Thursday, 31 December 2015

Resorts & Cities appoints Chief Operating Officer

Resorts & Cities, the real estate developer behind Longonot Gate and Makuyu Ridge has appointed Peter Wairegi, as the company’s Chief Operating Officer and Board Adviser in a bid to give impetus to their re-branding and restructuring efforts.

Mr. Peter Wairegi, COO, Resorts & Cities. 
Mr Wairegi has a wealth of experience in the real estate spanning 29 years having started his real estate and finance career in 1985 in USA with century 21 Real Estate Group of companies.

He worked for many years as the CEO for Nationwide Mortgage Company, before joining Business Finance Group LLC. as its Managing Director and International Business Coach. He has lectured at KCA University, authored several Real Estate and Finance Text Books and served in various Boards over the years.

Mr. Wairegi brings many years of development, executive Leadership and international investment experience. He is a distinguished member of the Cambridge Who’s Who and a Fellow of The Kenya Institute of Bankers.

Mr. Wairegi holds a BA in Economics & Business University of Toledo, Ohio, USA and an Executive MBA, Finance & Management from Baldwin Wallace University, Ohio USA.

Mr Wairegi has sold over 20,000 residential units, 5000 plus commercial and retail properties. With over 9000 loans in the books and a volume of about $1.5 Billion (Ksh. 142 Billion) in the past 29 years. The experience he brings on board is quite vast,” said Lee Karuri, the Resorts & Cities Chairman.

He is currently a Lecturer at KCA University, School of Professional Programs, lecturing in Real Estate, Planning, Industrial Economics, Marketing, Finance, Development and Business Administration and was Chairman of the KCA University Foundation North America before he relocated to Kenya in June 2013.

Thursday, 17 September 2015

LG’s innovative products improving consumers’ lives

As the world continues to experience rapid technological development, the need for electronics manufacturers to continue pushing their boundaries and produce cutting-edge technology is becoming more apparent with each passing day.

New technologies are great, but once something becomes popular there is an almost instant desire to improve on it, and this continues until that technology is rendered obsolete by something new that replaces its relevant functions.

This demand has created an enormous need for companies operating in the consumer technology space to continuously innovate in order to keep up with the growing demand.

LG is one such company that is always striving to innovate and this is apparent in each business unit. From OLED TV, to gesture controlled selfies, or from the Door-in-Door refrigerators to commercial air conditioners designed for use in coastal areas, the company is always looking for ways to develop new technologies and to improve existing ones.

“Our drive for innovation is never-ending, we continue to seek new ways to solve the problems around us,” said Maureen Kemunto LG Electronics Assistant Communications and Brand Manager.

As consumers become increasingly interested in establishing appliance’s ability to minimize on effort and save time before purchase, competition by manufacturers to increase their range of ‘intelligent’ product portfolio in the home appliances category to fulfill this growing need has been on the rise.

To improve customer’s lives, LG Electronics’ products are now being designed to minimize the effort that goes into daily chores, thereby giving users more free time to spend as they see fit.

For example, its appliances are progressively becoming smartened up thanks to sensors and other technologies embedded in them. They are becoming intelligent by integration with mobile devices and the internet. This ‘intelligent’ quality ultimately enhances human capabilities.

Guided by this philosophy, LG engineers and designers have developed their own distinctive take on what it means to create products with an intuitive responsiveness to the demands of users.

It recently rolled out refrigerators that let users know when certain foods are running low. The company’s groundbreaking new Internet of Things (IoT) technology has made this and so much more possible.

It also recently introduced ‘LG Smart Home’, which is built around the idea of unifying multiple smart appliances into a single, cohesive system in order to increase convenience and simplicity.

Coupled with its interactive new feature HomeChat™, which employs Natural Language Processing (NLP) and LINE, the popular mobile messenger app with over 300 million users, homeowners can communicate, control, monitor and share content with LG’s latest smart appliances.

To illustrate this, the company’s smart refrigerator has several innovative, convenience-enhancing features such as Smart View, Smart Power Saving and Smart Manager. Smart View employs the industry’s first built-internal refrigerator camera to allow users to see the content of the refrigerator using a smartphone or tablet. Every time the fridge door is opened, the camera captures images of the interior shelves. Users can check these images through HomeChat™ to quickly assess what they need to buy while they’re at the supermarket, helping to save time and preventing unnecessary purchases.

