Importing mobile phones into Kenya will cost importers extra shillings effective July 1, 2022.

This is after President Uhuru Kenyatta signed Finance Bill, 2022 into law on June 21.

The bill imposed a 10 percent duty on importation of mobile phones and calculation will be based on the cost of mobile phones ordered into the country and other levies.

“Excise duty on importation of cellular phones shall be at 10 percent of excisable value,” read part of the Bill.

Currently, the use of telephone and internet data services already attracts a 20 percent duty which includes a 16 percent VAT.

Money transfer services like M-Pesa also attract a 12 percent duty charge.

Sylvia Mulinge will be leaving Safaricom PC this September after a 16-year stint at Kenya’s largest telco.

She will be joining MTN Uganda as the Chief Executive Officer.

Mulinge will replace Wim Vanhelleputte who will step up to the Group’s senior management as the Operations Executive, Markets.

Safaricom’s CEO Peter Ndegwa has credited her with leading the digital transformation of the company into its current path where it seeks to become a technology company.

“Sylvia is a purpose led and impact-driven business leader. She lived the Safaricom purpose of transforming lives of our customers using technology as an enabler of positive change,” he said in a statement.

Mulinge is currently the Chief Customer Business Officer responsible for mobile data, mobile voice, fixed data and digital services.

She is also in charge of Consumer Value Management Brand Marketing & Communications and Brand Experience.

Mulinge had previously served as the Chief Customer Officer and was in charge of customer experience.

she joined Safaricom from Unilever in 2006 as a Prepay Product Manager.

She has risen through the ranks, serving various roles including Head of Retail and Director of Enterprise Business.

She holds a Bachelors of Science degree from the University of Nairobi.

Mulinga sits on various local boards and is also the Vice Chair of the UN Women Unstereotype Alliance.

Zoho, a global technology company, launched Zoho Africa Digital Enabler (ZADE) package in Kenya on June 30 to help small businesses take steps towards digital transformation.

The company, which grew by 47% this year in Kenya, also announced that it will be hiring more employees locally for customer-facing roles. The announcements were made on the sidelines of the company’s first user conference in the country—Zoholics Kenya—that was held at Trademark Hotel in Nairobi.

“As part of ‘transnational localism’ strategy where our growth is underpinned with that of the region, we bring our global expertise to support the creation of self-sufficient economic clusters,” said Veerakumar Natarajan, Country Head for Kenya, Zoho Corp. “In 2020, we started out in the country by offering our products in Kenyan Shilling at a price lower than our global rates to make it easier for Kenyan customers to avail the products without worrying about fluctuating exchange rates. We have been hiring locally to serve our customers, even as we continue to grow our partner network. Now, as a continuation to our commitment to the country, we are launching the Zoho Africa Digital Enabler package, which is designed to provide small businesses a segue to digital transformation.”

Zoho Africa Digital Enabler (ZADE) package

The Zoho Africa Digital Enabler package is aimed to help small businesses with up to five employees jumpstart their digital journey. This package will provide new users of Zoho a collection of 10 leading apps at a 50% discount starting from July 1, 2022 for a period of three months:  

Zoho Workplace: Zoho Workplace is a unified platform that brings together collaboration, productivity, and communications tools and integrates them into other business processes. Centered around its secure business email (Zoho Mail), team chat (Zoho Cliq), and online office suite (Zoho Writer, Zoho Sheet, Zoho Show, and Zoho WorkDrive), Zoho Workplace features  eight tightly integrated apps that hybrid teams can use to get work done and collaborate with each other easily. The platform also includes video conferencing (Zoho Meeting), an enterprise townhall (Zoho Connect), AI-based search (Zia Search) and other security and administrative tools, enabling businesses to communicate and collaborate effectively in a hybrid environment. Zoho Workplace is the most popular offering of Zoho in Kenya.

