TED Idea Search, Nairobi, February 2017.

TED Global is returning to Arusha in August 2017 (August 27-30), ten years after initial African TED Global. They were seeking new speakers, so last Wednesday, TED held auditions in Nairobi. After the TED team put up a call, 200 applied and 20 were selected to speak at an audition, before an audience in Nairobi.

(Pic by Africa Knows)

Some of the fascinating new speakers included fresh talks from a diverse group including   storytellers using photography and podcasts, using robotics, stem cells, and mining techniques tor rebuild human bodies, and conservation specialists who advocated new ways to create new interest in insects, birds and mammals, such as by getting people to track elephants instead of Pokemon.

Others talks were on facilitating the rise of African development through improving the business climate, anticipating & mitigating urban architecture problems that will come from rapid African urbanization, and using blockchain to tackle land corruption.  Some of the talks will get on the TED online platform and some speakers will be invited to present at TED Global in Arusha.

(Pic from Africa Knows)

The last time they had auditions in Nairobi they discovered young school boy Richard Turere who is considered the inventor of the lion light.

TED Global also has a fellows program which is open to enable others to attend at Arusha at reduced prices or even free if they are worthy but genuinely can’t afford to pay the attendance cost. The deadline for applications is February 17.

Kenya Airways Restructuring Update

Yesterday Kenya Airways had a press conference with new Chairman Michael Joseph and outgoing CEO Mbuvi Ngunze. They spoke of restructuring changes happening at the company some of which included:

  • CEO search: Kenya Airways has listed between 15 and 18 candidates for CEO position, from all over the world. Shortlist will be 3-4 for final interviews (Via @wgkantai)
  • Challenges with staff. During the restructuring, some engineers have left KQ to work for Middle-East carriers. Crucially, the Chairman now seems to agree with the CEO on the need to revisit talks with the pilots union and to enhance staff productivity during the restructuring.
  • The contract with Mckinsey consulting is being wound down. It had been criticized for being very expensive. Many of the restructuring initiatives under the airline’s Operation Pride for revenue generation and cost saving were formulated by KQ staff and are being implemented by KQ staff, and hence the consultants’ time is over. Mr. Joseph said that this restructuring plan is now 55% complete.
  • KLM partnership:  The chairman defended the joint venture between KLM and KQ which some of the airline’s critics, especially its pilots, a claim was to the airline’s disadvantage. “Right now KLM is the best partner for us in terms of the route structure. The benefit is to KQ because KLM flies more routes and sells more tickets. We get revenues from the countries we don’t fly to into the joint venture. In the end, we benefit
  • The Chief Executive of KLM resigned from the KQ board and was replaced by Jos Veenstra who is a chartered accountant and is currently the VP Mergers Acquisitions and Holdings for Air France/KLM, and who has ben alternate director at KQ. It does not appear to be related with the restructuring. (via Capital FM)

Mombasa and Tax Collection

There was an interesting screen shot of the amount of customs tax collected by the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) on 16 December 2016.

It showed a total of Kshs 1.57 billion collected that day. Of that, Kshs 1.24 billion (79%) was recorded at Mombasa, and Kshs 139 million (9%) at Nairobi. Other top collection points were 6% at Nairobi’s  JKIA airport, 2% at Mombasa Airport and at Pepe Containers each, and 1% (Kshs 15 million) at Busia town.

Other centers listed include Eldoret and Wilson airports, and border towns of Moyale (Kshs 640,000), Isabanya, Namanga and Malaba which all recorded small collections. Other centres were Lamu with Kshs 21,000 and Kshs Kisumu 10,000. Mombasa had 1,887 transactions, JKIA had 1,205 transactions, Busia had 141, as Lamu had just 3 on that day.

In 2016, KRA collected Kshs 1.2 trillion of revenue for the government, which included Kshs 386 billion of customs tax – which works out to almost Kshs 1 billion per day. So Friday, December 16, was an exceptional collection day that came just before the Christmas break.

It’s worth noting that landlocked countries in East Africa are also able to pay tax and clear goods at Mombasa before transportation to the countries. This is done to prevent dumping of untaxed cargo during transit through Kenya.

KRA’s strategic corporate plan calls for clearing more cargo at Internal Container Depots (ICD’s) and this may have implications for Customs’ deployment of staff in the coast region. KRA’s 6th corporate plan also noted that the perception of corruption is highest at Customs service area at 66%.

NSE Shares Portfolio February 2017

Comparing performance to a year ago, this portfolio is down 50% mainly due to shares sales, while the while the NSE 20 share index is down 28% from February 2016.

The Stable

Atlas ↓
Bralirwa (Rwanda) ↓
Centum ↓
CIC Insurance ↓
Diamond Trust ↓
KCB ↓
Fahari  REIT↓
Kenya Airways ↑
NIC ↓
NSE ↓
Stanbic (Uganda) ↓
TPSEA ↓
Unga ↓

  • In: None
  • Out: Barclays, Equity, Kenol.
  • Increase: None
  • Decrease: Diamond Trust.
  • Best performer: Kenya Airways (up 12% from a year ago)
  • Worst performer(s): NIC, CIC, Diamond Trust, NSE (all down ~45% from a year ago)

Summary:

  • Another quarter when everything in the portfolio is down. Sold lots of shares after the banking law change.
  • Unexpected Events: (1) The Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) was assessed as the  worst- performing stock market so far in in 2017 so far according to Bloomberg – down 7% since January 1. While many believe it is due to the upcoming Kenya election, Bloomberg analysts trace the NSE portfolio decline to the devaluation of Egypt’s currency by 48% In November 2016,  which resulted in some frontier market investors blocks switching over from Nairobi to Cairo.
  • Still unable to sell portfolio shares in Rwanda (Bralirwa) and Uganda (Stanbic)  – those markets are easy to enter, but harder to exit.
  • Looking Forward to: (1) Bank results in February 2017 (2)  launch of the long-promised and always-postponed M-Akiba bond – a mobile money treasury bond.

Leaner, Fitter KQ at 40

Kenya Airways (KQ) just released their quarter three operational  results for December 31 (2016). Continuing on the restructuring changes that came after they announced their last financial results, theThe fleet and seats available for sale was 3% smaller as a result of off-loading idle aircraft from the fleet, through sale of Boeing 777s, and leases and returns of others.

Despite the smaller fleet, KQ flew 1.1 million passengers in the quarter, almost 5% more than last year with a cabin factor of 72% up from 68%. The passengers were on routes in Europe (102,749), Middle East & Far East (138,700), Africa (530,842) and within Kenya (347,136)

KQ increased the number of flights in Africa, while reducing capacity on others as a result of  using Boeing 787s and Boeing 737s on the Middle East, China and India routes that were previously served with Boeing 777s. They added routes to Cape Town, as well as others on the Nairobi-Entebbe-Bangui and Nairobi-Doula- Bangui but suspended flights to Gaborone and Abuja.

KQ’s financial year-end is on March 31, 2017 and they are currently celebrating their 40th anniversary with a 40% fare sale on all routes, and with special fares in business class, marking their beginning in the year 1977. They also just announced an interline cargo agreement with Qantas through which they target to fly 30 tonnes of flowers per month to Australia, as they explore shipping even more flowers to China and the Far East

Last week also saw Kenya Airways largest shareholder, the Government of Kenya, flex its muscle by canceling a third Emirates daily flight into Nairobi that was to begin in June 2017. Emirates currently flies Boeing 777s twice daily between Nairobi and Dubai.