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The World Cup starts on November 20, in Qatar with the hosts playing Ecuador. A few bankers, economists and financial minds and machines have made predictions about the winners ahead of the month-long tournament that features 32 nations, with Cameroon, Ghana, Morocco, Senegal and Tunisia representing Africa.
Who will win?
BCA Research has the most comprehensive report of match picks, research methodology, group rankings, and past history, with insights that will be useful for gamblers e.g. “Teams with more players from the same club tend to perform better in the knockout stages.” They conclude that “on December 18, 2022, the world will watch a final between Argentina and Portugal” and the dream final between Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo will be won by Argentina in a final match that has a high likelihood of being decided by a penalty shootout.
Sports data producer OPTA, has used artificial intelligence that predicts Brazil will win the World Cup. (read more)
Lloyds Insurance picks England to win the World Cup over Brazil. Others which come close in their model, which also lists group and knock-out match winners, are France, Argentina and Spain. Senegal will make the round of 16 but lose to England.
Cloud technology giant SAP aims to enable enterprises to make digital transformations that can result in significant increases in revenue and efficiency by connecting processes and making their internal systems, data and networks more intelligent.
SAP Africa had its first-ever “drive event” in Nairobi for customers and partners in November 2022 to explain more about business innovation and transformation and to show companies how with the right technology and insights, and with the right partner, they can grow exponentially.
SAP bills itself as the “coolest software company you have never heard of” running the critical systems of top companies in diverse industries like ice cream, pet food, beauty products, and finance where 77% of all global transactions go through an SAP system.
Why Innovate? Hardeep Sound, the SAP Regional Director, East Africa said that since 2000, 52% of the Fortune 500 companies have gone out of business. In Kenya, household names like Intercontinental and Tuskys were among the 1,300 and 2,530 companies that folded shop in 2020 and 2021 respectively.
The pace of growth has also accelerated in recent years; whereas between 1955 to 2011 it took a Fortune 500 company 20 years to reach a billion-dollar valuation, today they are getting there in 4 years. He said that companies in Kenya could enhance their value by mining customer data, doing analytics, managing customer relationships and experiences, managing human resources, digitizing supply chains, and monitoring how they spend their resources.
Easy Connections: Stanley Dube, SAP’s Head of Presales in Africa explained how Nokia sold 126 million model 3310 devices, and while his still works 22 years on, the company is a shell of its past. He said that one teaches people how to use phones and applications – they simply buy new devices and start using apps, without realizing how they are partners with companies like Apple and Google who do software updates and backups in the cloud. And if someone loses their phone, they can recover everything back in a matter of hours on a new device.
He likened owing a phone to SAP’s vision to enable companies to be intelligent and sustainable enterprises to deliver business and societal outcomes, with SAP’s modular ERP in the cloud that can manage finance, procurement, manufacturing, warehousing, asset management, research, supply chain and human resources combining 50 years of experience and meeting 80% of the enterprise needs of most companies. SAP’s ERP can connect with apps from other technology vendors while they also have a store that has 2,000 applications where companies can find products that others have built and which they can use.
Aside from the savings that can be 20% to 30% over five years from having SAP run backups, operations, data centres, software, licenses, and maintenance, it frees up managers from doing things like generating reports and shifting to do other things that can add value to companies like strategic planning.
Finding Value in Data: Bhavesh Chavda, Senior Director of Business Technology (BTP) Platform, spoke of the importance of harnessing data; it’s not just about migrating data from an unsafe on-site server room to the cloud, companies also must assess the quality and timeliness of their data for it to be useful and accessible and interrogated by management and by other applications. He said managers should be able to interrogate data, without knowing how to do any coding (“no-code, low-code”). The SAP BTP cleans up enterprise data and enables data-driven decisions, with continuous automation, low code extensions, and application testing. The BTP discovery centre is a free tier to try out for companies to connect, automate, and innovate and 12,000 customers around the world use BTP. He said that SAP’s ERP can connect even with third-party apps while companies can sign on to the free business technology platform (BTP) and start building on new applications.
Rapid Feedback with SAP: Sherif Hamoudah, Head of Ecosystems & Channels for SAP Signavio spoke about SAP Signavio, a transformational system that enables companies to do what used to take consulting teams months to do. Signavio drills through 60 different processes for enterprise transformation within a day, spotting redundancies and inefficiencies and recommending fixes that have been adopted by other organizations for continuous improvement. He gave examples from the auto industry where semiconductor shortages are affecting car manufacturing, and in finance, where global firms are using Signavio for risk compliance.
