Afrika Hand made symposium 2015

Long gone are the days when genuine artists could not get access to Financial loans due to security terms. ask me why?

the Afrika hand made symposium is currently going on in Nairobi, at the French, Alliance Franciase. It has brought together many product Designers from across the continent.

What more can I say if you have watched the video.

By Neville Mugambi.

Another arts Festival brewing in Kenya

Cefa art against poverty programme

Cefa art against poverty programme staff and stakeholders

The music industry in Kenya is what we call a side hustle. It is difficult or rather hard to make it as a secular musician in the region compared to gospel music counterparts. Though this narrow classification in the music industry might just change.

There might be hope for the industry if you come to understand the motivation behind this new arts festival dubbed The Africa nouveax Festival . It’s backed by some famous and successful artists, The Italian based and European Union funded.

Africa nouveax stakeholders at their new office in Westlands Nairobi.

Africa nouveax stakeholders at their new office in Westlands Nairobi.

“Ordinarily, I prefer whisky though you can never get it at art exhibitions,” murmured one of the attendees at the launch of the festival ” … wine seems more like a starter.” He finished. I had never had the guts to think along those lines, out loud. Maybe that’s what artists do, they express themselves in ways you never thought about. I mean, there I was, all formal and collected and these guy is complaining that they are serving free wine.

TedBurry with Fena

Digital artist, TedBarry with Fena

Back to the festival… The motivation behind this festival, a child of sorts of the successful Blankets and wine concert…

a well timed moment during the launch

a well timed moment during the launch

is the aspect of not focusing on the Musician but art as an industry in the region(African continent). That being said. I hope to meet you in the next festival and talk art or wine if you prefer.

By Neville Mugambi. photography courtesy of Greshon(CEFA)


Health sector

Health sector

Since 2013 when honorable Hasan Njoho, Governor of Mombasa county came into power. Most of his politics was centered in mental health and rehabilitation centers in the county. this has had tremendous impact on the level of awareness of drug abuse in the nation. It made his job more secure. Currently, politicians are following suit, addressing alcoholism and even drug abuse under the umbrella organization ( National Authority for the Campaign Against Alcohol and Drug Abuse (NACADA)).

The current Cabinet Secretary for Health James Wainaina Macharia has also made a few steps in keeping up with the times. you can get an over view of the health system here Private companies are also trying to innovate in this sector and its not getting anywhere where the govt hasnt been, from the many conferences and product launches I have been to.

Looking at 2015. Kenya television network popularly known as KTN has been put on the spot for stigmatizing mental health victims by highlighting their plight on public television. though some beg to differ. highlighting the plight of these victims/ patients can be beneficial to them since some good Samaritan can help them get the proper treatment. one interesting lecturer by Dr Catherine Syengo Mutisya-Consultant Psychiatrist Nairobi Mental Health Services & Nairobi Parenting Clinic K.M.A. Center, 3rd Floor, Mara road
UPPER HILL- tries to simplify the challenges the families face dealing with the disease.

Dr catherine argues that… families are often the main support for people affected by mental illness, and have a right to be treated as ‘partners in care’. They need information about the illness and treatment provided, and about training and support to help themselves as well as the person who is ill.

The thing is… after rehabilitation, it is still a taboo to talk about it. So the kids are still in the granary, not filling themselves with food but locked up in shackles, away from the society so as not to tarnish the name of the clans. And there is nothing NACADA can do about it since they are too busy advertising drugs that we the youth dint even know existed. and now we know.

By Job Ruto guest publisher


Yesterday, on my way to the park. Passing a filling station, I was surprised to notice that the price of a liter of diesel was at 83/= Kenya shillings and the price of petrol was at 94/= Kenya shillings. This was along ‘Jogoo road’, Nairobi.

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Total meets the expecations of 2 million clients each day in nearly 4 200 Total Service-stations in Africa

— Total Kenya (@totalkenya) July 27, 2015
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The fuel prices had risen due to the weakening shilling in the recent months. The shilling is still trading at 101 KES to the dollar and 156 KES to the pound. This has been attributed to the euro crisis currently being sorted out in the Euro zone.

Considering the the data currently in possession by the Kenya national bureau of statistics has not been updated on their website since 2011, it might be difficult to get the big picture of the influence on 2015 positions and revenue(Loss) generated by the Kenyan government.

Throughput And Output Of Finished Petroleum Products, 2004 – 2012

It was an interest as to how this influenced the exit of Tullow oil company in Turkana. This oil excavation prospects had caused alot of speculation in the oil market in the region.