Bigin: Bigin, a pipeline-centric CRM, was designed specifically to help MSMEs keep track of their customers and improve customer relationships without having to worry about high costs or complicated features. It can be set up in 30 minutes, with options to create multiple pipelines with customisable stages based on a company’s operation style. Users can make or receive calls from within the system and have contextual information ready at hand. Repetitive tasks can be automated, and prospects can be engaged through email, web forms, online meetings and Twitter. It also provides contextual dashboards to help businesses have an overview of their sales. Bigin integrates with popular third-party business apps, such as Google Workspace, Microsoft 365, Zoom, Mailchimp, etc.

Zoho Invoice: With Zoho Invoice, businesses can create and send customised invoices, manage multiple projects, track time, and bill customers accurately. They can also improve their cash flow by automatically sending payment reminders to customers, and get paid online faster through debit/credit cards and PayPal. Moreover, businesses can record and track expenses by simply scanning their expense receipts. They will also be able to track tax levied on every transaction, allow customers to view their invoices, projects, and make payments through the self-service portal. Businesses will have complete visibility of their finances with access to 30+ real-time reports on metrics such as best-selling products, pending payments, and more. Zoho Invoice is available for free, globally.

Businesses can integrate Zoho Invoice and Bigin to sync customer information and items, thereby eliminating the need to enter redundant information. They can also contextually integrate with Zoho Workplace applications for increased collaboration and productivity. Mobile apps for iOS and Android devices are available for all the products.

Businesses availing ZADE package will have access to standard support available to them. That allows access to knowledge base, community forums, a self-service portal, email support and remote assistance. It also includes live chat support and telephonic support during working hours five days a week.

“For small businesses, enterprise technology is prohibitively priced and inaccessible,” said Natarajan. “We want to remove the technology adoption barrier and help them kickstart their digital transformation journey, that will in turn help them stay nimble and quickly adapt to changing market conditions. The products are available at a fixed local price, which is beneficial for businesses in the current turbulent economy. We hope that Kenyan businesses will avail this package and fast-track their growth by leveraging cloud technology.”

In order to avail the Zoho Africa Digital Enabler package, please visit: https://zoho.to/ZADE-KE

Kenya’s inflation accelerated to a record high in June amid increased costs of food and high fuel prices which have continued to strain Kenyans.

The monthly inflation data by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) shows the overall rate of inflation in June was 7.9 per cent compared to 7.1 per cent in May.

In the latest figures, the Consumer Price Index (CPI), which measures the percentage change in the price of a basket of goods and services consumed by households, increased by 0.9 per cent from an index of 123.12 in May 2022 to 124.22 in June 2022.

“The rise in inflation was mainly due to increase in prices of commodities under; food and non-alcoholic beverages (13.8 per cent); furnishings, household equipment and routine household maintenance (9.2 per cent); transport (7.1 per cent) and housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels (6.8 per cent) between June 2021 and June 2022,” KNBS said in a statement.

The month-to-month food and non-alcoholic beverages index increased by 1.2 per cent between May 2022 and June 2022.

Compared to May 2022, prices of wheat flour-white, carrots and cooking oil (salad) increased by 12.7, 4.7 and 4.7 per cent in June 2022, respectively.

A kilo of wheat flour-white retailed at Sh186.90 in June compared to Sh165.89 in May while a litre of cooking oil retailed at Sh387.98 up from Sh370.71.

During the same period, prices of onions-leeks and bulbs and potatoes (Irish) dropped by 5.3 per cent and 4.8 per cent, respectively.

A kilo of onions retailed at Sh134.58 while a kilo of potatoes was Sh84.85.

Mozilla, in partnership with Aga Khan University, has unveiled a brand new, user-friendly and interactive App – Pocket. Built on the Android and iOS platforms, the app allows users to access written and visual content of their liking and even save it for offline browsing at a later date.

The latest sector report by Communications Authority indicates that the total data/internet and broadband subscriptions in Kenya stands at 46.5 million and 30.2 million respectively. This growth is attributed to the growing advancements in-network, accessibility of cheaper smartphones and data plans, making Pocket a timely accomplishment as it grows both relevances and reach for the ordinary Kenyan subscribers.

The partnership with Aga Khan University will ensure that local content is curated and distributed to better optimise the product to meet the needs of Kenyan online users.