Using Data to Drive Revenue: Rais David, Senior Customer Experience Solutions Specialist SAP spoke of the value of data and the importance of using current data to discern trends in revenue. Google is phasing out cookies by the end of 2023 and this is at a time when mobile e-commerce accounts for $511 billion or 7.5% of all sales. At the same time, $93 billion of online sales are abandoned each year because customers find there are too many steps to complete a purchase transaction. SAP systems manage 3 billion consumer data identities, while protecting their privacy, and process $570 billion making them the 7th largest entity in sales.
Fast Turnaround on Implementation: Lewi Maina, Consulting Services Manager at SAP emphasized the importance of businesses being quick to implement changes if they are to thrive in fast-changing environments. He said that once they took a path, they should aim for a quick turnaround time for projects as he said that some companies in Africa can now deploy Rise and other SAP projects in a few weeks. This is a takeaway from previous transformation projects at companies that took up to three years. He said that the five keys to a successful deployment were implementing cloud with an agile mindset, using preconfigured solutions, leveraging on modern integration and extension technologies, and ensuring transparent documentation on deviations.
At the drive event, testimony was shared from some clients of SAP including;
David Kariuki, ICT & Innovation Manager of the Kenya Electricity Transmission Company (KETRACO), the state agency that builds high voltage transmission lines across Kenya. In 2018 after the government asked entities to take procurement online and plug into their central procurement system, known as IFMIS, KETRACO chose SAP’s Ariba as it sought to replace a manual procurement process where suppliers brought in envelopes and huge booklets of tender documents to be reviewed and scored in a time-consuming and laborious process. After a long process of digitization, standardizing procurement, tracking activities to reduce time loss, and overcoming supplier resistance, KETRACO, which was one of the first companies in East Africa to deploy SAP’s Ariba is now a centre of benchmarking for e-procurement. They also have access to innovation, as SAP updates come over the cloud quarterly for them to adopt.
John Wachira the Group Manager of Information Technology at the Safal Group (popularly known for its Mabati Rolling Mills products) spoke about the complex deployment with SAP to consolidate the group’s 36 operations that are in eight countries. They are in the second phase now to consolidate the end-to-end manufacturing, downstream operations, and commercial operations into one standard business environment on the cloud. They have gone live in six countries with two to go.
The Competition Authority of Kenya (CAK) had its annual symposium in Nairobi last week with sessions on competition, regulation, policy and consumer protection.
On the final day, Director General Wang’ombe Kariuki who is retiring after twelve years had a Q&A talk where he spoke about leading the growth of what was a new institution in government, one which not many Kenyans understood its initial purpose but came to appreciate/enjoy its effects of lower prices. Some of his advice was:
When you lobby for resources, go with critical evidence and itemized budgets as requests for large sums with no breakdown will not be responded to. So be guided by prioritization and do what you can with what you have.
Align with international partners and fellow agencies in government and show examples that are relevant e.g. this has worked in Uganda or Tanzania, so let’s do it. But in learning from global peers (OECD, South Africa), adapt stuff for local conditions and do not blindly transplant regulations from developed economies.
Put your organization in the performance contracts of leaders: (the CAK) was lucky) in that, it was starting up under a new government that appreciated the need to have a strong competition agency as part of the economic recovery strategy (ERS) – so they set out to ensure that as the Treasury implements its ERS, the CAK was a deliverable item in it.
Identify champions to help you build an agency: In their case, it was the Head of the Civil Service Joseph Kinyua and (then) Finance Minister Uhuru Kenya as champions. They ensure you are fully funded and protect you in Parliament. With the counties, they engaged with the Senate and worked to create champions to address issues like cess which affects farmers, traders and markets.
Understand your industry: they started by profiling what reduces competition i.e is it a behaviour of firms or government regulations? They did 13 market enquiries and prioritized sectors for the government to make interventions; e.g. they updated archaic tea industry laws in which farmers had to get approval to plant or cut tea from one competitor (KTDA) and this resulted in many new tea companies springing up and creating new employment, with higher prices for farmers. Another study of mobile money payments resulted in consumers being able to see charges before they transact, and not after, as was the case before the CAK intervention to create price competition.
You don’t have to influence the government: It has ears; so do your research that shows advantages to the common man, and the government will listen. Work with the press to highlight studies/work that you have done .. the government may get worried and run with the solutions you have recommended.
