Category Archives: inflation trend in Kenya

12 Free Things in Nairobi (Redux)

It’s been a few years since the last list. What can one still get for free in Nairobi?

3. ‘Free burger’: A few restaurants have this on Thursday

4. Free Internet: Most Java, Art Caffee and coffee shops now have free WiFi all day.

5. ‘Free pizza’: (Still around are) buy one get one free on Tuesday at Pizza Inn and buy one get one free on Friday at Debonairs.

7. Free magazines/newspapers: People Daily newspaper has been free for over a year, but you have to be early in traffic or have a spot where you can pick up a copy. There are  lso quality in several free publications like Yummy and Msafiri magazines. free-newspaper

8. ‘Free bank loans’: (Still around are) Use your credit card carefully and pay off the full amount at the end of the month – (some cards give almost two months free).

9. Free money transfer: Equity has said that Equitel money transfer will be free forever. Airtel also has several free payment options, but which it doesn’t really market well. (See how much value Airtel gives away – via Kachwanya)

11. ‘Free calls’: Both Airtel and Safaricom offer you free calls if you reach some threshold of spending in a day, but the messaging is  confusing. Safaricom also offers to reimburse you if a call is dropped.

12. Free investment advice: Now Twitter is the main forum


Free Meeting Rooms: Again, coffee shops are pleasant neutral meeting places, You can sit and wait if your guest/host is later. Also it’s much better than visiting anyone’s office where there are hassles of traffic, them being late, having to show your ID, register your laptop, park in inconvenient spaces etc.

Free Parking: The Hub in Karen and Garden City Mall on Thika Road have free parking. At many malls, parking is no longer free, and expect to pay Kshs 50 to Kshs 100 for two hours and it gets punitive if your park for longer than that.

Free Taxi Rides: With all the new taxi hailing apps in Nairobi, there are often free rides for new subscribers, to/from major Nairobi events and for regretting people to the services.

Now Gone

1. ‘Free’ books: at the Book Villa. Become a member and read as many new, best sellers, finbooks, travel non-fiction books etc. No more free books 

2. ‘Free’ breakfast: at Books First/ Nakumatt buy one get one free on Sunday morning no more free breakfast

6. ‘Free movie meal’ (hot dog, soda, popcorn) at Nu Metro on Monday with purchase of a movie ticket

10. Free classified advertising: place a classified ad in the Nairobi Star newspaper; send a text message and it runs on the next day

What other items are free in Nairobi? 

$1 = Kshs 100

Urban Inflation Index September 2015

Tracking changes compared to five years ago

Gotten Cheaper

Utilities: An electricity in June 2015 showed that consumers incurred costs of 251(US) cents per kilowatt hour, and forex adjustment ones of 40 cents per kwh. Five years ago it was 340 cents per kwh while forex was 57 cents per kwh.

Communications: Call rates are between Kshs 2 – 4 per minute, compared to Kshs 8 five years ago, and SMS are now Kshs 1. There has also been a massive drop in the cost of mobile data. That said there’s a bit of turmoil in the industry. Safari com is diversifying into new segments like health and television, as Airtel is threatening to pull out. Meanwhile Orange is apparently for sale, and Essar folded their Yu brand just a few months ago.

About the Same

Beer/Entertainment:  A bottle of Tusker beer is Kshs 200 at the local pub compared to Kshs 170 five years ago. The competition from the introduction of several new beer and alcohol brands  (like Carlsberg) does not seem to have made prices lower.

Carlsberg Nairobi

Other food item

A 2 kg pack of (rare) Mumias sugar is now Kshs 240. Its rare because both Ucumi and Mumias are going through some transitions with financing, suppliers, and even new CEO’s  Meanwhile, there’s also the debate about whether and at what cost Kenya produces sugar compared to other countries like Zambia, Sudan and even Uganda. The same Mumias pack was Kshs 200 five years ago. Mumias troubles has resulted in other brands like Butali Chemelil Nzoia and other store and generic brands now getting space at supermarkets like Ucumi.

More Expensive

Foreign Exchange:  1 US$ equals Kshs 103 compared to 80 fiver years ago (actually today it’s 106) a steep rise that does not seem to have reached its bottom. This may be due to the strength of the dollar but other currencies have also strengthen due to the trade deficit

Staple Food:  Maize flour is used to make Ugali that is eaten by a majority of Kenyans daily. A 2 kg. Unga pack at Uchumi today costs Kshs 113 compared to Kshs 65 five years ago.

Fuel:  A litre of petrol is Kshs 102.6 petrol compared to 94.5 five years ago (but with the weaker shilling, in dollar terms it’s about $4.5 per gallon (down from $5.25 five years ago)

5 African Consumer Trends for 2014

TrendWatching has published it’s first Africa Trend bulletin featuring 5 must-know African trends to watch for next year. They include; 

1. Faba (For Africa by Africa): Products for Africa such as in tech, food and fashion sectors, are best designed/built by Africans. E.g. BRCK

2. Mobile Roaming: The need for products and services for that assist in safety and convenience for people always on the move. E.g.BebaPay.

