UK Partners With Kenyan Fintech Companies to Increase Financial Inclusion

The Lord Mayor of the City of London, Peter Estlin, has announced £10 million of UK Aid support towards financial technology (fintech) accelerator Catalyst Fund during a visit to Nairobi.

His visit comes ahead of the first UK-Africa Investment Summit next year, which will bring together businesses, governments and international institutions to encourage investment in a range of sectors, including fintech.

The Catalyst Fund supports business development and investor opportunities for early stage fintech companies in emerging markets. With support from the UK Department for International Development, the Catalyst Fund will help connect a further 30 local fintech companies with international investors and mentors, including Kenyan fintech companies.

Speaking during the launch at the Nairobi Garage, the Lord Mayor said, “Today’s announcement highlights the mutual benefits of closer financial co-operation to both the UK and Kenya. By forging partnerships across Africa, the UK’s financial services sector can turbocharge national economies and empower individuals financially, creating thousands of jobs and enriching lives across the continent”.

The Catalyst Fund offering combines bespoke Venture Building support from fintech and emerging markets experts, patient capital in the form of flexible grants, and curated, 1:1 connections with our circles of investors, corporates and universities.

The British High Commissioner to Kenya Jane Marriott said: Kenya’s FinTech sector is strong, diverse and growing quickly. The innovators we met today show the future of Kenya’s economic growth and I am proud that the UK is able to support their work, helping create growth, jobs and the achievement of the Global Goals in partnership between our two countries.

Amolo Ng’weno, CEO of BFA Global who manages the Catalyst Fund, added: In Kenya, access to digital financial services is no longer the major issue – today we need to work toward ordinary citizens improving their financial health, gaining new access to opportunity and accessing basic services. At BFA, we see a significant opportunity for inclusive fintech startups to play this role. However, in order to succeed, they require early stage capital, partnerships which can enable pathways for scale, and access to a high potential talent pool. Our mission at the Catalyst Fund is to accelerate these startups and strengthen the inclusive fintech ecosystem, and we look forward to working toward this goal with the support of UK Aid.

The Lord Mayor also announced through the City of London Corporation that five startups under the Catalyst Fund will be selected to attend the Innovate Finance Global Summit, taking place during UK Fintech week in 2020, helping to strengthen the links between UK and African fintech sectors.

 

 

For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, Remuneration, and Expat Tax needs, email marketing@relocationafrica.com, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Sources: [1], [2]. Image sources: [1], [2].

New Kenyan Retirement Benefit Regulations

This information is courtesy of Iseme, Kamau & Maema Advocates (IKM).

The Government of Kenya, through the Cabinet Secretary for the National Treasury and Planning, published Legal Notice Number 88 of 2019 dated 13th June, 2019 which amended the Retirement Benefits (Occupational Retirement Benefits Schemes) Regulations, 2000 (the “Regulations”). Regulation 19 (5) (a) (ii) was amended to read as follows: “the scheme rules shall provide that: where a member leaves employment after vesting of his benefits but before attaining the specified early retirement age, he may opt for payment of his own contribution where he is a member of a defined contribution scheme.

The effect of this amendment was that where the employment relationship came to an end and the employee had not reached the retirement age provided for in the Trust Deed and/or the Pension/Provident Fund Rules, he/she would no longer be entitled to the employer’s portion of contributions and the investment income gained from the contributions until he attained the retirement age.

The Regulations were, however, challenged on a number of grounds including absence of public participation. The Parliamentary Committee on Delegated Legislations, upon further consideration, proposed through the attached report that the amendments be annulled. The Report was tabled and adopted by Parliament on 2nd October, 2019, thereby annulling the proposed amendments.

Consequently, employees are now entitled to 100% of their contributions and 50% of the employer’s contributions upon termination of employment.

To view the government’s document on the amendment, click here.

 

 

For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, Remuneration, and Expat Tax needs, email info@relocationafrica.com, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Sources: [1], [2]. Image sources: Snowmanradio [1], [2].

Kenyan Data Protection Act Signed Into Law

This information is courtesy of Iseme, Kamau & Maema Advocates (IKM).

On Friday 8th November, 2019, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta signed into law the Data Protection Act, 2019.

The Act gives effect to Article 31 (c) and (d) of the Constitution of Kenya, 2010 which guarantee every person the right to privacy.

