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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.”

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.

 “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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KQ resumes direct flights to New York

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The national carrier Kenya Airways (KQ) resumed its direct flights between Nairobi and New York on Sunday.

In a tweet, KQ announced the move and topped it up with an offer to passengers who book their flights before December 10 that they will enjoy discounted prices.

Welcome back to the Big Apple! Today we resume our service between Nairobi and New York, and we can’t wait to welcome you on board. Book your ticket via https://t.co/hitS3Whxtp before December 10th to enjoy discounted rates ✈️🌎 *Disclaimer – video from our pre-COVID archives pic.twitter.com/1kET4h0kRK

— Kenya Airways (@KenyaAirways) November 29, 2020

“Welcome back to the Big Apple! Today we resume our service between Nairobi and New York, and we can’t wait to welcome you on board,” the airline said.

The national carrier last operated the passenger flights using the Nairobi-New York route in April after disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

KQ resumed international flights in August after suspending all its operations in March following the government’s directives after the firsts case of Covid-19 was confirmed in Kenya.

On Saturday, October 31, KQ announced that it had postponed New York flights’ resumption.

Through a notice, the airline said the decision to postpone the flights was informed by the increased cancellation of flight bookings to New York.

“We regret to announce that due to increased cancellations of flight bookings to New York City, we have pushed back the resumption of our service to this destination to November 29. We sincerely apologise for the inconvenience caused,” read the statement then.

Kenya Airways inaugurated direct flights to the US in October 2018, cutting the journey to the US by 15 hours and by October 2019 KQ had flown at least 105,084 passengers after completing 594 flights to and from New York.

by NN


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Bodaboda chama grows into a multi-million shilling housing cooperative

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A journey of a thousand many miles starts with a single step. A Nakuru-based bodaboda operator’s self-help group proved this in its growth. Driven by the ambition to have something to take home once they couldn’t ride any more, ten bodaboda operators from Barut, Nakuru West in 2015 formed Kianjahi Group, pooling a minimum savings of Sh100 per week per person.

“Being a bodaboda operator is a risky job and has serious effect on one’s health especially if you don’t dress properly for the cold. After attending a seminar in Machakos we decided to start making savings,” said Benson Sigei, the group chairperson.

The group grew as more members joined in 2016. After evaluating their progress, the members increased their weekly savings to Sh200 and eventually to Sh1,000.

“Before the year ended we were nearly 100 members. Our savings were growing and we had to come up with plans which some members considered as too ambitious and pulled out,” says Sigei. With savings of nearly Sh2 million, they bought a 1.6-acre piece of land which was previously a sand quarry.

“It cost us Sh2.1 million in buying the land and rehabilitating it to usable standards. We embarked on making savings for constructing houses which would be of similar design,” he said.

To make this possible they converted the group into Kianjahi Housing Cooperative Society Limited and introduced Sh15,100 registration fee and minimum share capital of Sh60,000 payable in Sh500 weekly instalments.

AmpThe group started the construction of two-bedroom houses in a gated community model.

“Every member now contributes a minimum of Sh1,500 for savings every week. Those yet to clear their share capital make an additional payment of Sh500. This amount does not exert great pressure on the riders since the majority make nearly KShs1,000 per day.

The group then started the construction of two-bedroom houses in a gated community model where four houses sit on every 50 by 100 feet plot. The cooperative completed the construction of the first 50 units majority of which have already been occupied.

“We took a Sh15 million loan and in addition to our savings we bought an additional acre of land at Sh2.1 million. In the first phase, we have constructed 52 housing units. 35 members have already moved in,” said the vice-chairman.

The cooperative has bought a third parcel of land on which they intend to set up houses for all members. Members who moved in during the first phase like pay Sh2,000 per month. Sh200 goes to savings and Sh1,800 going towards offsetting the cost of construction. The payment for the houses is spread over seven years.

by Standardmedia.co.ke


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Enough is Enough: Kenyan man in US relocates to motherland to become a farmer

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In a bold move and which took great courage, a former Kenyan Diaspora man Kunga Kihokia who was born and raised in Miami Florida has moved back to Kenya, bought a 20 acres piece of land and established an organic farm in Murang’a.

Initially, Kunga had planned to be in Kenya for three weeks 5 years ago but after what he says was the realization of the problems affecting Kenyans because of western lifestyle which he himself was struggling with, he felt strongly to start an organic farm to address those problems.

Kunga has built a water tower to use gravity that allows the water to get pumped and distributed  through  irrigation into the field. Everything in the farm is powered by solar energy and he has dug a borehole that supplies enough water for the farm. Watch the video, be inspired  and enjoy.

Source: Diasporamessenger.com


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