Significant interventions by the CAK over the years include: (i) During covid-19, some supermarkets doubled the prices of sanitizer products but the CAK asked them to refund consumers, (ii) With USSD they brought down the price of phone messages sent from Kshs 10 to 1 during Covid (iii) they also opened up thousands of mobile money agents to serve all telecommunications companies (though whether Safaricom’s competitors took up the opportunity is another story!)
President William Ruto visited the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) and rang the opening bell, then listened to financial and government leaders explain the situation in the financial markets.
NSE Chairman, Kiprono Kittony lamented that there had been no new government listings in 13 years. This stems from challenges and long procedures in the privatization process and they have had talks with Moses Kuria, the designated Cabinet Secretary for Trade, Investment and Industry,.
James Mwangi CEO of the Equity Bank CEO said his group was the ultimate hustler fund that grew from being a Nyagatugu village mutual fund, owned by 2,500 farmers. In 2005 and 2006 it converted into a bank and listed on the NSE which enabled them to then raise $185 million (Kshs 11 billion) from Helios. Today, the original investors have seen a 159,000% return on their investment and Equity, with Kshs 1.4 trillion of assets, has the sovereign fund of Norway (Norfund) and the World Bank Group as its largest shareholders.
Lengthy Privations: Engineer Kinyanjui of the PPP said privatization as currently structured has 16-17 steps and each takes 5 months. The government owns Kshs 426 billion of investments (at the NSE) and can’t sell one share without going through a privatization law process. Entities like ICDC (now under KDC) have mature investments they are ready to exit from and support the government program and the delay in privatization means that when they divest, there is an erosion of value.
Pension Opportunity: Hosea Kili, the Managing Director of Laptrust said the Lamu Port, SGR and Nairobi Expressway could have been financed by the local pension industry if they had been structured for them and lamented that they are unable to deploy funds as there are no new listings. He added that Laptrust plans to list Kshs 7 billion of their Kshs 17 billion property portfolio as an I-REIT.
The National Social Security Fund (NSSF) boss said that 15 million Kenyans are not in any pension schemes. At the same time the NSSF, which has shares in 29 listed companies, is 3% of the NSE, has reached the limits of what it can invest in some counters.
After listening to leaders, President Ruto said the government would revive the capital markets by privatizing and listing 5-10 state enterprises in the next 12 months and that the government would also seek to float a domestic dollar-denominated bond.
He directed that the government review of privatization law to review sections that inhibit the process, or he would move to repeal it. He also asked private companies to step forward and list and said the government was willing to remove some impediments including forgiveness of some tax sins.
In his closing remarks, the President:
Announced that Bio Foods and Credit Bank have obtained approvals to list at the NSE.
Invited the pension companies to a meeting at State House a few days later.
He also put a fire under the boards of Nairobi International Financial Centre and the Privatization Commission for not delivering.
Here’s a stream of the launch of the enhanced NSE Market Place event.
The Book Bunk has released a report on Nairobi libraries with a digital map of the ones that are accessible to the public. The report cites an International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) estimate that there are 49,172 libraries in Kenya accounting for about 44% of the libraries in Africa. For their report, BooK Bunk had identified 1,323 libraries in Kenya, with 855 being in Nairobi.
The research zoned Nairobi as being either Northern, Eastlands, (downtown (CBD), Westlands and Southern regions. Most libraries are in Westlands with 359, followed by the CBD with 182, then Southern Nairobi and Eastlands (where Book Bunk is based at Makadara) each with about 120 libraries, while Northern Nairobi has 77. The Book Bunk Trust has restored three of the libraries; the McMillan Memorial Library in downtown Nairobi and two of its branches at Kaloleni and Makadara in the eastern part of the city.
Nairobi Libraries were categorized as being public libraries, school libraries and private libraries. Those that are public are 149, private are 389, and school libraries are 317. Of the public ones, they identified 191, of which 149 are operational and accessible to the public.
Some of the familiar public ones are the KNLS Head Office, the McMillan Memorial Library, the British Institute in East Africa, the Kenya Bureau of Statistics Library, and the Kenya National Archives.
Must-visit ones on the list are the Supreme Court, the Nairobi Arboretum, the Ministry of Defence Library, the Railway Museum, the National Treasury, and the Capital Market Authority Library. Also notable are the Japan Information & Culture Centre and SHOFCO Community Centre, and did you know there’s a Bob Collymore Safaricom Community Library?
Other surprises include that hospitals have libraries (Kenyatta, Mathare Mental, Nairobi South and Nairobi West are listed), Kenya Power has 3 in Nairobi, but also Kilimani Police Station has a library!
They are now taking the research nationwide on libraries as they visit around the country to build their database and will disseminate findings through podcasts.