7 interesting things that made the news this week (2nd Mar – 8th Mar)

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.

More Kenyans become millionaires

The latest wealth report by Knight Frank, a real estate consultancy, revealed that the number of Dollar millionaires (sh.100 million) in Kenya has gone up. These High Net Worth Individuals (HNWI) now number 9,482. In comparison, Uganda and Tanzania have 1,639 and 7,616 HNWI respectively. South Africa has the most on the continent at 52,926.

Where do you see yourself financially in 4 years? Because Knight Frank predicts that 2,102 more Kenyans will join this HNWI class by 2023. The sectors where all the money is being made are manufacturing, real estate and technology. But the link between politics and such levels of wealth accumulation remains a thing in Kenya.

More money for counties

Counties are living with their money allocation, from Treasury, being slashed by sh.4 billion. Things may get a little better after a deal was reached with the Devolution Ministry. This was at the 2019 Devolution Conference in Kirinyaga.

Devolution Conference 2019
Counties had the opportunity to exhibit things they do at Devolution Conference 2019

Counties will receive additional cash from July 2020 to help fast-track the “Big Four Agenda” of food, healthcare, manufacturing and housing. Yes, everything is second place to the “Big Four Agenda.” The County Administrations, Treasury, Parliament and Commission on Revenue Allocation (CRA) will figure out the specifics of the deal.

Huduma Centers

About the only thing this Government has done right. You’ll be pleased to know that the working hours in 8 Huduma Centers have been extended. These 8 Centers are in: Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu, Meru, Eldoret, Machakos, Nakuru and Nyeri. Operating hours will change from 8am – 5pm schedule to 6.30am to 7.30pm. Huduma Center Director of Communication, Patricia Ndede gave one benefit of the change, “It will now mean that citizens within the rural set-up can get our services at their convenient time.”

Mobile lenders to be tamed

Your Government is planning to act on the fears that mobile lending has become predatory. The average Kenyan borrower is repaying loans to 6 mobile lenders. And interests rates range from 18% to 360%, with periods as short as 24 hours. Although, it must be said that default rate is only 2% according to the Credit Reference Bureau (CRB).

Nevertheless, MPs are working to see that regulations for the sector are unleashed within 6 months. This task will be conducted by Communications Authority (CA) and the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK).

MEST Africa Challenge 2019
MEST Africa Challenge 2019 finalists
Photo: MEST Africa

The MEST Africa Challenge 2019 finalists are now known. 5 finalists emerged from the regional finals and will contest for the sh.5 million ($50,000) in equity funding. The startups are from Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa, Ivory Coast and Kenya – represented by, FinTech startup, Waya Waya. MEST Africa Managing Director, Aaron Fu said, “The winning startups stood out as a result of their impressive revenue growth and potential for expansion.”

Safaricom and Counties

Safaricom was one of the attendees at the Devolution Conference 2019. The company offered a solution to help ease Counties’ recurrent expenditure burden and achieve speed in implementing innovative concepts. This could be through Public Private Partnerships (PPP). As Safaricom’s Chief of Special Projects, Joseph Ogutu said, “With the implementation of the Big Four Agenda now at the top of everyone’s mind, there is a huge opportunity for partnerships between us in the private sector and both levels of Government to help accomplish the noble objective of improving people’s lives.”

Safaricom has already shown potential of such a pact with its cashless payment system for Counties. This has helped reduced embezzlement and even increased revenues by as much as 3 times.

International Women’s Day

It’s 8th March and that means it’s International Women’s Day. The day is meant to highlight the struggle by women for equality. You can do something, like follow the day’s proceedings through the hashtag #IWD2019: