Kenya’s earnings from tourism jumped by almost a third in 2018 from the previous year to 157.4 billion shillings ($1.55 billion), after the number of visitors rose by 37 percent, the tourism ministry said on Monday.


Credit: Reuters

Oil marketer Libya Oil Kenya Limited (LOKL), which operates under the trade name OiLibya has rebranded to Ola Energy.
The oil marketer said its new brand will be effected on all its outlets in 17 countries across Africa.
Oil marketer Libya Oil Kenya Limited (LOKL), which operates under the trade name OiLibya has rebranded to Ola Energy.
Ola Energy Kenya general manager Duncan Murashiki said the rebranding is part of the firm’s expansion strategy that will see more fuel stations opened across the country. The new name is a short form of Oil Libya Africa. “By the end of 2019, we expect to have more than 100 stations in Kenya with more resources being dedicated to our lubricant market as well as liquified petroleum gas,” said Mr Murashiki.
Ola Energy started the distribution and marketing business in Kenya in December 2006 after signing an agreement with ExxonMobil Corporation.
The firm did not readily disclose how much it would spend to brand its 1,100 stations spread in 17 African countries but regional board chairman Elmarimi Kashim said they will be keen to gradually phase out the OiLibya tag during the transition expected to be completed by mid-2020.
“You will still see a little symbol of OiLibya in our stations as we transit because it’s a brand we have built and we don’t want anyone to imagine we are a new company with no experience in this market,” Mr Kashim said.
Source: Daily Nation

Tecno Mobile has announced the launch and availability of its new smartphones, the Camon 11 and the Camon 11 Pro, in Kenya.

The 2 devices have notches and also come with AI technology for selfie photography for better portraits and all round better pictures.

The Camon 11 comes with:

Screen: 6.2 inch IPS LCD touchscreen (720*1500)
OS: Android 8.1 Oreo
Chipset: MediaTek Helio A22
CPU: Octa-core 2.0GHz
GPU: PowerVR GE8320
Rear camera: Dual 13MP + 2MP with Quad flash
Selfie camera: 16MP with LED flash
Internal storage: 32GB. Upgradable via microSD to up to 128GB
Network: 2G/3G/4G. It supports Faiba 4G
Battery: 3750mAh
Colours: Bordeaux Red, Aqua Blue, Midnight Black

The Camon 11 Pro comes with:

Screen: 6.2 inch IPS LCD touchscreen (720*1500)
OS: Android 8.1 Oreo
Chipset: MediaTek Helio A22
CPU: Octa-core 2.0GHz
GPU: Mali-G71 MP2
Rear camera: Dual 16MP + 5MP with Quad flash
Selfie camera: 24MP with LED flash
Internal storage: 64GB. Upgradable via microSD to up to 128GB
Network: 2G/3G/4G. It supports Faiba 4G
Battery: 3750mAh
Colours: Bordeaux Red, Aqua Blue and Midnight Black

Camon 11 is available immediately in Tecno and Telkom Kenya shops countrywide. Camon 11 Pro is available on pre-order until 25th November and will be available for purchase thereafter.


Source: PmNews

Reductions in malaria cases have stalled after several years of decline globally, according to the new World malaria report 2018

To get the reduction in malaria deaths and disease back on track, World Health Organisation, WHO and partners are joining a new country-led response, launched today, to scale up prevention and treatment, and increased investment, to protect vulnerable people from the deadly disease.

For the second consecutive year, the annual report produced by WHO reveals a plateauing in numbers of people affected by malaria: in 2017, there were an estimated 219 million cases of malaria, compared to 217 million the year before. But in the years prior, the number of people contracting malaria globally had been steadily falling, from 239 million in 2010 to 214 million in 2015.

“Nobody should die from malaria. But the world faces a new reality: as progress stagnates, we are at risk of squandering years of toil, investment and success in reducing the number of people suffering from the disease,” says Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General.

“We recognise we have to do something different – now. So today we are launching a country-focused and -led plan to take comprehensive action against malaria by making our work more effective where it counts most – at local level.”

Where malaria is hitting hardest

In 2017, approximately 70% of all malaria cases (151 million) and deaths (274 000) were concentrated in 11 countries: 10 in Africa (Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ghana, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Uganda and United Republic of Tanzania) and India. There were 3.5 million more malaria cases reported in these 10 African countries in 2017 compared to the previous year, while India, however, showed progress in reducing its disease burden.

Despite marginal increases in recent years in the distribution and use of insecticide-treated bed nets in sub-Saharan Africa – the primary tool for preventing malaria – the report highlights major coverage gaps. In 2017, an estimated half of at-risk people in Africa did not sleep under a treated net. Also, fewer homes are being protected by indoor residual spraying than before, and access to preventive therapies that protect pregnant women and children from malaria remains too low.

High impact response needed

In line with WHO’s strategic vision to scale up activities to protect people’s health, the new country-driven “High burden to high impact” response plan has been launched to support nations with most malaria cases and deaths. The response follows a call made by Dr Tedros at the World Health Assembly in May 2018 for an aggressive new approach to jump-start progress against malaria. It is based on four pillars:

  • Galvanizing national and global political attention to reduce malaria deaths;
  • Driving impact through the strategic use of information;
  • Establishing best global guidance, policies and strategies suitable for all malaria endemic countries; and
  • Implementing a coordinated country response.

Catalyzed by WHO and the RBM Partnership to End Malaria, “High burden to high impact” builds on the principle that no one should die from a disease that can be easily prevented and diagnosed, and that is entirely curable with available treatments.

“There is no standing still with malaria. The latest World malaria report shows that further progress is not inevitable and that business as usual is no longer an option,” said Dr Kesete Admasu, CEO of the RBM Partnership. “The new country-led response will jumpstart aggressive new malaria control efforts in the highest burden countries and will be crucial to get back on track with fighting one of the most pressing health challenges we face.”

Targets set by the WHO Global technical strategy for malaria 2016–2030 to reduce malaria case incidence and death rates by at least 40% by 2020 are not on track to being met.

Pockets of progress

The report highlights some positive progress. The number of countries nearing elimination continues to grow (46 in 2017 compared to 37 in 2010). Meanwhile in China and El Salvador, where malaria had long been endemic, no local transmission of malaria was reported in 2017, proof that intensive, country-led control efforts can succeed in reducing the risk people face from the disease.

In 2018, WHO certified Paraguay as malaria free, the first country in the Americas to receive this status in 45 years. Three other countries – Algeria, Argentina and Uzbekistan – have requested official malaria-free certification from WHO.

India – a country that represents 4% of the global malaria burden – recorded a 24% reduction in cases in 2017 compared to 2016. Also in Rwanda, 436 000 fewer cases were recorded in 2017 compared to 2016. Ethiopia and Pakistan both reported marked decreases of more than
240 000 in the same period.

“When countries prioritize action on malaria, we see the results in lives saved and cases reduced,” says Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa. “WHO and global malaria control partners will continue striving to help governments, especially those with the highest burden, scale up the response to malaria.”

Domestic financing is key

As reductions in malaria cases and deaths slow, funding for the global response has also shown a levelling off, with US$ 3.1 billion made available for control and elimination programmes in 2017 including US$ 900 million (28%) from governments of malaria endemic countries.  The United States of America remains the largest single international donor, contributing US$ 1.2 billion (39%) in 2017.

To meet the 2030 targets of the global malaria strategy, malaria investments should reach at least US$6.6 billion annually by 2020 – more than double the amount available today.


