Category Archives: World Bank

France & Kenya and Renewable Energy

Yesterday there was forum on renewable energy in Nairobi. It was organized by the Embassy of France and the Kenya government to show executives from French energy companies opportunities to invest in renewables and other energy projects in Kenya and Africa. Aqylon, Engie, GreenYellow, Quadran,  Sogea Satom, Total , UrbaSolar, Vegrent, and Vinci representatives were part of the group.

French companies built hydro dams in Kenya

French companies built hydro dams in Kenya


  • Large silent corporations include Engie which produces 3 GW in Africa and Vinci which has EUR  800  million of revenue, and 14,000 staff in Africa.
  • SUNREF from AFD/KAM provides tailored finance for green energy to Kenyan companies through Bank of Africa,  CBA,  Diamond Trust and Cooperative Bank. 11 companies have now been financed, and some that have got SUNREF green energy finance include KTDA, Meru dairy, Strathmore University, and Redland Roses.
  • Kenya has 10 independe power producers (IPP’s) producing 650 MW (28%) of its electricity – shows how vibrant it is for investors.
  • Regional electricity sharing in future: Kenya produces 2,200 MW, Ethiopia 4,284 MW (90% from hydro), Tanzania 1,583 MW (65% from thermal), and Uganda 900 MW (80% from hydro)
  • GreenYellow works with factory, malls, hotels, to finance & build (heat/cold/solar/light) systems that reduce their energy costs by 30%
  • UrbaSolar is working with Kenyatta University on a 100% self-consumption plant that will reduce electricity bills by 80% (20% is night).
  • Total is constructing a 40 MW solar plant at Isiolo with Green Millenia, while Kenya’s rural electrification authority (REA) has got funding to do a 50 MW one near Garissa.
  • KenGen which provides 80% of Kenya’s electricity, has tendered for an Olkaria 5 plant, and will build an industrial park there.
  • There’s opportunity in Kenya off-grid & mini grid electricity, but there’s no legal framework for integrating with the national grid integration & projects sometimes face land acquisition or compensation delays.
  • Solar has not picked up in Kenya, but with drop of photovoltaic prices, there’s lots of interest here now – Energy Permanent Secretary J. Njoroge told the companies..  He also said renewable energy is intermittent – it can only be used up to a certain % of Kenya’s electricity grid supply. Later there was  mention of CSP solar plants which are more complex & expensive than traditional PV ones which but do give stable solar electricity.

Silicon Savannah Economic Impact

Kenya has been called a hotbed of innovation and entrepreneurship.

But is it really and will it transform Kenya? The World Bank does seem to think so. In a report  titled “From Economic Growth to Jobs & Shared Prosperity” – released this week, and in comments by Apurva Sanghi, World Bank Lead Economist & Program Leader, it stated  that while some Kenyan firms are more innovative than China, Malaysia, India ones, in terms on products and processes:

  • The innovation is small and incremental.
  • Kenya’s management capacity, while high for Africa, still lags that of China and India.
  • Only 3% of local firms buy licenses and patents.
  • Few companies invest in R&D  (only 26% of firms).
  • Few new products are introduced in Kenya (only 12% of firms introduced new products).

Kenya’s Money in the Past: EIU Prospects for 1990

Found this interesting booklet from the 1980’s. It’s out of print but glancing at some pages, it has some  interesting perspective in terms of things to come  (excerpts in italics):

  • EIU CoverGovernment Used to Love the World Bank and Hate the International Monetary Fund: (but) one result of the struggle with stabilization and structural adjustment has been a reversal of the government relations with the bank and the fund..Kenyan officials contemplate an application to the fund with reluctance, they regard negotiations as unnecessary taxing, tie up lots of top officials and are short-term in gains. Relations with the World Bank were preferred but now things are changing;  (in 1983) the World Bank announced it was withholding the second tranche of its structural adjustment loan pending fulfillment of conditions attached to the loan. At the same time the IMF singled out Kenya as an example of an economy where effective adjustment policies had brought down inflation and promoted economic growth, and an IMF Survey reported that Kenya’s efforts to reduce domestic and external imbalances (pzrticlulary under the current economic adjustment program), have met with considerable success.


    Some Kenya Structural Adjustment Programs (SAP’s)

  • Top Technocrats speak the same language as the IMF: While relations with the World Bank are strained, those with the IMF have blossomed. New appointments have helped this including George Saitoti who replaced the unhappy Arthur Magugu as Finance Minister in 1983 and he called for larger IMF loans, moderation in import legislation and exchange rate flexibility. So does the governor the central bank, Phillip Ndegwa, whose recent collection of papers includes one on the virtues of exchange rate fluctuation.   
  • The tourism plans were considered ambitious: The target for 1988 was 724,000 tourists for 1988 (35% above the 1985 figure).
  • Oil Price Trends are in Kenya’s Favour
  • Annual growth rate  (target) for 1970 to 1983 was reduced from 6.3 to 5.4% since population growth was estimated (since the 1979 census) at 3.9%, not 3.5%
  • Fiscal & Monetary Reforms Proposed: Attempts to tighten control of government expenditure and reduce tax evasion would be accompanied by attempts to shift deficit financing from the CBK to commercial banks. There would also be upward adjustment of interest rates to stimulate increased savings..

