21 April, 2011

Nokia E7- Now Available in Kenya

Nokia has just announced the availability of the  new range smart phone the Nokia E7(see the press release and YouTube Video below).That bids good news but !!!!Will the E7 Nokia phone have the wow effect in Kenya (the Likes of the N8), that's a question that the market will determine,sincerely i hope there is an upgrade to the Symbian 3 Software system otherwise you may just have a cool phone but with serious software issues.However on a scale of 1-10 , i would give Nokia a nine anytime...the phones have cool features thats why i find this press release amazing!

All-in-one business smartphone, the Nokia E7, now available in Kenya 
Nairobi, Kenya, 21 April 2011– Nokia has today announced the launch of the highly-anticipated business smartphone, Nokia E7, in the Kenyan market.
 The Nokia E7 is an optimal business phone with great connectivity to work and personal email on a 4-inch touch display and QWERTY keyboard enabling users create, edit and share office documents on a fast, secure intranet access. Nokia E7 users will also be able to easily set up their calendar and sync it with Microsoft Outlook.
 “People are continuing to look for solutions that suit both their work and personal life; in business circles this is known as the ‘consumerisation’ of IT. The Nokia E7 gives people the confidence to bring their own smartphones to the workplace to connect securely to corporate messaging servers,” said Kenneth Oyolla, General Manager for Nokia East and Southern Africa.
 He added: “On the other hand, whether you are an artist, entrepreneur, university student or aspiring world traveller, the Nokia E7 is the only smartphone you will need to get the world’s best mobile navigation and mapping application, thousands of apps, millions of music, and a rich messaging experience.”
 With its tilting, 4-inch ClearBlack display, full keyboard and a fast access to a wide variety of apps directly on the homescreen, the Nokia E7 is the key to having a successful day in or out of the office. Importantly, the device supports business applications from leading enterprise technology partners including Microsoft and IBM.
 For business users, Nokia E7 provides direct, secure and real-time access to email, calendar, contacts, tasks and the corporate directory through Microsoft Exchange servers, as well as Office Communicator Mobile, developed by Microsoft for Nokia smartphones, which brings presence and corporate instant messaging.
 The WhatsApp Messenger is a smartphone messenger available for Nokia, iPhone, Blackberry and Android phones. WhatsApp uses your 3G or Wi-Fi (when available) to message with friends and family. This is a switch from SMS to WhatsApp to enable consumers send and receive messages at no cost. The app can be downloaded from http://www.whatsapp.com/nokia/ 
 Additionally, a wide range of entertainment and social services available on the Nokia E7 make it the perfect off-duty companion, and the Ovi Store offers a wealth of local apps. These include   “Daily Nation” for Kenyan News, Business, Sport and Entertainment and the application gives access to in depth coverage and analysis of issues and breaking news and “Rich”, an application that keeps you updated with the Nairobi Stock Exchange. The Nokia E7 users will be able to use “AroundMe”, an app that allows one to easily and quickly find important businesses and services in your surrounding or any other location. For example, one can find restaurants, banks, gas stations, and other local services with ease. It enables you to view maps, directions, routes, street view, read reviews and even call the business.

The new arrival offers drive or walk navigation in 80 countries. The latest commercial version of Ovi Maps, available immediately via Ovi Store or Ovi Suite, adds visibility to subways, trams and trains, real-time traffic, safety alerts, visibility to parking and petrol stations, speed limit warnings, and improved search and location sharing capabilities.  The Nokia E7 will be selling in retail between 52,000 -54,000 Kenya Shillings.
Here are more reasons why the Nokia E7 is the all-in-one business smartphone:
  • Easy access to private and business email
  • Create, edit and share office documents and view PDF files with Adobe Reader
  • Fast, secure intranet access with the built-in VPN
  • High-resolution photos and HD video with the 8 megapixel camera and dual LED flash
  • HDMI connectivity to project files, videos and images onto large screens
·         16 gigabytes of on-board flash memory
·         USB-On-The-Go, enabling easy file sharing by connecting a USB stick to the smartphone

13 April, 2011

Enablis Network of Entrepreneurs Soars, Creates More Jobs

Nairobi: April 13th , 2011 – Enablis East Africa network of entrepreneurs created a total of 3,700 jobs in 2010, up from 1,659 in 2009 an annual independent member survey has revealed.

