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Tamarind opens new 4-star hotel

Tamarind Group has opened a four-star hotel in Nairobi next to Carnivore Restaurant targeting business and leisure travellers.

The Tamarind Tree Hotel is located a few metres from Wilson Airport, half-an hour drive from the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) via Southern Bypass and three-minute walk from the Carnivore Restaurant.

The hotel is targeting the growing number of travellers coming to Kenya for business as well as locals seeking venues to do business, thus its location close to the airports. It is been under construction for the past two years.

The property has 160 en-suite guest rooms and suites comprising 15 suites, lounge area in suites, 45 standard twins, 96 standard doubles, and four rooms for the physically challenged and 12 inter-connecting rooms.

Tamarind Group chief executive Jonathan Seex told the Business Daily that Tamarind Tree Hotel is fully owned by Kenyans, and has been developed and managed by the group.

“As for future plans, we want to stabilise operations with this property before we move on to other projects,” said Mr Seex.

Mr Seex would not reveal the value of the property, saying that it is shielded by the group’s board directive to keep it confidential.

Enhancing activities include the Carnivore Restaurant, Simba Saloon, game drive at the Nairobi National Park, Daphne Sheldrick Elephant orphanage, Giraffe Manor, Karen Blixen Museum, Karen Golf Club and Maasai market.

Also available is a ballroom, two meeting rooms, two executive boardrooms, team building grounds, events lawn, and a public lounge for informal meetings and appointments.

General manager John Kelliher said the hotel was built on the appreciation of the fact that many customers currently enjoy informal business and leisure establishments as long as they provide comfort.

In 2014, Tamarind Group signed five deals to manage hotels, suites and restaurants for local investors who were putting up multi-million shilling investments in the leisure industry. Among them is Tamarind Tree Hotel.

The group was also to manage properties for investors who would buy suites in Osotua Tamarind Tree – a 52-room project in Naivasha, Tamarind Migaa in Kiambu, which has 80 rooms; the 100-room Tamarind Tree Suites (Rosslyn, Nairobi); and the 120-room Tamarind Tree Residence (Ngong Road, Nairobi).

Source: Business Daily Newspaper.

Kenya intent on hosting global conference on blue economy

President Uhuru Kenyatta has announced an intent to host a global conference on the blue economy in the last quarter of next year.

Speaking at the official opening of the third session of the United Nations Environment Assembly on Tuesday, President Kenyatta said the conference would serve as a build-up to the 2020 United Nations Oceans Conference which Kenya has expressed interest in hosting.

“Earlier this year, in June, all our countries attended the first ever United Nations Conference on Oceans in New York.  Following the conference, we all came to better realise the pivotal importance of oceans and seas to our people, our planet and our prosperity.

“Oceans, we now know, not only provide great value in maintaining life sustaining climatic conditions for all of us, but also provide enormous value in the form of the blue economy that can be tapped to help accelerate economic growth and fight poverty in all our nations,” he gave by way of motivation for the blue economy conference.

In the interest of a global meeting of the minds on the blue economy, President Kenyatta has invited the UN and other member states to share in the vision.

“It is our intention to work with interested nations, as well as the Special Envoy on Oceans of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, and United Nations organisations,” President Kenyatta said.

The UN meet which concludes on Wednesday, has brought over 4,000 government representatives, UN officials, business leaders, scientists and civil society representatives together in pursuit of a sustainable solution to pollution and the threat it poses to life on the planet.

The Government has intensified efforts to harness the blue economy, which includes fishing, by setting up exclusive economic zones within the countries aquatic boundary.

The Ministry of livestock and fisheries estimates Kenya’s maritime economy to be worth over Sh90 billion. 

Source: Capital FM Kenya.

Manufacturing the Future of Kenya – Africa’s Industrial Hub

This story line never gets old, around 1960; South Korea was on average poorer than Kenya. Fast forward to the 21st century and the divergent fortunes are equally awe-inspiring as they are acclamatory.

