Category Archives: SME solutions

The Creative Sector in 2020

The Africa Digital Media Foundation (ADMF) has published a comprehensive report on the state of the creative sector in Kenya and the needs, challenges, and ambitions of its participants. ADMF started the study with a questionnaire that was widely circulated and completed the research in July 2020 using online forums and tools.

Summary of their findings:

  • There is a willingness in the Kenya creative entrepreneurs to make things better for everyone.
  • Success breeds success and the creative population is divided between those that have made it (and keep grabbing jobs and clients) and those that have not (less- established creative entrepreneurs who may have few years of experience, little commercial and financial success)
  • All want opportunities to learn more; they accept that technology evolves and new products require new skills.
  • Banks don’t understand; formal credit and financing options aren’t considered viable options by creatives; their financing is limited to sourcing from friends and family.
  • Almost everyone had a story about doing work and not receiving payment as agreed from the client.

Other interesting findings in the report:

  • Top engagements are in TV/video production, writing/journalism, graphic design, animation and finally photography (all have more than 10%). Some small categories with 1% are gaming, event planning and jewellery.
  • There is 50/50 split between those that have formally registered their business and those that haven’t. Of the non-registered ones, some can’t afford to lose some of their income in taxes while others do not see the benefit in registering a business, paying taxes, and accessing the supposed benefits that taxpayers enjoy, such as NHIF and NSSF.
  • 23% work in the sector part-time. Their other sources of income are teaching (7) and 4% each for farming and events equipment rental.

Check it out the full report here.

Also, read more about ADMF, and its sister institution, the Africa Digital Media Institute (ADMI). Some of the courses open for enrollment in 2021 including certificates in video game development, music production, video production, digital marketing, and Rubika 2D animation as well as diplomas in Rubika video game design, sound engineering, animation & motion graphics and film & television production.

Absa Kenya on Wills, Trusts and Succession Planning

Absa Kenya has been holding thought leadership seminars since their rebrand in February 2020.

This week they had an investor education connect session on wealth management, with a focus on wills, trusts and succession planning which featured Madabhushi Soundarajan (Managing Director, MTC Trust), Peter Waiyaki (Partner at Mboya, Wangong’u & Waiyaki Advocates) and Anthony Mwithiga (CEO, Absa Asset Management).

Some excerpts 

Wills:

  • People don’t do wills because they think they have nothing – but anyone over 18 who has been working has something to give. 
  • Another excuse of some educated Kenyans is they think they are courting death or will be marked for death by their families
  • Can do a will in an hour or five years. It does not have to be expensive or complex.  
  • A will should have two things to help a will (i)  a residual clause. assets grow after the will make sure any other assets be distributed the way the old “any other assets  (you don’t have o make a new will (ii) creation of a testamentary trust. 
  • Let your family know where your will is kept. If two wills emerge, the latter one will be used. If a will is destroyed, it is not valid.
  • If someone remarries, it invalidates a will because they are considered to have new dependents. 
  • Do not include matrimonial property should not be in a will. Or joint owner – when someone dies the spouse inherits the full property. They should not be in the will. 
  • Also don’t put investment or trust property in a will.
  • Proof of dependence: wives and children do not need to prove they are dependents. This also includes conceived but not yet born and adopted kids. But parents or siblings of a deceased must prove they are dependent. Also in Kenya, a husband/man will have to prove  he was being supported by a woman.
  • Covid situation: Oral wills are only valid for 3 months and must be mentioned in the presence of two witnesses who are not beneficiaries. And for a written will, someone in a hospital, surrounded by relatives is not considered to have the freedom to write a will. 
  • Without a will, only the family of a deceased person can inherit from the estate. No gifts to charities, churches etc. are recognized. 
  • Do not put assets in a will that already have nominated beneficiaries elsewhere e.g. life insurance, pension funds. 