3. Civil Info-Nation: The need for useful information delivered in real time.

4. Africa (Collabo) Rising: African brands will engage in partnerships beyond a country’s borders.

5. Remotely Great: Even with the rapid urbanization of Africa, it is important to develop products that are useful in rural areas where majority of the population still lives.
Read the full report here

Urban Inflation Index: July 2013

There is much debate about an upcoming VAT bill and the current government budget deficit, separation of powers, and transfer of funding responsibilities to devolved governments (even as some entities like road contractors, and teaching & health unions prefer to deal with the central government. This weekend, County Governors floated a proposal for the country to hold a new referendum, which will be the 6th Kenyan public vote in 12 years, to decide on an increase in the allocation of funds to counties from the current 15% to 40%.
The  VAT Tax Bill (PDF) seems to tax everything at 16% with only a few exemptions. Exclusions from the tax will include;  
  • Supplies to the red cross, emergency relief, personal goods brought in by travelers, supplies to international and regional organizations, supplies to multilateral and bilateral donors, supplies of to diplomats and governments, oil prospecting, international air travel, and bottled water makers. 
  • Services in sectors like banking, insurance, education, medical, agriculture, local transport, residential, stock brokerage, sports, arts & plays, mobile airtime, and gambling. Even though they are exempted here, banks are passing on a new tax to their customers amounting to 10% per transaction while Kenya Airways management has said that the airline will shut down if the bill is passed as it will affect operations by increasing the cost of jet fuel, aircraft purchase/leasing and landing/ parking fees.
  •  Petrol, Kerosene and Natural gas are exempt but only for the next 3 years.  

On to the index that compares prices to a year ago and three years ago. 
Gotten Cheaper
None really 
About the Same 
Mobile Communications:
Communication costs are largely unchanged with slight variations in promotions for voice and data usage. The big moves are in mobile and card payments with companies seeking to increase their awareness and become the preferred payment platforms for ordinary Kenyans such as by using Safaricom’s Lipa Na M-pesa and Equity Bank’s Beba Pay and PayPal channeles. 
More Expensive
Staple Food: A 2kg pack of (Unga) Maize flour, which is used to make Ugali that is eaten by a majority of Kenyans daily, costs Kshs. 104 compared to 118, a year ago. But this is 46% more than the Kshs. 71 price of three years ago.
Beer/Entertainment: A bottle of Tusker beer is Kshs 200 (~$2.3) at a local pub, up from 180 last year and 160 three years ago. There have been two recent price hikes, but this may have more to do with EABL’s management and procurement outlook, and the price may go up more with future taxes. 
Fuel: At Kshs 109.52 per litre (~$5.73/gallon), petrol prices in Nairobi are slightly cheaper than the Kshs 117.6 per litre a year ago but about 20% more than the Kshs 90.9/litre  of three years ago. Petrol, Kerosene and diesel prices are set by the government and even with the prospect of oil discovery, the major retailers are going through some turbulent times with both listed Total and Kenol reporting losses. 
Foreign Exchange: 1 US$ equals Kshs 87.15 compared to 84.25 last June and  80.6 three years ago  in March.
Other food item: A 2 kg. Mumias Sugar pack is Kshs 250, which is up from Kshs. 237 a year ago, and Kshs 200 three years ago.
Factors likely to affect the the cost of living include:
– Consumers are likely to see an electricity cost increase due to debts for generation of hydro power.
– The National Social Security Fund is proposing  a 4400% increase  in monthly contributions (for the highest earners) from Kshs 400 per month to 18,000 (~$210)

 – A new 1.5% levy on all imports was effected on July 1, to fund a future standard gauge railway between Mombasa and Kisumu. 

Nairobi Expense Account

Finally have one month of data on expenses incurred using Moneywise on the Samsung Tab and which is a really nice and easy way to record expenses and have them priced in  Kenya shillings, add categories, export data  (as a CSV) and gives a nice instant graphic that is up to date after each transaction.

The full list in of expenses summed up as in the month (ranked by money spent) was Rent 23%, Repairs 17% (Car, computer), Dining 10%, Gifts 8%, Transport 7% (KQ, taxis), Fuel 7%, 6% each to investments and to Drinks 6% (EABL), Recreation 4%, 2% each to Communications (Safaricom), Clothing, Electronics, and to Utilities, and 1% each to Newspaper and Groceries 1%.

June was an unusual month of with quite a bit spent on some major car repairs and travel (taxi and also air travel) and this took away from savings and investments.