Highlights

1. Key definitions

“Data subject”- an identifiable natural person who is the subject of personal data.

“Personal data”- any information relating to an identified or identifiable natural person.

“Data controllers”- natural or legal persons, public authorities, agencies or other bodies which, alone or jointly with others, determine the purpose and means of processing of personal data.

“Data processors”- natural or legal person, public authority, agency or other body which processes personal data on behalf of the data controller.

2. Office of the Data Protection Commissioner

The Act establishes the office of the Data Protection Commissioner (“DPC”) to be recruited and employed by the Public Service Commission upon appointment by the President subject to the approval of the National Assembly.

3. Registration of Data Controllers and Processors

It is an offence to act as a data processor or data controller unless one is registered with the DPC.

4. Data Processing

Data must be processed in a manner that: upholds the data subject’s right to privacy; lawfully; limited to the purpose for which it is collected; limited to the purpose for which it is collected; accurate and up to date; kept in a form which identifies the data subjects for no longer than is necessary; and not transferred outside Kenya save as permitted in the Act.

5. Notification of Breach

Data controllers must employ appropriate security measures to prevent the unauthorized access, disclosure or loss of the personal data collected by them. In the event of breach, they are required to report it to the DPC within 72 hours and to the affected data subjects without undue delay.

6. Transfer of Data Outside Kenya

Personal data may only be transferred outside Kenya with the approval of the DPC upon proof of the existence of appropriate safeguards for the data being transferred.

7. Penalties for non-compliance

General penalty- a fine not exceeding Kenya Shillings Three Million Shillings (Ksh. 3,000,000/- (US$30,000) or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 10 years, or to both.

 

For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, Remuneration, and Expat Tax needs, email marketing@relocationafrica.com, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Sources: [1], [2]. Image sources: [1], [2].

A Country First: Nairobi Farmers Market Seeks to Link Food Producers Directly with Buyers

Kenyan farmers will soon have their own market where they sell produce directly to consumers, cutting off the traditional value chain that is replete with middlemen.

The Nairobi Farmers Market, which is under construction in the upmarket Runda Estate, off Kiambu Road, will contain 45 stalls that are exclusively operated by farmers.

This borrows from international practice where most cities have farmers markets that supply produce direct from the farms to the consumers. While some provide temporary selling space for different farmers on a day-to-day basis, others lease out permanent shops that are operated by individual farmers who take the space on a long-term basis.

“We are essentially addressing the contradiction where farm-gate prices for cabbages, for example, are less than Sh10 a piece but the consumer pays Sh60. In-between numerous traders, brokers and county levy collectors eat the sweat from the farmer and the savings from the consumer. We are creating a facility that will be a big help for both the farmer and the consumer,” says Mr Munene Mashine, the Project Manager.

He says the other concern the market will address will be traceability of produce and guarantee of good agricultural practices. All the farmers/shop owners will have to submit to regular inspections and certification, similar to what is required of export produce.

Questions have been asked about some of the fresh produce sold in Kenya, with suspicions that some of it is grown with sewage and other polluted water.

The proposed market, which is expected to open in July, will contain sections for fresh produce, Beef, fish and poultry products, dairy produce and a grains section. The Mwea Rice Centre within the market, for example, promises to provide “Mwea rice at Mwea prices” – a potentially revolutionary approach that will ensure great conveniences for Nairobi shoppers keen on the popular Pishori rice.

An artist’s impression of the Nairobi Farmers Market in Runda, which will open in July 2019.

The market developers say they will encourage stall owners to contract and supervise small-scale growers to ensure sufficient supplies within the set quality guidelines while also spreading the benefits of the market to more farmers. By aggregating produce from the many farmers in the market, they hope to create a secondary outlet for supplying institutional customers such as hotels, restaurants, schools and hospitals. This will ensure and an expansive market potential that can provide an outlet for thousands of farmers.

“We will encourage shop owners to sign up outgrowers across the country, and even to work with County Governments where necessary. This way we can create an efficient road to market for the exceptional pineapple growers of Homa Bay, the sweet potato farmers in Kakamega and the honey producers in Baringo and elsewhere. We are creating a platform that offers guarantees at both the supply and demand side of the equation and hopefully we can provide some stability for everyone,” says Mr Mashine.