While there are immense factors attributable to the dynamics, what is now evident is that where we lacked in driving our economy forward, South Korea put in industrial economic planning at the fore. Since creation of their Economic Planning Board in 1961, the then largely agricultural nation put long-term work to transform into a modern industrial nation.

Back home, our quest for an industrial renaissance has been work in progress. Our major undoing has been our lack of competitiveness due to high cost of doing business as a result of decades of under-investment in the enablers. With rising costs in traditional manufacturing bases in Asia, nations that have prepared a favorable cost-base to industrial production will be the winners. The Jubilee administration has been keen to make Kenya ready. With massive investments in the energy sector, infrastructure (rail, road and airports), expanding the port of Mombasa and remarkable progress in the ease of doing business, providing access to markets (EU, AGOA, EAC) the stage has been set to take industrialization to the next level.

For instance, the upcoming Naivasha industrial zone is poised to locate industries at the source of clean geothermal power that is green (clean) and at near 50% less cost than it is currently, a critical efficiency enhancer for large manufacturers as well as provide significant scale to produce in our country for the next 50 years. From the onset, the pursuit of an inclusive model of growth that would provide millions of new jobs in the near future has been embedded in the firm belief that the industrial sector through manufacturing would deliver the foundation for these jobs. Into second term, this conviction still holds true. Kenya has been looking at increasing its manufacturing base in absolute terms through building our industries, hugely critical to job creation, economic and export growth and domestic and foreign investment.

With the directive by HE the President that the cost of power reduces by 50% from 10pm to 6am, this is a key plank for manufacturers who need to take advantage to make production more cost effective. Manufacturing has always been critical to both the global and Kenya’s economy. While globally, manufacturing continued to grow, accounting for approximately 16 percent of global GDP and 14 percent of employment by 2015, in Kenya, it had been averaging between 9 and 11 percent of contribution to GDP (despite sustained growth in Manufacturing volumes). Its contribution has been overshadowed  by faster growth of more competitive and less mature services sector such as telecommunications, banking and ICT.

In 2015, we launched a 10 year industrialization blueprint aptly dubbed ‘Kenya’s Industrial Transformation Programme (2015-2025).This plan identified five strategic areas hinged on existing comparative advantages. Within the strategy lies 10 opportunities envisioned to increase manufacturing sector jobs to 435,000 additional jobs and at the same time add Kshs. 200-300billion to Kenya’s GDP.

First off, we committed to innovate our global export engines like tea, coffee and horticulture while enhancing leather processing and textile and apparels manufacturing. To boost production and exports, we have focused on addressing pricing regulations on the sale of the exports while looking to attract a 50-100% price premium by marketing the exports through ‘Made in Kenya’ brand internationally. Further, the plan sets out to enhance the contribution of leather industry through development of a dedicated leather industrial city in Machakos county and upgrade leather clusters and cottage industries to supply local and global markets with finished leather. This could net the economy Kshs 15 billion to 20 billion of GDP contribution and 35,000 to 50,000 new jobs. On textile and apparel, the 10 year AGOA extension will guarantee and increase our share in the US market, from Kshs 30 billion to Kshs.100 billion by 2025. We continue to make major headway in this sector that created over 22,000 jobs in the last 4 years.

Secondly, Agriculture:  we have not fully taken advantage of the billion dollar global agro-processing market. With only 16 percent of all exported agricultural output in Kenya processed, leveraging on processing opportunities could create an additional 110,000 jobs with Kshs 60 billion in the offing for the economy. Agro-processing is today the second largest export for the Export Processing Zones with huge potential to increase output and create jobs.

Fish processing for example, has capability to create 100,000 jobs in counties surrounding Lake Victoria and plans are underway to attract fish feed manufacturers to trigger this economic lift. We have further identified several value chains catering to high value crops and animal products processing for export. Additionally, our strategic location in Mombasa through the set-up of a food processing hub (“Agropolis”) will in the  long term tap into the Kshs. 380 billion food imports into the region as well processing various food crops.