By Mugambi Mwalishi

At The Nairobi Innovation Week

C.S. ICT announcing the need for a govt regulatory for innovations across all ministries. #Nairobiinovationweek

C.S. ICT announcing the need for a govt regulatory for innovations across all ministries. #Nairobiinovationweek

The nation was already seated at the oldest University in Kenya by 8:30 am. The moment they were waiting for was for the official Launch of the first Innovation Week by The University of Nairobi in conjunction with Barclays bank of Kenya.


The list of the attendees of the ongoing ( major exhibition as it turns out) can be found on the innovation week official website.

The, chemistry of the Vice Chancellor with the Israel ambassador to Kenya suggested a lot. It might mean the beginning of a long lasting friendship or a flimsy relationship with that nation.

the proposed Govt Accelerator

the proposed Govt Accelerator

Government C.S. for ICT, Dr. Matiang’i officially launched AFTIA( Africa technology and Innovation accelerator). With a concept of its design already in place at the School of Computing in the University.

The ICT CS, also stated that the main intention of the govt accelerator was not to bring competition to the other hubs by private business men and women but to strengthen the industry. The secretary hinted on a 17.5 Billion shillings investment in future accelerators at all public universities in the country.


# BY Mugambi Mwalishi





Business mergers in East Africa 2015


Earlier this month, the Financial Times (FT) reported that mergers and acquisition (M&A) activity in Africa has fallen to its lowest level in more than a decade, as a result of collapsing commodity prices, political volatility and an anticipated rise in US interest rates.

The value of African deals so far this year stands at $9.2 billion — 23% lower than the same period 12 months ago and the lowest level recorded since 2004, according to data from Dealogic.

Burbidge Capital also found that Kenya’s merger & acquisition deals slowed down in 2015 – with 11 M&A deals so far compared to 17 in the first four months of 2014. This year, the largest concluded deals have seen Helios sell a stake in Equity Bank to Norwegian funds and and Old Mutual’s purchase of a 60.7% in UAP Holdings.


More mergers are expected in the Kenyan banking sector as the Treasury Secretary announced that an increase in the minimum capital to strengthen banks’ capital base and increase competition…progressively from the current Kshs 1 billion to Kshs 5 billion (~52 million) by 2018. 20 banks are below the Kshs 2 billion mark.

–  Helios cashing out;  Norfund & Norwegian private investors are acquiring 50% of Helios partners investment in Kenya’ Equity Bank Group and will now own 12%. And today, Uganda’s National Social Security Fund has bought a 2.44% stake in Equity Bank Group from Helios Investors at Kshs 50 per share – and the new deal is worth ~$50 million.

– National Bank management said it has not been briefed on any merger plans with its State-owned rival Consolidated Bank. Treasury secretary Henry Rotich said National Bank would be merged with another bank before it’s planned rights issue. The government is the biggest shareholder of National Bank controlling about 79% shares consisting of Treasury and NSSF stakes. As part of a rights issue it is expected that NBK will retire its preference shares (held by the Treasury and NSSF) by converting them into ordinary shares.

– High-level talks regarding a merger between NIC Bank and Commercial Bank of Africa are  reportedly taking place but Mshwari may be spun out of any resulting entity. Both are mid-tier banks with quite a focus on corporate and high-end clients.

– While Mwalimu SACCO is acquiring 51% of Equatorial Commercial Bank (ECB), the Society is not converting into a bank nor merging with ECB.

– Kenya’s Nairobi Securities Exchange is acquiring the 77% of their associate company CDSC, which they own with stockbrokers, in a deal worth~Kshs 260 million.

– Barclays Africa advised on the largest sale of an African Bank in 2014 – a deal, in which Nigeria state-owned Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) sold Mainstreet Bank to Skye Bank.

Equity Group Holdings agreed to acquire 79% of ProCredit Bank Congo, the 7th largest bank (by assets) in DRC. ProCredit has total assets of $200 million, a customer base of over 170,000, and has KfW (12%) and IFC (9%) amongst its shareholders.

 Liaison Financial Services who have just been approved as an investment advisor in Kenya recently acquired the African business of Knutson Global who were involved in asset-backed securities, municipal development bonds and consumer lending.



Oxford Business Group expects strong Kenya insurance M&A as companies merge to increase market share & meet higher capital requirements.

