Category Archives: emirates

Can Africa Profit from the World Cup?

I was supposed to write a piece on business opportunities for the 2010 World Cup for Kenya; however the notice was short and though I started research, I never got to finish it by the deadline. Also I lost my notes and forgot about it, till I was jolted back by an e-mail from Emirates Airlines yesterday advertising world cup travel packages that include airline tickets, hotels selection and, most important, specific match tickets. I tried one and it came to about $4,000 to watch Algeria vs. England.

Back to the post, so besides global giants like Sony and Coca-Cola, what other opportunities are there for Kenyan and other African nations & companies?

Airlines: while Emirates is the official partner of FIFA and can put together packages, their passengers flying to SA have to route through Dubai. Meanwhile local airlines like South African Airways, Kenya Airways, and Ethiopian Airlines that have huge footprints in Africa can fly hundreds of fans in and out of SA daily.

Road transport: Nairobi is 3,000 kilometres from Johannesburg and which would take perhaps a week to travel by road. Bunson Travels, a Nairobi agency, has scheduled an overland bus and truck transport package to South Africa, with the possibility of match tickets on some of the higher priced packages.

Tourism: The World Cup will draw thousands of people making their first or a rare trip to African continent, which can yield opportunities for locales outside South Africa
Beach tourism: The World Cup is associated with summer, but takes place in winter in SA (southern hemisphere), and while the weather will be relatively mild compared to Europe and US winters, it’s not beach strolling weather like you could get in Mombasa, Zanzibar or Seychelles.
Regional packages: Ethiopian Airlines has travel packages that cover more than one country e.g. see the attractions of Ethiopia, Tanzania, Egypt, and Kenya and will probably sell those in SA. Likewise, Kenya Airways (or local agents) who will probably have travelers from Thailand and China can draw on the same to entice people on the way back e.g. also tour the Great Rift highlands of Kenya and Ethiopia and visit athletic camps to see where world-beating Olympic athletes hone their skills.

new Ole Sereni hotel neat Nairobi airport

Nairobi hotels: these are 4-hour flight away from South Africa, and will be much cheaper than the premium-priced rooms in Johannesburg next June/July. Seasoned travelers may choose to cool off and wait to minimize their hotel bills
Sports counter-programming: how about an event that takes place immediately after the world cup e.g. an international rugby tournament (Safaricom safari sevens?), safari rally or a cross-country event.
Training camps: for teams to practice away from fan and media attention, but in similar climate e.g. Naivasha

Logistics: Looking at the staggering numbers from the last world cup there are opportunities for hospitality, medical, security and other personnel, including K street. In IT support, there will be data, video, broadcast, and programming opportunities all of which will need capacity e.g. at the recent zuku internet launch, the Wananchi CEO bragged about the company having more fibre capacity than the entire current usage of South Africa!

Financing: Three years ago UAP insurance launched a World Cup savings plan (what happened to it?). And while Visa is the official FIFA partner, I won’t be surprised if Equity Bank launches a ‘world cup loan’ package to enable tardy fans to finance a trip to SA.

Curios: Local companies should put their African art and curios online with local companies like verviant And mamamikes, and not have to be there in SA physically to sell them to visitors.

Governments: there are opportunities for proactive governments to get involved and promote their countries with marketing campaigns, or with travel advice for locals, expedited transit visas (JKIA) or passport renewals. See what UK government is doing.

Which other local (non SA) companies have World Cup related packages, or have started, or can position themselves to profit from the 2010 World Cup in South Africa? Please post comments below, but not unrelated advertising spam

Urban Inflation Index September 2009

(i) Tracking changes in the three months since June 2009, and approximately one year and two years ago
(ii) also the job/other opportunities column is back

Gotten cheaper
Communications: leading mobile company Safaricom this week launched Super Ongea, a zoning tariff that eases congestion on the network by offering different rates from the then low 8 shillings per minute (now the high) to as low as 80 cents per minute. This they hope will ease congestion on the network and also hold on to some customers who are flocking to the cheaper new provider Yu (Essar telecom) who have very low rates. Zain and Orange have gone slow on the marketing front, and this week the Orange CEO called for an end to price wars. The new Safaricom tariff does not affect data or money transfer of which Safaricom is getting a stranglehold with m-pesa and 3G. Safaricom is big seller of mobile phones, modems, and laptop computers, going full blast in data at the expense of retail ISP’s while M-Pesa utilization has taken on a life of its own that makes Kenyans wonder how life was before mobile money transfers started three years ago.

Foreign Exchange: 1 US$ equals Kshs. 75.93 compared to 77.94 three months ago.

About the same
Fuel: A litre of petrol is Kshs 80.9 (~$4.79/gal) up 11% in 3 months, 1@% cheaper than a year ago and 10.5% above two years ago, so relatively unchanged as thin fuel margins still continue from the price drop of about a year ago that wiped off Triton

Entertainment: A bottle of Tusker beer (at local pub) is Kshs. 120 down from 130 three months ago. Prices seem to have stabilized though and with English football season on now, bars will not be changing prices anytime soon. East African Breweries year-end results showed that beer volumes were up just 1% for Kenya

Gotten more expensive
Staple Food: Maize flour which is used to make Ugali that is eaten by a majority of Kenyans daily. A 2 kg. Unga pack at Uchumi today costs Kshs. 84, 9% cheaper than 3 months, 15% up from a year ago, and 68% up in two years ago. Already there is worry about a grain shortage in the next few months, and the country may have to import some maize while awaiting the harvest from local farmers near the end of the year

Other food item: Sugar (2 kg. Mumias pack) is Kshs. 200 up 14% in 3 months, 38% in 1 year, 33% in 2 years, though it’s hard to say if sugar shortages are genuine or artificial; the annual importation exercise is a tug of war between politicians, tax man and importers.

