[Kenya Business Week] Heavy rains take a toll on economy, key sectors register mixed fortunes
11-05-2018 06:56:00 | by: Bob Koigi | hits: 46768 | Tags:

Kenya, like the rest of East Africa, continues to experience heavy rainfall that has claimed lives, displaced hundreds of thousands of residents and taken a toll on key economic sectors, in one of the most catastrophic deluges to have taken place in the recent past.

But it has equally been raining good news in the East African powerhouse this week.

The tech sector has been abuzz with new partnerships, product launches and landmark decisions. Integrated telecommunication company Telkom Kenya has entered into a deal with global tower company, American Tower Corporation to sell over 700 of its communication towers, as the telco seeks to grow its local foothold and strengthen its balance sheet.

And the region’s largest integrated mobile company Safaricom has been headlining the news after it posted record profits while introducing new partnerships and products.

This week it unveiled, Twaweza, a seven month long campaign it intends to use to reach more customers through CSR, mentorship and device offers.

The company has also partnered with Kenya bank’s Umbrella body in an initiative meant to create awareness on safety measures in conducting transactions while using ATM cards, mobile phones, and online platforms.

Christened ‘Kaa Chonjo,’- Swahili for be alert, the campaign also enlists the support of other players coming at a time when there has been a growing trend of economic fraud that has been targeting both customers and financial institutions.

And in a bid to thaw frosty diplomatic and trade relation between the country and South Africa, the two countries have set out a special committee, with a view to also bolstering commerce while identifying key investment opportunities ahead of the 6th Session of the Joint Trade Committee.

This, even as it became the latest member to join the China- led infrastructure bank as it seeks to grow its network in global trade and reap from the benefits of multilateral cooperation.

This, coming at a time when it has invested heavily in infrastructure projects including the Standard gauge Railway and the northern corridor transport hub Lapset.

Kenya also continues to be a frontrunner in access to energy in East Africa if the recent report by World Bank is anything to go by. Access rate stands at 56 per cent with Tanzania coming second at 32.8 per cent.

Burundi trails its neighbours with a paltry 7.5 per cent. Kenya’s lead is attributable to numerous electrification programmes that have been rolled out by both the government and development partners.

Key among them include the Last Mile Connectivity Project and the  Global Partnership Output Based Aid, GPOBA, that targets informal settlements in urban areas and low-income households in the rural areas.

But as it headlines in access to energy, Kenya has been doing dismally in addressing unemployment and trade barriers among its women therefore slamming the brakes on the East African integration according to UNCTAD and TradeMark East Africa.

According to a research released this week. In matters gender equality and creating a conducive environment for women globally Kenya ranked position 135 behind Rwanda at 84, Tanzania at 129, Uganda at 121 and Burundi at 108. Access to finance and credit facilities among Kenyan women is dismally low compared to its regional peers.