Safaricom Rolls Out “Reverse Call” Feature To All Customers

Safaricom has today announced the availability of its “Reverse Call” feature enabling its more than 31 million customers to pay for calls for loved ones. The service enables a caller to transfer the cost of a call to the receiver by adding ‘#’ before the number they are calling. For instance, to transfer the cost of the call to 0722000000, a customer will dial #0722000000.

“At Safaricom, we maintain our commitment to always provide our customers with relevant products in line with their needs. This innovation is in line with this commitment and has been tailored to mirror the relationships between our customers with a goal of empowering them to always remain connected with their loved ones,” said Sylvia Mulinge, Chief Customer Officer, Safaricom.

A customer receiving a reverse call request will see the caller’s details appear on the screen as normal, but once they pick the call, they will receive a voice prompt asking them to key in “1” to accept the reverse call. The cost of the call will be equivalent to the receiver’s normal call cost.

The service is only available for on-net calls and will not be applicable for off-net, roaming and international calls.

The Reverse Call feature complements Safaricom’s existing “Please Call Me” service which enables a customer to send five free messages to other customers requesting for a call back.

The Central Bank of Kenya Governor announced the unveiling of the New Generation Banknotes. Old generation one-thousand shilling banknotes will need to be exchanged by October 1, 2019, after which they cease to be legal tender.

After taking into account views received from the public, CBK adopted concepts to symbolise the drivers of a prosperous Kenya.

The front of the banknotes bear the image of Kenyatta International Conference Centre, one of the most iconic and recognisable landmarks in our country. A dove is also shown to symbolise a peaceful Kenya.

The images on the back of the banknotes symbolise green energy, agriculture, social services, tourism, and governance. The designs are also more accessible to visually impaired persons.

These banknotes will circulate alongside those previously issued and not withdrawn.

Here’s how to identify the notes.

  1. When you run your fingers over the genuine note, you should and can feel the word Kenya and the Value of the currency
  2. When you run your fingers again along the edge over the genuine note, u should feel the number of bars in tandem with the value of the currency as follows:
    a. KES 50 –    1 bar
    b. KES100 –  2 bars
    c. KES 200 – 3 bars
    d. KES 500 – 4 bars
    e. KES 1000-5 bars
  3. When you hold your genuine note to the light and from both sides, you should see the watermarks of a perfect lion’s head, text CBK and the value of the banknote
  4. Security thread of a genuine banknote appears as a continuous line.
  5. If you tilt your bank note at an angle , the security thread changes from Red to Green.
  6. For KES 200, 500, 1000 there is an additional Rainbow color.

View the New Generation Banknotes Pamphlet here.

 

Government moves to solve LPG cylinder crisis

New LPG regulations attack counterfeit market and create safety guarantees to draw consumers off firewood that is driving respiratory disease as Kenya’s biggest killer

The government has approved new LPG regulations to restore safety to the LPG market by closing down opportunities for illegal refilling, illegal rebranding, and counterfeiting of gas cylinders. The changes come as part of a government drive to position LPG as Kenya’s primary cooking fuel to end the health and environmental problems caused by cooking with firewood and charcoal.

Unveiling the new regulations today, Mr Pavel Oimeke Director General of the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA) said it will no longer be mandatory for LPG retailers to swap any brand of cylinder.

“The mandatory interchange of LPG cylinders has seen brands lose track of 90 per cent of the cylinders they had invested in, stalling investment in further cylinders, and seeing legal checks set aside as nameless refillers resold cylinders, but could not be made accountable for safety breaches,” said Mr Oimeke.

LPG brands will now be responsible for guaranteeing the safety of every cylinder. The brands, which will only swap their cylinders for new ones through their own branded retail points, must also now add safety instructions onto each cylinder, including guides on what to do if consumers smell a gas leak.

“Elsewhere in the world, LPG dominates in rural areas as a clean and safe fuel. Moving to regulations that will see the end of illegal cylinder refilling in Kenya will open the way for a projected seven-fold increase in LPG usage,” said Mr Olagoke Aluko Chairman of the Petroleum Institute of East Africa (PIEA).