Thirdly, the construction and infrastructure boom is core to Kenya’s GDP and the region. In a Kshs. 6 trillion regional infrastructure market, we have to build on capacity for local firms to profit from this boom by producing specific items that are today imported that blends well with our ambition to build 500,000 new low cost houses.

Fourth, the plan seeks to rejuvenate our non-industrial sectors of Information Technology, Tourism and Wholesale and Retail as high growth markets that will provide additional jobs. Kenya is well positioned to benefit from the estimated Kshs 128 billion IT market by developing into a preferred location for business process and IT outsourcing. Securing markets to trade our manufactured goods goes hand in hand with production and more non-traditional markets must be availed to our investors.

Fifth, it is in our agenda that Small and Medium Enterprises are nurtured to build a thriving entrepreneurial culture in Kenya. A high employment sector, the SME regime could potentially be remodeled along the lines of globally successful SME regimes such as the USA, India, Germany and Turkey where linkages with large companies are entrenched, credit guarantees schemes are present and goods and services are of global standards that enable them to compete with the best in class.

An enabling environment is strategic for Kenya’s transition to higher-value added manufacturing sectors. We have made remarkable progress in this front, ranking 80th position globally (out of 190 countries) up from 136th in 2013 in the World Bank Ease of Doing Business rankings leading to rising investment (FDI) levels of over $2bn by December 2016 up from $350m in 2013. Our target is to be position 50th in the next two years.  With new companies locating in Kenya to serve not only our local market but regional and international markets as well, we are signaling to the world that Kenya is ready for business.

The last 4 years have been about laying the foundation for creating a competitive manufacturing base both on infrastructure/cost front as well as on improving business environment. The time is now to put Manufacturing at the centre stage of Kenya’s economic future.

The writer is the Cabinet Secretary for Industry, Trade & Cooperatives.

Source: Capital FM Kenya.

Vivo buys Engen business in Kenya, 8 African countries

Vivo Energy Investments BV, one of the big four oil marketers in Kenya, has acquired South African Engen Oil’s assets in nine African countries including Kenya, solidifying its regional petroleum interests.

The Netherlands-based Vivo Energy — a joint venture between Vitol Group, a Dutch firm, and London-based Helios Investment Partners, an African private investment firm that also owns upstream oil assets in Turkana oilfields — said the deal whose value was undisclosed is subject to regulatory approval.

“Upon completion of this transaction, nine new countries and over 300 Engen-branded service stations will be added to Vivo Energy’s network, taking Vivo Energy’s total presence to over 2,100 service stations, across 24 African markets,” the company said in a statement Monday.

Under the deal, the new markets for Vivo Energy will include DR Congo, Zimbabwe, Réunion, Zambia, Gabon, Rwanda, Mozambique, Tanzania and Malawi. Engen’s Kenya operations (where Vivo Energy already operates) are also part of the transaction.

Engen Holdings will however retain its interest in Engen Petroleum Limited (the South Africa business and refinery) and Engen’s businesses in six other countries including Mauritius, Botswana, Ghana, Namibia, Swaziland and Lesotho, which are not part of the transaction. Vivo Energy holds the Shell licence in 16 African markets.

In October this year it was reported to be eyeing an initial public offering on the London Stock Exchange to access new capital for growth on the continent.

Vitol owns a 60 per cent stake in Vivo while Helios holds the rest. Vivo entered the Kenyan market in November 2012 after Shell sold 80 per cent of the downstream assets in 14 African countries including Kenya and Uganda for about $1 billion (Sh103 billion).

“In our first six years our shareholders have invested to grow Vivo Energy, increasing our network from around 1,300 to over 1,800 service stations and adding over 400 new and refurbished shops and quick service restaurant offers,” said Vivo Energy CEO Christian Chammas.

Source: Business Daily Newspaper.

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