Speaking during the launch, Pocket Vice President & General Manager Mozilla, Matt Koidin said their mission is to ensure that the Internet becomes a global public resource, open and accessible to all.

“We believe in an Internet that puts people first, where individuals can shape their own experience, are empowered, safe, and independent. Through Pocket, we are empowering people to discover, organize, consume and share content that matters to them. The ability for users to save articles to “read it later” will be transformative. We believe that together with our Kenyan partners we will keep making the App better for Kenyans,” said Matt.

Articles saved in Pocket are stripped of ads and formatting which limits memory storage needs and users can also control how much memory they allow Pocket to use. Additionally, downloads are only possible over Wi-Fi to meet the needs of cost-conscious users who often have limited bandwidth.

“The Aga Khan University’s Media Innovation Center has partnered with Mozilla to identify and work with a team of curators who have put together fascinating and exceptional content from East Africa. For the first time, we have a series of collections from outstanding Kenyan curators who bring fresh perspectives from Kenya and East Africa” said Dr. Njoki Chege, Director, Media Innovation Center.

Globally known for its popular web browser Firefox, Mozilla is a vibrant global community with a mission to promote openness, innovation and opportunity on the web.

Mozilla builds products that put people back in control of their connected lives and advocate for public policies that improve the health of the Internet by creating & promoting interoperable open standards that enable innovation & advance the Web as a platform that is open and accessible for all.

Rally enthusiast Sam Karangatha, won a once in a life time opportunity to ride in a Rally 1 car in Naivasha. He won the experience by playing and winning the Red Bull My Safari game, an online quick-Fire session where participants were required to answer as many correct answers as possible in the fastest time.

To win the competition he answered all questions correctly in a span of 15 seconds.

Karangatha experienced this in a brand-new Ford Puma Rally1 at the 5.4km Ndulele Conservancy stretch in Loldia, Naivasha where he sat in the Co-driver’s seat with M-Sport Ford’s Adrien Fourmaux as the driver.

Reflecting on his experience riding in a rally car Sam said the opportunity gave him a firsthand experience on what he would like to do one day as an aspiring rally driver.

“I was so delighted when I got a call from Red Bull that I was the winner. I’m really happy to be here for the co-drive experience. As an upcoming rally driver, this was a dream come true, as I experienced the performance of the world’s best talent and machinery.”

The high-powered Rally1 hybrid cars have not competed anywhere else other than Europe. Kenya is the first location where the cars are racing for the first time outside Europe, at the sixth leg of the WRC series.

The high-profile hybrid cars are Toyota GR Yaris Rally1 by Toyota Gazoo Racing, Hyundai i20 N Rally1 by Hyundai Motorsports and the Ford Puma Rally1 by M-Sports Ford.

Reflecting on his navigator for the day Adrien Fourmaux said the ride was a good opportunity for the lucky fan to get a close insight on a real rally car drive.

“He was nice, he was enjoying the ride it was nice sharing the experience with him and I’m glad that he enjoyed every bit of the race.”

Rally Driver Fourmaux will be looking to make his make in this year’s Safari Rally. In 2020, he finished third in the WRC2 impressing the M- sports ford team  and this effort impressed the M-Sports Ford team who rewarded him with a full seat in the WRC series in 2022.

Fourmaux is among the prolific international drivers who are looking for glory in the Safari Rally that revved-off at the KICC in Nairobi on Thursday and will traverse grueling terrains of Naivasha.

The Africa Digital Media Institute (ADMI), a leading digital career accelerator, has signed an MOU with LunaTone, a SaaS provider specializing in digital content based in Tokyo, Japan.

Dubbed the Digital Content Apprenticeship, the partnership includes masterclasses, remote work assignments and an incubator, offering Africans paid placements with international companies in the digital content industry, specifically gaming and related business areas.

In turn, it helps augment talent in the Japanese industry which is experiencing a severe shortage of skilled professionals.

