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Why trinity of sustainable business events is critical for Kenya : The Standard

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The meetings industry, also known as Business Events Tourism, has come of age. It has firmly placed itself at the centre of tourism as one of the key drivers of the sector’s development and an important generator of income, employment and investment.

In addition to important business opportunities, the meetings industry provides immense benefits to the broader economy as it generates on average a higher spending level, reduces seasonality, contributes to the regeneration of destinations, spreads knowledge and enhances innovation and creativity.
For a sustainable development of business events industry to be realised, a properly anchored and balanced relationship must exist among the ‘trinity’ of sustainable business events: Policy (government), enterprise (business sector) and innovation (research), where each part plays its role individually and collectively.
Policy is the planned formation of social domains through collectively binding decisions. Since the Government is the custodian of laws and regulations, it needs to develop policies for business events tourism that are well thought in conjunction with relevant stakeholders. The policies should guide standards for conference facilities, event management, environmental sustainability, incentive, subsidies and subventions for bidding events.
The enterprise is influenced by the forces of demand and supply. The business events industry is not unique to these forces. The supply of the business events industry refers to the characteristic and products such as accommodation, hospitality and catering, transport, conference and exhibitions, while the demand side refers to conference organisers, delegates, exhibitors and visitors.
The enterprises encompass all stakeholders responsible for both supply and demand from private businesses and community resource managers to public entities entrusted with the management, conservation and commercialisation of all factors.
Facilitates events

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Innovation has become critical to economic development and there is a clear statistical link between it and gains in the standards of living. As we have already experienced, the Internet of Things in the 21st century has caused a major disruption in the way business is done.
The supply side of business events is the most challenged as it facilitates business events. As demand side becomes techno-savvy, the more sophisticated their demands are and the supply side is not only expected to keep pace but to outpace them to create a ‘wow’ effect.
Research and innovation touch on scholars, academicians and researchers, among others. With these come principles of collective reasoning, standards and ethics in form of associations, societies and federations.
These professional groups are important in advancement of their distinct fields of knowledge and their linkages to global societies become a key source of demand in the business events industry.
Kenyan universities and their linkages are the bastions of new knowledge creation. These minds create exhibitions, meetings and conferences as opportunities to disseminate, broadcast and bounce off that new knowledge to other similar minds across the globe, and as such the business events industry should encourage and support such initiatives.
Kenya is a renowned tourism jewel in itself and has attracted travellers through the centuries. There is already a strong foundation to propel business events to a successful future.
The recent establishment of a National Convention Bureau forms the apex or the centre of a three-sided pyramid, around which the trinity coalesces. 
The author is a specialist in sustainable business events and tourism development. Email:[email protected]

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Shilling dips, NSE sheds Sh110bn after economy reopening

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Shilling dips, NSE sheds Sh110bn after economy reopening

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

The shilling dipped against the dollar while the Nairobi Securities Exchange #ticker:NSE lost Sh110 billion in the week Kenya announced a phased reopening of the country from Covid-19 lockdown to stimulate the economy.

The value of all the stocks on the Nairobi bourse hit a three-month low of Sh2.02 trillion on Friday compared to Sh2.13 trillion on July 3 – ahead of the market factoring in news on the easing of the restrictions.

Analysts linked the NSE dip to foreign investors’ reduced interest in blue-chip stocks, arguing that most traders were fretting over the performance of market movers like Safaricom #ticker:SCOM and the big banks.

The high-net worth traders believe the effects of coronavirus will dim the earnings power of Safaricom’s M-Pesa and banks, says Sarah Wanga, head of research at AIB Capital, arguing that the investors are less optimistic of a quick turnaround with the reopening.

But merchandise importers and multinational companies stepped up purchase of dollars to meet obligations following the phased reopening amid the reduced inflows of hard currency, currency traders said.

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This saw the shilling close the week at Sh107.10 to the dollar, compared with Sh106.61 on July 3 — moving above Sh107 for the first time since May 28.

Local traders expect the easing of travel restrictions and resumption of flights announced on July 6 to increase demand for products, triggering the need to import finished goods like cars and clothing and raw materials for businesses that have, since April, faced reduced cash flow.

President Uhuru Kenyatta on July 6 ended the cessation of movement in and out of Nairobi, Mombasa and Mandera.

He also allowed domestic commercial and passenger flights to resume operations on July 15 while international travel returns on August 1 in efforts expected to ease the pain of Covid-19 on the economy.

