7 interesting things that made the news this week (16th June – 22nd June)

Didn’t have time to catch up with all of the week’s news stories? Relax, follow Herbusiness summary and commentary of the most interesting things that made the news headlines in Kenya.

Barclays Bank analysis of Kenya Budget

One of the big concerns about the 2018/2019 Kenya Budget is the intent to increase tax even on basic goods. Some items will shift from being zero-rated to being exempt on Value Added Tax. This means their producers are not guaranteed a reclaim against the difference between tax charge they incur from suppliers and one​ they charge their customers. Barclays Africa’s Regional Head of Treasury, Tony Mulisa concluded that this move “will not facilitate universal healthcare and food security agenda.” The consequence will be, as per Peter Mungai, Barclays Kenya Head of Tax, either increased pricing or cost cutting – which could mean layoffs.

Samantha Singh was more confident about the budget. She is a Senior Analyst Barclays Africa. She brushes away your questions about the development budget as she finds that, “there is a lot of positive thought from outside investors” now that election uncertainty is behind us. She added, “It’s not only public investment that is going to drive development spending in Kenya.” Despite her reservation about the high recurrent expenditure, Samantha does not view debt repayment to be a big problem in the medium term – as long as the Government commits to improving its capacity to collect revenue. The target for 2018/2019 is sh.1.9 trillion, 40% more than what was achieved previously.

MEST to open Nairobi Incubator

The Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST) offers incubation and seed funding to entrepreneurs. It also organizes startup contests rewarding the same. Since its founding in 2008, it has invested sh.2 billion ($20 million) on African entrepreneurs. At this year’s MEST Africa Summit, it was announced that its 4th incubator in Africa would be opened in Nairobi later in 2018. The others are in South Africa, Nigeria and Ghana. Over this development, MEST Managing Director, Aaron Fu said, “I’m also extremely excited about our upcoming incubator launch in Nairobi, as we look to strengthen our pan-African presence.”

Traction Camp East Africa

We shared the call for Traction Camp East Africa program in December 2017. In the end, 27 startups from all over the region​ were picked. Part of the program involved a one-week “face-to-face bootcamp” where the entrepreneurs learnt about; investor readiness, investor engagement, negotiation and regulation issues. This culminated in a Cocktail Event. Don’t miss out on the opportunities for Kenyan entrepreneurs we share every week.

Money for Kenyan entrepreneurs

Some 250 SMEs, 640 students, 15 corporates, 162 Startups, 30 tech hubs and more will benefit from a World Bank fund. Through the International Development Association (IDA), World Bank’s Kenya Industry and Entrepreneurship Project will distribute sh.5 billion among Kenyan businesses. This is in support of “creating employment and business opportunity.” Ventures which are focused on addressing bits of the big 4 agenda will be at an advantage.

Flexible working hours

This is good news. As part of “decongesting Nairobi central business district, in order to promote ease of doing business” it looks like civil servants will work in shifts. The Public Service ministry, in a memo, required details of public workers areas of work and residence. The data will be used to split working hours in the best terms. Businesses realized long ago that this is a way to achieve greater productivity and reduce operation costs.

Kajiado to Konza commuter train

Liquidity is the most important thing when it comes to money (you believe it’s assets? fine). Logistics is the same for business activity. Kajiado and Konza are on this page and will reduce the sh.500 trip to sh.30 by rail. The commuter train will use the old Magadi-Konza railway. This will boost tourism and other business activities – women traders have been singled out as beneficiaries. Can you imagine if we had this county level development going on for 50 years? Here is an example.

Urban Kenyans poor table manners

This is awkward because we need Kenyans to process food, to create jobs and improve economic situations all round. A study by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) found that Kenyans are increasingly ditching fresh foods for processed stuff like dairy, snack and soft drinks at the expense of good health. This is leading to increase in your collective Body Mass Index (BMI) and raising instances of obesity and, generally, being overweight.

IFPRI is recommending that Kenyans push for healthy eating at an individual level and the regulatory level.