Dr. Laila Macharia, ADMI Chair, said: “It is estimated that the shortage of tech workers will reach 85 million by 2030, Meanwhile, many African countries are facing an unemployment challenge. We believe that with targeted skilling and support, Africa’s youth can bridge the global talent gap.”

Dr. Baro Hyun, LunaTone Founder and CEO, said: “The partnership will mentor creatives to serve the Japanese digital content sector by producing viable commercial games and other animated and extended reality content.

It will also introduce Japanese companies to Africa, not just as a market for products and services, but also as a talent pipeline.”

Kenya’s youngster lady driver Maxine Wahome navigated by Murage Waigwa were crowned the winners in the WRC 3 category in the just concluded WRC Safari Rally held in Naivasha.

Maxine Wahome who was making her WRC3 debut in her new Ford Fiesta rally car clocked 5.20.21 hours to lead the all-Ford Fiesta Rally3 category which also saw her finish in the 16th position overall.

Commenting on her newfound accomplishment, she acknowledged Safaricom and Kenya Airways for the support extended to her as a run up to the World Rally Championship Event.

“I am very excited for finishing the rally which is among the toughest in the world. I am grateful to my team for supporting me through the preparations and the rally itself. I am also grateful to my sponsors for giving me the privilege of being the only female driver who competed and finished at this year’s WRC Safari Rally. “

Other WRC/FIA Rally Star Program drivers Jeremiah Wahome navigated by Victor Okundi and McRae Kimathi navigated by Mwangi Kioni in Ford Fiesta R3 finished 19th and 21st overall in a time of 5.45.49 and 5.55.59 respectively with Hamza Anwar retiring at the 18th stage due mechanical problem.

All the four drivers, who Safaricom and Kenya Airways sponsored, took part in the event as part of the FIA Rally Star Program, a global initiative that seeks to identify, train, and develop talented young drivers between 17-27 years.

Elsewhere, Kalle Rovanpera clocked 3.40.24 to become the youngest driver to win the Safari Rally after clinching victory in the sixth round of 2022 World Rally Championship in his Toyota GR Yaris. A similar Toyota GR Yaris of Elfyn Evans and Katsuta Takamoto was placed second and third overall after clocking 3.41.17 and 3.42.07 respectively.

Rally Enthusiast wins Rally Driver Experience at the Safari Rally  

Rally enthusiast Sam Karangatha, won a once in a life time opportunity to ride in a Rally 1 car in Naivasha. He won the experience by playing and winning the Red Bull My Safari game, an online quick-Fire session where participants were required to answer as many correct answers as possible in the fastest time. To win the competition he answered all questions correctly in a span of 15 seconds.

Karangatha experienced this in a brand-new Ford Puma Rally1 at the 5.4km Ndulele Conservancy stretch in Loldia, Naivasha where he sat in the Co-driver’s seat with M-Sport Ford’s Adrien Fourmaux as the driver.

Reflecting on his experience riding in a rally car Sam said the opportunity gave him a firsthand experience on what he would like to do one day as an aspiring rally driver.

“I was so delighted when I got a call from Red Bull that I was the winner. I’m really happy to be here for the co-drive experience. As an upcoming rally driver, this was a dream come true, as I experienced the performance of the world’s best talent and machinery.”

The high-powered Rally1 hybrid cars have not competed anywhere else other than Europe. Kenya is the first location where the cars are racing for the first time outside Europe, at the sixth leg of the WRC series.

The high-profile hybrid cars are Toyota GR Yaris Rally1 by Toyota Gazoo Racing, Hyundai i20 N Rally1 by Hyundai Motorsports and the Ford Puma Rally1 by M-Sports Ford.

Reflecting on his navigator for the day Adrien Fourmaux said the ride was a good opportunity for the lucky fan to get a close insight on a real rally car drive.

“He was nice, he was enjoying the ride it was nice sharing the experience with him and I’m glad that he enjoyed every bit of the race.”

Rally Driver Fourmaux will be looking to make his make in this year’s Safari Rally. In 2020, he finished third in the WRC2 impressing the M- sports ford team  and this effort impressed the M-Sports Ford team who rewarded him with a full seat in the WRC series in 2022.