Kenya Economic Update 2015

The World Bank launched the 12th edition of the #KenyaEconomicUpdate in Nairobi today.

  • John Randa of World Bank Kenya said they still predict Kenya will grow at 5.4% this year, and it’s economy is sustainable
  • He said In the last 4 years, Kenya government expenditure has grown 7%, while revenue has grown 2%..this is not sustainable
  • Also that when agriculture performs, the Kenya economy performs (but there are people who say agriculture is inconsequential)
  • World Bank John RandaBut the government getting more revenue from income tax, but what is coming from VAT is declining. Also that stocks in Nakumatt aisles are like those in SA, and perhaps Treasury should consider excise tax on unnecessary imports
  • Interbanks have been volatile, but less so than it was in 2011 (Arab Spring) and if all tools are used,  volatility can be managed,  but with better  communication to investors – and that while public debt is rising it’s still sustainable. 50% is not cast in stone, it is unofficial
  •  He said exports are a drag, that are falling behind as a share of GDP since 2011, while imports have remained the same. With the stagnation of manufacturing sector, exports are not growing. Kenya has to fix exports as that’s the only solution for the manufacturing sector. Past incentives don’t seem to have worked and while most manufactured products go to the region, there is completion from India and China – while local companies face poor transport, high input, and high credit cost. Still the government has r out several initiatives to help like easier business registration, infrastructure investments and the port improvements.

Government Spending has gone from Kshs 696 billion in 2011/12 to 1.5 trillion in 2015/16

  • But increased spending is not all due to counties. In  2012-13 national government was 24% of (XX), today it’s 26%.
  • They will have to make some cuts by looking at discretional spending – and there is a lot of space to cut in the 2 trillion budget e.g. obscure roads and also from the duplication of functions at both the national and county governments – such as the health ministry whose budget has not trimmed despite health being devolved to counties.
  •  The SGR, whose full impact will be seen in a few years, has already boosted GDP by 1.5%, according to the IMF.

Micah Cheserem, the former Central Bank Governor, and current Chairman of the Commission for Revenue Allocation, also made some remarks. He was introduced as having been appointed to the Central Bank (CBK) when Kenya had turbulence in 1993 and CBK went on to take the Kenya shilling from 82 to the dollar to 38 in 2 years.

  • If choosing between weak shilling or high rates, choose low-interest rates & let the market set the currency rates. If someone bought a flat in Lavington at 15%, they won’t afford it if the bank raises the mortgage rate to 25%.
  • The World Bank Kenya should do more county reporting and see what the 4.1% funding to counties has done. When this goes to 40%, this might be Switzerland
  • Government should release money & not disturb county pilots. Nairobians should travel & see changes from devolution. For many Northern Kenya counties (Turkana, Samburu, Mandera, Wajir), independence came in 2013, not 1963 and there’s no going back. Despite challenges & noise, devolution is working, and in 2.5 years, counties have done more things in some places than the national government in 50 years.

County Finance:  County leaders woke up to citizen participation in budgeting only after a court invalidated the Kiambu govt budget (quoting a Turkana county leader in a World Bank Kenya video)

  • Perception of success of devolution are tied to development – it is positive where there is infrastructure development. Kenyans care and judge development by roads and health facilities. 
  • Counties are still failing in sharing budget info as per the PFM act – e.g. finformation should put on web. They say uptake on the website it poor, but they are not making budget available via other sources,. Still the council of genres have put up all 47 county development place on the council website.

Other: Terry Ryan said, if you take out the ( Kenya Airways – one time purchase) airplanes, Kenya’s current account deficit comes down significantly.

Idea Exchange: ALN, Bloomberg, Entrepreneur, MAVC, Research, Rhodes, World Bank, YALI opportunities

Acumen: regional fellows program is a one-year, fully funded leadership development program designed to equip East Africa, India and Pakistan’s next generation of social leaders with the tools needed to unlock their full potential and drive positive change. Applications for East Africa close on July 27.

Africa Business Fellowship: will  match young American business professionals with paid 6-month placements in African companies.

African Fact-Checking Awards: organized by Africa Check and the AFP Foundation, these are the only awards that honour journalism by media based in Africa that expose misleading claims made by public figures and institutions. Eligible entries must be original pieces of fact-checking journalism first published or broadcast between 1 September 2014 and 31 August 2015, by a media house based in Africa – in print or online, broadcast on the radio or television or published in a blog. Winner will receive a cash prize of €2000 and the two runners-up a prize of €1000 each.