The PIEA, which represents the country’s oil and gas industry, is now working with government and regulators to achieve a widespread switchover to LPG, at a time when more than 70 per cent of Kenyans are still using firewood and charcoal for cooking.

“The pollution that dirty cooking fuels are creating in the home is killing tens of thousands of Kenyans a year,” said Mr Aluko. “Estimates suggest some 21,650 Kenyans are dying every year from air pollution, and 40 per cent of childhood deaths are being caused by respiratory diseases triggered by indoor cooking pollution.”

The country’s dependency on firewood and charcoal, which has remained larger than for other countries in Africa as a result of the recent disorder in the Kenyan LPG market, has also eroded the country’s forests, with illegal logging damaging its main water catchment forests, and the nation now suffering a 16m m3 shortfall in its wood supply each year.

“LPG is actually a cheaper cooking fuel than firewood, charcoal or kerosene on a meal-by-meal sum and gets families back to clean homes and good health, saving our forests and our water supply too,” said Mr Aluko.

Government, industry and regulators are therefore now working to make LPG the primary cooking fuel in Kenya. In addition to the new regulations, government plans to increase LPG imports and storage at Mombasa, while the industry is increasing its investments in LPG cylinders six-fold.

“To this end, the EPRA will no longer tolerate any gas cylinder that has not been properly checked between refills and is not fully labelled for safety and traceability,” said Mr Oimeke.

Mama Earth Products in Kenya

A new online shopping website, Mama Earth Products, that features Kenya’s locally-made organic brands has been launched to sell organic products.

Everyone is looking to go green these days, whether with packaging, food or skincare. And why not? Organic products have been proven to be better for both you and the environment. The question is, where can you easily find what you’re looking for?

Mama Earth Products whose online shop is now available at www.mamaearthproducts.com have good news!  You can now get your favourite natural brands all under one roof.

What’s in store

Skincare

MamaEarth has everything ranging from cleansers, moisturizers, facemasks and even bath salts.  The website features great brands like:

  • Kara Sidai- for superfood luxury soaps.
  • Chebe hair butter for all the naturalistas out there who want to grow their hair.
  • Fluffy buttah– which is whipped body butter that moisturizes your skin. It also comes in three flavours that smell like heaven.
  • Liku bath salts– Imagine coming home from a long day of work to a hot, therapeutic bath with tingly salts. Yes please!

 

Food

If you’re looking to be clean and green on the inside, there are also food products you can get.

  • Beehappyke honey – This is raw forest honey with a variety of interesting flavours including ginger, cinnamon and chilli!
  • Flavour infused jam- Did you know you could have dark chocolate and raspberry in your breakfast spread? Neither did we!
  • Absolute chocolate– This locally-made chocolate brand is to die for. They have a whole range of creative flavours including Mexican chilli chocolate, peppermint crisp and sorrento orange.

 

What we love about this is that each local brand gets recognized. Next to each product is a snippet of the individual company so that you can know the story behind it.

Shipping is only 300 bob and happens every Thursday.

Nairobi, 16th May 2019: Liquid Telecom Kenya, part of the leading pan-African telecoms group Liquid Telecom, has today launched a Microsoft Cloud service in East Africa that offers a step-change in cybersecurity for the region’s most sensitive databases.
The new Azure Stack service will allow companies to run a private Microsoft cloud within East Africa, rather than at one of Microsoft’s 54 public data centres located outside the region. This means users benefit from the cutting-edge security protocols developed and run by Microsoft on its cloud platforms, while holding their data locally, which makes data uploading faster for databases that can be as large as one terabyte or more.

 

The service will be available from today across East Africa, hosted in private cloud nodes in Kenya and Tanzania, which makes it possible to replicate databases at different locations to increase reliability and flexibility.

 

“The data transmission time to Europe is around 200 milliseconds, and for the closest Microsoft cloud server, in South Africa, 55 milliseconds. But the new Azure Stacks in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam will mean data transfer speeds of less than 20 milliseconds for all users within East Africa,” said Winston Ritson, Group Head of Cloud Services for the Liquid Telecom Group.

