NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
Kenya’s mobile money transactions rose
11.2 percent in the first half of this year as compared to a
similar period in 2018, the apex bank said in a report released
The East African nation’s citizens
transacted 2.14 trillion shillings (20.9 billion U.S. dollars)
in the first half of the year, up from 18.8 billion dollars in
the first six months of 2018, the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK)
The rise in transactions points to growing use of the
technology by Kenyans as service providers come up with
innovative ways to transact, putting mobile money at the center
of all sectors of the economy.
The bulk of the transactions in the first half of the year
were done in January and March, where Kenyans moved 3.6 billion
On the other hand, the least of the transactions were in
February and June, where usage stood at 3.2 billion dollars and
3.4 billion dollars respectively, according to the apex bank.
The number of agents working in the sector continued to surge
to hit 222,484 in June, up from 197,286 in a similar period in
Similarly, the number of subscribers stood at 46 million in
June, who carried out an average of 140 million transactions
monthly, up from 42.3 million in at the end of June 2018.
betters lives and
create new opportunities in Kenya slums
by Bedah Mengo NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
A recently built tarmac road stretches through
New Embakasi, an informal settlement on the east of Kenya’s
Months ago, at the place where the tarmac sits, there was an
earth road, full of potholes and covered with filth and dirty
Residents had to "hop, skip and jump" as they used the key
road, with children being the worst affected, especially when it
Now, however, the tarmac road constructed in a project by the
World Bank and the Kenyan government and other partners, has
transformed the slum, improving the general welfare of the
residents and economic activities.
Lining both sides of the road are floodlights that have
improved security in the slum.
"This road has brought new opportunities in our community,"
said John Ondiek, a resident.
"Women can now sell vegetables and other merchandise until 10
p.m. because of the lights that are also in other parts of the
Similar scenarios are replicated in Mathare, Kibera and
Korogocho slums in Nairobi, Obunga and Nyalenda in Kisumu,
western Kenya, and in Mkomani, Jomvu Kuu, Mikanjuni and Ziwa la
Ng’ombe slums at the Coast as new roads, better lighting,
improved water supply and recycling of waste, components of the
initiative dubbed Kenya Informal Settlement Improvement Project
(KISIP), better lives in the settlements.
"As a small businessperson, the building of roads and other
infrastructure in this areas has improved lives," said Beatrice
Awino, a resident of Obunga slum in Kisumu.
"Initially, it was really hard to transport goods from the
market to my place of work, but right now vehicles and
motorbikes carry our produce to the destination," added the fish
Thanks to better roads and improved security, Awino said, she
is now able to sell her fish at better prices to more customers.
Edwin Otieno, a motorbike taxi driver, said he is now able to
ferry more customers in Kasarani slum in Kisumu due to better
roads, earning him more income.
Since inception in June 2011, KISP, which costs 16.8 billion
shillings (165 million U.S. dollars) and ends this year, has
positively transformed the lives of 1.2 million people,
according to the World Bank and the Ministry of Transport,
Infrastructure, Housing and Urban Development.
This has been through upgrading of 100 km of roads,
construction of drainage systems, installation of high-mast
security floodlights and ablution blocks.
In addition, water supply systems and biogas digesters for
recycling waste have also been installed.
Ernest Manuyo, a business lecturer at Pioneer Institute in
Nairobi, said improving infrastructure in slums is one of the
easiest ways to significantly reduce poverty in urban areas.
"Once you build roads, install lights and create a system of
waste management, residents can live quality lives, which means
less diseases, thus they can remain healthy and work to better
boost their lives," he said.
KISIP National Coordinator Peris Mangira said that the
infrastructure upgrade has transformed the face of the informal
settlements, improved the housing and living conditions of the
beneficiaries and increased opportunities to lift more people
out of poverty.
"This has given people back their dignity so that they can
actively contribute to the country’s social and economic
growth," she said.
According to the World Bank, Kenya is home to hundreds of
slums, with close to 56 percent of the population in urban areas
living in informal settlements.
Kenya plans establishment
of regional trading houses to boost export
by Ronald Njoroge NAIROBI (Xinhua)
-- Kenya plans to establish regional
trading houses in a number of African countries to boost exports
to the continent, a senior government official said on Thursday.
Peter Munya, cabinet secretary at the Ministry of Industry,
Trade and Cooperatives, told journalists in Nairobi that Kenya
has identified pieces of land in a number of African countries
where modern warehouses for storage of Kenyan goods will be
"The regional trading houses will provide a convenient
storage space where consumers in the Common Market for Eastern
and Southern Africa (COMESA) and the East African Community (EAC)
will be able to purchase Kenyan goods," Munya said during the
launch of the Kenya National Trading Corporation strategic plan
Kenya will begin with a pilot trading house in one of the EAC
partner states to assess the effectiveness in promoting exports,
Munya said Kenya is for the first time experiencing a trade
deficit with the the rest of the African continent.
Kenya’s agricultural exports to the EAC trading bloc has also
been declining due to low domestic production, coupled with poor
farm productivity that makes products expensive to sell abroad,
"Exports of manufactured goods are also facing a challenge
regionally as countries in Africa improve their industrial
capacity," Munya said.
East Africans encourage
policy harmonization to boost private-sector investment
NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
Member states of the East African Community (EAC)
will harmonize policies and legislation to facilitate
private-sector investment in promising sectors like
manufacturing, information and communications technology (ICT)
and agro-processing, officials said on Thursday.
Adan Mohamed, cabinet secretary in Kenya’s ministry of East
African Community and Regional Development, said governments
have resolved to enact policies that encourage private-sector
investment to boost economic growth.
"We are committed to promote growth of the private sector
through harmonization and convergence of macroeconomic
policies," Mohamed said.
He spoke in Nairobi during the 20th anniversary of the East
African Business Council (EABC), a regional business lobby,
which was attended by policymakers, industry leaders, and
representatives of multilateral lenders.
A vibrant private sector is key to realization of the
regional integration agenda that is expected to boost economic
growth, political stability and cohesion, Mohamed said.
"The EAC partner states will provide incentives like enhanced
connectivity and elimination of trade barriers to make the
private sector thrive," Mohamed said, adding that market reforms
have powered growth of private businesses in the region.
Steven Mlote, deputy secretary general in charge of planning
and infrastructure at the EAC, said the bloc has been promoting
private sector-led growth through elimination of barriers to
trade and movement of skilled labor.
"Our overriding goal is to create an environment through
which the private sector can thrive and contribute to well-being
of citizens in the region," said Mlote.
He said that key EAC integration pillars include the
establishment of a customs union, a common market and monetary
union, aiming to promote market and private sector-led economic
Inter-regional trade, which grew by 13.9 percent between 2017
and 2018, presents new opportunities to the private sector,
Peter Mathuki, executive director of the EABC, said a
dialogue with governments is key to addressing regulatory and
capacity bottlenecks that have undermined growth of the private
sector in the region.