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Archive for February, 2015

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.






Looking into the Economic Future for 2015

07 Feb

Economists in Kenya have predicted a mixed outlook in the country’s economic growth and whether the country will achieve higher economic growth rates. With security a major determinant in the country’s economic performance, tourism is the sector worst hit by insecurity. The World Bank lowered Kenya’s economic growth forecast for this year and next after a delay in seasonal rains reduced the outlook for agricultural production and amid worsening insecurity. East Africa’s largest economy will probably expand an annual 4.7 percent in 2014 and 2015, the lender said in a bi-annual economic report handed to reporters today in the capital, Nairobi. The lender in December forecast expansion of 5.1 percent this year and 5.2 percent next year. “The rains arrived late and the security situation has deteriorated, which is hurting the tourism sector and instilling fear in both existing and prospective investors,” the Washington-based bank said. “These developments caused the World Bank to revise its projection downward.”

Tourism, which is the second-biggest foreign-currency earner after tea shipments, has been damaged by a spate of attacks claimed by Islamist al-Shabaab militants, including a raid on a Nairobi mall in September that left at least 67 people dead. Al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Somalia claimed responsibility for attacks in Lamu county at the coast last week that killed at least 60 people, even though President Uhuru Kenyatta blamed “local political networks” for the murders. Foreign governments have issued warnings for their citizens considering traveling to the country amid heightened threats. Tourist arrivals declined to 1.4 million visitors last year from 1.7 million in 2012. This shows a critical need to address the security situation in the country as a matter of extreme importance.

However it is not all gloomy in the long run for the economy. Updated GDP figures have not led us to significantly revise outlook for the Kenyan economy. Achieving ‘middle income status’ may increase investor interest in the country over the longer term.Kenya’s fiscal health is improving, but disappointing real GDP growth and increased transfers to county-level governments will slow fiscal consolidation. The fiscal deficit will narrow from 5.3% in 2014/15 to4.5% in 2018/19.An improving food security situation and government cuts to fuel  and energy prices will keep Kenyan inflation contained. While a rate hike remains almost certain, the bank will wait until early 2015 before increasing interest rates from 8.5% to 9.0%. Chinese multi-national companies are active in Kenya in the sectors of food production, engineering and construction, communication, telecommunications, aviation and motor vehicle manufacturing. Statistics by the Kenya Investment Authority shows that at least 18 Chinese companies established business in Nairobi in the past two years targeting diverse markets such as footwear and electronics..




Big Blackout of January 2015

02 Feb

More than half of Kenya, including the capital Nairobi, suffered a power outage early on Friday 16 January after a major transmission line failed as reported by Kenya Power, which is the country’s sole electricity distributor, said the blackout started at 03:39. It managed to restore power to most places by 07:15. The outage resulted from a system disturbance on a 220 kV transmission line running between Nairobi and Olkaria, about 100km northwest of the capital. East Africa’s largest economy is struggling with an ageing energy infrastructure that sometimes curbs efforts to improve supply in order to attract investments. The outage affected some police operations that rely on power supply. Some hospitals that do not have standby power supply were also affected.

The costs are calculated and the country is losing millions of dollars in loss of production due to these power outages. Calls for the government to step up the upgrading of power supply infrastructure have increased over the years but response to it has been minimal and slow. Only last year Kenya Power contracted a 17 billion shillings long term loan from standard chartered bank to aid in upgrade of its systems which often suffer technical hitches as well as loss of about 30 percent of electricity during transmission. Kenya power has admitted that they need additional resources to revamp its ageing network to make the county’s electricity supply secure. Businesses in the country often rely on diesel generators to make up the gap between power demand and output and cite frequent localised power blackouts as one of the key barriers to economic growth. Therefore, the supply and pricing of electricity is a critical pillar in the race to attract new investments in the economy and tackle the time bomb of growing youth unemployment—which is a core issue of President Kenyatta’s government. While Kenya Power has been clamouring for increasing tariffs the government is stuck between allowing the tariffs to increase and their duty to protect the citizens from high prices.  The big question in investors’ mind is whether the economy is comfortable with cheaper and erratic electricity supply or plentiful and costly power. There is need to reach a middle ground on this query. What the country needs most is renewable energy such as wind power, hydro and geothermal to meet its needs. In sum, there is need for consultations to guarantee cheaper and adequate electricity instead on taking easy, populist decisions.