The pandemic has battered the economy and delivered mass jobs cuts with the Treasury projecting growth to slow to 2.5 percent this year from 5.4 percent last year.

But foreign investors who drive the NSE are less optimistic on the reopening of the economy, changing the fortunes of blue-chip firms like Safaricom, Equity Group #ticker:EQTY, KCB Group #ticker:KCB, Cooperative Bank #ticker:COOP and East Africa Breweries Limited #ticker:EABL.

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The five counters influence the Nairobi bourse and account for nearly 80 percent of the value of all stocks on the NSE.

“Foreigners increased their net selling in the week. There is concern over performance of the market in general factoring in issues such as how companies will perform in the current environment,” said Ms Wanga.

“It may take a while for investors to start buying into the partial reopening of the economy given firms such as banks are still likely to see a continued rise in loan defaults and credit restructuring.”

Banks had restructured loans worth Sh679.6 billion or 23.4 percent of the total loan book by end of May due to the coronavirus economic hardships that have hurt the borrowers’ ability to repay.

The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) and bankers are yet to comment on the potential impact of the loan restructuring on the lenders earnings this year.

Safaricom , KCB , Cooperative, Equity and EABL accounted for about 91 percent of the paper wealth erosion or Sh100.4 billion loss over the past week, underlining their dominance of the NSE.

The blue-chip stocks are a favourite of foreign investors who in recent weeks have sold their equity holdings.

Safaricom’s share price declined 7.2 percent to Sh27.50 in the week to Friday. This saw the company shed Sh86.1 billion of its market value.

Co-op Bank shed Sh3.81 billion while KCB lost Sh3.77 billion), EABL (Sh3.55 billion) and Equity (Sh3.21 billion).

“Foreign investors seem to be concerned about the M-Pesa revenue given the extended fee waiver on transactions of up to Sh1,000. First half numbers for M-Pesa may not be very impressive,” said Ms Wanga.

Safaricom looks set to forego revenues estimated at losses of up to Sh16.2 billion in the nine months to December after the CBK extended the waiver on mobile money transaction fees under Sh1,000 to the end of the year.

The Sh16.2 billion is equivalent to about a fifth or 19.1 percent of M-Pesa’s annual sales, underlining the impact of the pandemic on Safaricom’s earnings.

The free service aimed at cutting down on the handling of cash and the attendant risk of Covid-19 being transmitted from person to person.

The order also affected commercial banks, which had on March 16, removed charges for customers moving money between their mobile wallets and bank accounts.

The lenders are also set to lose billions of shillings with Equity Bank saying it is losing Sh120 million monthly due to the free service.

Ms Wanga reckons that Covid-19 data will continue to influence the performance of the NSE, especially if the cases spike with the reopening.

Kenya had confirmed 10,105 cases of the coronavirus with 185 total deaths by Sunday.

Mr Kenyatta said the State will review the cases after 21 days and threatened to return to lockdown if the cases rise sharply.

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Ndegwa brothers reveal Sh3.2 billion NCBA ownership

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Ndegwa brothers reveal Sh3.2 billion NCBA ownership

NCBA Group chairman James Ndegwa (left) and his
NCBA Group chairman James Ndegwa (left) and his brother Andrew Ndegwa each own a 4.16 percent personal stake in the bank with a market value of Sh1.6 billion apiece. FILE PHOTOS | NMG 

NCBA Group #ticker:NCBA chairman James Ndegwa and his brother Andrew Ndegwa each own a 4.16 percent personal stake in the bank with a market value of Sh1.6 billion apiece.

The Nairobi Securities Exchange-listed firm has made the disclosure through its first annual report based on the requirement that directors of publicly-traded firms reveal their ownership.

The two are non-executive directors of NCBA, the product of the merger of the NIC Group and CBA Group in September last year.

The brothers held shares in the two banks and the merger has consolidated their ownership in NCBA, which is now ranked third in the country by assets.

James previously held 52.5 million shares of NIC and 3.1 million shares of CBA. Andrew held 52.5 million shares of NIC and 3.4 million shares of CBA.

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The CBA shares were subsequently multiplied 2.7 times and transferred to the merged bank.

The merger was done through a share swap, with former CBA shareholders ending up with a combined 53 percent equity in the merged entity while former NIC investors were allotted a 47 percent stake.