Source: NAN

The Kenyan shilling yesterday weakened to an eight-month low against the US dollar in what market watchers attributed to excess liquidity in the money markets and demand for the dollar from manufacturers and oil importers.
Analysts, however, said Monday’s announcement that the Treasury is about to issue a new Eurobond is causing a recasting of positions as markets prepare for a looming jump in external debt.
The shilling exchanged at an average of 101.73 units to the dollar in the interbank market, a level last seen at the end of February, having weakened against the dollar by nearly one per cent this month.
The shilling’s performance in the market is being seen as resulting from the negative sentiments on Kenya’s debt position and the ongoing flight of foreign capital back to the US where rates are rising.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) last week downgraded Kenya’s risk of debt distress from low to moderate, and many observers see the looming Eurobond issue as having the potential to spook the market even further.
Treasury principal secretary Kamau Thugge told Bloomberg on Monday that the external financing bit of the budget deficit will comprise of up to Sh250 billion worth of Eurobonds, and Sh37 billion in syndicated loans.
“The shilling may be further undermined by weaker debt metrics after the IMF’s downgrade of the country risk of external debt distress from low to moderate,” said economists at Commercial Bank of Africa in a note.
The bank said the government’s plan to return to the Eurobond market for the bulk of external debt financing this fiscal year risks aggravating debt sustainability concerns given the potential for higher debt servicing costs.
The shilling’s depreciation in recent weeks has, however, not been characterised by volatility, suggesting that it is an issue of underlying fundamentals rather than speculative actions in the currency trading markets.
Source: Daily Nation
Kenya Sugar imports fell to a multi-year low in the nine months ended September as traders shied away from shipping in the commodity following increased scrutiny by State enforcement agencies.
Some 189,620 tonnes of the sweetener were brought in to bridge the deficit in domestic production, data from the Sugar Directorate indicate, a sharp drop from 933,847 tonnes in the same period in 2017 and 219,118 tonnes in 2016.
The Treasury scrapped import duty on the commodity last year following a sharp decline in local production due to a biting drought that saw average retail price a kilo jump as much as Sh179 in May 2017.
The duty waiver from July last year resulted in a market glut earlier this year, pushing down consumer prices as low as Sh75 a kilo.
State agencies such as the Kenya Bureau of Standards launched a countrywide crackdown on counterfeit and substandard foreign-made sugar in May, confiscating more than 500,000 tonnes of the commodity.
The Sugar Directorate estimates local production by the country’s 12 millers in the review period at 362,018 tonnes, a 43.42 per cent growth over 252,415 tonnes in the same season last year on improved rains.
“All the sugar factories, with the exception of Muhoroni Sugar Company, recorded an improved production as compared to the same period last year,” the directorate said.
“The production was further boosted by operationalisation of Olepito Sugar Company and inclusion of processed bulk sugar imports at West Kenya and Sukari mills.”
The sugar millers were holding 15,762 tonnes of sugar in their warehouses at the end of September, three times more than 5,224 tonnes a year earlier, the sugar industry regulator said.
Source: Daily Nation
A Kenyan Telecommunications firm Safaricom #ticker:SCOM lost 1.6 percent of its subscribers’ market share in the quarter ended June as rival Airtel added more users to its network, fresh data from the industry regulator shows.
This marked the third straight quarterly drop for the country’s biggest operator, which had 29.7 million subscribers during the period, according to the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA).
While Safaricom subscribers rose 0.7 percent from the previous quarter's 29.5 million, its rivals led by Airtel added more users, resulting in the company’s reduced market share.
Airtel’s subscribers rose 11.9 per cent from 8.7 million to 9.7 million to secure a market share of 21.4 percent. Safaricom subscribers’ market share has plunged to 65.4 percent from 72.6 percent in June last year.
“During the quarter under review, Safaricom PLC lost its market share by 1.6 percentage points, Airtel Ltd and Telkom Kenya gained by 1.7 and 0.2 percentage points respectively. Finserve Africa lost by 0.1 percentage points whereas the market shares for Sema Mobile and Mobile Pay Ltd remained unchanged,” said the report.
As at June 30, the total number of mobile service subscriptions in the country stood at 45.5 million up from 44.1 million reported in March 2018.
CA’s report comes against the backdrop of an ongoing row between the sector watchdog and Safaricom over claims that the telco is abusing its dominance in a 2015 report before changing its tune.
In January, for instance, the CA revised its position on a controversial proposal for the splitting of Safaricom into separate business units.
A draft report from consultancy firm Analysys Mason leaked to the media last year had recommended designation of Safaricom as a dominant operator, which would have seen its voice and mobile money units split into stand-alone businesses.
Another regulator, the Competition Authority of Kenya (CAK), however warned against punishing Safaricom saying it was unnecessary and would have ripple effects on the entire economy.
Source: Daily Nation

Botswana retailer Choppies is expanding to Ongata Rongai, taking over the space previously occupied by Uchumi Supermarkets.

Choppies will be joining Tuskys, Tumaini and Cleanshelf in the race to capture the populous Rongai as part of its Kenya expansion plan.

