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The Role of M-PESA in Remittance

02 Apr

International migration has become a strategy for individuals and families in developing countries to cope with poverty and economic crisis. Migrants attempt not only to improve their own livelihoods but they also send a considerable share of their earnings to their families back home.

As a result remittances provide a significant portion of income in financially excluded socities in Kenya were  financial services are underdeveloped and limited to urban populations, making migrant income an important source of capital investment.

One of the most successful ways of remitting money to Kenya thus far has mobile money transfers. I have written a bit about the role that M_PESA has played in mobile money transfers. I would however like to give a more detailed explanation as to how exactly this service works.

The M-Pesa service platform, developed in-house by Vodafone and the consulting company Sagentia, integrates a mobile wallet with Safaricom’s rating, billing and provisioning systems.

Subscribers of Safaricom can register for the M-Pesa service by filling up a simple form and providing any identification proof. Once registered, Safaricom replaces their SIM with the M-Pesa enabled SIM (if required, all new mobile subscribers now get the M-Pesa enabled SIM).

To load the money on the the wallet, once you make payment  to a remittance company form abroad, they will usually make payment to  an agent in Kenya who will then  transfer an e-Float the recipient  via encrypted SMS. The receiver of the virtual currency can either use it for further transactions or can cash-out from M-Pesa designated outlets.

 

 
 

The How to guide

30 Mar

…Start a business in Kenya

One of the long-term goals that the Kenyan Diaspora aims to achieve is to eventually start their own businesses back home.  So I have decided to put together a list of the legal requirements that every entrepreneur must consider.  I have also taken the liberty to include some of the associated costs so you have an idea of how much you need to send back home to Kenya in order to set up and register a new firm.

  • State registration of legal entity, statistical, and tax registration with the Center for Public Registration: (cost KES 100 per name reservation)
  • Stamp the memorandum and articles and a statement of the nominal capital: (Will cost 1% of nominal capital + KES 2,020, stamp duty on Memorandum and Articles of Association
  • Pay stamp duty at bank: You will need to pay KES 100 for bank commission)
  • Declaration of compliance (Form 208) is signed before a Commissioner of Oaths /notary public: (cost KES 200)
  • File deed and details with the Registrar of Companies at the Attorney General’s Chambers in Nairobi: (cost  KES 6360)
  • Register with the Tax Department for a PIN and VAT online: (no charge)
  • Apply for a business permit: (cost KES 5000)
  • Register with the National Social Security Fund (NSSF): (no charge)
  • Register with the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF): (no charge)
  • Register for PAYE: (no charge)
  • Make a company seal after a certificate of incorporation has been issued: (cost between KES 2,500 and KES 3,500)

 

This by the way is just the beginning; a brief checklist that you need to go through to ensure that you have all the required documentation to ensure that you do things in a completely legal way

 
 

Saving Money in 2015 Part 2

26 Mar

Continuing our tips for the year in saving money. Saving in Kenya is an important idea for individuals as it helps them budget their finances and know what to invest in. It has come to the realization that many Kenyans have poor spending habits ending up with little or no money to save hence become broke. Also another problem is lack of financial discipline and the opting of the easy way out , which actually means that taking that easier option will put one under even more trouble.

One must strive to avoid debt as much as possible.  Avoid accumulation of new debt. Some debt is essentially unavoidable. For instance, only the very rich have enough money to buy a house in one lump sum payment, yet millions of people are able to buy houses by taking out loans and slowly paying them back. However, in general, when you can avoid going into debt, do so. Paying a sum of money up-front is always cheaper in the long run than paying off an equivalent loan while interest accumulates over time. If taking out a loan is unavoidable, try to make as big of down payment as possible. The more of the cost of the purchase you can cover up front, the quicker you’ll pay off your loan and the less you’ll spend on interest. If you can eliminate or strive to eliminate your debt. The sooner you can eliminate debt the less interest you will pay. Even as you work towards getting out of debt, be sure to create an emergency fund, if possible entirely separate from your savings account that you created.

Tip of the Day

Buy Goods in Bulk

Bulk buying ensures that one gets the basic requirements that will help them get what they need at the time when they are not readily available. Furthermore, it has come to the realization that most people that buy bulk products save more money than the ones that buy small quantities on a daily basis. Consumers should buy goods in large amounts and ensure that they have the basic things they need to survive.

