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Safaricom achieves 50pc female employees target

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Safaricom says it has achieved 50 percent share of female employees on its payroll, coming amid an increase in the number of direct and indirect jobs it sustained in the last financial year growing nine percent to 979,000.

This is according to the telco’s 2019 Sustainable Business Report released on Thursday in which the firm also announced a plan to plant five million trees in the next five years as part of a carbon offset programme.

“We have achieved a 50:50 gender balance among our employees and 34 percent of senior management are women. In addition, 2.1 percent of our staff are persons living with disabilities,” the report notes.

In the year under review, the firm says 178 women-owned businesses were pre-qualified under its Women in Business initiative.

The firm supports 167,083 M-Pesa agents, 433 dealers, 1,138 suppliers, 4,503 permanent employees as well as other stakeholders.

The company had a staff headcount of 6,323 (permanent and contract staff) as at March 2019, an increase from 6,130 in 2018.

The latest Sustainable Business Report also notes that the telco disciplined 78 staff in the last financial year, even as an earlier released annual report had indicated that Safaricom fired 31 employees in the year ended March 2019 over fraud.

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“We consistently review our compliance with regulatory obligations, particularly those surrounding fraud, corruption and anti-money laundering legislation,” the report adds.

by nation.co.ke

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26-Year-Old woman launches Kenya’s first digital car insurance company

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By JUDITH GICOBI

In the aim to improve Kenya’s insurance industry, a 26-year-old Kenyan woman has introduced the first digital car insurance company in the country.

CEO and founder of Griffin Insurance, Jihan Abass, on Friday, introduced the company’s flagship mobile application that enables clients to buy and pay for insurance in installments and includes cover in case of traveling abroad.

Griffin is the country’s first digital-only car insurance company, and they aim to process clients’ claims in a week rather than the industry’s standard of 30 days.

“It allows you to buy your insurance policy in less than two minutes,” Abass told Reuters in her office in Nairobi.

Jihan graduated from Oxford University in the United Kingdom in 2015 and started sugar trading. The idea to start the company came in 2016 at a restaurant where most of the waiters did not have health insurance cover, so does many Kenyans. 

“Digital insurance can drive down the cost of all forms of insurance because it increases the transparency of data and analytics,” said Abass.

She added: “For the first time, Kenyan drivers will be able to buy their car insurance policy, with just a few simple clicks. They will read a clear, transparent policy and purchase extremely flexible insurance covers with adjustable periods and coverage amounts.”

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Kenya could lose Sh3bn US funding over graft

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Kenya’s persistent corruption blot may hinder its early access to a US multimillion-dollar development programme.

Nairobi is ranked 137 out of 180 countries on the latest Corruption Perceptions Index published by global watchdog Transparency International, indicating that despite the latest push to combat the vice, the war is far from being won.

With prevalent bribery and kickbacks in tendering and a police service clamping down on protesters, the US government suggests that Kenya’s access to funding for poverty alleviation programmes may be delayed.

In an interview with the Sunday Nation, Sean Cairncross, chief executive officer of the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), said Kenya is eligible for funding this year, but it must demonstrate obvious improvements in governance.

“One of the hurdles on our scorecard is the corruption indicator and so we recognise that in creating a dynamic economy and a market that is going to benefit the citizens of a country and reduce poverty through economic growth, corruption is a major constraint,” Mr Carincross said in Nairobi on Thursday.

 “With respect to Kenya, that is one of the issues that we are engaged on. We are kicking off programme development, so we don’t have yet a programme design and don’t know what that is going to look like.”

READ ALSO:   Safaricom staff charged with attempting to defraud firm of Sh300m

The leader of the US agency that says it applies a “new philosophy” to development aid was in Nairobi as part of an assessment to determine areas of need and funding structure, a process he said could take several months to be approved.

Last November, Kenya and Mozambique were prequalified for programmes targeting the poor as well as reforms in key departments. Further assessments based on indicators by the World Bank will determine when the money will be made available and who the recipients will be.

Kenya was qualified for the MCC Threshold, which means that once assessors approve of its progress on good governance indicators, Nairobi could access as much as $30 million (Sh3 billion) to run a three-year programme. According to MCC, the selection of Kenya for the programme is part of the US government’s efforts to reform institutions long clogged up with inefficiency.

If approved, the funding for Kenya from MCC could be the first in nearly a decade. The country routinely failed on certain indicators of “ruling justly”. Kenya received $12.7 million (Sh1.27 billion) from MCC between 2007 and 2010 — during the Mwai Kibaki presidency.

According to a programme profile provided to the Sunday Nation, the money went to changing procedures at the Kenya Medical Supplies Agency, the principal State organisation charged with supplying drugs to public hospitals, to reduce corruption in procurement and stock taking. After the programme ended, however, MCC indicated the government had slackened in the criteria and didn’t approve any further programmes until now.

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 “We are going to go through a process of several months of diagnostics and design to determine specifically how it is going to look like. There will undoubtedly be institutional and policy reform focus that is going to target corruption,” he told the Sunday Nation.

Since 2010, however, Kenya has introduced county governments which means that the assessment will now involve both levels of government. Mr Cairncross indicated the lessons learnt in the first programme will drive the new way of working this time round.

“It is an iterative process for us to learn to do things better.

“One of the things that we learn is to bring on board real private sector engagement because without that you are not going to have a sort of real economy that is going to benefit the entire population.”

BY Sunday Nation

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Shipped for Sh3 million: Why KWS’ four K-9s are pampered

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By JUDITH GICOBI

Kira, Tibo, Diva and Ram are not just like any other dog. They are expensive. About Ksh 3 million taxpayers’ money was spent on shipping them to Kenya. 

Unlike other dogs, these four have passports and other travel documents for international travel.

Head of the Mombasa-based canine unit, Emmanuel Wafula, says the three malinoises and a German shepherd were shipped in from Europe at a young age, which is the best age for learning new tricks.

“These are among the few dogs in the country with travel documents. The passports have details about their dates of birth, gender and other ‘personal’ information,” he says.

They are trained for about three months for them to master the scent of contraband items.

“The dogs are primarily trained in detecting ivory, rhino horns and pangolin scales. Since their deployment, cases of illegal wildlife trafficking have decreased,” says Wafula.

They are part of the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS)’s Canine Unit, and they have heavy duty for each dog, one of the heaviest responsibilities a dog can have along Kenya’s vast coastline – sniffing out any contraband wildlife trophies from Kiunga to Lunga Lunga.

The dogs are accompanied by six handlers and sent to key security installations along the coast, such as the Port of Mombasa and Moi International Airport.

They feed once a day pre-cooked dog food in the evenings after a tour of work, and there are not supposed to breed due to their busy schedule.

READ ALSO:   Safaricom to monetise customer location data
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