 The Independent Annual Survey, conducted in February 2011, for the third consecutive year by research company Research in Action across Enablis’ 500-strong membership indicated that each entrepreneur in the network created an average of 7.4 jobs up 6.5 jobs the previous year, across all sectors of the economy.
 Commenting at the launch of the survey, Mr. Ali Mufuruki, Chairman of Enablis East Africa said: “We are delighted at the positive results that we are seeing through this annual survey. Our membership has grown to the 500 member milestone from 222 entrepreneurs in 2009. This is a huge achievement for a young organization such as ours, but more importantly, is that our members are creating more jobs year on year.”

“These results demonstrated that great things are possible when entrepreneurs receive the necessary support such as skills, knowledge and networking opportunities such as the once provided by Enablis. We believe that entrepreneurs can have a tremendous impact on socio-economic development of the East Africa region.”
The Enablis’ package of services for entrepreneurs is based largely on the Chase Bank Enablis Annual Business Launchpad Competition, which draws members to Enablis as a platform for networking, capacity building and financing. 

Enablis Africa Chief Operating Officer, Moses Mwaura, said, “We are very happy to see the membership across our country chapters growing so quickly in Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda. Additionally, the results of annual survey help to confirm that our programmes add value to entrepreneurs in our network. We continue to strive to best serve the needs of our members and provide them with necessary access to skills development and networking.” 

Mrs. Christine Dusabe is Enablis East Africa’s 500th member. Mrs. Dusabe is the owner of Rwanda Processing Lumen, a cassava food processing business in Kigali, Rwanda. Rwanda Processing Lumen specializes in purchasing cassava produce from farmer’s cooperatives in the region and processing it into starch and high quality cassava flour, the staple food in the region. In addition, the company also grows its own cassava for processing. Mrs. Dusabe came to Enablis which helped her to build critical business skills, knowledge and gave her networking opportunities with other entrepreneurs.
The 2010 Survey included a sample of 122 Enablis East Africa members in Kenya and Tanzania. In this sample, 62% of respondents were male and 38% female, 62% were over 35 years of age and 38% were under 35. Participants come from a range of sectors, the largest including Services (49%), ICT (18%), Agriculture (16%) and Manufacturing (15%).

Job Creation
The 122 entrepreneurs included in the Survey sample have a total of 1105 employees, for an average of 9 employees per member. They created 246 full-time jobs and 659 part-time jobs in 2010, which equates to an average of 7.4 new jobs per member in 2010. Projected across the 500 members, this equates to an estimated total of 3,700 new jobs over a year.  Since the first survey results conducted in East Africa, Enablis member entrepreneurs have created an estimated 9,700-time and part-time jobs.

Business performance
Eighty- seven percent (87%) of survey respondents indicated that they had steady or increased turnover over the past year.  In terms of profits, 83% of respondents experienced steady or increased profits in 2010. Seventy-four percent (74%) of entrepreneurs surveyed have improved, extended or introduced new products or services in the past year and 28% added new businesses.  

Improvement in business skills and knowledge
Ninety-five percent  (95%) of respondents indicated that Enablis has helped them grow their businesses, and an impressive 98% report that they have improved their business skills and knowledge since joining Enablis with networking skills, business strategy and communications toping the list of skills developed.

Ebenise Bester, CEO Enablis Africa, explains, “We are grateful to have the opportunity of working with forward-thinking partners prepared to invest in entrepreneurs. The Canadian International Development Agency, Accenture, Chase Bank, Safaricom, NMB Bank and Microsoft have made these benefits possible to the members in our network.”

