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An Elderly Care Centre Established in Oruba Ward, Suna West 

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An elderly care centre established in Oruba ward, Suna West within Migori County to alleviate sufferings of the vulnerable group.

Philips Genesis Foundation has taken the initiative to ensure widows mostly those in their sunset days are given great care.

The Foundation manager Rev Ronald Masogi says he is privileged to work with the community towards coming up with programmes aimed at assisting the less privileged in the community.

Masogi says the first ever houses in Migori town will provide shelter to the needy and give them hope in life.

Speaking in Migori town, Masogi said he was overwhelmed with the kind of reception he was accorded by the elderly.

Some of the widows in expressed their gratitude towards the project which will give them economic empowerment.

KUPPET accuses SRC of delaying implementation of CBA

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Kenya Union of Post primary Education Teachers (KUPPET) general secretary Mr. Akelo Misori has accused the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) of waylaying the implementation of the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) reached between the teachers and the government.

Misori who was speaking at Migori Teacher Training college where he attended the KUPPET Migori branch annual general meeting said the SRC is coming up with tough conditions which were not in the CBA previously.

KUPPET SG Mr. Akelo Misori

He said they are still pursuing the matter with the government adding that they are going to resume their negotiations after the general election slated for next month. The KUPPET SG appealed to the teachers to remain patient saying their talks will not be in vain.

Meanwhile Mr. Misori wants the next parliament to consider gazetting hardship areas so that teachers working in those regions can benefit from the hardship allowance.

The teachers’ union official said the parliament must remove barriers which have delayed the maping and gazetement of such areas and proper remuneration of teachers attached to schools in those places

He said there are areas like Nyatike and Kuria East which are hardship areas but unfortunately the teachers working in the regions are not getting hardship allowance.

Good Governance Is Key In Mobilizing Cheap Debt

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Mr. Oketch is the Head of Enterprise Risk Management at Shelter Afrique.

By Bernard Oketch

African countries continue to struggle amidst the ever-growing deficit in the provision of decent and affordable housing for its citizens.

With the current cumulative housing deficit reaching over 50 million housing units and growing, there is need for sustained impetus and collaboration amongst key partners and players in the housing industry to bridge the gap.

As a pan African supranational institution created to support member countries in solving this challenge, Shelter Afrique believes that with the right funding structure, effective collaboration, and smart partnerships amongst the states, private sector players and multilateral development funding agencies, the objective can be achieved progressively.

The key, however, lies with mobilization of the right and quality funding structure, and effective and honest deployment of the borrowed funds into the respective targeted housing programmes.

The right and quality funding structure would entail key parameters such as longer-tenure financing, low interest rates, adequate grace periods, sufficient quantum, and funding that is readily available and easily accessible.

Over the years of providing such funding to a diverse set of real estate developers and state-owned agencies in African countries where we operate, Shelter Afrique has observed that to guarantee an effective and honest deployment of borrowed funds into the targeted affordable housing programmes; the receiving institutions (whether developers or state-owned agencies) must embody good corporate governance practices.

Simply put, the institutions must be seen and perceived to be governed properly, with values and norms that espouse good governance structures and practices.

Key fundamentals

What, then, is good governance in the context of mobilization of appropriate and quality debt capital? 

The answer lies in three key fundamental factors that include: having the right governance structures; the right governance processes, systems, and tools; and the right sustained practice that depict good governance.

Having the right governance structures involves designing and institutionalizing structures that include but not limited to a board of directors, board sub-committees, executive management committee and sub-committees, business functions and internal audit.

These structures are important – and they give life to a company. They are the engines that drive the business and therefore must be structured in accordance with best practice standards that underpin the industry.

Global corporate governance standards such as the OECD Principles of Corporate Governance together with King IV Code of Governance amongst others are key in shaping up the design and framing of these structures and institutions should look beyond their industry and regulatory requirements.

As a lender, and the same would apply to other potential lenders in the debt and capital markets, Shelter Afrique always strives to associate with companies that demonstrate sustained appetite and commitment towards strengthening their corporate governance structures by strictly adhering to the laid down statutory laws governing their establishment, their day–to-day operations, and the constitution and operations of boards of such organisations.

Instituting the right governance processes, systems, and tools involves designing and developing an appropriate business strategy, incorporating a best fit organization structure that helps drive the strategy, and instituting a robust and appropriate business performance management system that tracks performance against the set strategic objectives.

Adopting and conducting regular board evaluation exercises, designing and documenting business processes and procedures, putting in place the right business continuity and resilience management systems, and having a code of ethics and conduct are also key in instituting good governance.

