7 interesting things that made the news this week (9th Feb – 15th Feb)

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.

Male birth control

Female birth control is considered one of the most revolutionary things for modern society. Now comes male birth control. If successful, it will replace agricultural techniques like “withdrawal game.”

Kenya is one of the countries for a phase-two clinical trial of this male birth control, which is in gel form. It is to be rubbed on the shoulder and works by reducing sperm count. The program is by Population Control and National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). Yes, foreign hands all over it. The representative in Kenya, Dr. John Kinuthia said, “Once we are ready in the next couple of weeks we will start enrolling participants here at KNH (Kenyatta National Hospital).” Besides reservation about side effects, there are questions of Kenyans being used as guinea pigs for eugenics programs under the guise of population control.

Sankalp Awards

The call for Sankalp Awards was made back in November. It was for social entrepreneurs. Finally, 11 winners were announced and 4 of these are Kenyan businesses. They are Elewa (education), Lakeview (Aquaculture), IFA (financial inclusion) and  Kwangu Kwako (affordable housing).

Sankalp Awards

The quartet will expose themselves to the World at the Sankalp Africa Summit.

Valentine’s Day

This day was marked in Kenya too. Love means buying things, ok? And nobody bought me anything. I’m fine. One of the features of Valentine’s Day was good business in the flowers sector. Prices rose a few times over and one trader, interviewed, gave a reason why; “We increased the price two days ago because farmers also hiked their prices due to Valentine’s Day demand.”

“Black Panther”

It all started well but you know the internet exists to blow things out of proportion. A black leopard was photographed by Will Burrad-Lucas. It was achieved by camera traps set in a conservancy in Laikipia County. This animal has melanism condition, excess pigment. The photo was considered scientific confirmation to back reports of sightings of the animal(s) by locals.

Black Leopard
Photo: Will Burrad-Lucas

Kenyans didn’t take too well to declaration by Western media that it was a first confirmation of black leopards, in Kenya, in 100 years. They called it a “Christopher Columbus type of history” to mean documentation of phenomena by White people is given more credence. What’s our opinion? So much energy at the wrong kind of problem. Check your privilege!

Digital passports

The directive to renew your passport with a digital one will get simpler. The Department of Immigration revealed that new issuance centers will be open to reduce congestion at the main facility in Nairobi. The decentralization will reach these different parts of Kenya; Kisumu, Mombasa, Kisii, Embu and Eldoret. Director General of the department, Alex Muteshi also said, “Those in the diaspora do not need to travel back here as they will be able to acquire passports from our offices in Paris, Berlin, Washington, London, Dubai and Johannesburg in the next 2 months.”

County economy

We now kind of know what county consititutes what share of the economy and who has what stake in the Kenyan economy. The Kenyan National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) laid to rest all hearsay with the Gross County Product (GCP) 2019 report. It is the most comprehensive study, yet, on the value of all goods and services produced in the counties. It works with data from 2013 to 2017. And the finding is that Nairobi consitutes 21.7% of Kenya’s economy. Nakuru (6.1%), Kiambu (5.5%) and Mombasa (4.7%) follow. The showing of these counties is attributed to their population size. No other county contributes more than 3% share of the national economy.

What is Ruto worth?

We don’t know. He refused to answer the question. Your Deputy President was interviewed on BBC show ‘Hard Talk’. Over his net worth, he kept placing burden on the answer back to the intervewer, Stephen Sackur. He also accepted ownership of, the much mentioned, Weston Hotel. It sits on public land. He said he was an “innocent buyer” who bought it from those who did acquire it illegally. If the reparations process is done he will return the land to the public. Wow