Moreover, LG Smart Manager also transforms the refrigerator into a complete food management system with a handy recipe search function which presents the user with a variety of tasty meal options based on the items stored in the refrigerator.

Additionally, the company’s advanced Dual Door-in-Door refrigerators double the benefit of traditional Door-In-Door refrigerators. They are fitted with extra compartments that act as perfect storage space for drinks and other frequently accessed items

When it comes to washing machines, LG’s smart washing machine is equipped with several smart technologies that simplify the task of doing laundry. Guided Laundry can recommend and automatically apply the optimal settings for any type of laundering scenario. For example, for orange juice spills, simply texting “remove juice stains” on HomeChat™ will initiate One Touch Washing to prescribe the appropriate course of action.

LG clearly appears to be leading the pack in making people’s lives easier and more comfortable with its recent launch of HOM-BOT SQUARE a cordless robot vacuum cleaner seems to have set it apart from competition. 

The cleaner has a feature that enables it to monitor the home while the owner is away. If the unit senses any movement, its integrated cameras automatically take photos of the room and send them to the homeowner’s smartphone.

LG’s innovations actually do improve the lives of consumers, with its products, house work is becoming easier and consumer’s lives are becoming more comfortable.

Monday, 31 August 2015

What’s the Fuss about OLED Technology in Television sets?

A lot has been said about OLED technology in Television, but what exactly is OLED – or Organic Light-Emitting Diode – is a type of display technology that makes it possible to create even slimmer TV sets than LCD or plasma, while at the same time making them more efficient and eco-friendly too.

With the recent digital migration in Kenya, OLED television is set to awaken a new experience for viewers. In addition to the lighter and slimmer sets that come with this new technology, the most important aspect of OLED technology is the picture quality and the colour depth. OLED pixels emit light directly, viewing angles are much wider, plus colour and contrast stay the same from as far as 90 degrees off Centre. Basically, in a typical Kenyan living room, every family member should be able to enjoy the same television viewing experience.

And because each pixel can be turned off individually, OLED TV’s can do their best to deliver an absolute black and infinite contrast ratio – the Holy Grail for picture purists everywhere. OLED pictures should also be brighter and can achieve response times of less than 0.01ms, which practically eliminates motion blur.

From a technical perspective, here’s how the technology works: an organic, carbon-based film is placed between two conductors and an electrical current is passed through, which causes it to emit light. This differs from LCD TVs, which require a backlight to create their brightness. OLED pixels are self-emissive and generate their own light.
There are two types of OLED technology, Passive-Matrix (PMOLED) and Active-Matrix (AMOLED). Active-Matrix requires electronics to switch each pixel on or off individually, which is better for displaying motion and therefore the type used for OLED TVs.

So far, only two manufacturers are thriving in the post-CRT Design era, LG and Samsung have already launched OLED TVs globally. But there is a crucial difference between the OLED technologies used by LG and Samsung, relating to the sub-pixel structure. In its OLED TVs, Samsung uses a traditional red, green and blue (RGB) pixel structure with no colour filters, just like you’d find on a plasma.

By comparison, LG OLED TVs use WRGB 4-colour pixel technology, which adds a fourth white sub-pixel. White light is shone through a colour filter to create the red, green and blue sub-pixels. LG says these cutting-edge results in a brighter picture.
All said and done, all you need is a future-proof bendable OLED screen from LG.

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Everyone needs LG’s professional quality smartphone cameras

About two years ago, when a busy downtown mall in Nairobi, which houses small stalls known as “exhibitions” in the city’s lingo suffered a massive blast, a curious thing happened.

True, the emergency services, mostly the Red Cross, paramedics and the police, responded, as they are wont to, and were among the first people on the scene. There was also a fair sprinkling of journalists and photojournalists at the scene. But there was also another group that stuck out like a sore thumb: that of ordinary citizens, capturing the incident on their smartphones either in the form of videos or photos.  

It was this army of citizen journalists who intuitively posted the first images from the incident on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and youtube and not your traditional, newsroom-based journalist. They literally “broke” the story. But the army of cyber-reporters who descended on Nairobi’s Moi Avenue on that fateful morning has platoons all over the world. Of the billions of photos taken per day by smartphone owners today, about 1.8 billion end up being shared on social networks, up from 500 million in 2013. 