– The Mauritian Minister for Financial Services, Roshi Bhadain, said the State Insurance Company of Mauritius (SICOM), would take over the 23.9% stake (valued at more than Kshs 13 billion) held by Businessman, Mr. Dawood Rawat, in financial services firm British-American Investments Company (Kenya)  – a.k.a. Britam. This comes after the government of Mauritius placed Rawat’s firms in receivership over alleged financial impropriety charges.

UAP and Old Mutual agreed on a merger ahead of listing. This comes after Old Mutual raised its shareholding to 60% from 23% after buying 37% from private equity (PE) firms Aureos, Africinvest and Swedfund for around Kshs 14 billion. Old Mutual will not buy out the other 1,000 minority shareholders (who are staff & agents).

Old Mutual first bought into UAP in January by acquiring a 23.3% stake from Centum Investments and businessman. Centum sold its stake to get funding needed for its massive real estate, financial services and power projects.

Barclays Africa will acquire 63% of First Assurance, Kenya’s No. 10 insurer, for Kshs 2.8 billion (~$30 million).

KCB Group is said to be considering a takeover of Madison Insurance.

– Pan Africa Insurance shareholders approved the acquisition of at least 51% percent of Gateway insurance. Through this acquisition, the company will enter into the general insurance business.

– Kenya’s competition authority approved the acquisition of 61.2% of Resolution Health East Africa by Leapfrog II Holdings.



– The Heron Portico, which is managed by Indian hospitality group Sarovar Hotels & Resorts, says the acquisition of rival Zehneria Hotel in Nairobi’s Westlands in a Kshs 1 billion buyout to expand its market share in conference tourism and hospitality industry in Kenya. The Heron Portico financed 80% of the purchase price using debt while the rest is self-financed.

– Minor Hotel Group of Thailand, and Elewana Afrika, are acquiring 6 camps spread across national parks in Meru, Samburu and Narok counties. Stefano and Liz Cheli (Cheli and Peacock Group), the founders of the camps, will continue to run the resorts and focus on business development.

– Kenya’s Competition Authority approved the acquisition by Fortune Hotels of Paradise Safari Park and 85% of Paradise Investments and Development Kenya held by Paradise Company.

– TPSEA (Serena) acquires 25.1% of TPS (D) that was set up to run the Movenpick Hotel in Dar, now known as the Dar es Salaam Serena Hotel in Tanzania.



Frontier Services Group (FSG), a Nairobi-based logistics firm, has completed its purchase of Cheetah Logistics SARL – Congolese transport company as part of central and western Africa expansion plan. Kenya’s competition authority also approved the acquisition of Phoenix Aviation by Frontier Services Group as well as the acquisition of 55% of Tradewinds Aviation Services by NAS Africa Aviation.

– UK logistics and engineering firm Atlas Development says it is in advanced stages of discussions with potential takeover targets in Kenya, Tanzania and Ethiopia.


Norfund to acquire a stake in Globeleq Africa from Actis for $225M and partner with CDC to pursue power generation opportunities.

UAE’s Gulf Petrochem Group acquires Essar Petroleum East Africa and renames it as Aspam Energy (Kenya) in a deal to enhance the group’s integrated services and products for the downstream supply chain in the oil and gas sector in East Africa.


Scangroup dropped a bid to acquire 80% of Experiential Marketing, as approvals were not granted in time. Scangroup shareholders later renamed the company WPP Scangroup signifying that WPP Scangroup and WPP plc. are now fully together, with a shared vision for developing marketing communications across Sub Saharan Africa.

Hill+Knowlton Strategies (H+K), and Buchanan, one of the world’s leading financial communications consultancies, joined forces to launch H+K Financial, a specialist financial communications division dedicated to the Middle East and Africa.



Millicom is to acquire 85% of Zanzibar’s Zantel for $1 and take over $74 million of its debts. Zantel is the leading Telco in Zanzibar (but just 5% to Tanzania’s total) with $82m in revenue and 1.7m customers.

– Kenyan innovation, Wezatele, was acquired for $1.7 million by AFB Kenya.

Techno Brain acquired the trips™ suite of integrated customs &revenue software from Crown Agents to provide tax and customs solutions that target the broader financial management needs of government.

Akvo Kenya transfers the business of building open source intemet and mobile software to support international development partnerships to Akvo Kenya Foundation.



– A Paris-based PE fund bought 30% of Ramco Plexus, a subsidiary of Ramco Group that has an annual turnover of Kshs 5.5 billion. The Ramco Group was started in 1948 as a hardware store, and has grown into a 34-subsidiary strong business, which employs 3,000 people.


