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PRESS RELEASE: Launch Of The Made In Kenya Festival 2019 – Exhibition And Call For Nominations

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Brand Kenya Board in partnership with Trace Events has launched the Made in Kenya Festival 2019. The 3 day annual cultural extravaganza is inspired by the need to provide a platform where Kenyans can appreciate and celebrate their own unique products, talent, and cuisine in its entire diversity and splendor.

The event purposes to reinforce the “Buy Kenya, Build Kenya Agenda”, which is aimed at inculcating in the mind of all Kenyan citizens, patriotism and preference for Kenyan goods and services as a means of supporting the domestic economy. The inaugural event shall be held on 5th, 6th and 7th April, 2019 in Nairobi. It is envisioned that as the festival grows, we shall share these experiences across other regions and counties of Kenya.

Speaking at the launch event, the Brand Kenya AgCEO Floice Mukabana said, “We believe that music; art, food and sport go a long way in shaping our brand values and provide a mirror to the soul of the nation. Concurrently running within the festival therefore shall be a “Made In Kenya exhibition” and sale where producers of products that are Made in Kenya can run a “Black Friday type” Sales Promotions and do business with consumers at the festival.”

The Made In Kenya Festival is the beginning of a conversation amongst Kenyans about their music, art, food, sport and products and how these emotional and functional aspects of Kenya fuse to deliver the soul of the country. It is a conscious call for all citizens to rally behind Kenya in all its offerings and deliver to the world a Kenya that is not just good for business but great to its citizens.

“Indeed we are proud to partner with Brand Kenya in this long walk to finding the soul of our country to weaving it into profit for Kenyan businesses. Trace brings global experiences in delivering great experiential events and a global platform that exposes Kenya’s music, art and culture to the world. Great country brands have been built and shared their values through music videos that capture art, dance, fashion, culture to name a few. Kenya is no exception. We must therefore seize this opportunity to first love what is “Made In Kenya” then share that love to a global platform,” said Trace East Africa CEO Steve Agutu.

Nominations

Musician recruitment

The recruitment for musicians to play at the event shall begin immediately after the launch. Part of the objective of the launch is to bring to the public domain the modalities for nomination of artists.

The nomination process shall be via the event website. A button on the landing page of www.madeinkenyafest.com shall lead citizens to fill a form nominating any artist of their choice in each of the categories or just in 1 or 2 categories.

After a 2 month nomination period, a shortlist of artists with the highest nominations shall be developed and subjected to an SMS vote.

The winning 5 artists in each category shall be the headline artists for the music category and shall be allotted play time based on the event concept.

Dance/ Street Artists/ Acrobats

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This category of performances shall be recruited via video submissions. Each artist or group of artists intending to perform at the festival shall create a 3 minute video showcasing their talent and share the video with Trace. These videos will be uploaded on the social channels of both Made In Kenya Festival and Brand Kenya Board with a modality to vote which shall include, first liking the page then liking or loving the video. The videos with the most engagement shall be shortlisted for the SMS Vote to provide performances during the festival and according to the final event concept.

All negotiations with artists shall be done by Trace Events and the final artists for the event delivered to Brand Kenya.

Important Dates

Nominations: 20th November 2018 – 31st December 2018

SMS Voting: 7th January, 2019 – 8th March, 2019

Who can be nominated?

Kenyan artists based in Kenya and in the diaspora singing in vernacular Kenyan songs, secular artists and gospel artists. Should be Kenyan citizens and when in a group the lead singer must be a Kenyan citizen.

ABOUT BRAND KENYA

Brand Kenya Board (BKB) is a state corporation established in March 2008 in accordance with the State Corporations Act (CAP. 446). The rationale behind the establishment of the Board was the Government’s commitment to put in place an integrated coordinating mechanism for building and enhancing the Country’s image and national identity and rallying its citizens behind it.