Veteran Nairobi-based Ugandan journalist Charles Onyango-Obbo, would later remark. “I watched them. They were eating my lunch. And there was absolutely nothing I could do about it.”

With the ascendancy of smartphones in Kenya and as the gadgets become more affordable, a strong culture of citizen journalism is taking root in the country. In this realm, everyone is a journalist and a photo-journalist. No newspaper, TV or radio station today can claim that it breaks stories all the time. That is being effectively done by social media and its growing army of citizen journalists and bloggers. Traditional media outlets have had to be more content with the rather sedate and intellectually high-brow task of analysis and commentary, what is known in the trade as Day Two Journalism.

True, the advent of smartphone-based cameras has kind of “democratized” photography.  Just like the traditional journalists and photojournalists, even this breed of practitioners requires the best tools of the trade, and that includes the best cameras. This is where LG smartphones come in, especially the G4, because they are not only user-friendly, but are engineered to ensure that even lay users get the best, professional quality results. It doesn’t matter whether they are taking a “selfie” or capturing a bomb blast, literally chronicling the first chapters of history.

Boasting a remarkable 16mp camera, G4 makes full use of its detailed display and instinctive operation to help users take professional-quality photographs. Expertly tailored to meet the needs of modern consumers, the user-friendly G4 is the perfect phone for today’s mobile photographers.
For the longest time, mobile cameras have lagged far behind more advanced digital single-lens reflex cameras (DSLRs) in their ability to capture photographs when there is little natural light. The G4’s camera lens boasts an aperture value of F1.8, making it the brightest smartphone lens on the market and capable of going toe-to-toe with lens used by professionals.

Apart from F/1.8 aperture lens, there are a number of other features that help to set the G4 apart from competition. For instance, in manual mode, the photographer can customize the level of white balance, ISO, shutter speed, manual focus and exposure compensation. When placed in the hands of an expert, these features allow the G4 to shoot capture striking images. Manual mode also gives photographers the ability to select RAW or JPEG as the format for their files.

Those features among others make it a joy to use, even for the non-professional mobile photographer, who just wants to capture moments of life for their own use or seeks to share the same with friends and family or even a wider audience. These include the brightest smartphone lens on the market that is at par with what top notch professionals use; a manual mode that gives the user a lot of control; an advanced color spectrum sensor to ensure no color is lost on “translation” and an advanced front-facing camera that efficiently feeds the growing “selfie” sub-culture. 

Thursday, 9 July 2015

Support artistic kids, Lupita nudges parents

Lupita Nyong’o, Kenyan Oscar Award Winner for Best Supporting Actress, has urged guardians to be supportive of children with an affinity for arts while attributing her success in the film industry to a distinctive and motivational pattern that fanned her passion.

Lupita shares a moment with students after a mentorship session at KICC
Speaking to students and artists during a session dubbed “Arts in Education” at the KICC; the Hollywood actress said she grew up in a community that fosters creative self expression and around guardians who “validated her dreams.”

“Without their constant and vigilant belief in me, I wouldn’t be where I am…a dream can only be realised when it is validated. First by yourself and then by those around you,” said Lupita. 

The actress frowned upon the fact that “arts education is often dismissed as non-essential” in Kenya and called on parents and teachers to create room for children’s self realisation. 

Reflecting back at the times that made her as an artiste, she credits her teacher, the late Mutegi Njiru, and her debut role as a passerby in the play Oliver Twist at Rusinga Schools as an epochal moment that kicked off her life on stage.

Mutegi Njiru, an English teacher at Rusinga and an ardent thespian would later die in the 1998 bombing of United States Embassy in Nairobi. The following year, Rusinga would introduce the Mutegi Njiru Memorial Shield to recognise students with exemplary contribution in the field of theatrical arts. Lupita Nyong’o was the first to clench the award.

The actress laid emphasis on reinforcing children’s abilities and talents as opposed to imposing careers on students. “Self expression is the most pure part of self; the part that yearns to communicate in a different way,” said Lupita.

On the fringes of mentorship session Patricia Kariuki, a Head Teacher at Rusinga Schools emphasized that guardians had an immense opportunity to up the chance of a kid’s success if they understood from the onset that achievers are not born but bred.