12 April, 2011

The BOBs Deutsche Welle Blog Awards Winners 2011

Deutsche Welle have just announced the 2011 Best of the Blogs(BOB' s) Awards at their website. Among the Jury Award winners from the African Continent  is the African Blog dubbed "A Tunisian Girl" published by Lina Ben Mhenni a professor at the University of Tunis.In Social Activism a Facebook Page dubbed "We are Khaled Said" created in honor of a young Egyptian man named Khaled Saeed carried the day.Khaled was killed by Egyptian police in unclear circumstances in June 2010 sparking the January 25 revolution in Egypt that saw the ousting of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

This year's Bob Awards saw 90,808 votes cast .Its good to see two items from Africa feature among the notable award winners !Last year the Kenyan site Ushahidi was voted the best Weblog .Congrats to all the new winners.

GlobalVoices Article on the ICC :Ocampo 6 Suspects

Here's an Execerpt from my Article published at the GlobalVoices online website:

Kenya: Netizens React to ICC Charges Against 6 Kenyans 

On 7 and 8 April, 2011, the International Criminal Court (ICC) confirmed charges against six prominent Kenyan individuals whom the ICC prosecutor Louis Moreno Ocampo believes bear the most responsibility for the post election violence that rocked the country in 2008.
The six individuals are William Samoei Ruto and Henry Kiprono Kosgey (both serving Members of Parliament), Joshua Arap Sang (radio journalist with a popular vernacular station), Francis Kirimi Muthaura (Secretary to Cabinet and Head of Public Service), Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta (Deputy Prime Minister and serving Member of Parliament) and Mohammed Hussein Ali (Former Chief of Police).

Post-election violence in Kenya. Image by Daniel McCabe, copyright Demotix (13/02/2009).
Post-election violence in Kenya. Image by Daniel McCabe, copyright Demotix (13/02/2009).

The visit of the six to the Hague has drawn mixed reactions and raised political temperatures in the country with part of the coalition government supporting the ICC move and another denouncing it.
Dr Kabera Karanja of the blog Killing Corruption Monster discusses some of the tough conditions set by the court especially with respect to speech inciting to violence. He notes:
With home-coming reception rally planned by the supporters of the two presidential candidates, William Ruto and Uhuru Kenyatta and their declared onslaught on their main presidential candidate rival Raila Odinga, it will be a difficult or impossible balancing act to require the two to tame their language. If Raila were to utilize this opportunity to deride his opponents, then Ruto and Uhuru could easily argue that the ICC is being used to silence them and therefore ‘working for Raila’.
Ken Opalo observes:
Kenyan politics is currently in flux. Two key presidential candidates, Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto may be barred from running for public office next year on constitutional grounds. The key beneficiaries of such an eventuality will most probably be Raila Odinga and Kalonzo Musyoka, the Premier and Vice President respectively…
Over the last few weeks Uhuru and Ruto have been crisscrossing the country and holding chest-thumping rallies to prove to someone – either the ICC or the Kenyan political and economic elite – that they have the support of the grassroots. They have also issued thinly veiled threats that violence may erupt in the country if they are whisked to the Hague and barred from running for president in next year’s general election.
The Diary of A Gay Kenyan comments on the live proceedings from the ICC:
I'm sitting at home watching Live NTV showing Uhuru Kenyatta, son of Kenya's founding president, appearing at the Hague accused of crimes against humanity. Looks like the penny has just dropped…
A guest post at Bankelele blog offered those travelling to the Hague to witness the proceedings some traveling tips under the post “A Kenyan Guide to the Hague“:

For More please read at the site : here

11 April, 2011

Coca-Cola poised to pump USD 62 million into Kenya

Nairobi, 11th April 2011…Coca-Cola has announced a US$ 62 million investment in Kenya over the next three years, reinforcing its 63-year commitment and confidence in the country and region.

The investment – which will be channeled towards modernization of equipment and expanding existing capacity as well as increasing its presence in juice – reinforces the US$ 12 billion investment commitment for the continent by the year 2020.  Already, the beverage giant has pumped US$ 6 billion into the African economy over the last decade.