 

This increase in speeds will transform back-ups and uploads from previously lengthy processes to swift data exchanges. Globally, companies have reported that this has transformed their operations, with one logistics company in California achieving a 50% improvement in service delivery on increased data speeds.

 

Using Azure Stack also opens the way to a level of cybersecurity that few organisations have the capacity to develop.“Microsoft spends some $1bn a year on ensuring the security of its Azure platforms. This is a scale of spend and professional attention that companies cannot match or surpass in securing their data,” said Winston.

 

This comes as East Africa’s data security continues to deteriorate. In 2017, Kenya lost over Sh21bn to cybercrime. But the nation’s losses are forecast to rise further on new cyber threats, including attacks on built-in Windows IT admin tools, Powershell files and Windows Scripting executables.

 

“Developing the Azure Stack in East Africa has required intensive development and co-operation between Liquid Telecom and Microsoft,” said Adil El Youssefi, CEO East Africa, Liquid Telecom. “However, we believe that in offering a now unequalled level of cybersecurity, it has delivered yet another vital pillar to the economic development of Kenya and East Africa.”

 

About Liquid Telecom

 

Liquid Telecom is a leading communications solutions provider across 13 countries primarily in Eastern, Central and Southern Africa that serves mobile operators, carriers, enterprise, media and content companies and retail customers with high-speed, reliable connectivity, hosting and co-location and digital services.

 

It has built Africa’s largest independent fibre network, approaching 70,000km, and operates state-of-the-art data centres in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Nairobi, with a combined potential 19,000 square metres of rack space and 80 MW of power.

 

This is in addition to offering leading cloud-based services, such as Microsoft Office365, Microsoft Azure and innovative digital content provision including Netflix and Kwesé TV across our fibre footprint. Through this combined offering Liquid Telecom is enhancing customers experience on their digital journey. www.liquidtelecom.com
Kenya Airways Delta Airlines Codeshare

Kenya Airways and Delta Airlines have signed a code partnership to offer enhanced connections to North America  to 11 United States of America and 4 Canadian cities.

The arrangement is an opportunity for travelers to connect from New York,using the  direct  flight  from  Nairobi,  to  their  cities opening many more opportunities at more competitive fares.

Besides the new codeshare services and more convenient flight connections, guests will have the opportunity to earn and redeem miles on the entire network operated by both airlines.

Beginning June, Kenya Airways is expected to increase its frequency to New York from 5 days a week to 7 days a week.

United States of America

Chicago O’Hare
Illinois
Houston
Texas
Denver
Colorado
Orlando
Florida
Miami
Florida
Raleigh Durham
North Carolina
Phoenix
Arizona
Columbus, Ohio
Kansas City
Missouri
Charlotte
North Carolina
Philadelphia,
Pennsylvania

Canada

Toronto
Ontario
Montreal
Quebec
Ottawa
Ontario
Alberta
Edmonton

Western Bypass Road Construction begins Gitaru to Ruaka
Kenya National Highways Authority has embarked on the construction of the Nairobi Western Bypass that starts from Gitaru connecting to the Southern Bypass and terminates at the Ruaka connecting to the Northern Bypass.
The 16.79Km project is being undertaken by the China Road and Bridge Corporation at a cost of 17 Billion. The project is the fourth and final ring of the Nairobi Ring Roads. This project is located in Kiambu County.
Some of the activities to be undertaken during the construction include:
  • A four (4) lane Expressway with a total length of 16.79Km, 25Km service roads
  • 7 interchanges located at Gitaru, Lower Kabete, Wangige, Kihara, Ndenderu, Rumingi and Ruaka
  • Noise control barriers in all human settlement area as an enhanced environmentally- compatible modern highway.
  • Paved deviations along the construction route aimed at ensuring smooth traffic flow, reducing environmental hazards such as dust. These deviation routes shall be retained for future use by residents along this corridor.
  • Eleven (11) traffic bridges and pedestrian underpasses on the entire length
  • A steel pedestrian barrier, running at the media of the entire project length to ensure that no pedestrian crossings occur at the non-authorised areas, apart from the provided for facilities such as footpaths and underpasses.
  • A bus park at Wangige to enhance public transport efficiency and to ensure that traffic congestion and interruptions occasioned by public transport vehicles is reduced. Provision of adequate bus bays at all the major existing commercial centres and settlement areas is also provided.
  • Separate footpaths and cycle tracks as an enhanced safety feature to ensure no direct conflict between motorized traffic and road users.
In summary, the project will have a total of 126 lane kilometres which will include a dual carriageway and 7 interchanges.