Once an organisation has instituted a good governance structure sustained implementation of good governance practices is critical.

This can be achieved by enhancing staff awareness of the company’s corporate governance structures, processes, systems, and tools; enforcing the good corporate governance culture in the company as a way of life; keeping the board, senior management, and staff accountable for the company’s performance and their actions; and carrying out regular audits, reviews, and reporting on the company’s corporate governance practices.

Any institution that sustainably institutionalizes these factors and progressively strengthens their effectiveness, will fundamentally be an attraction to funders (lenders) including Shelter Afrique.

Those characteristics speak to a key concept in credit management called “Character.” The Character of a borrower is fundamental to determining the creditworthiness of a customer as it discerns the willingness of the borrower to repay the credit once advanced.

Therefore, the above characteristics present immense opportunities to the private sector players (developers) in the affordable housing space to re-align their governance systems and practices with a view to attracting quality and affordable credit.

Safaricom announces KES 3 million sponsorship For Rallycross Event

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Safaricom through its M-PESA brand has today announced a KES 3 million sponsorship deal for the inaugural rallycross competition scheduled for this weekend at the newly launched racing track in Machakos.

Organised by RX Motorcross, the event is part of plans to introduce a rallycross championship series which will feature several events throughout the year.

“We are glad to have Safaricom through our M-PESA platform being part of this unique event. For years, we have been part of the motorsports journey in the country, from the Kenya National Rally Championships, East Africa Classic Rally to the WRC Safari Rally. Most recently we have supported young upcoming drivers through the FIA Rally Star Programme and we are excited to have some of them take part this weekend as they look to refine their skills even further”, said Peter Ndegwa, CEO Safaricom

Rallycross is a combination of rallying and circuit racing and includes head-to-head short, sharp races on mixed surfaces. The competition involves up to eight cars at a time, which go wheel-to-wheel on a circuit that is part asphalt and part gravel or loose surface, with the winner being the quickest to complete the required number of laps. The races are usually short, lasting a maximum of three minutes and events often comprise of 60 separate races.

“We are looking forward to a fun-packed and exciting racing weekend in Machakos and we welcome Safaricom’s sponsorship which will go a long way in ensuring that we have a successful event. We urge spectators to turn up in large numbers to witness a truly unique event”, said Tundo

The event has drawn a field of four teams made up of 16 drivers of all ages, including reigning African Rally Champion Carl ‘Flash’ Tundo, Baldev Chager and Alistair Cavenagh who will drive alongside several young drivers like Maxine Wahome, Jeremy Wahome and Hamza Anwar.

Migori Kazi Mtaani Stalemate

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Over 400 youth and women who are the beneficiaries of Kazii Mtaani in Suna East sub county today morning stormed the office of the county commissioner demanding to get the clear terms of service as they also demanded payment for the work done for the past six days.

The angry beneficiaries who have always got communication through SMS said they have not received any communication from the administrators and already there is a team being engaged in the ongoing Kazi mtaani program.

Shem Odero said they want to know why their services have been suspended without a clear communication. 

Odero said they need their job back accusing the administrators of interfering with the program.

Her remarks were echoed by Jesca Achieng and David Otieno who said that they have not even received their payment for the work done for six day.

Mr.Otieno said they need to know the fate of their job and the payment for the work done in the past six day.

The Kazii Mtaani beneficiaries have indicated that they will continue camping at the county commissioner’s office until they know their fate.

Suna East sub county Mr. Benson Karani said there are two lots in Suna East that are working in shifts adding that the lot complaining area is already done with their nine days shifty.

Mr. Karani said the complainants were informed that they will be working in shifts and therefore they should not complain. 

The sub county commissioner said the issue of payment is already being handled in Nairobi

Rising cost of land, construction materials could adversely affect provision of affordable housing

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Shelter Afrique Ag. CEO & Chief Finance Officer Mr. Kingsley Muwowo (right) explaining engaging with delegates at the 11th World Urban Forum held in the Polish city of Katowice

The high cost of land and the rising cost of building materials could derail efforts to speed up the development of affordable housing across the globe, pan African housing development financier, shelter Afrique has warned.

Speaking on Delivering Affordable Housing Across Continents at a special session of the 11th World Urban Forum held between June 26-30 in the Polish city of Katowice, Shelter Afrique’s Ag. Managing Director and Chief Finance Officer Mr. Kingsley Muwowo said there was an urgent need by governments to address the issues of rising costs of land and construction materials, which were hindering efforts to fast-track the provision of affordable housing globally.