Electricity/utilities: this month’s bill is Kshs 1,900 compared to 1,500 from three months ago. Still I can’t complain since compared to what some residents pay . The electricity rationing seems to have ended but at a cost since the new electricity is generated from more expensive thermal sources. The clean energy planned for Kenya- wind (Turkana, kengen) and sugar (Mumias), and mini-hydro’s (KTDA) will take a while to be felt in our bills.

Water rationing is still on going and the Nairobi water company said bills would increase from July 2009 onwards by about 50%.

most from the daily papers this week

SME Funding/Solutions
– For software developers from Microsoft through Local innovation centres unverified
– The Esther Passaris Grant is a monthly grant for Entrepreneurs. of between Kshs. 50,000 to 100,000 unverified
– Ongoing business plan competition jitihada closes 23/9
– Toolkit for learning: the IFC SME Toolkit Kenya

finally a blog -related job makes the newspapers – The British high commission in Nairobi is hiring a communications support officer part of whose job will include supporting the post webmaster in developing & maintain website, including the high commissioner’s blog through regular updates and site moderation. d/l is 23/9 and applications by snail mail only.
Central Bank of Kenya : Accountants/ Financial Analysts, Finance Officers, Network Engineer, Network Administrator, Analyst/Programmer, Assistant Director: Policy Development And Research, Assistant Director, Academic Affairs, Finance Manager (2), Assistant Finance Manager (2), Internal Audit And Risk (manager, assistant manager, officer) and other jobs. D/L 25/9
– Equity Bank: Assistant HR Manager- Training & Development, Assistant HR- Services Manager D/L 19/9
– Apprentice engineers (20) at KPLC by 7/10
KIPPRA jobs not online Economists in Infrastructure & Economic Services (3 positions), Senior Analyst/Analyst, Assistant Analyst, Analyst, Assistant Analyst apply to admin @ by 21/9
Safaricom : Senior customer systems analyst , senior manager – financial systems & analysis , principal accountant – treasury planning D/L 23/9

The Kenya Government has asked all ministries, agencies, parastatals to e-mail in soft copes of any tenders or procurement notices they advertise in the newspaper. This will be displayed at a government procurement portal.

Despite Safaricom’s controversial, no frills, AGM, Kengen, the company with the second largest shareholder register (216,000) after Safaricom, is not going to let its members go home empty handed. They have a tender at their site for
supply of agm goods & services that closes on 24/9

Travel: Emirate Airlines have launched world cup travel packages for fans wishing to attend the 2010 world cup in south Africa; these combine air travel, hotel bookings in Johannesburg, cape town & Durban, and ground transport to stadiums.

Nairobi WiFi

I am an Internet addict and if you put up a WiFi zone/Hotspot, I’d like to check it out.

I checked into Tamasha (pub in hurlingam, Nairobi) on Saturday afternoon during qualifying for the French grand prix where I hoped to do a live blog of the qualifying hour like ESPN’s Bill Simmons who has lived blogged dozens of events like the super bowl, boxing matches and most recently the NBA draft.

I arrived at Tamasha at 3 pm. Ordered a beer and a goulash soup, had them change the TV channel to super sport 5 and also got the network key for the hotspot from the barman.

The connection was very good and I was able to check my mail, check google reader (which is a test of Internet speed, in itself) and even update my anti-virus (took 2 minutes). I did not stay online for the hour (watching the race, typing the happenings, fear of viruses) but was impressed by the connection.

I did a live post of the qualifying hour, but I was unable to edit it within the hour and decided not to finish the post. I also wonder how Ethan was able to live blog every session for four straight days.

Other Nairobi hotspots

After our few days at Ngurdoto Lodge (for TED), I can’t imagine checking into another hotel that does not offer Wifi. The days of hotels offering expensive unreliable internet access should come to an end and wifi should become a regular feature for guests. Already Country lodge and Fairview have made it a point to promote their wifi as an attraction. Other hotels may have it but they don’t advertise it as a main attraction – and of course they would be for guests only.

What other hotpots are there? JKIA wifi is a bust, there’s the elusive butterfly, Java (at Junction, ABC, Adams, Village Market – but only in early morning and late night, except Adams which I am told is all day). I hope to check out Telkom hot spot at Nandos/ Pizza Inn and a Skunkworks session and welcome more businesses to set up hotspots.

Plane spotter

Emirates Cargo 747 at Eldoret airport

Jobs with Emirates Airlines

Kenyans interested in working as cabin crew for Emirates Airlines are invited to apply online for consideration and interviews to be held in Nairobi on May 9 and 10.

Some minimums include age 21, arm reach of 212 cm on tiptoes, KCSE D+ mean grade, fluency in English (& other useful language) and some previous service/hospitality industry experience would also be an asset. Those selected will undergo training and be based in Dubai where they will earn starting salaries of $1,000 per month plus flying pay of $600 p.m.