Photo: Kenya Railways

7 interesting things that made the news this week (17th Mar – 23rd Mar)

Busy week didn’t give you time to catch up with all of the interesting news items? Relax, HerBusiness will be summarizing all these things that made the news every week.

This week we have a bonus news item! Why? Because a lot of things happened this week. One of which was us getting ourselves a shiny badge declaring us one of the top entrepreneur blogs. We just try.

And, hey, you may not be a news-maker but we can still highlight you, your product or your services in our other segments. All you have to do is talk to us nicely on mail:

Read on…

SGR prices will be hiked in May

Don’t fume, it’s a market correction. The sh.700 economy class, one-way, ticket between Nairobi and Mombasa was set by a Presidential decree. Atanas Maina, Kenya Railways Managing Director, announced that it will be adjusted to sh. 1,000 come May. This news has not been taken kindly. Transport and Infrastructure secretary, Macharia says it’s a necessity since “what we have been generating has not been enough to cover our costs.” But 1st class tickets will not change, so you have that.

54% of Kenyans would move elsewhere given the chance

Wow, so all that Rugby 7s support is all for show guise? Pew Research Centre conducted surveys in the 6 Sub-Saharan Africa countries with the most individuals abroad – Kenya, South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, Senegal and Tanzania. It was found that 54% of Kenya would be willing to move abroad, as well, given the opportunity. USA is the preferred destination. Only 19% had plans at hand to move though. Muscle drain? Brain drain? Read the full report here.

African Free Trade Area without Nigeria and South Africa? Having a Laugh?

This was big news but only because the list of signatories was not revealed at the time. In the end, it turns out that 44 African countries signed for the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) in Kigali. Kenyan was one of the countries that agreed to remove 90% of tariffs on goods.

44 countries in for free trade

Non-tariff barriers will also be tackled with aspirations such as freedom of movement listed as end-goals. Parliaments will ratify the deal. The two most important economies in Sub-Saharan Africa snubbed it for consultation or outright protectionism. Some analysts say there is a danger of imported goods doing the rounds in Africa. We prefer EAC.

Manufacturers are the biggest loan defaulters

Central Bank of Kenya Governor, Patrick Njoroge revealed that manufacturers contribute the most to non-performing loans (NPL) in Kenya. Their share stood at sh.6.6 billion. This is ammo for Kenyan banks to continue basing loans of collateral and not repayment history. Traders were second at sh. 2.2 billion. If you’re curious, personal and household NPLs stood at sh.2 billion. NPLs have cumulatively gone up and are now 11.4% of gross loans.

2 Kenyan startups chosen for Google Launchpad Africa accelerator

They probably read about the accelerator program on this website. 12 African startups were selected. Half of them were from Nigeria, with other representatives from Ghana, Tanzania, Uganda and South Africa. Kenya’s representatives are Flexpay – e-payment solution – and Pezesha that is a microlending platform. All the best to them! Stick around our opportunity page, who knows what’s ahead for you?

“Plastic water bottles a thing of the past?”

We know NEMA have made public their ambition to impede industrialization by banning plastic bottles. Look, there’s no such thing as ‘green’ industrialization. It’s dirty to make things and create jobs but worth it. A study in Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Lebanon, Mexico, Thailand, USA and Kenya by scientists from the State University of New York found that bottled water, in 93% of the samples, contains plastic debris. They say that the contamination happens at bottling. Kenya was found to contain the most particles – 335 per liter. Coca-Cola (Dasani) responded by saying they would conduct a study of their own.

Cambridge Analytica

First, it unravelled that this PR/data firm had obtained user information, 50 million, from Facebook. The social engineering…sorry, social media site spent the week saving face as corporates do, so poorly. Then it was discovered that they had targeted voters with propaganda in some 50 elections, including in Kenya. Here, Managing Director, Mark Turnbull said they worked for Pres. Uhuru Kenyatta and Jubilee Party. He boasted of, “rebranding” the party, “writing its manifesto,” and “writing speeches,” among other things.

Sudan died

Sudan is the name given to a White Male Northern Rhino. It died because of age-related complications. Actually, its keepers at Ol Pejeta Conservancy, Laikipia and Kenya Wildlife Services “made the decision to euthanize him.” Why the big deal? He was the last male of his species (or sub-species, I didn’t fact check haha). He is survived by a daughter and grand-daughter, the last of the kind.

Photo: Ol Pejeta Conservancy