20 December, 2007

Safaricom IPO Set To Go!

Breaking News -The Kenyan Court of Appeal has today in a court ruling delivered by Justice Emmanuel Okubasu,Justice Erastus Githinji and Justice Onyango Otieno declined an application fronted by the opposition to forestall the sale of Kenya's most biggest Company and communication giant Safaricom!It is now hoped that the shares will be offered anytime next week before the General elections on December 27th .

The current establishment has for long sought to publicly sale the shares of the telecommunication giant however members of the opposition have alleged that there currently is no sufficient legal framework available to sanction the sale (the opposition have been pushing for the coming into force of the Privatization Act passed in 2005 to come into force.The same has not been gazetted for it to take effect) and that the hurried sale by the current regime is malicious and a tittered with corruption. The Court of appeal in unprecedented move claimed that it has no jurisdiction in the issue(if the Kenyan Court of Appeal lacks Jurisdiction then who does?).I do not want to fault the Judgment having not had the opportunity to scrutinize it!But i hope that the learned justices acted uberimae fidei (in utmost good faith) and looked keenly and sufficiently at all the legal parameters.

Seeing this latest development,no doubt ,for the Kenyan populace,its going to be a tough year with the festive season,elections,new year, fees... etc but if the IPO is under "microwave speed" sold to the public through the Nairobi Stock Exchange(NSE) make sure you buy some!

MTV's New Social Network Website!

Social networks have rapidly gained prominence in the internet industry in the last three years.The popular MTV company has also joined the bandwagon having recently launched its issue based and youth oriented social network site at www.think.mtv.com .The site was launched with the joint coordination and effort of various philanthropic societies such as the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation,Goldhirsh foundation,MCJ foundation among others.

The site which had been under beta testing since November 2005 and is aimed to be a pro -social initiative to empower young people on issues of fundamental concern especially in relation to education,sexuality,morality,human rights,health,discrimination,politics and global concerns.Its emphasis initially targeted low income and minority students who hardly finish high school or join college.The site aims at offering these groups information and resources to enable them see the benefits of pursuing a college degree course and accessing higher education as a means of empowerment.The site provides facts and information on the importance of graduating high school and resources on gaining access to college.The users are able to exchange ideas,video, and other forms of media.

In an attempt to get more youths involved in politics the group recently recruited 51 young citizen journalists in its "Choose or Loose Political Campaigns Coverage " in order for them to collate information on the USA 2008 elections throughout the country with weekly reports that will include short videos, blogs and animation that will be featured in the site.This initiative is being partly funded by the John S and James L Knight foundation,a private journalism foundation based in Miami.

The MTV Think site boasts a membership of over 5,000 individuals and though initially intended and tailor made to suit the US market is now increasingly gaining a world wide audience with membership including some African youths and bloggers.Indeed the youth are taking a pro active stance using the blogosphere to address issues of fundamental concern to them and social networks are providing such a platform.Make Money online with eBay

13 December, 2007

Inverse Foreign Investment !

Kai .A.Wulff the C.E.O of Kenya Data Networks(KDN) is certainly a great mind to reckon with and his recent TV interview on KTN Business weekly program helped me appreciate the kind of mindset and determination that Africans should adopt in order to propel the continent to greater prosperity!Mr Kai Wulff was being interviewed by Aly Satchu Khan(proprietor of www.rich.co.ke) the host of the weekly TV program.

I especially appreciate his captivating and inspiring encouragement to local entrepreneurs that its time Africans thought of being innovative enough to develop their own services,products and businesses that end up not only competing with the the leading firms in the world but also buying them out!It is this thought that i dub "inverse foreign investment".Rather than wait for a business to grow big and be acquired by American or foreign firms, the thought should be to come up with an entity that can make in roads in foreign markets or match up with the best!

The case of Bill Gates ,Larry Page and Sergey Brin is basically an encouraging point and illustrates to many of the young African Intellectuals pursuing advanced higher education in the different universities that anything is achievable with proper strategy.All it takes is a little creativity,diligence,innovativeness and persistence in order to be successful. It is hardly believable that Google Inc was formed in a Stanford dorm room in 1998 by two bright young lads who were hardly 30 years old and now command's one of the fastest growing multi national I.T. firm.