The mandate of the board as set out in the legal notice, the Brand Kenya Board Order of 15th March 2008 is as follows:

  1. To coordinate initiatives for marketing the country in order to maximize their efficiency; and
  2. To create and maintain the Kenya brand, to identify and distinguish Kenyan products, services and concepts.

 

ABOUT TRACE

Launched in 2003, TRACE is a multimedia group and brand dedicated to afro-urban entertainment. With a presence in 160 countries, Trace offers award winning TV channels, radios, mobile services, digital platforms to millennials and multicultural audiences. Trace Mziki is a pan African music channel that plays Kenya and East African music on TV platforms across East Africa and offering a global audience through Trace.

Contacts

For queries from the media, please contact:

Esther Maina of Brand Kenya Board at +254 723 058885 or [email protected]

For technical questions concerning the festival, please contact: Steve Agutu of Trace East Africa Ltd at email: sag[email protected]

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Equity withdraws proposed dividend declaration and payment due to market uncertainty

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NAIROBI, Kenya, May 26 – The Board of Directors of Equity Group Holdings Plc, the largest bank on the Nairobi Securities Exchange by market capitalization, has withdrawn its recommendation of a Ksh. 9.5 billion dividend payout to its shareholders.

The withdrawal of the dividend payout speaks to the Board’s assessment of risk, post balance sheet date of December 31, 2019 and of the Group’s approach to prudent risk mitigation and management.

The COVID-19 global health pandemic has led to a great lockdown which has induced a complex and multi-faceted global crisis of health, economic, and social challenges of an unprecedented magnitude.

The pandemic’s effects have created a significant drop in the global GDP, and a substantial loss of employment leading to an economic recession which economists are projecting will evolve into a global depression worse than the Great Depression of the 1930’s. The global economic outlook has worsened considerably since the beginning of the year.

The United Kingdom has entered a severe recession last experienced in the 17th Century, while the United States unemployment rate is expected to reach 25% by the end of 2020 with 39.6 million people already unemployed. The most recent global growth projections from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have revised the global economic outlook to below the 2.9% achieved in 2019 from an initial projection of 3.3% to -3.0% (negative 3.0%) of GDP growth rate, which they feel is optimistic.

Cautiously, the IMF also projects that if the pandemic fades in the second half of 2020 and if policy actions taken around the world are effective in preventing widespread bankruptcies, extended job losses, and system-wide financial strains, global growth could rebound to 5.8% in 2021.

“The Equity Group Holdings Board took a conservative approach that recognizes the emerging unquantified risk of the pandemic and opted to preserve capital in the face of the prevailing uncertainty,” said Dr. James Mwangi, the Group CEO and Managing Director. He added that, “A strong capital and liquidity position gives us the strength and capacity to cushion our business and accommodate and walk with our customers during these challenging times”.

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Further, the Board would like to encourage the Bank’s customers to seek opportunities to innovate in the age of the pandemic, and to keep looking for growth possibilities even in this trying time in order to preserve cash and capital, and to not just survive the crisis but to be ready to thrive in the New Normal.

By withdrawing the recommendation for a dividend payout the Board is exercising financial prudence so as to conserve cash to enable the Group to respond appropriately to the unfolding crisis in terms of supporting its customers, and to be able to direct cash resources to potential opportunities that may arise as economies in which Equity Group Holdings operates begin to recover.

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“If the economic crisis mutates into a financial crisis, Equity Group will be well placed to weather the challenge with a strong capital base, strong liquidity and an agile balance sheet that improves its leverage, and would allow the financial services group to shield and accommodate its customers throughout this period of uncertainty,“ said Dr. Mwangi.

He added, “However, should the crisis not play out as anticipated, the Board will explore various options and make suitable recommendations that will enhance shareholder value.”

With this approach, the Group leadership and management can focus on strategically positioning the business, in order to protect and preserve its customer base through loan accommodations and rescheduling/restructuring to enable them to go through the prevailing turbulence while at the same time preserving cash to shore up the financial revival and growth of its customers’ businesses post the COVID-19 crisis.

