Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Capital Markets Authority Warn Kenyans on Crypto Investment Risk

The Capital Markets Authority (CMA) of Kenya has issued a warning on the risks of cryptocurrency and ICO investments.

In a statement to the public that investment in cryptocurrencies, including initial coin offerings (ICOs) and futures tied to digital currencies, are not insured by the government.

As a result, CMA warns investors to be cautious.

“The ongoing offerings are unregulated and speculative investments, with considerable risk to the investor. Some of the risks as identified by the International Organisation of Securities Commissions, which Kenya is a member of include:
Heightened potential for fraud
Cross-border distribution risks
Information asymmetry and
Liquidity risks.”

“Members of the public are therefore, urged to exercise caution before participating in any ICO lacking regulatory sanction.

However, CMA is well aware of the “Importance of Fintech and the benefits that can be derived from leveraging on blockchain technology and is willing to work with interested parties through the already established Sane Box Model for purposes of supporting innovative Fintech products ina  controlled and safe environment.”

In 2017, Dr. Patrick Njoroge, Governor Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) said it might be a ‘ponzi scheme’.

“We warned everybody that this was a risky venture and the consumer is not protected,” Dr Njoroge said in November at a media briefing. “It could very well be a Ponzi scheme of a kind, I think you have seen how the prices have gone up and down in various places.”

However, “These cryptocurrencies are using a technology known as blockchain. There may be a future for blockchain. We are working with our peers around the world on things that could lead to using this technology in particular ways,” Njoroge said.

In 2015, CBK warned that “Transactions in virtual currencies such as bitcoin are largely untraceable and anonymous making them susceptible to abuse by criminals in money laundering and financing of terrorism.”

The latest developments is an impediment to Isaac Muthui, a computer science graduate who has launched a cryptocurrency named nurucoin aimed at increasing trade among Africans.

Nurucoin is a Ksh 15 Million investment developed using ethereum’s blockchain.

“Nuru coin offers a comprehensive Intra-African trading platform complete with its own integrated payment system,” reads its website. It is powered by Blazebay, currently in pilot phase and moving to the blockchain.

Friday, 16 February 2018

Kenya Needs a Centralised Information Database For its SMEs

Maasai women make, sell and display their bead work in Kajiado, Kenya. 2010. Photo: © Georgina Goodwin/World Bank

A centralised information database will enhance efficiency in planning, capacity building and providing support for Kenya’s Small Medium Enterprises.

“We need to have databases of the SMEs, their products. A centralized database will help give lenders information on prospective clients. SMEs must also be empowered in terms of capacity building,” said Ms. Ibukunoluwa Odegbaike the Managing Director of Guaranty Trust Bank, East Africa.

Ibukun Odegbaike said there are a lot of opportunities for regional trade between Kenya and the East African Community member states and also within the wider international trade arena.

For this to be achieved, she urged the SME sector to pool resources together to compete internationally.

“In terms of the volumes we have, Kenya does not have manufactured volumes at the level of China. So we do not have critical volumes coming from SMEs. Whilst one person is manufacturing a certain output that does not meet international demand we now need to see how to pool output so as to compete with countries like China,” she said.

She was talking about ‘SMEs and Regional Trade’   discussion which is part of a series of online sessions organised by the Kenya Bankers Association (KBA).

The #CEOChat is held every quarter where selected Chief Executives of Banks host live chat sessions while giving their views on the various topics related to banking over a period of four weeks.

The GT Bank CEO also disclosed that KBA will soon be launching the Inuka Enterprise Capacity Building Program which is a free online resource for SMEs.

“After building capacity, the next is access to capital. If you look at Kenya relative to other countries in Africa, we rank top in terms of access to credit for SMEs, so while we say we are not doing enough, there is something we are doing right. That said, there is still more we can do to address the challenges of the ease of doing business to complement the progress that has been made in access to finance,” she observed.

Read:  Getting Angel Investors Together Will Save Kenya’s SME Sector 

Further, she noted the immense trade opportunities between Africa and other continents compared to within ourselves and called for more efforts to be done to promote intra Africa trade.

“For instance, when you look at the figures from Kenya Bureau of Statistics, we see that Kenya has many international trading partners. In horticulture, for example, our largest market is the Netherlands and other European countries. How can we promote more appreciation of this lucrative export within Africa? We do have trade with several countries like Uganda, Egypt, DRC, Tanzania but there are 54 countries in Africa so we can do much more.”

SMEs to avoid the FX risk, they need to take positions by match currency for currency.

“If you are an importer who gets products from China, as you source your products, you wouldn't go to a bank and take a loan facility in dollars because tomorrow if there is a weakening in the Kenya shilling, the loan repayment amount would be higher and therefore you would need more shillings to service that US Dollar facility and you may not be able to pass that cost to the consumer of your products and services. So you need to match currency for currency, which means the currency that you earn in is the currency you borrow in. If you sell in Kenya shillings you should borrow in kenya shillings to avoid FX risk.”

Thursday, 15 February 2018

Marini Naturals Unveils New Logo

Marini Naturals, Kenya's first quality natural hairline care has unveiled a new logo.

Michelle Ntalami, who has had the vision to make Marini Naturals the leading hairline for all women in Africa says

"The new logo matches our renewed vision and core brand pillars ... Every story has an end, but every end has a new beginning! she announced on her Instagram feed.

On Thursday she finally made the announcement "To a new chapter, a new beginning and a brand new identity."

According to Ntalami, the new logo represents the natural African hair - oily, curly, kinky and beautiful 'nature and moisture' all-encompassing whether you are a man, child or woman, you feel included.

'This is a story of a noble idea that began out of love, 3 years ago. A story of ups, downs, challenges and triumphs. A story growth. A story of inclusiveness. A story of our unique, kinky, coily African hair. A story of nature and moisture. And above all, a story from Africa, with love!

It opened its first shop in Kenya in 2013.