Business transfer:  Antipest Kenya Limited, has transferred to Modern Ways.

Business transfer: Unicorn Pharma Kenya has been sold and transferred to Medisel (Kenya)


 Agri Business/Food Business

–  Syngenta rejected Monsanto’s $45 billion merger offer. An eventual agreement will have an impact on Kenya’s agricultural sector.

– Shareholders of REA Vipingo Plantations approved sale of the firm’s land at Vipingo to Centum Investments as agreed upon in a settlement with R.E.A Trading.

– Giant milk processor Brookside Dairy has bought out Sameer Agriculture & Livestock business in Uganda for Sh3.5 billion (~$38 million). The government of Uganda, which owns 49% (of Sameer) confirmed this on March 25.

Business transfer: Pure Imported (formerly European Foods E.A. Limited) (which was in the business of importing & selling deep frozen foods and supplying fresh juices) to European Foods Africa

– The Competition Authority exempted the production, bottling supply and distribution business between Distell and Kenya Wine Agencies Business transfer: for 5 years.

Business transfer: The ice cream production & trading business of Alpha Dairy Products is being transferred to Razco.

The Tanzania’s competition commission may reverse it’s decision approving for EABL to merge with Serengeti Breweries, as Serengeti’s performance failed to meet expectations


– Kenya’s competition Authority has approved (i) The acquisition of 50% of Equatorial Commercial Bank Centre by Fidelity Shield Insurance  (ii)  The acquisition of Parkway Investments by Mt. Kenya University Trustees (iii) The acquisition of Endebees Estate (Kilifi Holdings) by Balloobhoni Chhotabhai Patel.


Courtesy bankelele…

A day at a Time

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Finally, this week the fuss about Mumias sugar company and their misfortunes come to an end. This was marketed by a visit from the head of state and western Kenya politicians. This was after the employees and suppliers of the sugar manufacturing giant going without pay for months.

Hii sio siasa, hii ni maisha na kazi yetu“/ “This isn’t politics, it is our livelihood” said one of the local dependents on the sugar company. From the feelings portrayed… this seems like a very sensitive issue in the area.

Uhuru ametoa bilioni moja“/ “President Uhuru has donated a billion shillings”. ignorance at its peak from some of the rally attendees. Though as a fact, it was true that Hon. Uhuru championed the release of the funds.

Have a weekend full of sugar.

By Neville Mugambi. Video courtesy Capital TV



For the past two weeks I have been wondering where I can get my press clearance as the Kenyan Economist founder. I had heard that getting the press pass was quite easy as one just needed to drop by the CCK offices in Westlands and apply. phew! what a relief, I figured. Later during the week… Laziness kicked in and I Google’d the ‘CCK’. Nothing came up. I figured they must have have changed their domain name to something else because it should have worked considering the fact that cck was a very unique acronym for a government body.

After asking around… It dawned on me that the name was changed by the Jubilee govt to the Communications Authority of Kenya( from Communications commission of Kenya. It was a national circular where nearly all commissions in the country got a name change to become Authorities.

Going back to the world wide web… I noticed that using the initial CAK, you were actually either looking for Communications authority of Kenya or the competition authority of Kenya(  I asked my colleague Moses Omusolo” Why are there two CAK’s in this country”. and mumbled on “they even have resembling domain names”.

As it turns out. I was thinking from a perspective where I later had to find other govt institutions with closely resembling initials forgetting that you can Google whole sentences and get your desired outcome right at the top. From that conversation with Moses and other civilians that I tried to engage during my walks back home from the office. I had to give up and start researching my conspiracies before I start making head and tail out of them. I also found out that the press pass is got from somewhere totally not the CA(communications authority).

By Neville Mugambi

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The Remarkable Power of Doing Absolutely Nothing

Originally posted on TIME:

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When was the last time you took a moment to breathe? Can you recall the last time you felt well rested? Or had a day to do absolutely nothing?

Sadly, most people can’t.

Now, more than ever, people fill their schedules to the brim with tasks that feel so necessary in the moment but which, in reality, are so trivial. They make to-do lists that run miles long, packing them with reminders to get an important assignment done at work, call the hair salon for an appointment, buy some groceries on the way home, and so on.

You tell yourself that you constantly take on a plethora of activities in order to improve your life. It makes sense to take on a second job, to join another club at school, and to help out every family member on Saturday even if you haven’t had the time in your schedule to…

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