The Board continues to evaluate the potential impact of the pandemic on the Group and to formulate and implement strategic plans to mitigate any effects, and will, in the usual manner ensure that it keeps the shareholders and other stakeholders informed.

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Listed blue-chip firms defy Covid to grow NSE wealth

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Listed blue-chip firms defy Covid to grow NSE wealth

Nairobi Securities Exchange
The Nairobi Securities Exchange. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

The share prices of select blue-chip stocks at the Nairobi bourse have gone up since Kenya imposed a dusk-to-dawn curfew over Covid-19 that has hit businesses, underlining the diverging stock market and household fortunes.

Since March 25, when the nationwide curfew was imposed, the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) has been on the rise, adding Sh254 billion to shareholders’ wealth.

This has made the NSE one of the few places to make money in an economic environment that has seen plunging corporate sales, unpaid staff leaves as well as salary and job cuts.

Safaricom #ticker:SCOM, KCB Group #ticker:KCB, Equity Group #ticker:EQTY and East African Breweries Limited (EABL) #ticker:EABL accounted for more than 80 percent of the paper wealth gain over the period, underlining the impact of the four counters in shaping the performance of the bourse.

The four firms had also accounted for about 72 percent of the paper wealth erosion when the bourse hit its lowest level in mid-March as the spread of the coronavirus and other economic headwinds sparked an exit of foreign investors.

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The stock gains are the product of investors seeking to buy shares at a bargain, hoping for outsized capital gains when the stock market recovers.

By Friday, the value of all the stocks on the bourse stood at Sh2.146 trillion, compared to Sh1.89 trillion on March 25. However, they remained below the Sh2.6 trillion peak of January 10.

Separate reports released earlier this week by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) and the Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) have painted a gloomy picture in the financial health of households and companies.

A half of the households surveyed by KNBS reported that they were either unable to pay their rent or had barely managed to make partial payments, citing reduced incomes, temporary job losses and delay in income as some of the reasons.

Manufacturers have also said that 79 percent of them were facing financial constraints, while 69 percent admitted that they were struggling to pay their employees.

The World Bank forecasts that Kenya’s economic growth will slow down to 1.5 percent this year, and contract one percent in the worst-case scenario as the restrictions to stop Coronavirus sap demand from trading partners like Europe, and disrupt both supply chains and domestic production.

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Analysts say that this divergence reflects a market that is largely driven by services firms, in contrast to the fact that majority of Kenyans are employed in the agriculture, SME and informal sectors which have borne the brunt of the restriction measures put in place to contain Covid-19.

“The highest weighting on the NSE is services companies like Safaricom and banks, which is not a reflection of the economy that is largely agrarian,” said Stanbic regional economist for Eastern Africa Jibran Qureishi.

In the Kenyan economy, job losses and pay cuts have become a common feature for many companies that are struggling to find business, with the repercussions being felt from the beginning of April.

Motor vehicle assemblers for instance reported that new unit sales fell by almost half last month to 594 compared to 1,127 sold in the same month last year.

The virus has also caused a drop in power consumption. Usage fell by 13.2 percent or 129.5 million units last month to a 32-month low of 848.6 million kWh, a result of lower consumer demand and firms and industries cutting back on their operations. “The regulations put in place have resulted in shut down of industries and massive job losses. Fear looms of an economic recession with far greater magnitude than the 2008/2009 global financial crisis,” said KAM in its survey conducted jointly with consultancy firm KPMG.

Since March 25, Safaricom has seen its market valuation increase 20 percent or Sh196.3 billion, while Equity Bank is up 11.1 percent or Sh13.5 billion. EABL has gained 10.7 percent or Sh12.4 billion in the period. KCB and Co-operative Bank are up 7.1 per cent and four percent respectively, equivalent to market cap gains of Sh7.7 billion and Sh2.6 billion.

These firms are the five largest and most liquid at the bourse, accounting for 75 percent of the NSE’s total market cap. Shares are also more in tune with the global investor sentiment, due to the influence of foreign investors.