“From market studies the cost of land should constitute between 10% and 15% of the total cost of a housing unit for it to be affordable, but this isn’t the case in many countries,” Mr. Muwowo said.

“In Kenya, for instance,  the cost of land makes up between 40% and 60% of the total cost of a housing unit, like the case with Nairobi which is the most expensive in the entire continent of Africa. How do you deliver affordable housing when you’ve got the most expensive land? So if we don’t address the issues around land we will not be able to effectively tackle the issue of affordable housing.”

Soaring prices

Mr. Muwowo also decried the rising construction cost – which he blamed on old building codes, punitive tax regimes, and high cost of financing such projects in various countries.

 Delegates visit Shelter Afrique stand at the 11th World Urban Forum held in the Polish city of Katowice.

He added that the Russian – Ukraine war had also resulted in the sharp increase in prices of critical construction materials.

Russia is considered the fourth-largest steel exporter globally, serving over 150 countries and territories.

“In the built environment, the conflict has exacerbated and exposed the dangers of overreliance on importing building materials. Prices of building materials have increased and continue to do so, a burden that the homeowners will ultimately share,” Mr. Muwowo said. 

The price of steel in Kenya, for instance, has significantly shot up over the past few months.

The prices of steel bars and nails have risen by between 80 per cent to 90 per cent and 13 per cent to 43 per cent, respectively, in the past few months in the country. 

Additionally, the conflict has resulted in shortage of coal, which is a crucial source of energy in cement production through clinker manufacturing resulting in price hikes. 

Speaking at the same event, European Investment Bank Vice President Prof. Teresa Czerwińska said the rising cost of housing in many cities across the world was a major concern for the Bank.

“We have managed to make education and healthcare relatively cheap and accessible by putting in place proper policy interventions. Housing is a fundamental human right and we can apply a similar framework in ensuring housing remains affordable and available,” Prof.  Czerwińska said.  

The World Urban Forum (WUF) is a global event on sustainable urbanization convened every two years by the United Nations Human Settlement Programme (UN-Habitat). It was established in 2001 by the United Nations to examine rapid urbanization and its impact on communities, cities, economies, climate change and policies. The first WUF was held in Nairobi, Kenya in 2002 and has been held around the world ever since.

This year’s event was convened under the theme: “Transforming our cities for a better urban future”.

AIRTEL KENYA APPOINTS NEW CHAIRMAN AND MANAGING DIRECTOR

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Mr. Louis Onyango Otieno is the new Chairman

The Board of Airtel Networks Kenya Limited has appointed Mr. Louis Onyango Otieno as Chairman and Mr. Ashish Malhotra as Managing Director, to steer the firm’s next phase of growth.

The new chairman brings over 30 years extensive leadership experience in ICT across private and public sectors, with a proven track record as a board member in companies across industries. He began his career at EEC Financial Services in New York, rising to the position of Assistant Vice President. He later joined Microsoft Corporation in 1997, leading the business in Africa in different capacities for 21 years. Mr. Otieno holds an MBA from Long Island University, Brooklyn in New York and a Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Systems from Mercy College, Dobbs Ferry in New York.

Mr. Otieno serves as Chairman of Absa Asset Management Limited. He is also an independent non-executive director at Absa Bank Kenya Plc and Nation Media Group Plc

Mr. Malhotra brings a wealth of experience of over 21 years in the Telecommunications sector. He was previously the Group Head of Sales and Marketing at Airtel Africa, leading the function in 14 countries where Airtel is operational. In this role, he was instrumental in doubling revenues, streamlining pricing principles and building strong unique selling propositions across the countries. He holds an MBA from Symbiosis Institute of Management Studies (SIMS), India and a Bachelor of Commerce from Sri Ram College of Commerce, India. He takes over from Mr. Prasanta Das Sarma, who has held the position since January 2017, and was instrumental in leading Airtel Kenya to become the fastest growing telecom company in Kenya, growing subscriber base from 5 million to 16 million. Mr. Das Sarma is moving to a new role as the Fiber Company CEO for Airtel Africa.

“We wish to congratulate Mr. Otieno and Mr. Malhotra on their appointment and wish them success in their new roles. We look forward to working with them to take Airtel Kenya to the next level, as we continue delivering innovative and relevant solutions for individuals and businesses in the country,” the Board said in a statement.

