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VIDEO: 32 BRT buses arrive in Nairobi as local manufactures protest

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A photo of one of the buses to be used in Nairobi’s Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) service has emerged.

The image of the high-capacity bus imported by the government from South Africa has been obtained by The Star.

Transport and Infrastructure Cabinet Secretary James Macharia says that the first batch of the vehicles has already arrived in the country.

The large buses are painted yellow and dark blue and are written NaMATA on the side.

The publication says NaMATA stands for Nairobi Metropolitan Area Transport Authority.

BRT, also called a busway or transitway, is a bus-based public transport system designed to improve capacity and reliability relative to a conventional bus system. Typically, a BRT system includes roadways that are dedicated to buses, and gives priority to buses at intersections where buses may interact with other traffic; alongside design features to reduce delays caused by passengers boarding or leaving buses, or purchasing fares. BRT aims to combine the capacity and speed of a metro with the flexibility, lower cost and simplicity of a bus system.

“The first batch was 32 buses. What we are now trying to do is fast track the construction of stations and other supporting infrastructure so that as the buses come, we shall have proper infrastructure,” says CS Macharia.

READ ALSO:   Bus Rapid Transit lanes mark first anniversary, but where are the buses?

“We are just contracting and it will be done very quickly… maybe one or two months to make sure we have proper support infrastructure.”

Macharia notes that the government has already set aside Sh1.2 billion for setting up of BRT supporting infrastructure.

The rollout of the BRT system is part of the government’s bid to reduce traffic congestion in the city and revamp the capital’s public transport system.

In January this year,  Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) criticised the importation of vehicles for the Bus Rapid Transport (BRT), saying the move defeats the Big Four Agenda.

In a statement, KAM said manufacturing, as a key pillar in the Big Four Agenda for the country, means that local sourcing towards the growth of the sector and the consequent provision of jobs to our citizens cannot be understated.

“In our endeavour to grow the sector at 35% per year to achieve the desired 15% GDP contribution by 2022, the Buy Kenya Build Kenya Strategy should be rigorous and should prevail for both the short and medium term. This is especially so for products that can easily be manufactured within the country,” it said.

According to KAM, as the largest procurement entity in the country, the Government, where possible, ought to direct its spending on locally manufactured goods with a view of supporting the Big Four Agenda.

READ ALSO:   Bus Rapid Transit lanes mark first anniversary, but where are the buses?

Currently, it said the manufacturing sector’s contribution to the GDP is 8.3%, with a registered growth of 0.2% growth in 2017. Favouring imports over local content, as seen in the recent importation of 64 BRT buses from South Africa, bypassing the local bus assemblers and body builders, goes against the agenda to boost the sector’s ability to provide employment locally and increase its GDP contribution towards the country’s economic goals.

-Agencies

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Africa

Barclays Bank Kenya is now ABSA Kenya and it has opened its doors to the public

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Following the issuance of the requisite regulatory approvals, Barclays Bank of Kenya re-branded to Absa Bank Kenya on 10 February 2020 and is now open for business.

Absa Bank Kenya Plc  is a subsidiary of South Africa-based Absa Group Limited.[2] It is licensed by the Central Bank of Kenya, the central bank and national banking regulator.

The headquarters and main branch of the bank are located at Barclays Westend Building, off of Waiyaki Way, in Nairobi, Kenya’s capital and largest city.

The bank is a large financial services institution in Kenya, with an asset base in excess of KES:259.718 billion (US$2.597 billion), with shareholders’ equity of KES:42,388 billion (US$423,83 billion). At that time the bank serviced 833 268 customer accounts, in 121 branches, 214 automated teller machines and 2,591 members of staff.

Barclays Africa Group Limited has officially been renamed Absa Group Limited and started trading under its new name and new share code (ABG) on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange today. The name change marks the start of a new era for the group as a standalone African group with a new brand design fit for a forward-looking business in a digital age.

No longer just a South African brand, the new Absa Group has a presence in 12 African countries and plans to open international offices in the UK and the US.

READ ALSO:   Bus Rapid Transit lanes mark first anniversary, but where are the buses?

“Our new name and brand are an expression of our new purpose and strategic direction, which commits us to growing in Africa,” Absa Group Limited Chief Executive Officer, Maria Ramos said. “We are rallying around a shared sense of purpose and identity while celebrating our diversity,” she said.

Absa Group launched a new growth strategy on 1 March 2018 as it separates from Barclays PLC. The strategy prioritises cultural transformation as well as restoring leadership position in the group’s core business areas, and developing pioneering propositions for customers and clients. The new Absa brand design is an expression of the group’s new purpose, which is:  ‘bringing your possibility to life’.

The rollout of the new Absa brand design in South Africa will be completed in 2019. The new Absa brand will also be rolled out to Absa Group’s Barclays banks in Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Mozambique, Seychelles, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia by mid-2020, subject to approvals including from regulators in those countries. Product and service functionality will not be affected by the rebranding programme.

In renaming Barclays banks across the continent, the group will be able to build on the pedigree of the Absa brand as a strong and stable bank. The brand has substantial equity – Absa was named the fourth most valuable brand (with an estimated value of R18.9 billion, or about US$1.5 billion) in South Africa by global brand valuation and strategy consultancy Brand Finance this year.

READ ALSO:   Bus Rapid Transit lanes mark first anniversary, but where are the buses?

“We would like to build the brand as a bank that Africa’s people can be proud of, a truly independent African bank with global scalability,” said Ramos. “A single brand will enable us to unite behind a single identity, purpose and strategy; we are excited by the enormous opportunity we have to create a bank that Africa can be proud of.”