Lupita’s sister, Esperanza Nyong’o, an alumni of Rusinga School says the fact that the institution allowed her to freely exercise her talent saw her join the school’s football team eventually pursue Sports Management at Real Madrid Graduate School.

“If you reward and recognise intelligence only, you are inadvertently telling your child that only stature matters, that way you bring up a risk averse child. The idea should be to recognise effort so that children learn to take risks, make mistakes and take out lessons from their experiences,” said Patricia.

Lupita also lauded the Government for its efforts in making Kenya an attractive film-making destination through zero-rating film equipment and wooing Hollywood to shoot movies in Kenya. Sports Cabinet Secretary Hassan Wario confirmed that Richard Leakey’s story in the upcoming movie Africa, which features Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt will be shot mostly in Kenya.  

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Getting Machakos in the Mood

Moods premium condoms took Machakos by storm during the recent Masaku 7s with an activation that featured a bevy of sexy beauties that painted the town blue. Moods is a premium flagship branch of HLL Lifecare Limited and comprises variants such as 1500 Dots, Allnight and Absolute Xtasy among others.  

Friday, 24 April 2015

Brace yourself for Fast and Furious 8

Shark team, Sheetal Ahir, the Chief Admin Officer, Shark Energy Kenya (left) and Romana Chaudhry Kamal, the Chief Marketing Officer Shark Energy Kenya oozing confidence during the premiere of an adrenaline packed Fast and Furious 7.  
Shark Energy Drink Kenya honoured the memory of Paul Walker by sponsoring the premiere of the adrenaline charged “Fast & Furious 7” movie at the IMAX 20th Century movie theatre. In attendance was the Shark Energy Kenya CEO, Thakoor Raj; the Chief Administration Officer, Sheetal Ahir and the Chief Marketing Manager Romana Chaudhry Kamal. Also present to sample Shark Energy mixed cocktails were Uganda’s AY and Uganda’s Chameleone. However, even before the buzz triggered by the premiere settles, Vin Diesel has revealed that a sequel to the mega-successful is in the works. 

Loaned decoder comes a million shillings fortune for mother

After staring on a dark screen in her living room for more than a month, Nancy Mudecha, 35, a green grocer from Musasa village in Chavakali, decided to borrow five hundred shillings to top-up and buy a set top box.

“I had only five hundred shillings and so I borrowed another five hundred from a friend as it was getting boring in the house without a television. I was only listening to radio but missed TV news and programmes,” said Mrs. Mudecha.

On 24th March 2015, the mother of five went into a friend’s shop and asked for the decoder on credit as she didn’t have the total amount of Sh1, 399.

“I talked to the shopkeeper and he allowed me to take the decoder and pay the balance later,” Mrs. Mudecha explained. “I had overheard on radio a discussion that was promoting GOtv saying it was the best for local and international channels,” she said.

The shopkeeper allowed her to take the decoder home after she paid Sh1, 000 and allowed her to pay promised to pay the balance of Sh400 in two weeks’ time.

“He helped me register the decoder using my mobile phone and also connected it,” she said.

 However, it was an unexpected call from GOtv that surprised Mrs. Mudecha who explains that her husband could not help her pay up the debt due to other family commitment.

“I was called on Tuesday by GOtv staff and informed I was the lucky winner of Sh1million. I was shocked and couldn’t believe it,” she said excitedly. “They explained to me that it was true and helped me book a bus to Nairobi to receive the cheque,” she added.

When asked what the money will be used for, Mrs. Mudecha explained, “God comes in various ways. I will first buy a bigger flat screen TV. Then I will buy a bigger shamba, build a house and educate my five children.”
Mrs. Mudecha, who’s already fond of her GOtv programming, likes it all but identifies local news and comedy programmes as her favourite shows.

She becomes the fourth Kenyan to win a million shillings in the 8 weeks competition of GOtv’s ‘Dunga Milli’ competition which launched four weeks ago. The competition coincidentally has seen 3 previous winners who are all winners, will see Kenyans rewarded for going digital with GOtv, while enjoying the instant benefits of increased choice in local and international content.

In addition to the one million prize money, there are also daily draws where every GOtv buyer stands a chance to win prizes of Sh15, 000, airtime plus a chance to win annual GOtv subscriptions.