“Coca-Cola is bullish about Africa and our commitment to the continent is enduring and unshakable,” said Ahmet Bozer, the company’s Eurasia-Africa Group President.  “We see tremendous growth potential for Africa and particularly Kenya. Its steady rate of economic growth, well-educated population and efforts by the Government in reform and infrastructure upgrade over the last six years have given us confidence and optimism about doing business here,” he said.

Evidence of this view is supported by recent operational changes with the Nairobi regional headquarters now responsible for a total of 39 countries – an increase from the 27 countries it covered previously – adding Nigeria and French West Africa to its existing portfolio of East and Central Africa markets.

Demographic and economic trends in the region are fuelling investment – both from Coca-Cola and other companies. According to the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, approximately 70 per cent of the population in Kenya is under the age of 30. This, coupled with other factors such as increasing discretionary income and a rising middle class, has alerted international companies to the future and expansive growth potential of both the region and the continent, in general.
With seven bottling plants and over 22 production lines across Kenya alone,                 Coca-Cola is the largest non-alcoholic beverage investor in the country.  The Company plans to use the funds from the US$ 62 million investment to upgrade existing plants across the country, increasing their efficiencies and outputs while allowing the Bottlers to serve the market even better.

In addition, the Company will use the investment to further develop the juice industry in the region, revamping the Beverage Services Kenya (BSK) plant in Nairobi and turning it into the competitive hub for juice manufacturing. 

As part of its commitment towards developing the juice manufacturing sector in East Africa, Coca-Cola has announced an USD 11 million partnership with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The partnership will give more than 35,000 mango and fruit farmers from the Rift Valley, Central and Mount Kenya, and Eastern Provinces, access to the Coca-Cola local supply chain for the first time. As a result, these farmers have the potential to see their farm incomes double by 2014.

The Kenyan soft drinks market is currently experiencing a huge evolution, bringing increased focus on juices and malt-based soft drinks. There is a steady increase in consumption of fruit and vegetable juices in Kenya with analysts estimating a volume growth of 3 per cent annually.

Coca-Cola both directly and indirectly employs over 700,000 in the region – the bulk of whom are directly engaged in bottler operations, and the remainder of whom form an integral part of wholesaler and distributor network.

“Our people are our greatest assets and one of the key ingredients to our success,” says Bozer. As one of the biggest private sector employers in Kenya, the Company strongly believes in attracting and retaining the best talent as well as empowering and developing employees.
 “Our employees, our customers, and our partners have helped propel Coca-Cola to a position of leadership in the market,” he adds. “We will continue to sustain this long-standing commitment to our people and to the region. In addition, the Company will continue to minimize negative impact on the environment and work towards developing the communities in which we operate.”

In addition to its commitment to strengthening the economy, Coca-Cola has also made a long-term commitment to sustainability; working both internally as well as with communities to create greater shared value.

Externally, Coca-Cola has allocated a total of USD 30 million to the RAIN project, which aims to provide over 2 million people in Africa with access to clean water by 2015. The company also actively encourages women empowerment and entrepreneurship through its intricate Micro-Distribution System. Close to half of its 700 Micro-Distribution Centres (MDCs) are owned by women. In Kenya, these MDCs serve over 100,000 stores daily, providing products to over one million people.
Coca-Cola has also taken a keen interest in promoting active lifestyles among teens and young adults through youth sports programs such as COPA Coca-Cola and Sprite Slam, and remains committed to the development of sport in the country.

Coca-Cola is also working to reduce its carbon footprint and is focused on environmental stewardship. The state-of-the-art headquarters in Nairobi, for example, is an eco-friendly building furnished with a Building Management System that enhances energy efficiency. 

Its recent multi-million dollar investment and other ongoing initiatives not only demonstrates Coca-Cola’s confidence in the market, but is further proof of the Company’s long-standing and long-term commitment to the region.

01 April, 2011

Mobile Number Portability in Kenya:How To ?

Kenyans can now switch from mobile phone service providers such as Safaricom, Airtel and Yu and still retain their mobile phone numbers .The day has been long in the waiting and its finally here!Why lie its not everyday that i get inclined to read a press release word for word before i publish it but this press release from Communications Commission of Kenya i just had to read before i publish.Real glad tidings!My survey question for the day;Of the main Service Providers who will bear the most casualty? Your Take.....