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Africa

Kenyan envoy to South Sudan collapses, dies

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Kenya’s Ambassador to South Sudan, Chris Karumba Mburu, is dead.

Mr Mburu, a former director at the National Intelligence Service (NIS), collapsed and died at his residence in Juba on Sunday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs says.

The official cause of death had not been established by the time this story was filed.

He was nominated to the post by President Uhuru Kenyatta in July 2018 in changes made to the diplomatic service.

He was appointed to the post at the same time as former Salaries and Remuneration Commission chairperson Sarah Serem (China) and former State House Spokesperson Manoah Esipisu (UK).

by nation.co.ke

READ ALSO:   Bus Rapid Transit lanes mark first anniversary, but where are the buses?
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Africa

VIDEO: Trump meets Uhuru at White House, announces plans to negotiate Trade Agreement with Kenya

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President Donald Trump met Thursday with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta at the White House and announced the United States plans to initiate trade agreement negotiations with the Republic of Kenya.

Kenya continues to be a vital partner to the United States in Africa and beyond. Since President Kenyatta’s August 2018 visit, when the two leaders established the United States-Kenya Bilateral Strategic Dialogue, the two countries have expanded partnership across many areas.

“President Trump looks forward to building on this momentum and discussing new opportunities to advance cooperation and trade,” said a statement from the White House.

“Kenya is a recognized leader across the continent, an important strategic partner of the United States, and there is enormous potential for us to deepen our economic and commercial ties,” said U.S.Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. “Under President Trump’s leadership, we look forward to negotiating and concluding a comprehensive, high-standard agreement with Kenya that can serve as a model for additional agreements across Africa.”

Kenya is strategically important to the U.S., as the U.S. tries to offset the influence of China. China eclipsed the U.S. as Africa’s largest trading partner more than a decade ago.
Kenyatta’s visit to Trump’s White House is rare for an African head of state. Kenyatta met with Trump once before in August 2018, when as the White House said Thursday, “the two leaders established the United States-Kenya Bilateral Strategic Dialogue.”


Trump has not shown much interest in African countries since he has been in office. The U.S. has free trade pacts with 20 countries, but none in Africa.

READ ALSO:   Bus Rapid Transit lanes mark first anniversary, but where are the buses?

The U.S. State Department announced Wednesday, however, that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo would visit Africa for the first time from Feb. 15 to 19, with stops scheduled in Angola, Ethiopia and Senegal.

Trade between the U.S. and Kenya stands at about $1 billion a year.  Over 70% ($466 million in 2018) of Kenya’s exports to the U.S. entered under African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).

Kenyatta and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga were on Wednesday the key note speakers at a luncheon organised to mark this year’s US National Prayer Breakfast in Washington DC.

The President recounted the distabilising impact post-election conflicts have had on the country’s growth over the last thirty years saying the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) is aimed at finding a homegrown solution to the divisive nature of Kenyan politics.

A poster announcing the invite to the White House. PHOTO|FILE

 

He noted that divisive politics and the resultant ethnic tensions negatively affect the country’s development trajectory saying, “once the election comes, everything stops…business stops one year before an election and restarts one year after an election”.

“It is impossible to bring prosperity and longterm economic stability that’s required for a nation to develop and grow without stable peace.

“Everybody used to plan their businesses around the election cycle,” President Kenyatta told the international audience that comprised mostly of senior American officials.

READ ALSO:   Bus Rapid Transit lanes mark first anniversary, but where are the buses?

President Kenyatta, who retraced Kenya’s history of electon related ethnic conflicts since the adoption of multiparty democracy in the early 90’s, said his coming together with his main political challenger Raila Odinga was motivated by the realisation that the disruption of the economy by electoral tensions every so often was not sustainable.

He narrated the tense and long process leading to the “handshake” with Mr Odinga saying they went against the hard-line positions held by their supporters.

“We sat in a room and it took almost six hours for us to even begin talking anything…it was, what you call, excruciating silence because nobody wanted to be the first to say anything,” President Kenyatta said.

The Kenyan leader expressed satisfaction that millions of Kenyans have joined and are participating in the BBI process saying democracy cannot thrive in an environment of political uncertainty.

“We shook hands and embraced and that one single moment changed the whole country. Because nobody would ever have imagined that we would shake hands and embrace,” the President said.

He continued: “Since then, we have walked as brothers, we have brought onboard (Kenyans) and said that this process that we’ve started is not a political process but rather a process that seeks to entrench our democracy.”

The President said through the BBI, Kenya had began the process of reconciliation and national healing adding that his greatest desire is to leave a peaceful and united country.

READ ALSO:   Bus Rapid Transit lanes mark first anniversary, but where are the buses?

“The greatest gift that me and my brother (Raila Odinga) can possibly ever leave the people of Kenya is the gift of peace, the gift of love and unity of all our people. And that’s the mission that we are on,” he said.

Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga said he shares the President’s determination and committment to achieve national cohesion through the BBI process by building trust and unity among Kenyans.

The opposition leader said BBI is a historic journey to a united and stable Kenya adding that the process will also help address several challenges facing the country including youth unemployment, corruption and negative ethnicity.

“We discovered that there were no national ethos. We talked about shared prosperity or disparity in terms of regional development, ethnicity as a factor that divides our people. We talked about issues of corruption as a cancer in our society,” Mr Odinga said.

President Kenyatta was introduced to the distinguished audience by Senator Christopher Coons who is the Chairman of the Subcommittee on African Affairs of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

The Delaware Senator spoke glowingly of President Kenyatta and opposition leader Raila Odinga saying the determination by the two Kenyan leaders to unite their country by reaching out to each other and closing ranks makes them global role models.

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