 

 

 
 

Guide to buying a used Japanese vehicle online

23 Mar

Rising GDP levels and vibrant economic activities has seen and increase in the import of second hand vehicles, particularly from Japan. The rising middle class have money to spend but not enough to purchase new or local vehicles on the market hence the next best thing is importing cheap Japanese vehicles available through online traders.

Obviously the fist port of call is to check whether or not the vehicle is in good working order. Most of the online traders state that they check the vehicles and tested by qualified mechanics who will established whether the vehicles are in good working order. One can also look at auctions and use a Japanese car exporter who can represent you at the used auto auctions in Japan. These are your sales agents who would view the thousands of cars at the auctions and help you to find the exact car models and makes you want.

The three main regulations when considering importing / exporting a car to Kenya are:

Age Limit: In 2015 only vehicles manufactured in the year 2008 and onwards will be allowed to be imported into Kenya

Left Hand Drive Vehicles: All left hand drive vehicles are not allowed for registration unless they have a special purpose.

Road Worthiness: All motor vehicles imported into Kenya must be inspected prior to shipment by QISJ for road worthiness.

Payments are done usually by electronic transfers into accounts. This makes the task of purchasing vehicles online a haven for fraudsters. Potential vehicle importers must be extremely cautious before ordering a vehicle on the internet. Before buying a Motor vehicle online, kindly check from http://www.jumvea.or.jp/ if the online vendor is a legally registered business in Japan. Members of the Japan Used Motor Vehicle Exporters Association (JUMVEA) are legally registered & licenced Used Car Dealers, are vetted for legality and credibility and are committed by Association values.

 

 

 
 

Positive outlook for Kenyan Economy

19 Mar

The World Bank raised its growth forecast for Kenya to 6% this year, sharply up from its previous projection of 4.7%. Investors have been skittish about Nigerian assets as plunging oil prices pummel the West African nation’s economy are casting their eyes across the continent to Kenya. This comes on the back of China declaring Kenya as the preferred investment destination in the region, saying the country has reformed its business environment and offers better incentives compared to its neighbours. China’s Director-General of African Affairs Lin Songtian said investors from his country were interested in setting up industrial parks in Mombasa and establishing manufacturing zones along the standard gauge railway corridor.

The World Bank raised its growth forecast for Kenya on March 5, saying oil prices that have tumbled 48 percent since June would boost the economy of the nation, a net importer of crude. By contrast, Nigeria is set to slow, the International Monetary Fund said the same day. The continent’s biggest oil producer is struggling with falling export revenue and a loss of investor confidence after it postponed elections amid the insurgency by the Islamist group Boko Haram in the country’s northeast. This has seen investors sell off Nigerian bonds and acquire Kenyan debts. This trend is set to continue as Kenya’s revenue base is more diverse and oil prices are lower. The Chinese are confident in the strides the country has put in the legal mechanisms, one-stop-shop and incentives framework that will attract and retain Chinese investors as a strategic conduit to the African market and larger Chinese market. Such confidence emanates from basic facts about the country. Kenya, with 41 million people and a gross domestic product of $55 billion, is the biggest economy in East Africa, with tea, coffee and tourism among its main sources of foreign exchange. Investments in infrastructure, agriculture and manufacturing are creating more jobs and should increase growth to 7% by 2017 according to the World Bank

 
 

Kenya Cricket missing in action!

16 Mar

The Cricket world cup is up and running which people can be forgiven to ask where the hell is Kenya?? In a tournament featuring the likes of Afghanistan, the UAE and Scotland one cannot but wonder what has happened to Kenya cricket over the years. One can look at the glory years of the early 90s, a shock victory over the West Indies in the 1996 World Cup thrust the Kenyans into the spotlight. They won completely on merit, and Steve Tikolo looked, by far, to be the best batsman in the game. The bowlers performed excellently to defend a paltry total, and despite a less excellent performance against Sri Lanka in their last game, the ICC saw fit to invest in ODI status for the Kenyans. In the 2003 world cup victories over fancied opponents like Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka managed to carry the team all the way to the semi finals of the prestigious tournament. The followed years of regular wins against associates like Ireland, Canada and Scotland however, 11 years after being granted ODI status, we find ourselves in Division 2 for the next four years or more and more so we have lost that one day status.