On completion of the transaction, James’ holdings had consolidated into 61.3 million shares equivalent to a 4.09 percent stake in NCBA while Andrew’s stood at 62.2 million shares (4.16 percent).

The larger Ndegwa family has an estimated 11.6 percent stake in NCBA with a market value of Sh4.6 billion based on the lender’s share price of Sh26.4 on Friday.

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The brothers are among a group of top investors with banking stakes valued at more than Sh1 billion each. Others include Equity Group’s #ticker:EQTY chief executive James Mwangi who holds a 4.38 percent stake in the lender worth Sh5.4 billion.

Co-operative Bank #ticker:COOP chief executive Gideon Muriuki has a two percent stake in the lender valued at Sh1.4 billion.

It is not clear when the Ndegwa brothers acquired shares in the former CBA but the disclosures ahead of the merger shows that Kenyans became shareholders in the lender after buying out Bank of America between 1984 and 1992.

The Ndegwa family, through their investment vehicle, First Chartered Securities, also acquired their initial 12 percent stake in NIC between 1993 and 1996 by buying shares from the lender’s previous owner, Barclays Bank of Kenya.

The family, one of wealthiest in Kenya, later acquired more shares in NIC to reach a 25 percent stake by the time the lender merged with CBA.

The brothers are the sons of late Philip Ndegwa, a former CBK governor, who died in 1996.

The two lenders merged to benefit from economies of scale in a competitive industry where big banks take most of the profits from diversified operations including retail and corporate banking.

NCBA is now ranked third with assets of Sh509.5 billion in the first quarter ended March, trailing Equity (Sh693.2 billion) and KCB #ticker:KCB (Sh947 billion).

Co-op Bank, which is now ranked fourth after the rise of NCBA, had Sh470.4 billion in assets. Co-op Bank, however, retains its rank as the third most profitable lender with net earnings of Sh3.5 billion or more than twice NCBA’s Sh1.6 billion in the review period.

“In the next year we will concentrate a lot of our efforts in consolidating our business, ensuring the best of our twin heritage is rolled out smoothly across the region and even internally,” James Ndegwa wrote in the NCBA report.

“We anticipate receiving the remaining regulatory approvals in Uganda and Tanzania to operate as NCBA soon and these will allow us to consolidate our business in the region.”

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Clerics in Thika vow not to leave operations to youth – KBC

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A section of church leaders in Thika have vowed to continue shutting down their churches until the government relaxes the age limit measures, arguing they cannot entrust the youth with stewardship of places of worship.

KBC Radio_KICD Timetable

They said the youth lacked leadership qualities to run the church and added if allowed, they would cripple church operations.

This comes after the government directed that all church congregants be above 13 years and below 58, an age limit which most of the pastors have surpassed.

Speaking during a thanksgiving prayer meeting attended by Thika MP Patrick Wainaina at Mugumo-ini Primary School in Thika town, the clerics said as founders of the churches, leaving their operations to the youth is not an option.

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Seventy-year-old Rev Joseph Mutunga of New Life church in Kiganjo village said as elders and founders of their churches, they are the custodians of the doctrines and vision of their churches and added it was wrong to prohibit them from attending church services.

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Rev Mutunga said they rather wait for normalcy to resume when all members will be allowed to attend than rush into opening and affect operations.

He added most of his church committee members who are the backbone of the church are elderly hence have been automatically excluded from attending religious services.

“The age limit proposal will not only cripple out church operations, but will also erode the gains we as church leaders have made in offering leadership. To avert this, the government should relax the restrictive measures,” said Rev. Mutunga.

Others including Rev Simon Githiora of Makongeni Presbyterian church and Francis Kilango of Springs of Life Apostolic Ministries wondered why age restrictions were only slapped on church congregations.

“It beats common sense why elderly persons should be barred from attending church service yet they are not restricted from going to bars, supermarkets and other public places,” said Kilango.

The Inter-Religious Faith Council that was mandated to formulate guidelines for reopening of places of worship also imposed a limit on the number to attend worship to 100. It also locked out children under the age of 13 years.

The Thika clerics also called for inclusion of all church members so long as there will be observance of social distancing, washing of hands, wearing of masks and avoidance of greetings.

They said exemption of children from services will set the stage for deterioration of societal norms and erosion of morals among the youth.

Wainaina promised to donate hand-washing units to all churches in the constituency as a way of supporting the houses of worship resume operations.

The MP urged churches to adopt innovations such as disinfection booths to keep away the deadly virus and protect members.

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