“Congratulations to Mrs. Mudecha for going digital. As we near the worldwide June digital migration deadline, GOtv has been consistently making set top boxes affordable in order to give more Kenyans access to experience the digital revolution. We are helping Kenya to GO digital with GOtv to enjoy the best quality programming, comments GOtv Kenya General Manager, Felix Kyengo.

“As a true migration partner and a leader in the digital arena it is important that we play a pivotal role towards accelerating Kenya’s digital migration process. For a special price offer of only Sh1, 399, including 2 months GOtv Plus subscription, Kenyan’s can enjoy the best international and local programming”, added Mr Kyengo.

GOtv subscribers are spoiled for choice with a selection of channels including news, children’s programming, documentaries, series and movies. GOtv channels are carefully selected to cater for a variety of different tastes and family viewing needs.

Channels include; Africa Magic World, Africa Magic Swahili, SuperSport Select 1 and 2, One Gospel, E! Entertainment, eTV Africa, ZEE World, Disney Junior in addition to local channels such as KBC, NTV, KTN, Citizen TV to mention but a few. 

GOtv now covers over 30 cities in its pursuit to enable the government to achieve a speedy migration from analogue to digital broadcasting.

For more info on GOtv’s exciting ‘Dunga Milli” campaign and prizes or to find out where to buy your GOtv decoder visit our website on

Friday, 10 April 2015

Kenafric feted for energy efficiency

Kenafric Industries, one of the largest manufacturers of confectionery, food, footwear and stationery has bagged the Energy Savings Award (EMA) in this year’s Energy Management Awards.
The annual Awards recognize enterprises that have made major sustainable gains in energy efficiency through the use of innovative energy management principles and practices.

Rising cost of energy pose a growing challenge to businesses as they endeavour to bolster competitiveness of locally manufactured in comparison to imports.

Kenya Association of Manufactures (KAM) estimates that the inefficient use of energy, especially within industry leads to wastage of between 10 to 30 percent of primary energy input.

According to the manufacturer one of Kenafric’s milestones in Energy management was the implementation of an Online Energy Management system (EMS), in which we have the facility to monitor the individual machines energy usage instantaneously.
“Over the years, we have won 16 awards in different categories in which we stand 4 times Overall Energy Management Awards winner with a Runners UP in the same.”

The cost of energy has significant impact on economic activities particularly those that are energy intensive such as cement, steel, pulp and paper production. In a liberalized market such as Kenya’s, energy prices are a significant determinant of competitiveness of locally manufactured goods relative to imports.

In this regard, high energy prices impact negatively on domestic wealth creation, balance of payments and employment creation since consumers opt for cheaper imports. Kenafric Industries is all too aware on the impact of fluctuating energy prices on enterprises as the manufacturer chose to go into footwear at time when plastic shoes were the in thing.

However, an oil crisis in 1992 prompted a paradigm shift in the company’s strategy after oil prices skyrocketed, this led Kenafric Industries to venture into confectionary business after inputs prices shot up denting profit margins.

An increase in the cost of crude oil directly affects the cost of resin — a by-product of oil which is the major raw material in the manufacture of plastics.
The company family acquired its first bubble gum machine from Taiwan to kick start small scale production. In the succeeding 10 years, Kenafric Industries built a strong brand and distribution network taking its sweets and bubble gums countrywide.

The significance of energy management and conservation measures in business cannot be overemphasized, it is estimated that the average energy saving potential in Kenyan industry is over Ksh2 billion per annum.
Challenges to implementation of energy efficiency and conservation initiatives include lack of awareness of the benefits and methods of conservation, apathy, limited technical capacity and inadequate data
The manufacture says it has a standalone energy management policy which is communicated to the staff and customers. EMA is managed by the Kenya Association of Manufacturers through the Centre for Energy Efficiency and Conservation (CEEC) and is aimed at recognizing best practice in energy efficiency and creating awareness about the benefits of energy efficiency.

Monday, 30 March 2015

Father's gift wins daughter a million shillings

Catherine Wambui Ndegwa, 36, is a million shillings richer; thanks to the GOtv ‘Dunga Milli’ campaign.   Less than a week ago, Catherine sent a friend to buy her a GOtv decoder, which was a gift for her father, who lives in Karatina. Her name was entered into the Dunga Milli lucky draw. Little did she know that her name would be drawn, making her a Kenya Dunga Millionaire.  