Mr. Ashish Malhotra takes over as Managing Director, as Mr. Prasanta Das Sarma is redeployed as Fiber Co CEO for Airtel Africa

North Horr MP Chachu Ganya Vows to Liberate Marsabit from Poverty When Elected Governor

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As the nation sneaks a look at the upcoming August, 9th general elections with only 40 Days left to the ballot, Marsabit County residents are also waiting to cast their vote for Change in leadership so as to have a system that will develop and grow Marsabit which unlike other counties it has been left behind in terms of devolution.

Due to the high poverty rates and suffering the people of Marsabit have experienced over the years, North Horr Member of Parliament Francis Chachu Ganya has decided to clinch the Governors seat after 15 years in parliament, which makes him more qualified to devolve the county due to the vast experience in government and for the first time Marsabit might receive the glory it deserves.

Speaking to Hon. Chachu he called on the whole of Marsabit to come out in large numbers and vote for the change they have been waiting for citing that the current Governor has failed to devolve Marsabit despite of the vast potential in the county.

In his well pillared manifesto, Mr. Ganya has promised to streamline the health sector of the county by increasing the number of health facilities and repairing the existing ones.
In addition he has vowed to work tirelessly until the facilities are fully equipped with drugs and necessary equipments so as to ensure health is affordable and available to the people.

Furthermore the flamboyant Member of Parliament seeks to uplift the education levels of all students by making equal allocation of bursaries to all needy students and attracting sponsorships to educate bright students who come from needy families.
In his 3 terms in parliament, he has raised the bar high in his constituency, having an increase in the number of education facilities and good performance over the years which proves his ability to upgrade education in the whole county.

In his remarks he has urged leaders to spread peace across the country and they should be peace ambassadors in the society due to their position. Chachu condemns criminal activities alleging that criminals should have no ethic community nor tribe and as a leader he has always led as an example via involvement in peace initiatives and capacity building initiatives.

The youths and women are no exception in Hon. Ganya’s government since they will receive grants and funding both in the formal and informal sector’s to start up small businesses and enterprise’s so as to scale down unemployment amongst the people.
Additionally, Marsabit being a patrol community he seeks to revive the livestock and meat industry so that livestock farmers can have a market where they can do business and support their families.

Wahome and Chepkite Win the 2022 Lewa Safari Marathon

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Peter Wahome and Fridah Chepkite emerged winners of the grueling 42km 2022 Lewa Safari Marathon held at the Lewa conservancy last Saturday. Wahome braced the hot weather to finish first in a time of 2: 24: 45 ahead of Philip Kigen who finished second with Paul Waweru coming in third.

“Allow me to thank the organizers of this event for making it successful. I am glad that we got an opportunity to participate in the physical run. The competition was tough, but I emerged victorious given that I usually train in such terrain,” said Wahome.

Fridah Chepkite won the women’s race in 3:02:04 ahead of Beatrice Cherop and Anika Berlin who finished in second and third positions respectively.

“It is fantastic to see everyone enjoying themselves with over two hundred kids including juniors from M-PESA Foundation Academy in this year’s Lewa Safari Marathon. For the last 22 years the marathon has allowed everyone to experience something very different; to run in the wild and contribute in supporting the community. We have achieved all this over the period through sponsorship and participation by various stakeholders,” said Peter Ndegwa, CEO Safaricom

“We are the biggest supporter of Kenyans in terms of social and also lifestyle. We have a passion for sports, environmental conservation and also community investment. And that is why as Safaricom, we have been involved in this event from its inception”, he added.

In the 21km event, Abeod Wambui clinched the women’s title beating her closest challenger Lucy Karimi with Mercy Kwambai settling for third position. Eliud Mutai won the 21km men’s race ahead of Mike Kiptum and Evans Mayaka who finished second and third respectively.

Elsewhere, Safaricom CEO Peter Ndegwa emerged the winner in the ‘10km executive run’ category, while Clinton Lemashon and Mercy Jekemboi both from the M-PESA Foundation Academy emerged the winners in the junior 5km category.

The annual Lewa Marathon comprises the 42km race, half marathon and the Children’s event and draws participants from all over the globe with the marathon course running through one of Africa’s most breathtaking wildlife conservancies.

As lead co-sponsors, Safaricom and Huawei have continued to partner to support the marathon. This year, other event sponsors included Kenya Breweries Limited as well as Tetra Pak Ltd.