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Upon completion, the road is expected to;
  • Ease traffic congestion around Nairobi City
  • Ensure rapid economic growth around the areas near the road
  • Improve safety for pedestrians and other non-motorised road users  and
  • Ensure a smooth flow of traffic
The construction and supervision of the project will take a period of 39 months connecting other bypasses i.e Nairobi Southern Bypass, Nairobi Northern Bypass and Nairobi Eastern Bypass.

Multinationals are fast recognizing the opportunities in the East Africa region given strong growth indicators that see Ethiopia’s developing infrastructure, and investors whetting their appetites in Uganda and Tanzania due to growing economies and stable political environments.  According to Kenneth Oigo, Associate Director of Profica East Africa, a leading property and construction solutions company that has been operating in Africa for over a decade, it is Kenya, however, that presents robust potential for investors, given its prime position in the region.

Profica has built up a strong track record in Kenya and Rwanda as well as fast-growing portfolios of work in Uganda and Tanzania.  Oigo says, “The activity that we are seeing in Kenya suggests that it is the steppingstone to the rest of the region.  Air France has resumed direct flights to Nairobi as of March 2018 after 18 years highlighting the growth of Kenya as an East African node. Various international airlines have set up transit in Kenya, and for some years now, large international agencies, such as the United Nations, have used Kenya as a hub from which they could reach conflict areas in the region.”

Oigo says that now that the East African region has stabilised there is huge development potential.  “Multinationals are embedding themselves more firmly in Nairobi, given its infrastructure, thus enabling them to use Kenya as their head quarters from which to oversee their East African operations.”

Smaller multinationals such as global IT outfits, says Oigo, previously took a cautious approach when developing their presence in the area.  They were less focused on injecting capital into developing local offices, and generally opted for serviced office spaces.  Oigo suggests that these companies now recognise the need for a formal set up according to their particular specifications due to growth in the region and the need to better establish teams permanently in the region.

“At Profica, we have a number of multinational clients that are intent on developing their own niche spaces, and this is where, in particular, our turnkey Design & Build services are being utilised.”

Design & Build entails developing an existing space according to the client’s specific requirements, taking cognisance of their workplace functionality needs and developing an optimal, specific solution.

Oigo says that Profica has developed relationships with multinationals such as Booking.com:   “Profica is currently continuing into a second phase of the company’s office expansion in Nairobi where we are appointed as the full turnkey Design & Build managers on the project, following completion of the first phase last year.”

Another successful project that has been recently completely is a superb office fit out for Google; a relationship previously established during the company’s South African office fit out, continued with two phases in Kampala, Uganda, and now completion of the third phase in Nairobi.

Oigo says, “Profica’s Design & Build capabilities have developed into a strongly coordinated service due to our ability to deliver through a streamlined, multidisciplinary and professional approach.  This service diversification adds to our on-the-ground presence in the region and specialist project management capabilities that span multiple sectors such as healthcare, mixed-use development, commercial, logistics, industrial, retail and housing.”

Profica, long-committed to the East Africa region, is one of the sponsors of the East Africa Property Investment Summit (EAPI), which will be focusing this year on driving investment in the region.  Oigo will be speaking at the event, which will be held on 24 and 25 April at the Radisson Blu in Nairobi.

UberSELECT: A choice for special occasions

Uber has introduced a premium car option in Nairobi that will offer those in need of high end rides for special occasions an option to ride in style without breaking the bank.