“I have no words to express my excitement. Thank you to GOtv, my father can now enjoy quality programmes”. She continued to commend GOtv for delivering affordable family entertainment option as Kenyans migrate from analogue to digital TV broadcasting.
When asked what the money will be used for, Catherine chuckled “it will come in handy for college fees, paying off a loan and doing renovations on my house”.
Catherine, whose favourite show on GOtv is National Geographic (NatGeo), is the second winner of the ‘Dunga Milli’ campaign which launched last week. The 8-week long campaign will see Kenyans rewarded for going digital with GOtv, while enjoying the instant benefits of increased choice in local and international content.

“Congratulations to Catherine Wambu for going digital. As we near the worldwide June digital migration deadline, GOtv has been consistently making set top boxes affordable in order to give more Kenyans access to experience the digital revolution. We are helping Kenya to GO digital with GOtv to enjoy the best quality programming, comments GOtv Kenya General Manager, Felix Kyengo.
 “As a true migration partner and a leader in the digital arena it is important that we play a pivotal role towards accelerating Kenya’s digital migration process. For a special price offer of only Sh1, 399, including 2 months GOtv Plus subscription, Kenyan’s can enjoy the best international and local programming”, added Mr Kyengo.
GOtv subscribers are spoiled for choice with a selection of channels including, news, children’s programming, documentaries, series and movies. GOtv channels are carefully selected to cater for a variety of different tastes and family viewing needs.

Channels include; Africa Magic World, Africa Magic Swahili, SuperSport Select 1 and 2, One Gospel, E! Entertainment, Telemundo, eTV Africa, ZEE World, Disney Junior in addition to local channels such as KBC, NTV, KTN, Citizen TV to mention but a few.GOtv now covers over 30 cities in its pursuit to enable the government to achieve a speedy migration from analogue to digital broadcasting.

Friday, 20 March 2015

The future of technology is curved

As the world continues to push its technological boundaries, consumers are beginning to seek technology that is specifically designed to seamlessly fit into the daily hustle and bustle of life. LG Electronics remains at the fore of this pursuit in creating technology that is ergonomic as well as user-friendly.

Recently, the electronics company launched the world’s first curved screen TV dubbed the OLED TV. With the aim of providing consumers with a television designed to immerse the user in the viewing experience of images and motion pictures. The enhanced design features of the TV mirror the curve in a human eye, giving the viewer a wider scope in imagery as well as a sharper perception along the edges of focus.

“The idea behind creating technology that is curved, is to give consumers an optimum sense of comfort and ease in use,” said Moses Marji is Marketing General Manager, LG Electronics East Africa

The OLED TV comes with a fairly minimalistic approach in terms of design; a subtle stand and slim bezel with the 65inch screen being the main feature. Bigger is indeed better, when it comes to the viewing experience on the OLED TV. The TV’s viewing can be construed by viewers to be 3D; this is a primary result of the notable arch of the screen.

As described in a Forbes article, curved TVs “deliver almost twice as much perceived contrast” for the viewer. Images on a curved TV are viewed off-axis because of the shaper perspective given along the edges. This in turn reduces the negative effects normally experienced by viewers in terms of colour and contrast.

Products featuring a curve as produced by LG include the recently launched LG G Flex 2, which the electronic firm hopes will put a stylish spark back in the ergonomic advantages of owning a curved mobile phone.

LG Electronics is pushing its creative boundaries by introducing curved smartphones into the mobile world. “The human body is not a flat surface,” Mr Marji further described “therefore technological products we use on a daily basis should seamlessly fit into our pockets and curve towards our ears and mouth.”

The current LG G Flex 2 includes an HD P-OLED display providing a better interactive experience for the user. The curvature of the phone re-introduces the simplicity of phones produced in the past, blending new-technology characteristics that ultimately give an enhanced user-friendly experience.

Fashionable technology is perceived as products that aim to assimilate and enhance lifestyle. As wearable technology continues to gain traction, a wide majority of technological consumers already own various personal devices. Smartphones for instance accommodate a vast range of users and LG will continue to push the boundaries to give users a variety in terms of technologies available for purchase.

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

How LG is giving the children of West Pokot a new chance at life, one fridge at a time

In Kenya’s arid north, decades of neglect by successive governments have created a difficult living environment in which problems come in multiples.So if it is not the scorching conditions that make life unbearable and the land unproductive unless it is irrigated, there is the incessant insecurity in a heavily militarized environment in which some communities and their cross-border neighbors still regard cattle theft as a mandatory rite of passage for their youth. 