In its second half for 2017 results, the retailer indicated that it would invest Sh237 million ($2.27 million) on new Kenyan stores.

Uchumi’s branch in the town was shut down following a Sh21 million ($207,990) default on rent.

Choppies also opened a new store in at South Field Mall in Embakasi, Nairobi and plans another in Kiambu Mall, on the outskirts of the capital city, taking up space that was previously meant for Nakumatt.

The retailer has also put up ‘coming soon’ signs in Nanyuki as it eyes the space that hosted Nakumatt, before the latter was evicted from Cedar Mall. 

Choppies’ move to replace Uchumi replicates similar actions by Naivas, Carrefour and Tuskys who have stepped in to occupy spaces from which the financially-strapped retail chains Nakumatt and Uchumi have been kicked out.

The spirited entry into Kenya by multinational chain stores is stiffening competition, pitting new players against the local family-owned retailers.

The South Africa and Botswana-Choppies in March last year said it would spend $2.5 million (about Sh250 million) in refurbishing the eight branches of Ukwala Supermarkets, which it took over in December 2016.

It currently has 12 stores in Kenya.

One time leader Nakumatt, now in administration, and cash-strapped Uchumi, have shut several of their branches in Nairobi while Tusky’s, with 63 stores, recently shut its Sheikh Karume branch in Nairobi.

Naivas has 45 outlets.

Choppies managed to enter the Kenyan market through acquisition of Ukwala Supermarkets in 2016 after a Sh946 million ($9.4m) claim by the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) had earlier halted the deal.


Credit: Nation Media Group

For 10,000 years, the bacterium Mycoplasma mycoides has infected goats, cows and other livestock, annihilating entire herds in days.

In sub-Saharan Africa, the disease, contagious bovine pleuropneumonia CBPP or “lung plague,” is still difficult to control. It causes more than US$60 million in annual losses to cattle owners and affects the livelihoods of 24 million cattle producers.

Although infected animals can be treated with antibiotics, they can be hard to come by. They often come from illegal sources and are of poor quality, resulting in ineffective treatments and antibiotic resistance.

The quickest and most effective way to control lung plague is to cull the infected animals. But there is another way: vaccination.

Working with researchers in Kenya, we have developed a new vaccine to help fight the spread of Mycoplasma mycoides mycoides (Mmm), an especially lethal subspecies of the bacterium that causes disease in cattle.

Unstable solution

Lung plague was eradicated in North America in the 1890s after an eight-year campaign of quarantine, slaughter and disinfection.

Botswana successfully adopted this approach, but it will not work for other sub-Saharan countries because of the high costs of replacing cattle that are not insured.

To date, there is only one vaccine on the market to control lung plague. It is an attenuated vaccine, which means it is created from a live version of Mmm that has been altered so that it becomes harmless. The live-attenuated Mmm vaccine is injected into the tail of cattle and, after a few weeks, the animal begins to produce antibodies against the bacteria.

Although this vaccine works well, it does have drawbacks. It deteriorates quickly unless it is kept on ice — a problem in Africa where temperatures often run high — and, in some cases, vaccinated animals develop inflammation and ulcers where the vaccine is injected or even lose their tails due to extreme immune reactions.

New approach

Looking for a better solution, our team applied for and received funding from the International Development Research Centre and Global Affairs Canada through the Canadian International Food Security Research Fund to develop a new vaccine for lung plague.

Vaccines are made up of two parts: an antigen, a substance capable of inducing an immune response, and an adjuvant, a compound that improves the efficacy of the vaccine.

The new lung plague vaccine uses protein antigens from a variety of strains of Mmm found in Kenya which makes the new vaccine safer, easy to manufacture and stable at room temperature.

Our team identified these protein antigens using “reverse vaccinology.”

Reverse vaccinology uses computer programs to analyze the DNA of the bacteria and point out possible antigens, the ones most likely to cause the cattle to produce an immune response. The selected proteins are then manufactured, purified, mixed with the adjuvant and tested.

Increasingly, reverse vaccinology is being used to develop vaccines for diseases when traditional vaccine development has failed. This approach has been used for a human Meningococcal vaccine now on the market.