The German born Mr Kai Wulff means what he says and has an impressive background to back up his claims having owned and been, the CEO of an I.T firm at the age of 16years.Mr Wulff encouraged young entrepreneurs to embrace the concept of "creativity by default".Meaning that one can come up with a product or service that initially flops but that shouldn't be the be it and be all but rather a learning point of reference.Persistence pays.

KDN is Kenya's leading broadband solutions I.T.C firm and was licensed by the Communications Commission of Kenya in 2003 as a Public Data Network Provider .The firm has set a remarkable presence in the region as a data communications provider and is set for further heights.
The firm is set to invest a massive Kshs 12.5 billion in laying out a national fibre optics cable system.This will immensely improve internet and intranet connectivity within the region.The company has already laid over 500 kilometers of fibre optic cable in Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu and Thika and is set to cover more grounds in readiness for the international East African submarine cable system backbone(EASSy) set to reach Mombasa in 2009.The KDN network serves as the ideal broadband access system for servicing business customers of all sizes, including banks, universities and corporations, offering them one point of access for all their business communication services, including Internet access, virtual private networks (VPNs), commercial leased lines, ethernet, and frame relay, all with enhanced capacity and wide coverage.

KDN believes that wireless broadband is the most efficient and cost effective way to ensure affordable communication services for the greatest number of Kenya's population, both residential and commercial users and has set measures to tap this market.Infact they recently ordered their first 300 Xnet Viper multi-radio systems from Hopling Technologies. The Xnet Viper mesh node is specially designed for citywide deployments and offers superior features that make it the best choice for large-scale integrated municipality mobility solutions.It further enables the network to provide wireless internet connectivity to anyone,anywhere at any time. This move confered upon them the prestigious capacity and title of being a Value Added Reseller (VAR) by Connection N&C Corporation (CN&C). KDN activities set the future stage and capacity for Kenya to become the premier destination for I.T outsourcing in Africa in the coming few years.

With that kind of mentality we certainly need more Kai Wulff's in Kenya and other emerging economies!

11 December, 2007

Sneak Preview of the Goophone

There 's been alot of specualtion about Google joining the Mobile market especially after the company announcing that it will soon buy a block of wireless spectrum from the US government and more so due to its "android" project and "xohm"(the impending nationwide WiMax network).

Bidding is expected to commence as from 24th January 2008.Speculation is rife as to how the phone will look, but should it look like the photo hereinabove, i will positively not buy it(the apple i-phone looks much better).But its certainly exciting to see the mutation of the mobile phone and the angle the future of search is taking!

Jeff Koinange is Back !

Kenya's much renowned and famed former CNN reporter Jeff Koinange is back in the country and has found his place helping Kenya's first 24 hour news chanel K24 set up its operations.

His humble gesture is certainly to be much appreciated seeing that the new tv channel K-24 is hardly a month old and has barely experienced newscasters .Most of whom are newbies from media institutions with little or no experience.Jeff is probably one of Africa's most experienced and highly profiled journalist having worked for reuters from 1995 to 2001 (during which period for the latter 3 years served as its Chief Producer-African Region) and therafter joined CNN after short stints at NBC and ABC in the United States.The year 2006 saw him collect a number of awards for his work, including a Television EMMY for coverage of the Niger Famine, in his piece entiled ‘Starving in Plain Sight’,he was also part of the CNN team that was granted the Peabody Award for coverage of Hurricane Katrina,

His other accolades inlude winning the Prix des Lyceens Basse-Normandie for coverage of rape victims in the DRC, and the National Association of Black Journalists award for work on the famine in Malawi, Desperation in Malawi’. This last package also earned Koinange the 2005 Vernon Jarrett Award from the Institute of Advanced Journalism at the North Carolina A&T State University for ‘Best Feature’. In 2002, Koinange’s coverage of the crisis in Liberia earned him second runner-up in the Headliner Awards in the USA. In 1999, Koinange was a finalist in the Prix Bayeux for his coverage of the war in Sierra Leone.He was also a panellist on the CNN African Journalist of the Year Award judging committee and a regular Masters of Ceremonies for the event. Jeff holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in broadcast journalism from New York University.

