Items filtered by date: Sunday, 04 November 2018

Kenyan officials and business leaders moved quickly to capitalise on the daily non-stop service between New York and Nairobi that was inaugurated last Sunday.

They were joined by a senior Trump administration official and dozens of US potential investors at a conference in Manhattan on "Doing Business in Kenya" sponsored by the US-based Corporate Council on Africa.

The challenge facing Kenya now is to "optimise and utilise the linkages created by this direct flight to create more business, more trade, more investment and, finally, more tourism," said Mr Kiprono Kittony, the chairman of the National Chamber of Commerce and Industry.


The savings of seven hours' traveling time afforded by Kenya Airways' non-stop flight will make a big difference to small- and mid-sized Kenyan businesses, said Ms Carole Kariuki, the chief executive of Kenya Private Sector Alliance.

Perishable goods intended for the US would often spoil en route due to layovers in Europe, she said.

"We've talked a lot about, 'Is this for big business?' No, it's about the small businesses -- the farmers in Kenya -- who are growing the produce and can really access this market finally," Ms Kariuki said.

Speedy transport's importance to economic growth was also emphasised by Mr Joel Szabat, an aviation and international affairs official in the US Department of Transportation.

"The benefits of Agoa [African Growth and Opportunity Act] cannot be fully realised without an adequate transportation infrastructure," Mr Szabat said, referring to the US' preferential trade programme for Africa. "And aviation is at the heart of it."


Airline bookings to Kenya from the US are up 30 percent in comparison to the same time last year, Mr Szabat said, adding that some of that gain can be attributed to the availability of a non-stop flight.

Mr Szabat touted the Trump administration's aim of forging close ties with Kenya.

"Our two presidents also resolved to elevate the bilateral relationship to a strategic partnership," he told the conference audience. "They agreed to establish a US-Kenya trade and investment working group to establish ways to deepen the trade and investment ties between our two countries."

The two countries have concluded or set in motion nearly $1 billion (Sh102 billion) in new business deals in recent months, Mr Szabat said.

Most of the agreements were announced following President Kenyatta's White House meeting with President Trump in August. Others were reached when members of a US presidential advisory council visited Kenya earlier in the summer.


Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Monica Juma cited investment opportunities offered by Kenya's Big Four agenda.

"When we talk about housing, when we talk about manufacturing, when we talk about health care, when we talk about food security -- we are talking about viable and bankable projects," she said.

Ms Juma added that while conferences such as Tuesday's were worthwhile endeavours, "the purpose of this is to make things happen, and to translate opportunities into real concrete output."

"It's very important to remember that we don't have a lot of time," she added, referring to the urgency of providing jobs for Kenya's swelling youth population.

"There's a lot of pressure, and there's a lot of young people that ready to go. We just have to do this really quickly."


Credit: Daily Nation 

Published in Travel & Tourism

Econet group founder and executive chairman Strive Masiyiwa has found himself at the centre of a social media storm after appearing to back President Emmerson Mnangagwa and calling for the removal of sanctions against Zimbabwe.

Masiyiwa recently told continental broadcaster CNBC Africa that Western sanctions against Harare, now in place for some 20 years, should be lifted, noting that the country could not move forward with its hands shackled behind its back.

Further, he suggested that, President Mnangagwa was sincere in his much-touted efforts to open up the democratic space Zimbabwe and turn around the country's stricken economy.

Mnangagwa assumed leadership of the country after a military coup last November and strengthened his hold on power in bitterly disputed circumstances in the July 30 elections.

After the vote the military moved into central Harare to beat back opposition protestors and six people lost their lives in the resultant clashes.

Masiyiwa's apparent backing for Mnangagwa was therefore certain to anger the opposition, and it did.

Commenting on Twitter, MDC politician and former education minister David Colart challenged the self-exiled tycoon to return home if he was so confident about Mnangagwa's regime.

Masiyiwa has not returned to Zimbabwe in close to 20 years after being hounded out by the former Robert Mugabe regime.

Former high education minister Jonathan Moyo - also a political exile - was also unimpressed, telling Masiyiwa to "must shut up if he does not want people to disagree with him!"

Masiyiwa took to his preferred Facebook platform to hit back, saying the sanctions had adversely impacted his companies' ability to raise funding through international loans.

He added; "Intimidation and threats have never affected me.

