Spotlight on foreign investors

after Morgan Stanley & Safaricom

Rift Valley Railways: This week as the patience of the governments of Kenya and Uganda reached new highs, local stakeholders finally got rid of the managing director. More stories are now coming out on the (lack of) financial strength of the backers of the railway. The East African newspaper has (consistently) had the best coverage of the railway management over the last two years.

About a year ago, the former MD gave a talk on the difficulties he faced in reviving the railway and the way forward for the 25 year program.

Tiomin is another ‘foreign investor’ who never had financing that was sufficient enough for them to launch their operations in Kwale, even after the government and the courts gave them go ahead

Zain is the new brand of the former Celtel Group that is expanding all over Africa. But according to their group financial results for the half year, Kenya is the only African country where they did not gain subscribers over the last year. At June ’08, Kenya had 1.9 million subscribers compared to 2.4 million in June 2007. Compare that to Uganda 1.8m (up 100%) and Tanzania 2.8m (up 48%). Half year revenue and loss was $79.4 million and $26.4m compared to %100m and a loss of $4.2 million at the same point in 2007 Safaricom is blamed for defending their market turf

Google have bought into Mobile Planet a leading local provider of value added mobile services (and also a Safaricom partner).

7 thoughts on “Spotlight on foreign investors

  1. Proud Kikuyu Woman

    Last time I was interested in the Tiomin doings-about, they, with the GoK’s blessings, were forcing people out of their land/homes for a paltry $1,000 at the time (Ksh 80,000). Some balance was clearly in need.

  2. MainaT

    GoK urgently needs project managers who have deal-making expertise and know how to tell a good deal from BS. In a country with good uncorruptbble institutions, this would be a special unit, but in Kenya, its a bit of a tisk.
    The RVR deal (and potentially the pipeline deals) looked bad at inception and have turned out bad.

  3. ka-investor

    another foreign firm that need a spotlight on is Econet. If they don’t have the finances to launch their network they should sell that license to some else.

  4. bankelele

    PKW: Sound like with the Chinese money, the project will take off now.

    MainaT: good point about project management. There are experts at treasury capable of handling these deals, but they only talk to the World Bank counterparts, while the real deals are sealed elsewhere e.g. Libyan tents (and how many times will the AG claim ignorance about these deals?)

    Ka-investor: thanks for the reminder – I had soo forgotten about ‘four year old’ Econet

  5. Gitts

    now that econet should sell out to MTN( who’ve missed out on Kenya enough times, remeber Merali’s deal with Celtel?) then we’ll have a proper war on our hands!

  6. Peter Njenga

    Agree with ka-investor. What is happening with Econet? They have failed to meet the July 30 CCK deadline.
    If Zain fail to improve this time, then they may be jinxed.
    Gitts’s idea of an MTN presence is interesting. The group has been quite successful in SA. Wonder if they solved the issues the Ambani brothers had some weeks ago.
    Together with Zain and a focused Telkom, these guys can really work on Kenya’s Microsoft (Safaricom).
    What say you?

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