Africa Leadership Network: apply to join hundreds of Africa’s most influential leaders at the  sixth annual ALN gathering which will be held in Morocco from November 3 to 7, 2015. . Early bird discounts are offered, and for the first  time, select non-ALN members will be eligible to attend #ALN2015.

Ampion: Venture Bus Africa Incubation Road Trip is a 7-day road trip across the continent that aims to take up to 200 participants on five buses in Morocco, Tunisia and Western, Eastern Africa and Southern Africa regions. Apply now for the East Africa group which has e-health, and governance themes for a trip planned 22 – 28 Oct.  2015.

Aspiring Entrepreneurs Program: targets 30 promising and aspiring entrepreneurs between ages 18 – 35 to join the program, in which they will get the opportunity to start their own business with grants approaching one million Naira (~$5,025). Apply by 30 July.

BAKE/ Mzalendo:  Political blogging workshop aims to help bloggers improve their  writing or blogging skills on any of the following topics: parliamentary business, devolution and county Assemblies work, data journalism and constitutional Implementation? There are 30 slots, and the deadline is 19 July.

Bloomberg Media Initiative Africa: (BMIA) is a prestigious pan-African executive training program that’s been developed for mid-career journalists, financial professionals with an interest in financial journalism; government professionals, development practitioners and civil society professionals.  Apply for the this fully funded, free program worth $15,000 for sessions at leading universities in South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya.

British Institute in Eastern Africa: (BIEA) has research funding for projects in the areas of spending time, everyday states, connections & disconnections, bio-cultural frontiers, and land, heritage & memory. Deadline is 1 August.

Commonwealth Writers: call for writers  is seeking commission correspondents in the different regions of the Commonwealth and also writers for longer pieces. Dealing is July 27.

Eisenhower Fellowships: seeks a diverse mix of applicants from Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, Zimbabwe in a wide range of professional sectors to tackle big challenges in the future. Deadline is October 16.

Traveling to Kenya? From 1 September all visitor visas will be applied for online at an eCitizen website with payments made via debit or credit card and a 2 (working) day processing time.

Kiswahili Kshs 1 million (~$10,000) literary award is the Tuzo ya Fasihi ya Ubunifu Kiswahili Literary Award which will see will see winners eligible to win up to Kshs 1,000,000 and be published in Kenya by Spotlight Publishers and translated in France. Submit manuscripts of novels written in Kiswahili by 15 September.

Making All Voices Count: (MAVC) has grant funding for practitioner research & learning (up to £25,000 for projects, of minimum of 3 – 12 months) and for research (up to £75,000 for research projects of 3 – 18 months)

– Also there’s a MAVC #Tech4CitizenVoice competition in South Africa to find local innovators with early-stage tech governance projects that the programme could potentially incubate and fund. Deadline is 10 August.

The Mobile Application Challenge: (MAC) has an African Tech Challenge that comes with  a $5,000 first prize  (plus free access to Gearbox incubator for 6-months), $2,000 for second and $1,000 for third place during which the final 10 contestants will have the opportunity to build the mobile app and demo the results in front of a judging panel. Apply by the 18 July deadline.The aim is to help Kenyan youth get technical skills in manufacturing that will help them in future to engage in entrepreneurship and in getting quality jobs. This year, there are two competitions (Technical Challenge and Mobile App Challenge) with cash prizes amounting to $10,000 for the Technical Challenge’s top six teams and $ 8,000 as cash prize for the top three individual winners of the Mobile App Challenge.

Rhodes: scholarships fully fund and support post-graduate study at Oxford University  for scholars from 32 counties, with 2 places for Kenyans in 2016. Application deadline is 31 August.

World Bank:  Young Professionals Program has been the preeminent program preparing global development leaders. The application for the 2016 group runs through July 31, 2015.The World Bank also has an ongoing  recruitment drive for African nationals that aims to increase the number of Sub Saharan Africans in its work force. The application deadline is August 31.

YALI East Africa: apply to join the YALI regional leadership center East Africa, which is based in Nairobi and has three program tracks; business & entrepreneurship, civic leadership, and public management with a note that applicants from Eritrea can only join either the business & entrepreneurship or the civil leadership ones and applicants from Sudan can only join the civic leadership one.


AfricaKnows monthly photo competition is back, with the theme is ”Highways and Road Infrastructure”. Submit your best images that showcase highway construction projects and other road infrastructure for a chance to win cash prizes.

Apply for the Ambassadors to the Internet Governance Forum (João Pessoa, Brazil) as either a First-Time or as a  Returning Ambassador. IGF Ambassadorships are for young Internet Society members who have a strong interest in the issues and themes of the IGF. Applications close on August 2.