“It is exciting to be back having a real marathon here in Lewa after two years of the virtual marathon. This year we have got over a thousand runners across the world participating in the marathon. It is so important because it’s not only a fantastic sporting occasion but also helps in raising funds to support the livelihood of the community around the conservancy. Since we started this initiative the fundraising has been very strong and we are looking forward to being able to support a wide range of beneficiaries across this country,” Said Charles Mayhew – CEO, TUSK TRUST

This year’s event attracted a wide array of talent from over 24 countries including 84-year-old John Ruwengo who took part in the 5km race.

Aside from giving a chance to emerging marathoners to compete on a professional level with seasoned runners, the marathon has been hailed for its sustainable impact on the community.

NHIF AND JANSSEN KENYA SEAL A PARTNERSHIP TO BOOST PROSTATE CANCER DRUGS ACCESS

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Prostate cancer patients covered by the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) can now access an innovator prescription drug manufactured and distributed by Janssen Kenya, one of the pharmaceutical companies of Johnson & Johnson, as part of a strategic development to expand access to quality treatment regimes in Kenya.

Following the signing of a joint Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between NHIF and Johnson & Johnson Middle East FZ-LLC (Janssen Kenya), the prescription drug, Abiraterone Acetate used for the treatment of advanced prostate cancer will be made available to NHIF members within their existing benefits package.

Speaking after witnessing the MoU signing by NHIF and Janssen, Ministry of Health Principal Secretary Susan Mochache in a speech read on her behalf by NHIF Chairperson Lewis Nguyai described the partnership as a landmark development that will help boost the local access to innovator drugs.

The Ministry of Health and NHIF, she said, has been actively engaging innovative pharmaceutical companies to seal similar private-public partnership agreements that will facilitate access to innovator drugs at affordable rates.

“The Ministry of Health and NHIF has sealed this landmark MoU with Janssen as part of our ongoing foundation building to ensure the success of the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) national rollout. We are proud to be associated with Janssen for taking the lead in opening up access to an innovator drug such as Abiraterone Acetate, which will enhance positive health outcomes for prostate cancer patients,” Mochache said.

Visiting Senior Vice President for Emerging Markets at Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson Mr Asgar Rangoonwala reiterated the company´s commitment to boosting access to innovative medicines in emerging economies. The company, he confirmed, is pursuing public-private partnerships to enhance access to safe, effective medicines and vaccines in developing countries for the most vulnerable patients.

Said Rangoonwala: “At Janssen, we are committed to advancing medical innovations that address unmet health needs in resource-limited settings. The MoU signed with NHIF is one of our partnerships to rollout new access models and equitable pricing strategies that improve the availability of our medicines to patients in emerging countries such as Kenya.”

NHIF CEO Dr. Peter Kamunyo echoed the importance of the partnership in Universal Health Coverage, confirming that NHIF has reviewed and expanded the range of benefits available for cancer patients. He said the review of benefits is geared toward alleviating the plight of cancer patients and increasing access to medication.

“The Fund’s core mandate is to provide medical insurance cover to all its members by ensuring that the range of benefits remains value-filled. The spirit of UHC is to ensure access to quality and consistent healthcare services needed by all Kenyans without having to be impoverished because of the high medical bills. We are negotiating for such innovations so that the cost of medication required to save lives fits within the packages offered,” Dr. Kamunyo said.

AMREF Health Africa Group CEO Dr Githinji Gitahi speaking at the event lauded the partnership which he noted will help alleviate the plight of patients undergoing cancer treatment. While reiterating the need for a functional cancer registry to guide response strategies, Dr Gitahi highlighted the need for patient-centred approaches to healthcare delivery.

Currently, the NHIF cancer care package entails up to 10 chemotherapy sessions, oral and injectable anti-cancer drugs, inpatient, and outpatient oncology services, 20 sessions for radiotherapy, and up to two sessions for Brachytherapy for advanced cancer, per year. The health facilities that offer the package include some level five and six hospitals and selected private hospitals in urban centres.

NHIF covers six sessions for the first-line treatment for up to Ksh25,000 per session, four sessions for second-and third-line treatment for up to Ksh150,000 per session, and 20 sessions of radiotherapy at Ksh3,600 per session. At the diagnosis level, the cover includes a biopsy under the surgical package in addition to Radiology including MRIs, ultrasounds, or CT and PET scans.

Cancer remains one of the major non-communicable diseases in Kenya and ranks third as a cause of death after infectious diseases and cardiovascular diseases. It is estimated that there are 42,000 new cases annually and approximately 28,000 cancer-related deaths every year. More than 70% of cancer cases are diagnosed late when treatment outcomes are poor, and palliative care is usually the only management amenable.

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