Better protection

Out of the 66 Mmm proteins we identified, four protected cattle against lung plague. We used them to create a new vaccine that has demonstrated significant potential to be more stable and offer better protection than the current live-attenuated vaccine.

This new vaccine, which is cheaper to produce and more stable at room temperature, may solve many of the challenges faced with the current vaccine and may also protect against multiple bacterial strains. It has been licensed for production by a vaccine manufacturer in Kenya and is currently under production for testing in field trials using large numbers of cattle.

The reverse vaccinology approach could work to develop vaccines for other important livestock diseases, including Johne’s disease and bovine tuberculosis, as well as infections with Histophilus somni, Escherichia coli and Mycoplasma bovis (chronic pneumonia and polyarthritis syndrome).

CBPP has had negative impacts on livestock production in Africa, drastically reducing the contribution of the livestock industry to Africa’s gross domestic product.

This project, which benefits from a partnership between Kenya and Canada, used advanced vaccine development technologies to achieve the ultimate deliverable — a novel vaccine that has the potential to improve food security and mitigate millions of dollars in livestock losses.

This Mmm vaccine was developed in collaboration with Hezron Wesonga of the Kenya Agriculture Livestock Research Organisation (KALRO), Jane Wachira of the Kenya Veterinary Vaccine Production Institute (KEVEPAVI), Jan Naessens of the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), Andrew A. Potter, Volker Gerdts and Emil Berberov of the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization – International Vaccine Centre (VIDO-InterVac) at the University of Saskatchewan.The Conversation


Jose Perez-Casal, Research Scientist - Program Manager, University of Saskatchewan

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

More Kenyans believe that China constitutes the biggest threat to the country’s economic and political development than the United States of America, a survey shows.
The survey by Ipsos Synovate released on Wednesday revealed that 26 per cent of Kenyans see the Asian country as a threat to the development of Kenya, more than double the perception towards the US which ranks at 12 per cent up.
According to the survey conducted between July 25 and August 2, the unfavourable perception of China comes in the shape of threats posed by its cheap goods, fear of fostering corruption and leading to job losses.
A total of 38 per cent of Kenyans think that the continued relationship between Kenya and China will lead to job losses. This is only 11 percent in the relationship between Kenya and USA.
Another 25 per cent think that China will flood the Kenyan market with cheap goods compared to 18 percent perception of the US.
Perception of Kenyans towards China has taken a nosedive since March this year dropping from 34 per cent at that time while US’s has been on the rise since then from 26 percent to the current 35 per cent.
The perception is, however, skewed politically with more National Super Alliance (Nasa) supporters thinking that Kenya’s bilateral relationship with China is a bigger threat at 33 percent compared to 10 percent with USA.
For Jubilee supporters, only 23 per cent hold similar views on Kenya’s relationship with China but more on US compared to Nasa supporters at 16 percent.
On the flipside, approval for China comes because of its infrastructure projects in the country at 86 per cent compared to only 38 per cent for US. For US, its loan and grants to Kenya wins it an approval of 49 per cent compared to a paltry 11 per cent for China.
This is even as 35 per cent Kenyans say that USA is more important for Kenya to have relations with compared to only 25 per cent for China.
However, more Kenyans think that the country’s relationship with US will see the world superpower undermine the Kenyan culture, her elections and encourage terrorism at 14, 12 and 9 per cent respectively. This the Chinese are seen to have no effect on with 3, 0 and 2 per cent perception in that order.
More Nasa supporters at 49 per cent compared to Jubilee supporters’ 28 percent see bilateral relations with the US as critical.
However, more Jubilee supporters at 30 per cent to 19 per cent for their Nasa counterparts approve of relationship with China.
A total of 2, 016 Kenyans were interviewed in 46 counties using face to face interview at the household level with a margin of +/-2.16 per cent and a 95 per cent confidence level.
The survey also came before four important events in the country’s foreign relation development.
It was before Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Monica Juma held talks with US counterparts in Washington DC on August 22 ahead President Uhuru Kenyatta’s visit five days later.
Five days later President Kenyatta held talks with US President Donald Trump and also met US business leaders.
President Kenyatta then welcomes British Prime Minister Theresa May three days later in Kenya before flying to China the next day for a major African-Chinese summit on economic partnership.
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