Kenya cricket legend  Aasif Karim believes that the foundations of Kenyan cricket are collapsing. The development structure and domestic cricket became weaker as Kenya developed internationally. Karim and his team-mates in the 2003 World Cup learned the game in the competitive Nairobi club scene in the 1980s. Test players including Sanjay Manjrekar, Kiran More and Sandeep Patil were all involved. But too little was done to bridge the gap between club and international games. “If you don’t have a good development structure, where are the Tikolos or the Odumbes or the other players to come from? he asked. He stated that Kenyan cricket is as good as dead and to revive it will take a monumental task that involves all stakeholders, and they would have a brainstorming session for a week or so to try and see how we could revive it. Then obviously the key would be to go into schools cricket, estate cricket, development cricket, and start again. If those things were done correctly and we had good, competitive cricket, we could bring back the crowd support. That would generate income because you could bring in the corporates.

 

 

 

 
 

Saving Money in 2015 Part 1

12 Mar

Everyone is looking for financial progress in whichever way possible. But whichever the means one settles on, saving has always been the best option for many but saving money is one of those tasks that are so much easier said than done. Everyone knows it’s smart to save money in the long run, but many of us still have difficulty doing it. There is more to saving than simply spending less money, although this alone can be challenging. I believe the first port of call when it comes to saving is to make a dedication to yourself albeit to your God or your family or whatever you choose to make a dedication by. You the resolve, a declaration something that you can swear to that you will embark on a quest to save money come hail come thunder. There are several ways to go about saving money we can explore a few right here.

The easiest way to save money rather than spending it is to make sure that that you never get a chance to spend the money in the first place. Only 24 percent of Kenyans have an adequate emergency savings cushion, and an equal 24 percent have no emergency savings at all — so the majority of people need to heed this tip. Since the biggest barrier to saving is not being in the habit of saving, the best way to get in the habit is to pay yourself first. Arranging for a portion of your salary to be deposited directly into a savings account or a retirement account takes the stress and tedium out of the process of deciding how much money to save and how much to keep for yourself each month. Decide how much you want to save and set up an automatic debit and forget about it. One can even talk to their employers to arrange that a portion of their salaries be paid into this savings account. The main thing that one must focus on is sticking to the goal set out. Another security feature is to put in a notice period on this account so as to avoid any compulsive dips into the account.

Another way to save money smartly to is track your spending. You will need to monitor how you spend money on a daily basis that will lead up to monthly spending. On can table the average items they spend on starting with this most important down to the unnecessary. With this list one can start cancelling out things they do not need and start saving. Fewer than 6 in 10 Kenyans, just 58 percent, track their spending against a monthly budget. Whether you call it a budget or a spending plan, getting a handle on your spending accomplishes two things: It helps you determine where you can cut back, and it helps maximize your savings efforts. While everyone should keep track of major expenses like housing and debt repayment, the amount of attention you devote to minor expenses generally increases with the seriousness of your financial situations.

That is it in our first instalment of money saving tips for 2015. Remember the key to saving is making a bold declaration of intention to do so and follow that up with action aimed at achieving what you set out to do. Remember make saving fun but be disciplined in your approach, stick to your task and you shall reap the rewards.

 

 

 
 

Behold Tatu City: The future of African Urbanisation

17 Feb

Tatu City is aligned with the vision of the Nairobi Metro 2030 Strategy, and part of Kenya Vision 2030. It is a 2,500 acres mixed-use and mixed income environment, poised to make a significant contribution to Kenya’s renewed growth in economic and social development. Once complete, it will be a large-scale urban development consisting of residential, commercial, industrial, tourism, social and recreation amenities. Underlying Tatu City’s design is a visionary concept aiming to shift urban development in Kenya from the familiar single node model to a decentralized urban environment. By doing so, Tatu will significantly de-congest the City of Nairobi by offering a unique live, work and play environment for an estimated 70,000 residents and 30,000 day visitors.

Kenya continues to be a primary destination for foreign and regional economic investment.In recent years the nation has experienced growing political and economic stability punctuated by the adoption of Kenya Vision 2030. The vision outlines the government of Kenya’s commitment to public investment in social, physical and technological infrastructure. The capital city, Nairobi, is projected to be the 18th fastest growing city in the world by the year 2030. In its current state, Nairobi is described as congested with continued traffic problems, a public infrastructure deficit and an insatiable demand for housing. As the primary beneficiary of Kenya’s Vision 2030, Nairobi City is expanding its growth boundaries to accommodate the swelling urban population of over 3 million people. Supporting such growth has been the burgeoning real estate development industry, which has led to the development of East Africa’s most ambitious real estate project, Tatu City. Tatu City represents a “new urbanism” in Africa and will provide a comprehensive mix of land uses, which will include residential developments, retail, commercial, tourism, social faciliies and recreation. It is anticipated that this decentralized community will attract around 30,000 day visitors on the proposed 1,000 hectares (2, 400 acres) development site.tatu city

Tatu City :Live, Work, Play!