UberSELECT will provide an option for a safe, comfortable and reliable ride – for all special occasions. The cars will be driven by experienced and highly-rated driver-partners to ensure that riders always get an unforgettable trip experience

The new offering will exist alongside uberX, which remains available for everyday trips and errands.

UberSELECT  & UberX Pricing Compared

  uberX UberSELECT
Base Fare KES 80 KES 100
Per Kilometer KES 33.60 KES 43
Per Minute KES 2.40 KES 4
Minimum Fare KES 200 KES 300
Cancellation Fee KES 200 KES 200

What can you expect from UberSELECT?

  • Newer, comfortable car models including 7 seater sedans
  • Highly-rated driver-partners

How to request UberSELECT?

  • Open the Uber app and enter your destination
  • Tap the UberSELECT option
  • Confirm your choice
Liquid Telecom Kenya, part of leading pan-African telecoms group Liquid Telecom, is now providing free internet to Nairobi Garage’s newly opened Entrepreneurship Centre along Ngong Road in Nairobi, supporting up to 300 co-workers with free high-speed fibre internet connectivity of 150Mbps. The move forms part of Liquid Telecom Kenya’s drive to support businesses across Kenya with both internet and, now, software services too.

 

Adil Youssefi, Liquid Telecom Kenya’s CEO, unveiled the free connection at the launch of a joint Liquid Telecom and Microsoft event at the Entrepreneurship Centre outlining the two companies’ partnership, which provides international software, such as Microsoft Azure, on the cloud across Africa.

 

“Liquid Telecom will be offering Microsoft cloud services and applications that developers and IT professionals can use to build, deploy and manage applications across the continent,” said Adil. “This means our internet infrastructure across Africa will now enable companies and entrepreneurs to operate with international software based on easy access to cloud products and services that we are now delivering through our partnership with Microsoft.”

 

The Liquid Telecom and Microsoft deal offers a cloud connectivity service level agreement that bundles together data and cloud services to ensure that businesses never run out of data bundles, ensuring their operations are seamless.

 

Liquid Telecom is also offering Microsoft Azure enterprise customers in Africa a Microsoft ExpressRoute service; a reliable, cost-effective, lower latency, faster and highly secured connection over the internet into European-based Azure clouds.

 

Microsoft Azure ExpressRoute offers an extension to on-premises networks into the Microsoft cloud over a private connection facilitated by a connectivity provider. With ExpressRoute, connections are established onto the Microsoft cloud services, such as Microsoft Azure, Microsoft Office 365, Microsoft Dynamics 365, Enterprise Mobility suite and Windows 10.

 

The Microsoft cloud services offer business of all sizes in Africa numerous benefits. Microsoft Azure enables businesses to develop, test, feedback and retry their applications during development, meaning they can explore new avenues and new technologies.

 

Microsoft Office 365, meanwhile, offers businesses the ability to work from anywhere as long as there is an internet connection. It also offers access to the latest versions of Office at no additional charge and without having to uninstall and reinstall Office on everyone’s machines, while Microsoft Dynamics 365 provides businesses with social selling, content collaboration, mobile sales, planning and management, and intelligence.

 

Together, these Microsoft platforms offer enterprise mobility, allowing employees to carry out business activities through their mobile devices, accessing business information effortlessly, which can trigger greater business opportunities and lead to greater returns on investments.

 

Windows 10, one of the most secure operating systems, provides further security and productivity benefits, including allowing businesses to keep their data, devices and users protected around the clock, giving small and mid-sized business the benefits of enterprise-grade security and control without complexity or unrealistic costs.

 

For coworkers at Nairobi Garage’s Entrepreneurship Centre, accessing the Liquid Telecom infrastructure and Microsoft cloud will now come as part of a membership costing from Sh2000 to Sh15000 a month for fully enabled working space.

 

“At Nairobi Garage, we believe in providing more than just workspace to our members. We want to provide our community with the very best tools to allow them to innovate and thrive. Today’s partnership with Liquid Telecom is another exciting development for our new hub space, Nairobi Garage Ngong Road, and we look forward to welcoming old and new members to our state-of-the-art premises,” said Hannah Clifford, director of Nairobi Garage.