His illustrious career however was brought shortly to a halt mid this year after allegations that he had stage managed a story in the Niger Delta about rebeels and an alleged affair with one Marriane Brinner(that being neither here or there) but what is openly apparent is that Jeff is still highly talented and accomplished individual and like any other human had his own faults but i guess we cannot simply continue to focus on someones past or mistakes for we have our own!

The Channel K-24 is an initiative of local media moghul Rose Kimotho(proprietor of Kenya 's first vernacular and much popular fm radio station Kameme FM).The new channel faces the challenge of keeping the viewers informed with relevant news 24-7 without running the same news over and over again.Futhermore the other challenge will be reporting news live as it happens and the reporters will be breaking new grounds as news anchoring is relatively new even with the accomplished local television channels such as Kenya Television Network(KTN),Citizen Tv and NTV.It is hoped that despite apparent teething problems the news channel will pioneer new grounds in the region resulting in the populace being much more informed especially with news as it occurs.

It is further hoped that the news channel will audition more new faces to especially mirror the diversity that Kenya has and further recruit more local talent of various backgrounds and age groups as there seems to be an evident monopoly especially by very young Kenyans from a particular divide! (its encouraging but yet sometimes media talent may lie with the more experienced as is the case of Njoroge Mwaura and Catherine Kasavule ...etc).The station should be more conscious of public perception especially in this highly polarised environment.But as usual Kenyans generally support local initiatives that genuinely mirror their uniqueness and diversity and showcase the beauty of Kenya

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08 December, 2007

Ebola Outbreak - Handshake Scare !

Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni on Friday advised Ugandans to desist from handshakes,embraces,long greetings and other methods of close contact through which the virulent Ebola strain virus could be spread.

The death of 23 suspected ebola cases including four medics and infection of over 104 individuals according to Ugandan Health Ministry spokesman Mr. Paul Kabwa has certainly sent the East African countries in a panic -scare mode.The Democratic Republic of Congo has closed its borders with Uganda due to the high reported ebola incidences in Bundibugyo district which borders the country.On the other hand Kenya and Rwanda are screening all visitors entering their countries from Uganda(there is a high probbilty that even those screening the people are ill equiped and trained thereby exposing themselves to the risk of infection).Kenya is especially apprehensive since 2 fishermen died in Masaka ,another two people in Kampala and one in Mbale,area's which closely border the country.Futhermore there are individuals under observation in nearby Kasese in Uganda.

The question however which still crops up is are our medical personnel in Busia District border point sufficiently trained and endowed to detect ,prevent the spread,quarantine and control the spread of the disease ? The Atlanta Based Centre for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC) has setup a lab in conjunction with the Ugandan Government inorder to moniter and control the spread of the disease in Uganda and it is highly expected that any person infected in Kenya will be transfered to Kenyatta National Hospital which is one of the few hospitals in the region that can efectively handle Ebola cases.

Being an election year Kenya definitely does not need a Health crisis adding up to the Mount Elgon and Kuresoi skirmishes which are giving the incumbent President a campaign scare.More so coming hot on the heals after the former Health Minister Hon.Charity Ngilu defected to the Raila led ODM opposition camp.The Incumbent Health minister Hon.Paul Sang is hardly over a month in the seat and must be primarily concerned about his re-election bid especially coming from a predominantly opposition zone.

On the other hand due to the tenacity,ferrociousness and virulent nature of the Ebola virus,the disease normally kills its victims fast enough such as to prevent further spread;what can possibly be called the "burn out effect ! ".We in the region hope that the disease subsides soon and does not turn out to be an epidemic.Otherwise we might just end up with handshakes ,kisses,embraces outlawed!

07 December, 2007

Tuskys-Business Without Ethics?