Trusts:

  • Have the philosophy of giving things up as you will nor carry your wealth to the grave – so start thinking about preservation.
  • Banks are getting worried about lending to trusts. 
  • A trust is not a legal entity, a foundation is a better legal entity that can be created to run a school or a hospital.
  • Most common are discretionary trusts and others are ones that founders can create to run businesses for their families
  • A trust is a lengthy document. In a trust, you can exclude rogue children. 
  • To set up a trust; define the objectives, the trust structure, the beneficiaries, the trustees (ideally a corporate) and seek professional advice. 

Investments:

  • Use professionals e.g. in a unit trust to administer investments if you are too busy. 
  • If you have a vision, take a lead and invest in it so that others will follow.  
  • the realty over the last five year is the property prices can go down, unbelievable to many investors of 15 years ago. Covid has hit offices and malls, but there are still investments in residential, logistic and warehousing ventures.
  • Attributes of an ideal asset; gives returns, it should grow, it should be liquid, be understandable and It should also be secure (legal ownership & from damage). Individuals and families have investment portfolios, as it is not possible to get one asset to full all these attributes. 
  • The investment universe encompasses money markets, treasury bills, bank deposits, and listed shares which now includes a New Gold ETF.  Also unlisted shares (shares in a business stems/OTC), real estate, and alternatives such as derivatives, commodities, currencies and infrastructure projects which is a new asset class open to pension funds.

Suggestions:

  • Everyone should discover what type of investor they are and what stage they are on the life journey to understand what to invest in. 
  • Think investments beyond Covid-19.
  • Write a will today; there is no way of running from your dependents –  except through trusts, which allow one to better organize estates.
  • The best non-taxable investment in Kenya is infrastructure bonds.

Safaricom’s Pochi

During Safaricom’s 20th anniversary celebrations last week, the company announced the launch of a new M-Pesa business product called launched “Pochi la Biashara” as part of a commitment to support micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).

This comes shortly after they rolled out a new app for business payments (Lipa Na Mpesa app) and which had racked up 240,000 enterprises in a few months. What’s different about the new business pouch (Pochi) product? It’s targeted at informal business people, such as some food vendors, kiosk owners, and boda boda (motorcycle) operators who are not formally registered as businesses.

  • No loss of Fuliza repayment: Sometimes  people with Fuliza loans (a useful instant temporary overdraft on their phones that are replenished by the next infusion of cash) can sometimes find the service an inconvenience, as they may have an urgent or immediate use for an incoming payment – so to get around this, they ask for the money to be sent to a different phone number. Pochi eliminates this need to juggle two phone lines, as business payments do not go to replenish Fuliza – and borrowers can later repay these at a more convenient time.
  • Anonymity: For customers wary about their telephone numbers being misused when they pay via M-Pesa, a phone number is not visible when they make a payment to Pochi. This has become a pet peeve as they sometimes have their numbers harvested and they later get advertising messages or even face personal harassment. To pay to Pochi, they dial *334#.
  • Simple sign up for business owners. There’s no paperwork and they do not incur charges as they receive payments. 
  • No reversals of payments without the business owner’s permission.

So one can now buy from a roadside hawker or at a highway market on the way to Nakuru without worrying that their M-Pesa details (name and phone number) will be used to pester them

Likewise, the vendor has no worry that someone who buys food or curios from them will try and reverse the payment as soon as they drive off.

Safaricom CEO Peter Ndegwa also said the company is going through a competitive process to enter Ethiopia as they plan to make M-Pesa, which now processes 21 million transactions a day, the financial service platform for Africa.

Coca-Cola partners for business recovery in Kenya

Coca-Cola has launched a program to assist traders to quickly recover, and safely reopen their businesses, following months of disruption from Covid-19.

The company will avail Kshs 125 million as part of a Coca-Cola system small business recovery campaign to assist 18,000 businesses, along with its partners including Absa Bank Kenya, Amref Health Africa and the Women Enterprise Fund. This will be through initiatives such as loans, personal protective equipment, sanitation facilities, soda cases, gardening furniture (for outdoor dining) and training to help them reopen safely between October 2020 and March 2021.

