Photo: International Trade Centre

7 interesting things that made the news this week (29th July – 3rd Aug)

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.

Commodities Exchange to launch in October

A Commodities Exchange is a market place where commodities are traded in standardized quantities. Kenya is set to launch one of it’s own in October 2018. Trade CS, Peter Munya revealed this at the National Trade Week, that was happening at the KICC. If you are a farmer, you will be able to sell your products at real time prices. This will also reduce the role of middlemen and make food cheaper, going by the book.

Nairobi County after casino revenue

In a proposal to the National Assembly, Nairobi County intends to increase its revenue collection by taking 30% of casino revenue. The County Executive for Finance, Allan Igambi argues that licensing and enforcement of gambling regulations is a devolved function. So, why not collect the earnings as well? “We are currently getting no revenue but through the proposal, we are looking at 30% revenue share.” Yeah, time to tax consumption not production.

Pitch AgriHack finalists

Another startup competition, another group of Kenyan finalists. Pitch AgriHack is a competition for agribusinesses owned by young entrepreneurs. The call for application was made in April. Following, 26 finalists were chosen from 325 applicants. Five Kenyan startups made the final cut. Three in the Advanced Platform category and two in the Early Stage category. This year’s edition has a special focus on women founders and co-founders.

Ban on Kenyan Avocado lifted

Well, not quite. For some 10 years, South Africa had banned import of Avocados from Kenya. This was over fruit fly infestation. The ban was lifted after work to put it under control and good negotiating by the Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (Kephis). It doesn’t sound so simple. Exporters eyeing the South African market will have to register and get approval by Kephis. This is to ensure the avocados meet the stringent standards set by South Africa. See, you can legally do bad things. No need to loot public coffers outrightly.

Interns protest overwork

Are we Kenyans generally lazy? Some people were speculating that part of the SGR racism saga was down to poor work ethic by the black, no, Kenyan workers. What will they read into situation at the Nanyuki Teachers and Referral Hospital? Medical interns over there are complaining of too much work. In fact a majority of them “fled” for attachment to facilities with less work load. The hospital’s administrators noted an increase in number of patients, which they assess is down to increased enrolment into NHIF. To be fair, the hospital has promised to recruit more workers.

Nairobi well beaten to ‘Tech Capital’ status

Everyone knows that those who are actually busy working make less noise. It makes sense, they have their heads down. It looks like we’ll have to cool all that talk of Nairobi becoming an African tech-hub for a while as Cape Town has set the benchmark way high. This is according to a report commissioned by the Cape Innovation and Technology Institute (CiTi). Tech employs 40,000 people in Cape Town compared to 7,000 in Nairobi. Successful founders mentoring upcoming ones is at 30% in Cape Town versus 4% in Nairobi. Also, only around 1% of companies started in Nairobi over the last 10 years have grown to have 100+ employees.

“Huge wave of Kenyans” ditch Twitter

Yes, Gab is where it’s all at. Twitter is so 2014. Haha, we’re kidding there’s even better stuff than social media. But things got so dramatic that over 10,000 Kenyans joined a new, social media, platform called Gab. Gab was founded in 2016, and boasts itself as being a network for “free speech and individual liberty.” It has close to half a million users.

Gab screenshot

It’s modelled after Twitter but has differentiating features like no-ads. They make up for lack of that revenue stream by offering some paid-for services.