This morning i take a swipe at Kenya's second largest multi-million shillings(dollar) supermarket chain (and all those businesses in Africa exemplified by this organization)Tuskys Supermarket(formelly Tusker Mattresses).They simply lack the ethics ,custom, appreciation... etc to prize and value the most important aspect of their business-their human resource!

I was irritated and visibly angered as i listened to Caroline Mutoko on Kiss 100 relate the experience of one of the supermarkets married female employees called "x" in Kisumu who has to work from 8 a.m to 10.p.m ,7 days a week,28 days a month as a shop steward that she hardly has time for her family.She is only eligible for 2 days off in a month and I'm certain the pay must be meagre! Fellow bloggers please take this challenge to expose practices that are not only harmful but exploitative!The onus is upon you.I'm very certain that Tusky's supermarket has a HR department that simply needs to be changed as it is a non starter and non performer!
Accor Hotels 3-Day Super Sale Asia Pacific There has to be a limit to the number of hours an employee should work and i believe though I'm not an HR Guru that retail businesses in Africa should especially introduce flexible working hours and shift system so as to cater for its employees!They should further put a ceiling on overtime hours. For a certain how a business treats its employees tells us of how much you value us as customers.Honestly i also believe that the other supermarket chains such as Ukwala similarly, do not have any due regard for their employees.It stands to reason that an employee who has no time for family and works long hours with little pay and scant motivation will 99% of the time vent his frustration on customers thereby affecting their perfomance.That is contrary to the marketing mix which stipulates "the customer is king" .

I as a customer would rather spend my hard earned coin to shop at an institution that values its employees and strategically motivates them rather than at a venture where the Directors shamelessly turn all profit to expansion and their own personal benefit and disregard the human element.Such kinds of attitude are replicated through many Businesses in Kenya ,Uganda, Tanzania and Africa in General and with no discrimination intended especially in Indian owned or managed firms.The classic case of Kenya's retail giant Uchumi Supermarkets seems not to educate the management of various African establishments that despite massive capital if you do not motivate your employees in various ways the net result is pilferage among other ills and the business faults.

A close scrutiny of various companies in Africa reveals that the HR departments are merely administrative units, put there as a fashion statement to indicate that the business is modernized! but having no real output in terms of efficiently managing, motivating and enhancing the productivity of employees in a professional manner.

There seems to be a large lacunae in our employment and labor laws ,first and foremost to necessitate that businesses plough back a portion of their profits to employee benefits(many governments provide tax incentives for businesses that adopt this approach),to provide clear guideliness on staff dismisal,benefits and redundancies,to legislate against discriminative tendencies(both on account of race and sex) in businesses and to compel businesses to abide by established laws.The absence of such policy frameworks has largely contributed to the dismal performance of African economies and the huge disparities in wealth income and poverty levels.
No Government can do well without sufficiently addressing the labor issues and this narrows down to business entities also.

At the same time in Kenya the Institute of Personnel Management which is the professional body for HR practitioners is so weak in formulating policies that can translate into laws to cater for employees and or to ensure that HR administrators by and large stick to the professional ethics and persuade business to operate by certain ethics.There is need for public sensitization on this issue.I am yet to see them advertise of a seminar or a luncheon in that regard and their website is not useful(trust me i subscribed to their newsletter two years ago and have not received a single issue to date)Businesses that give lip service to catering for personnel interests are not worth any investors interest!Kudos to Nakumatt at least they exhibit some sense of direction just that for a big establishment like that i would expect Mr .M.Omondi their HR manager to be sitting on the board of Directors(at least as the 1st African-Nakumatt we are watching!).HR department is crucial and key for any business and its strategic goals!

pss I'm Happy to note that after this post there has been a lot of change on how some of this chain stores treat their employees.Its the wise course to honor your employees and truth be told employers stand to benefit more!(this post was done in 2007 , i believe much has changed and consequently i will do a second post on the supermarket and not its hr policy, i foy would love to share some facts leave a comment!)