Fourmaux is among the prolific international drivers who are looking for glory in the Safari Rally that revved-off at the KICC in Nairobi on Thursday and will traverse grueling terrains of Naivasha.

The Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) has invited interested bidders for its auctioning exercise scheduled for two days beginning June 28, 2022.

The exercise which involves 194 vehicles will be conducted at the Inland Container Depot (ICD) in Nairobi.

“A mega Customs Public Auction is set to happen at Inland Container Depot (ICD) Nairobi, on 28th and 29th June 2022,” said KRA on its Twitter page.

The vehicles include various Toyota models including Prados, Land Cruiser, Corolla, Double Cabin, Condor station wagon, and Hilux. Other models include Mercedes, Nissans, Mazdas, a Peugeot 504, and Subarus.

The goods set for auction were published on a Gazzette notice. It comprises details regarding the vehicles such as lot number, ship name and date, date of arrival, container/chassis marks and number, container size, consignee, manifest number and bill of lading number.

“Pursuant to the provisions of section 42 of the East African Community Customs Management Act, notice is given that unless the undermentioned goods are entered and removed from the custody of the Customs Warehouse Keeper, Kilindini, within thirty (30) days of this notice, they may be sold by public auction on June, 28, 2022 and June 29, 2022.”

How To Bid

interested bidders will have to physically make an appearance at the Inland Depot.

A document containing prices of the vehicles and assorted items will be handed to qualified bidders.

In order to obtain a bidding number, one must pay a refundable deposit based on the vehicle model in form of a banker’s cheque, which will be disclosed at the start of the process.

Naivas Supermarket has sold extra shares worth Ksh.3.7 billion to three new foreign investors in its new expansion strategy.

The new investors, Proparco, Mauritian conglomerate IBL Group and German sovereign wealth fund DEG will become among the retailer’s biggest shareholders.

Currently, Naivas is Kenya’s biggest supermarket by market share, stepping into the foot of defunct Nakumatt.

The three are taking up the 30% stake owned by investors including World Bank’s International Finance Corporation (IFC), MCB Equity Fund, Amethis, and German sovereign wealth fund DEG, which acquired the shares in April 2020 with an additional 10%.

“This is an exciting partnership by our shareholders that will drive us to the next phase of growth. We appreciate the immense knowledge and capacity in the retail industry that IBL brings to the table,” said David Kimani, Naivas’ Managing Director.

Naivas owners are ceding an additional 10% stake to the investors, an 11 percent stake shy of the 51 percent the foreign investors need to take a controlling stake in the giant retailer.

The entry of the IFC consortium valued Naivas at Ksh.20 billion in 2020 but the retailer’s worth has seemingly rocketed following its vast growth in two years to date.

The retailer is set to close the financial year ending this month with a gross turnover of Ksh.101 billion and expects to raise Ksh.117 billion in the next financial year.

Sibling Rivalry

In December last year, the  High Court in Nairobi blocked further stake sales in Naivas Supermarket, following a fierce supremacy battle among siblings over the control of the retailer.

The battle followed the sale of a 30 percent stake to a consortium of investors for Ksh.6 billion.

The rivalry had pit Newton Kagiri Mukuha, the eldest son of Naivas founder the late Peter Mukuha Kago, and his brother David Kimani.

Kagiri had moved to court seeking to oust Kimani as the CEO. He is also seeking a seat in the Board, a 20 percent stake and a share of the 20 percent stake held by his late father. The 20 percent stake is estimated to be worth Ksh.4 billion.

In 2014, the High Court ruled that he had no stake in Naivas after it was found that he ran down all the stores he inherited from his father.

Naivas received Ksh.6 billion from the International Finance Corporation (IFC), private equity firms Amethis and MCB Equity Fund and German sovereign wealth fund DEG recently, meant for an expansion drive.

Currently, Quickmart with just 51 branches, trails Naivas as Kenya’s biggest retailer.

Naivas opened a third in Naivasha, its pioneer location, bringing the total number of branches in the country to 84.