[Kenya Business Week] Cementing bilateral relations with South Africa, China
As Kenya continues to cement its position as East Africa’s economic powerhouse, it has been on a charm offensive targeting African and global public and private players with the campaigns paying off.
This week has been no different. The country has recorded two major gains in the bilateral front. President Uhuru Kenyatta who has been in China for the inaugural China International Import Expo where he asked China to give preferential treatment to goods from Africa as it continues opening up its vast market to the rest of the world has secured a number of deals. Top among them is the announcement by the world’s largest producer of silk, Guangdong Silk-Tex Group,that it would set up shop in Kenya. This comes months after President Kenyatta joined his African peers at the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation where the Chinese government announced a $60 billion kitty for Africa development.
Still on trade relations, South Africa has this week announced that Kenyans will now be issued with multiple entry visas valid for up to 10 years following South Africa’s decision to remove short term Visas requirements for Kenyans. This is the latest of attempts to thaw frosty relations between the two countries which has seen South Africa’s government lifting decade-long ban on the importation of avocado fruits from Kenya and the commitment by the two nations to build mutually sustainable relations.
And in what could point to the growing demand for sustainability in housing in cities as population burgeons, a study released this week shows that employees in Nairobi rank affordable housing as the most important factor when deciding where to live and work.
President Uhuru Kenyatta recently signed into law a bill creating a 15 percent tax relief for Kenyans buying houses under the affordable housing scheme. This is one of the many initiatives tha the government has committed to pursue under the affordable housing space. Private companies like Unity Homes and Housing Finance have bolstered government's efforts even as studies show Kenya’s real estate market now favours low cost housing.
In one of the most historic developments in the country's telecommunication space, Telecommunication company Safaricom this week launched M-PESA Global a new and revolutionary service that opens up M-PESA to the world. To grow reach across the continent and world, Safaricom has previously partnered with PayPal and TransferTo while enhancing MPESA for visually impaired customers in a global first. These innovations have seen MPESA awarded GSMA mobile money certification.
In the transport sector, Kenya’s taxi-hailing firm Little has launched in Zambia, five months after going live in Kampala. It has rolled out a series of innovations including a mobile SACCO for its 4000 drivers and an electronic wallet to encourage riders using their taxis to pay for trips online. This, as it seeks to stymie growing competition from Uber and Taxify.
Regional low-cost carrier, Jambojet has leased two new Bombardier Dash 8 Q400 aircrafts from Chorus Aviation Capital, to add onto their growing fleet of aircrafts. The carrier has previously acquired Dash 8 Q400 aircraft, and secured international Air Services License as part of its plans to expand operations to 11 African countries.
Video entertainment firm, MultiChoice Kenya also this week announced its membership into the Technology Service Providers of Kenya (TESPOK) association which aims at influencing Information Communication and Technology (ICT) policy and regulations by engaging government at the relevant levels.