06 December, 2007

Pop Star Idols Comes to Kenya

The much revered reality tv -'pop' star idols talent search programme will be coming to Nairobi Kenya in 2008.This heralds exciting good news to most upcoming and talented musicians within the East and Southern Africa region between the age of 18 & 27.The succesful winner will have an opportunity to sign up a recording deal with a reputable record company and as a side benefit be propelled to international fame.

This is good news especially since the entertainment industry in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania(as evidenced in EATV Channel 5 shows) has become vibrant and lucrative.Kenya has also shown its capacity to host such an event after succesfully hosting the local Tusker Project Fame talent search competition ,although the same didnt miss allegations of bias eschewed againt other East African participants by the local judges.

Internationally the show has been the launching pad for several succesful musicians including Kelly Clarkson(signed a mutli million dollar deal with RCA records),Fantasia Barrino, Carrie Underwood,Chris Daughtry,Bo Bice, Taylor Hicks,Jordin Sparks,Girls Aloud(U.K) group,Willy Young, Heinz Winckler (SA),Karin Kortje(SA) Dewald Louw(SA)Jody Williams(SA) Peter Evrard(Belgium) etc...among many others.

Originally the show debutted on ITV in the United Kingdom on October 5, 2001 with viewer participation and voting on which singer should be retained.The success of the show resulted in the concept being exported to other countries such as the U.S in June 2002,Brazil, South Africa, Australia,The Idol franchise has heard its fair share of judicial disputes in over 30 countries resulting in an ourt of court settlement between Pop Idols Producers and the creators of PopStar.International brodcasters are prohibited from using the title pop before the idol symbol.The franchise is under the management of 19 TV Ltd and FremantleMedia Licensing Worlwide.

It is sincerely hoped that Idols East and Southern Africa will be a success in the region. The Kenyan public awaits with much anticipation to see who the Judges will be and how impartially and proffesionaly they will handle their task!

All the best for the contestants who will participate but please give us dignified sensible music and we will vote for you!

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05 December, 2007

Make Big Money Through Affiliate Marketing !

Each day millions of blogs are churned in the internet and it is becoming increasingly attractive for many publishers to make their blog earn money !The critical challenge is to build up a critical mass of subscribers and make one's blog stand out so as to enable one earn money especially in Africa, Asian and Arabic Countries! The feat is achievable but one needs to take cognizance of the following:

There is no magic wand to enable one immediately get massive traffic save for
    1. Publishing interesting and captivating content

    2. Being specific and consistent on what you write

    3. Time and effort

    4. Minding one's language and dicta

    5. Let your blog be visually appealing

234x60The above are just but suggestions (i wouldn't want to reprint the massive suggestions on 'how to' prevalent on the net but you can try johnchow.com for something sensible) not a panacea to getting more traffic .Another Key to succesful monetizing depends on the marketing affiliate/advertising programs one joins.I have found bidvertiser
weblink here to be one of those affiliate programs that is true to its word and realistic in achieving substantial PPC (pay per click)payments .Google adsense and adwords rarely deliver but are a must for a serious blogger as alternative fund generating sources.For the Kenyan bloggers and African bloggers out there intent on monetizing their websites(be it South African Rands,Kwachas,Shillings,Birr,etc) you certainly ought to give BidVertiser a try!and yer ...write blog content thats captivating and really worth it!

04 December, 2007

Electoral Violence Reaches A Notch Higher!

Tis sad to see a flare of violence with women especially being the target.It is indeed regretable to see politically instigated ,ethnic oriented violence continue to rock the country(Kuresoi,Mount Elgon..etc) especially when the election is hardly a month a way.It was hoped that some thinks would be left in the past but it seems the trend still continues with "fuata nyayo "and the new Kazi euphemism.There simply must be a stop to certain things such as clashes and coruption! It is especially sad to see that politicians caught transporting arms intended for violence get released after a white washing stint of questioning!

When will man stop dominating man to his own injury!We sincerely condole the family of the late Alice Onduto a lugari politician brutally murdered on Saturday by uknown assailants.
Violence begets violence and the innocent women,children ...etc suffer.Lets sincerely stand up against any sort of violence especially against women and may the Kenya Police prove their commitment to protect and serve without favour or bias!


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