Coca-Cola has 300,000 traders in the country, and through its data, has noted the disruptions on these small businesses, 40% of which are at risk of closure even after the government relaxed lockdown restrictions in September 2020. This is partly from expired stocks and slow sales pick up in places like downtown Nairobi.

Absa will provide unsecured business loans of up to Kshs 10 million, for working capital, and up to Kshs 50 million for Local Purchase order (LPO) and inventory discounting. As the financing business partner in this campaign, the bank, through trade data, is quickly able to score the business creditworthiness, and extend financing, to suppliers and retailers in the Coca-Cola ecosystem, without having to scour their financial statements.

Coca-Cola has also extended a grant of $175,000 (~Kshs 20 million) to Amref to support 4,000 micro-outlets, such as eateries and leisure places, in Laikipia, Nairobi and Mombasa counties, to carry out occupational safety changes & training and reopen safely in their communities. Also, for participating businesses in Laikipia, the County Government has offered further support to traders there through credits to offset some business loans as part of a Kshs 123 million Laikipia economic stimulus package.

Agro-ecology Explained

This week there was a Webicafe session arranged by the Route to Food Initiative on Agro-ecology. Route to Food has championed a petition in Kenya’s Parliament calling for the removal of harmful chemical pesticides that are sold in the country.

The session featured two experts; Dr David Amudavi of the Biovision Africa Trust and Nicholas Syano of the Drylands Natural Resources Centre (DNRC). Biovision Africa works with smallholder farmers in 13 counties to disseminate useful and practical scientific information through various channels, and they also have a program with the African Union working with 35 partners in 9 countries. The DNRC works with 800 farmers in Makueni county, training them on and sustainable agricultural practices such as indigenous plants and rainwater harvesting.

The organizations are all trying to ensure farmers can work with nature to achieve food security. This is at a time small scale farmers, who produce most food for the country, are most affected by climate change and get the least support from the Government.

Excerpts:

  • Agro-ecology is not a new concept. Agro-ecology is as old as agriculture. It borrows a lot from indigenous knowledge of agricultural practices, and it is only the term that is new.
  • Agro-ecology is not organic farming. Indeed, organic is just one of the ways in which farmers can apply agro-ecology practices, which all seek to promote the use of alternatives such as minimum tillage, conservation agriculture, crop-rotation, manure, inter-cropping, mulching, permaculture, agroforestry, and organic – that can all improve soil health and fertility through less, or no, use of chemical inputs in food production.
  • Agro-ecology as a science looks at how plants and animals get manipulated by man to stimulate production and consumption. There is a balance in the interaction of plants, animals and humans – and anything harmful to any of the three, or the environment, is not acceptable in agro-ecology.
  • Agro-ecology means food security: If you compare communities that rely on agro-ecology and those on monoculture, the ones that engage in diversified farming are more resilient to economic shocks – and governments should direct more research there to ensure food security and sustainable agriculture.
  • Challenges include low awareness and funding. Agro-economy can feed the nation., but agriculture gets a tiny share of the national budget devoted to research funding and even smaller for agro-ecology (estimated 2% of agricultural funding). Currently, most-research funding goes to mono-culture, industrial-based, crop farming that is also supported by political voices. This is compounded further by a lack of data on the uptake of agro-ecology. as well as people who can write well about agro-ecology.
  • In agro-ecology, if you plant trees, grow as many varieties of trees. In Makueni, DNRC has re-planted trees that had vanished – lost varieties of fruit, dry land species and nitrogen-fixing trees. They also plant acacia that grows very fast and is useful for honey farming and charcoal. Individual farmers bring in their small honey harvests and the organization sells them as a collective and share the money out. They also make green charcoal in a special kiln using pruned acacia wood. Over the last decade, DNRC has planted Moringa trees – and with the outbreak of COVID this year, they have seen great demand for Moringa seedlings, oil and powder.
  • One good agro-ecology practice is to have African farmers use seeds adapted to local conditions. These can be sold, re-used, and exchanged while avoiding some monopoly seed laws that restrict what farmers can do with their seeds and multinational intellectual property disputes.