Glaxo Smith Kline and Save the Children have launched their 3rd annual $1 million Healthcare Innovation Award which awards healthcare innovations that have helped reduce child deaths in developing countries. Apply  online by September 7.

Graduate trainee at Mabati Rolling Mills can build personal skills and experience in specific functions in preparation for growth into a senior role at the Safal Group in the next five years. Apply by 17 July.

Safaricom have launched the 3rd edition for the Safaricom Appwiz Challenge, a 3-month developer challenge targeting Kenyan innovators in mobile ICT. Since its introductions in 2013, and has since incubated close to 30 tech start-up solutions including Safaricom M-Ledger and Magazine Reel, both of which are now commercially successful and sustainable businesses. The Grand Winner will receive a cash grant of Ksh1.5 million (~$15,000), while the 1st Runner-up and 2nd Runner up will receive Kshs.1million and Kshs. 500,000 respectively. The submission period kicks off on 20th July 2015 and closes on 16th August 2015.

Orange have launched the 2015 Orange African Social Venture Prize now in it’s 5th edition to encourage innovative start-up projects that help accelerate development in Africa. The prize awards three projects with grants of 10,000, 15,000 and 25,000 Euros, along with six months of mentorship from Orange, and the first prize will also receive free patent registration in the country of the project’s deployment. Deadline is September 18.


The 5th edition of the CIO100 have been launched and they enables corporate organizations (both MNC’s and SME’s) to nominate and share the various technology innovations that have enabled them to enhance their operations. Deadline is September 30.

International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF) African Great Lakes Reporting Initiative will enable six (6) women journalists to travel to the Central African Republic and report on civil society, governance and humanitarian issues. Deadline is August 12

Graça Machel Scholarships for Women is open to nationals andresident in one of the SADC countries: Angola, Botswana, DRC, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe – who have good first degrees and are studying or applying to study at a South African university.

The second round of the Safaricom Business Journalism Fellowship (SBJF) Program is now open to full-time editorial employees of newspapers, magazines and broadcast news organisations and freelance journalists who have at least four years’ experience. There are 15 places this year for the eight month, mid-career program that gives business journalists the opportunity to train alongside Kenya’s leading business lecturers and some of the top leading newsmakers in the region.

The International Reporting Project (IRP) has a group reporting trip to Ecuador focusing on health and development issues on October 18-29, 2015. Apply by August 7.


African Business Awards  aim to  recognize individuals and companies driving the continent’s rapidly evolving economy forward. Categories being competed for are (i) African business of the year (ii)  business leader of the year (iii) outstanding woman in business (iv) award for good corporate governance (v)  award for best corporate social responsibility (vi) award for innovation (vii) insurance company & initiative of the year (viii)  African business icon and (ix) lifetime achievement award. Deadline is August 10

African Media Initiative media competition is open to professional journalists and media organizations can apply. The Zimeo excellence in media awards are in gender reporting, youth reporting, maritime economy reporting, business and finance reporting, technology reporting, agriculture and food security reporting, health reporting, education reporting, peace and security reporting, energy reporting, data journalism and climate change reporting. Deadline is Aug. 31.


Centum Foundation is an initiative is to fund a crop of promising businesses, and within a year,  to turn businesses to a sustainable and successful enterprise.

Disruption By Design Awards 2015 – DXD 2015, is a platform that recognizes and awards local changemakers and innovators. Details here and the deadline is August 28.

Airtel and  Samsung, have partnered to search for the next big app developer from the continent. Deadline for applications is 5 September 2015.

Diplo and the NEPAD Agency invite applications for an 11-week long online training course Internet Governance in Africa which starts on 14 September 2015 and covers fundamental aspects of Internet governance and Internet policy. Applications should be received by 15 August.

Knight-Mozilla Fellowships 2016 present a unique opportunity for people who love to code and who want to influence the future of journalism on the web. Deadline is August 21.

M-PESA Foundation Academy has started the formal applications process for bright, talented but economically disadvantaged students in all 47 counties, from which 2 students per county will join the inaugural class starting in January 2016,.

Hadithi is the Airtel blog that allows people to share exciting ideas and stories on innovative people and out of the box concepts and are seeking people to submit their content for Airtel to publish by sharing their contact details, rate card and at least 3 writing samples.

Jumia Kenya wants to pay you to post status updates on Facebook, Twitter and other sites in Kenya. Launched in January 2015 the Jumia affiliate program has become a cash cow for the social media lovers. Commissions vary depending on the different categories of products one chooses to promote but to a maximum of 11%.

Mining 4 1 is a call for innovations on technology in the Kenya mining sector. The top five innovators will be given a chance to present their ideas before a panel of leading entrepreneurs, industrialists and senior executives from the mining industry at the upcoming ‘Mining 4 I‘ event to be held at the Strathmore Business School. Applications deadline is 20 August.

What other opportunities are there for readers to apply for?