Globally, farmers’ markets usually include an eating out section where freshly-prepared dishes are served. The markets, such as the Borough Market in London, La Boqueria in Barcelona and the Shongweni Farmers Market in South Africa, are top tourist attractions as they provide a good perspective of what the country has to offer.

The Nairobi market will also have a restaurant and since this is Kenya, a nyama choma outlet. Some farmers will be selling produce that has gone through some basic primary processing.

The developers say they want the market to be “fun for the shoppers because even though price advantage is important, it is not the only thing that matters to the modern shopper.”

The market is being developed by a local investor, United Agromarts Limited.

In order to also be in tune with modern shopping trends, the market plans to launch an aggressive home deliveries campaign driven through the Nairobi Farmers Market App.

“It will be a blend between the Uber and the Jumia technologies – you do your shopping online, and we are able to find where you are using the Google Maps facility. We will launch this as soon as the market opens and people see they can trust us, they don’t have to touch and feel the tomato before dropping it into the shopping basket. I think when people have worked so hard to earn their money, they shouldn’t always have to run all over the place to spend it. We will do the running for them,” says Mr Mashine.

 

For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, Remuneration, and Expat Tax needs, email marketing@relocationafrica.com, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Sources: [1], [2]. Image sources: [1], [2].

Kenyan Who Gave Earnings to Poor Wins $1M Teacher Prize

A Kenyan teacher from a remote village who gave away most of his earnings to the poor won a $1 million prize on Sunday for his work teaching in a government-run school that has just one computer and shoddy Internet access.

The annual Global Teacher Prize was awarded to Peter Tabichi in the opulent Atlantis Hotel in Dubai in a ceremony hosted by actor Hugh Jackman.

Tabichi said the farthest he’d traveled before this was to Uganda. Coming to Dubai marked his first time on an airplane.

“I feel great. I can’t believe it. I feel so happy to be among the best teachers in the world, being the best in the world,” he told The Associated Press after his win.

Tabichi teaches science to high schoolers in the semi-arid village of Pwani where almost a third of children are orphans or have only one parent. Drought and famine are common.

He said the school has no library and no laboratory. He plans to use the million dollars from his win to improve the school and feed the poor.

Despite the obstacles Tabichi’s students face, he’s credited with helping many stay in school, qualify for international competitions in science and engineering and go on to college.

“At times, whenever I reflect on the challenges they face, I shed tears,” he said of his students, adding that his win will help give them confidence.

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta said in a statement that Tabichi’s story “is the story of Africa” and of hope for future generations.

As a member of the Roman Catholic brotherhood, Tabichi wore a plain floor-length brown robe to receive the award presented by Dubai’s Crown Prince Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

The prize is awarded by the Varkey Foundation, whose founder, Sunny Varkey, established the for-profit GEMS Education company that runs 55 schools in the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Qatar.

In his acceptance speech, Tabichi said his mother died when he was just 11 years old, leaving his father, a primary school teacher, with the job of raising him and his siblings alone.

Tabichi thanked his father for instilling Christian values in him, then pointed to his father in the audience, invited him up on stage and handed him the award to hold as the room erupted in applause and cheers.

“I found tonight to be incredibly emotional, very moving,” Jackman told the AP after hosting the ceremony and performing musical numbers from his film The Greatest Showman.

“It was a great honor, a thrill to be here and I just thought the whole evening was just filled with a really pure spirit,” he added.

Now in its fifth year, the prize is the largest of its kind. It’s quickly become one of the most coveted and prestigious for teachers. Tabichi selected out of out 10,000 applicants.

The winner is selected by committees comprised of teachers, journalists, officials, entrepreneurs, business leaders and scientists.

Last year, a British art teacher was awarded for her work in one of the most ethnically diverse places in the country. Her work was credited with helping students feel welcome and safe in a borough with high murder rates.

Other winners include a Canadian teacher for her work with indigenous students in an isolated Arctic village where suicide rates are high, and a Palestinian teacher for her work in helping West Bank refugee children traumatized by violence.

The 2015 inaugural winner was a teacher from Maine who founded a nonprofit demonstration school created for the purpose of developing and disseminating teaching methods.

 

For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, Remuneration, and Expat Tax needs, email marketing@relocationafrica.com, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Sources: [1], [2]. Image sources: [1], [2].