Nairobi, Friday 1st April 2011: Mobile phone subscribers in Kenya will from today retain their mobile subscriber numbers whenever they opt to change service providers following the roll out of Mobile Number Portability services by the four mobile operators in line with regulatory requirements.

Kenya joins 62 other countries around the world where number portability has been implemented, including Egypt, and South Africa. 
“The implementation of number portability is expected to deepen the level of competition in the mobile telecommunications market and enhance consumer choice”, says Communications Commission of Kenya Director-General Mr. Charles Njoroge. .
One of major factors that have been discouraging consumers and business firms from changing mobile service providers is the inconveniences of losing contacts with friends, family and business associates. For businesses, change of telephone numbers could have cost implications in regard to advertising.
 These inconveniences have inhibited consumers from taking advantage of the growing competition in the telecommunications market. 
Mr. Njoroge says introduction of number portability will result in improvement in the quality of service as mobile operators fight it out to retain and attract subscribers in their network. 
“In the new dispensation, service providers who do not pay attention to quality and good customer service may find it hard to survive,” the Director-General added. 
The introduction of Mobile Number Portability follows extensive public consultations carried out between 2004 and 2008 which showed that the market was ready for the service.   Given the insights collected during the public consultation exercise, Mobile Number Portability is expected to gain significant acceptability in the market, given the one-time fee per port and relatively short port duration are considered competitive, and unlikely to hinder the uptake of the service.
Mobile number portability was initially meant to kick off last December but was deferred to allow mobile service providers more time to acquire and test their equipment. All mobile service providers signed an agreement with Porting Access Kenya committing to roll out the service as from today.  
“The operators have carried out the necessary tests and we expect the services to kick off without major hitches.  There might be some few teething problems at the beginning but this should be sorted out within the shortest time possible,” says CCK Director-General. 
How to port
All subscribers wishing to port their numbers will be expected to fill in the Mobile Number Portability Form at the retail shop of the mobile operator they intend to switch to and present original identification documents (e.g. I.D. card, Passport or Armed forces I.D. card) for verification. For company lines, an official letter from the organization, duly signed by the relevant authority, will be required. 
Subscribers will also pay a porting fee of Kshs. 200 and will be issued with a new SIM card and will continue to use the services of their current operator until the automated porting process is complete. 
Before the automatic switching process starts, subscribers are expected to save their SIM contacts on their phone or any other form, clear any balance airtime and money in mobile transfer account as well as pay up any borrowed airtime or outstanding bill.
To start the automated porting process subscribers will need to send the word PORT or HAMA to 1501 using their existing SIM card.  The subscriber will then receive an SMS from PORTING bearing either of the following information: Thank you for your SMS. Your porting request is being processed (Asante kwa SMS yako. Ombi lako la kuhama linashughulikiwa); OR your porting request has failed. Please contact your new Operator(Ombi lako la kuhama halijafaulu. Tafadhali wasiliana na Opereta wako mpya).
When the automated switching process is complete, one will receive, within a few minutes (but not longer than 48 hours), an SMS from PORTING bearing either of the following information:  This Account will be closed soon. Please use your SIM card from your new Operator. (Akaunti hii itafungwa karibuni tafadhali tumia SIM CARD yako mpya kutoka kwa Opereta wako mpya) OR Porting Error.  Please contact your new Operator (Kuna shida na ombi lako la kuhama. Tafadhali wasiliana na Opereta wako mpya)..  
The subscriber will then replace their current SIM card with the new SIM Card from the new operator and begin enjoying the services of the new mobile service provider.

Expression Todays Magazine Interview

I was recently privileged to be interviewed by Expression Today Magazine February -March 2011 issue(published by Kenya Media Institute) on my experiences as a blogger and take on ethical issues in blogging in Kenya.If you did not get a copy here is the online rendition from their website ,the title of the item:Meet A Blogger


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