An LG Official receives a gift from a West Pokot resident.
Add to this the generally sparse infrastructure, which is characterized by poor roads and low coverage by grid electricity and you have a scenario where, in Shakespearean parlance, life is often “nasty, short and brutish.” And this grim prospect has not spared the most vulnerable and powerless part of the population: the children of West Pokot and their mothers.

It was some of these “wrongs” that LG sought to rectify when it made a donation of five solar-powered refrigerators to World Vision, a non-governmental organization (NGO) active in the area, last November. The fridges were meant for the use of some seven health facilities which were then having difficulties in keeping their stock of food and vaccines fresh and usable. The immediate target was to offer a cold chain to store vaccines to enable more children under the age of five to get immunization. Also targeted in this consumer driven partnership were pregnant and lactating mothers.

The solar-powered refrigerators are a powerful example of demand-driven innovation by LG to provide answers to real problems in society and also active collaboration with communities to provide sustainable answers to such challenges. Besides most parts of West Pokot County being off the national electricity grid, even those that are served, like other parts of Kenya, are prone to long outages and erratic supply.  In such a situation, ordinary refrigerators are likely to be of no use. But West Pokot has at least something going for it; long spells of hot sunshine that can be harnessed through the technology provided by LG, to ensure that the children of West Pokot and their mothers have a more realistic stab at life than was hitherto possible.

Available statistics from the Government provide a picture of real need. Out of every 100 children born in the vast and arid county, only 56 get immunized, a level that is way below the thresholds set by the World Health Organization (WHO). In tandem, infant and under-five mortality remain relatively high.When LG unveiled its Power Cut Evercool refrigerator, which gives users seven hours of cooling in the fridge compartment and 10 hours of the same in the freezer without power, it was easy to imagine that the firm had reached the apex of its innovation. But not so LG. The solar-powered fridge is a major improvement on the Power Cut Evercool variant and evidence, if ever any was needed, that innovation is a constant, indeed a way of life at LG.In a country where immunization campaigns, especially against contagious diseases like Tetanus and Polio, have almost become constant due to regular outbreaks, the solar-powered fridge is just what the doctor ordered for counties like West Pokot. And with it, the children of this county have received a new, more realistic chance at life and for the community, it’s very future.

IC Bank Launches New Leasing Subsidiary

Listed lender NIC Bank has opened a new leasing subsidiary, NIC Leasing Limited Liability Partnership, in a bid to tap into the growing opportunities in the leasing market.

The introduction of NIC Leasing is a natural evolution for NIC Bank which has a strong heritage in Asset Financing. The subsidiary will now enable the group to offer customers the asset, their financing solutions as well as insurance through their Bancassurance subsidiary.

The Bank received approvals from the Central Bank of Kenya to set up the subsidiary in December 2014. The operating model employed by NIC Leasing LLP is unique and a first in the domestic market. The model will see NIC Bank partnering with Mercantile Finance, another wholly owned subsidiary of the bank.

NIC Bank Group Managing Director John Gachora said the move to set up the new subsidiary fits into the Bank’s aggressive growth strategy, especially in the Asset Finance space, which has become very competitive over the last few years.

“Leasing is slowly gaining traction in the Kenyan market. Recent leasing initiatives by the Government are a positive move towards growing the market and we are confident that NIC Group is well positioned to support this growing market,” said Mr Gachora.

Leasing is catching on in Kenya with the Government taking the lead especially in the leasing of motor vehicles and medical equipment. Leasing offers companies various advantages including optimised cash flow management by freeing up capital which can be invested in other areas of the business.

NIC Bank’s Executive Director, Corporate Banking, Alan Dodd, said the subsidiary will mainly be looking at assets such as motor vehicles as well as focusing on leasing equipment in the FMCG, Construction and Healthcare sector.

“Previously we would link customers with leasing companies and provide the financing. With NIC Leasing we are now able to provide the equipment and the financing all under one roof.

Through NIC Leasing we intend to offer professional services to our customers from inception, during the lease and at the end,” said Mr Dodd.
NIC Bank worked with renowned international leasing consultant Sudhir Amembal to set up the subsidiary.