William Ruto PhD

7 interesting things that made the news this week (24th Nov – 30th Nov)

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.

Blue Economy

The first global blue economy summit, Sustainable Blue Economy Conference 2018, was held in Nairobi over 3 days. The objective being to manage threats, exploit opportunities and arrive at sustainable practices for the Marine economy. Over 18,000 participants from 184 countries were said to have participated. Kenya was represented by Government officials including The President and Deputy President.

Sustainable Blue Economy Conference

Uhuru Kenyatta revealed a few actions Kenya has taken in line with the conference objectives. He mentioned, “the Blue Economy Implementation Standing Committee as well as the state departments for fisheries and maritime logistics and transport.”

Dr. Ruto

Going by stories, Ruto owns everything. Ruto is also set to be President. And, he’s now certified smarter than most of us after completing his PhD in plant ecology. How will other Kenyan men even compete? Ruto has been working on the PhD since 2012 and finally got approved by the University of Nairobi Senate for the status.

The Thesis is: ‘Influence of human activities on land use changes on environmental quality of riparian ecosystems: A case study of Saiwa swamp watershed, Western Kenya‘. It has been published in the Journal of Research in Environmental Science and the Asian Journal of Water, Environment and Pollution. You want a smart leader, right?

Every Kenyan now has a mobile phone

That’s a bait title. It’s almost. Communication Authority of Kenya (CA) revealed that mobile subscription is higher than it has ever been. This stats were compiled in June 2018, and 97.8% of Kenyans are mobile service subscribers going by population estimates. That is 45.5 million Kenyans and almost all use post-paid option.

The power of mobile is a threat to traditional banks. Consultancy, Mckinsey concludes that Kenyan banks may be swept away by innovations of mobile payments, credit and more. One recommendation for them is “to serve the long-tails of underserved small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) through entirely digital offerings.”

University students

End of year is graduation season. Many students will be signing out after literally years of classes, including Dr. Ruto and yours truly (*wink*). But some have been left out of the graduation lists, like Moi University Eldoret, School of Law students. Numbering 200, they were excluded over missing marks, and decided to hold protests. The students blocked the Eldoret – Nakuru highway and police had to be involved. A student leader lamented, “We toiled for four years only to be told we are missing marks in certain subjects, just two weeks to the graduation ceremony.

“This is very unfair. We need an explanation from the University’s authorities.” Said authorities could not be reached then.

Google Impact Challenge Kenya

The 12 finalists of Google Impact Challenge Kenya 2018 were announced. The Challenge is a contest for innovative proposals to receive funding, mentorship and other resources from Google. We shared the call for application, of course. The finalist are:

  • Lewa Wildlife Marathon – sh.25 million
  • African Prisons Project – sh.25 million
  • Startup Lions – sh.25 million
  • Ujuzi Kilimo Solutions – sh.25 million
  • AfriScout – sh.12.5 million
  • Creatives Garage – sh.12.5 million
  • GiveDirectly Kenya – sh.12.5 million
  • Global Minimum InLab – sh.12.5 million
  • M-Shule – sh.12.5 million
  • NairoBits – sh.12.5 million
  • Sauti – sh.12.5 million
  • The Somo Project – sh.12.5 million

They will receive the sh.200 million grant in stages of predetermined milestones. Rachel Ruto, who graced the ceremony, was impressed by the initiative. “The Google Impact Challenge has bridged the gap between Kenyans who have great ideas and means to implement and scale them.” Check out our opportunity page for more like this!

“Politics of Maize”

Citizen TV had Kipchumba Murkomen (Senator, Elgeyo-Marakwet) and Joshua Kutuny (MP, Cherengani) over to discuss the ongoing maize saga. Farmers have not been paid despite fulfilling their half of supplying Government with maize. Unfortunately, what banged from the debate were other things. One, Government has been shoddy at linking selling points with smallholders and the two representatives received at least sh.3 million each as maize suppliers. More interesting, we got to know who propped up whom to be where they are today. Mr. Kutuny exposed his counterpart. “Why are you forgetting that I’m the one who picked you from the streets? I used to send you money every week through my wife. I even bought you the first car.” A little gossip isn’t that bad.

Rosemary Odinga

Rosemary, Raila Odinga’s daughter, was to vie for an MP post before hospitalization in South Africa cut her dream. In her first public appearance since, it turned out that she lost her eyesight. But this has not deterred the woman from continuing her efforts to develop her community. She said, “Since my operation and losing my sight, I’m happy people are welcoming and I’m getting confident in how I interact with people and communicate.” She was speaking at an event to unveil an institute that will train women in Kibera to use sewing machines.

Rosemary Odinga

The initiative will help the women to launch their own businesses or acquire skills for gainful employment.