“Equities will largely be driven by valuations on a comparative basis against markets such as Egypt and Nigeria for sub-Saharan Africa, and mirror global risk sentiments, hence these divergences with the rest of the economy,” said Mr Qureishi.

A similar divergence of the markets and the economy has been seen on Wall Street, as the American stock market is commonly referred to, which is enjoying gains that have been backed by renewed bond buying by the US Federal Reserve.

The S&P 500 is trading at a two-month high, and the Nasdaq a three-month high, backed mainly by gains on tech giants like Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Facebook and Apple, which are deemed by investors to have a good chance of weathering the Covid disruptions.

Meanwhile, unemployment in the US has gone up from pre-Covid levels of four to 16 percent, the worst it has been since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

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Equity halts Sh9 billion dividend on Corona fears

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Equity halts Sh9 billion dividend on Corona fears

Equity Branch
Customers at an Equity Branch in Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Equity Group #ticker:EQTY has cancelled its proposed dividend payout of Sh2.50 per share or a total of Sh9.4 billion, citing the need to conserve cash in the wake of the global Covid-19 pandemic.

This is the first time the country’s second-largest bank by assets has skipped dividends since listing on the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) in August 2006. It becomes the latest big bank to hold or postpone cash distributions to shareholders after the NCBA Group #ticker:NCBA and the Standard Chartered Bank Kenya #ticker:SCBK.

Equity, which has restructured Sh92 billion or 25.1 percent of its loan book due to the pandemic’s effects on the economy, says the proposed dividend was announced during better times and now needs to be shelved.

“Accordingly, the board has passed a resolution withdrawing the proposed dividend recommendation and instead will be recommending to the shareholders that no dividend is paid for the financial year ended 31st December, 2019,” Equity said in a statement. “Therefore, the shareholders of the company and other investors are advised to exercise caution when dealing in the company’s ordinary shares on the Nairobi Securities Exchange, the Uganda Securities Exchange and the Rwanda Stock Exchange.”

The bank was scheduled to pay the dividend on July 24 to shareholders on record as of June 12.

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Besides the pressure on its balance sheet brought by government measures to slow down the spread of coronavirus, Equity’s need to conserve cash is also motivated by its commitment to spend Sh10 billion to acquire a 66.5 percent stake in DRC-based Banque Commerciale du Congo.

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The bank’s move Monday distinguished it as the country’s largest lender to skip dividends in recent history. In contrast, Co-op Bank #ticker:COOP demonstrated its confidence by bringing forward its Sh1 per share or Sh5.8 billion dividend, which was paid on April 23.

KCB Group #ticker:KCB is also progressing with the payout of its final dividend of Sh2.50 per share or an aggregate of Sh8 billion on or before July 3.

“Dear shareholder, please register to participate in the KCB Group AGM … You can also choose to receive future dividends via mobile money during the registration,” the lender’s shares administrator, Image Registrars, said in a communication to investors on Monday.

KCB has not withdrawn its proposed dividend, which is among the agenda items to be voted on at the meeting. StanChart could join Equity and NCBA among the lenders that changed their minds on paying dividends. The bank said it will not meet its dividend payment date due to inability to hold an AGM even though the Capital Markets Authority has allowed listed firms to pay dividends even without shareholder approval.

“We are monitoring the Covid-19 pandemic which continues to pose a challenge even as we work towards determining the most suitable timing and manner for holding the 34th AGM which remains postponed,” the lender said in a notice.

“Consequently, the company will not be in a position to pay the dividend on May 28, 2020 as proposed and announced through the NSE as it would not have been approved by shareholders at an AGM as required.”

NCBA was the first to surprise the market by cancelling its earlier dividend declaration of Sh1.50 per share (Sh2.2 billion) and replaced it with a bonus share of one for every 10 held.

The bank said it had changed its mind after taking stock of the potential impact of the pandemic on its business.

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