"I stood up to Mugabe when most of those issuing threats by Twitter were either in diapers, or hiding, or even simply minding their own business."

Below is Masiyiwa's response in full;


As an entrepreneur, on many occasions I have had initiatives for my country Zimbabwe, which could have created tens of thousands of new jobs. When I have discussed them with either investors or banks, they have turned me away, saying:

"We don't want to violate the sanctions in your country."

I have documents and emails from bankers and investors. I tried so hard to persuade some of them, often suggesting that they are not interpreting the sanctions correctly.

In my case I was forced to go to China to secure loans to support our Zimbabwean businesses. But this was not always ideal. I have spoken about it publicly on many occasions even in the US and China itself.

It is not right that we as business should have to work under such conditions, when all we want is to create jobs and livelihoods for ordinary people.

Now, if Zimbabwe had been a person who committed a crime, for which they went to prison, would you not say 20 years is enough? Zimbabwe has served its prison time. It's time for the country to be given a chance to get back on its feet.

I fled my country when assassins were sent to kill me. I had been tipped off by someone in the Mugabe government who was related to me. Even when I left the country, there were other attempts to kidnap me in SA. It has been 18 and a half years. Only I have the right to decide when to come home.

My executives [in Zimbabwe] were arrested and held in leg irons for 16 days. I endured all the persecutions, including the bombing and shutting down of my newspaper business. No one stood in our corner, or expressed indignation, perhaps because there was no Twitter?

Now will the end of Western sanctions end all our problems? Absolutely not!

As I have said, no one should be under any illusion that this is not going to be very, very tough, as many of the issues to be tackled are due to bad policies going back decades including corruption.

Let's not allow the sanctions to be a crutch and stumbling block to some of the issues that need resolution.

"My name is Strive Masiyiwa, and I'm with the suffering ordinary Zimbabweans who need to see jobs, livelihoods, and investment in our country.

"I call for an end to sanctions now. And I reiterate my call for people to work together in the national interest."

Intimidation and threats have never affected me. I stood up to Mugabe when most of those issuing threats by Twitter were either in diapers, or hiding, or even simply minding their own business.

Whatever! I did not rail at them, and never will or demand that they say only what I approve.


Source: New Zimbabwe

Published in Economy

The government will provide free land to investors who would be interested in establishing industries involved in making building and construction materials, a cabinet minister has revealed.

Opening the 21st Buldexpo yesterday, the minister for Lands, Housing and Human Settlements Development, Mr Wlliam Lukuvi, told the business community that the offer will last until December, aiming at attracting more investors in the building and construction sector and reducing imports.

Buldexpo is Africa's building and construction tradeshow whose 21st edition is currently going on in the country for three days. It comprises more than 200 manufacturers and exporters from around the world, covering a variety of sectors in construction, ranging from building and construction materials, aluminum steel profiles, granite, ceramics and pipe fittings to mining tools and hardware.

So far, at least 800 plots have been set aside at Kibaha area, according to him, but the offer is for the whole country.

"I am happy that you (exhibitors) are here to showcase your modern construction materials, but I wish you could install plants for manufacturing them locally instead of importing them," he told the exhibitors. To ease the process, Mr Lukuvi has announced the government would provide them with land free of charge.

"Whoever is interested should come to my office from tomorrow (31st October) and I will give you a well surveyed piece of land," he said, adding that although the offer targeted manufacturers of construction and building materials, investors in other sectors would also benefit from the offer.

The minister also promised to assist investors to communicate with other ministries and regulatory bodies related to industrial investments, for further procedures.

"I know some of you have not tried the Tanzanian market before, but I assure you that you will not regret investing here. No company has operated at a loss in this country as the market is huge and the business environment is conducive," he noted, reiterating the available opportunities in constructing affordable houses.

"We currently demand at least 50,000 housing units for public workers and other individuals. The government cannot afford to build them alone and seeks your (private sector) support," he said.

He urged them to either build the houses on their own or collaborate with local companies.

Kenyan ambassador to Tanzania Dan Kazungu echoed Mr Lukuvi's call, saying that the investments would also benefit Kenya and other East African countries.

"We (EAC) have common market agreements that encourage countries to do business with each other. So, constructing these industries in Tanzania will help you to access the Kenyan and other EAC countries' markets," he said.


Credit: Citizen

Published in Business
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