its priority projects I often get asked this question given that I don’t have an infrastructure background. My leadership and business experience across different organizations, sectors and geographies has taught me that, regardless of the entity’s mission, people, organization and partnerships are key success factors. I therefore consider my “toolbox”, which contains diverse experiences, capabilities and networks, not only highly transferable but complimentary and much needed in any organization today.Africa50 was particularly attractive because it came at a time when I was feeling more called to play a bigger role in contributing to the transformation of Africa. The opportunity to help build a more innovative organisation to develop and invest in infrastructure on the continent that had both a commercial and a developmental mandate was exciting. I was also inspired by the fact that Africa50 is an African solution to an African challenge. 

  • UK brings a new focus to Africa:

Visits to five African countries in five days may not allow much time to make a meaningful or lasting impression, but for UK foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt, a whistle-stop April tour to Nigeria, Senegal, Ethiopia, Ghana and Kenya was a chance to keep up appearances and secure maximum exposure to what he dubbed the UK’s “partners for investment and trade”. From the obligatory economic forum in Kenya featuring a purported £64m in business funding to deal announcements in Ghana, Hunt’s conversations revolved around the fresh trade opportunities that the UK hopes to unlock on the continent following its exit from the European Union.

  • Shaping Africa’s economic strategy for the digital age:

Africa is grasping the technological revolution with both hands. Hundreds of millions of venture capital dollars are flowing into the region which remains the fastest growing mobile phone market in the world, and an emerging competitor in the global race for tech. With innovation hubs sprouting up throughout the continent, solutions are being found to solve uniquely African problems and dissolve barriers to trade, financial services and capital. But governments need to do more to seize on the opportunities of the global digital economy, which is set to grow from $11.5 trillion in 2016 to over $23 trillion by 2025.In response, the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) set the focus of its 2019 conference of African ministers of finance, planning and economic development squarely on the subject.

  • Recruiters set sights on continents scare executives:

As the former global head of recruitment for PZ Cussons, a venerable British soap manufacturer that became one of Nigeria’s biggest consumer goods companies, Steve Hassan was tasked with unearthing a talented local supply chain director in a country responsible for over $200m of the company’s annual revenues. With multinationals and Nigerian firms involved in a “bun fight” over a limited pool of gifted local executives, the ideal candidate proved elusive. “The one thing we faced over all of our African businesses – and PZ Cussons was mainly in Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya – was the fight for local talent,” says Hassan. “A lot of people expect that in a place like Nigeria with over 180m people it’s not too difficult to find people, but it’s actually the opposite, especially finding a good cultural fit with the right technical skills.” Short on options, Hassan turned to an executive search company specializing in headhunting on the continent.  

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