 
 

Will you be my Valentine?

14 Feb

It’s the 14th day of February, famously known as the Valentine’s day. Happy Valentines to you all, lovers of this day.

This day causes a lot of commotion around the world and Kenya is no different. The good thing this year is that Valentines falls on a weekend this year which makes it a Valentines weekend for all. Many hotels are offering competitive Valentines packages to suit one’s pocket and give value for money. For instance one can look at the Valentines weekend special. In its advert it states, “Panari Hotel on Mombasa road is posh and dainty, and this Valentine’s Day, the hotel promises you a Fairy Tale Weekend with a variety of dining options and a special Valentine accommodation package. On the eve of Valentine’s Day at Red Garnet restaurant, a 3 course meal with a bottle of wine will go for KSh.4,500 per person while romantic dinner will cost couples Ksh. 12,000″. Sounds fantastic for all lovers out there. The weekend makes for a perfect romantic getaway to the Nairobi Tented Camp which has an amazing Valentine’s weekend retreat offer in the heart of Nairobi National Park. Residents and non residents get a self drive, candlelit romantic dinner with a bottle of Sparkling wine and soft drinks and breakfast in the forest the nest day for only 18,400 Kenya shillings per couple.

There is pressure for couples to prove their love on Valentines this weekend, some will go to the ends of the earth to do that. Enter Villa Rosa Kempinski which has launched high-end overnight luxury packages to help them fulfill this need. The luxury hotel along Chiromo Road in Nairobi is offering a Sh2.34m presidential suite package.Themed “A night of diamonds at our presidential suites”, the packages included a butler, private chef, dinner serenade, champagne, 40 bouquets of roses, massage treatments, a jacuzzi and luxury diamond jewellery from Onyx Jewelers.

Many industries are smiling when it comes to the valentines weekend, none other than flower farmers who are eager to cash in on this weekend on love. Flower farmers are upbeat ahead of the Valentine’s Day and are projecting a rosy picture for the sector, despite the recent losses incurred during the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) impasse and they hope to take advantage of the cold weather conditions in Ethiopia to reclaim Kenya’s lost market share during Valentines. The ball has already started rolling as it was confirmed that 200 tonnes of flowers have arrived in the UK with Kenya mentioned as one of the top contributors. Seventy per cent of roses sold in European supermarkets come from Kenya.

 
 

Boost for Kenya Tea Industry

11 Feb

2015 has started on a positive note for key players in the tea industry. Government in its ongoing drive to develop and increase competitiveness of Kenya tea has disbursed Sh442.31 million fertilizer subsidy to small scale tea farmers under the management of Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) to cushion them from the high costs of farm inputs.The tea farmers will receive a Ksh.321.35 rebate on each bag of fertilizer supplied under the KTDA fertilizer credit scheme. Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Felix Koskei launched the subsidy scheme at Kambaa Tea Factory in Kiambu County, where he appealed to tea farmers to diversify their businesses beyond tea.

The farmers have been offset by rising productions cost and also challenged by dry weather patterns prevailing in the region which left them overburdened and resulted in declined export volumes. The Cabinet Secretary observed that tea auction prices were slowly on the rise and coupled with the measures the Government plans to implement such as the setting up of the stabilization fund and fertilizer subsidy, farmers should be able to profit from the crop. The government realises that agriculture is still the backbone on the economy and will continue to aid in efforts to make sure the industry remains viable and competitive on the world stage.

The government is further engaged in efforts to to empower tea growers, urging them to invest in other enterprises besides tea to supplement their earnings, this follows the signing of a Sh911.6 million pact between the Kenya Tea Development Agency Holding Ltd (KTDA) and FMO, a Dutch Development Bank aimed at making small-scale tea growers self-sufficient. More than 560,000 small-scale tea farmers in various parts of the country will now be able to access affordable credit facilities to enable them expand and diversify investments.The farmers will access the money through Greenland Fedha (GFL), a subsidiary of KTDA which was started in 2009 to assist small scale tea farmers access affordable credit using tea as collateral.