CORONAVIRUS THREATENS KENYA &AFRICA’S ECONOMIC GAINS


It’s been nearly three weeks since the World Health Organization declared a global health emergency in response to the coronavirus, or COVID-19. More than 60 million people remain under quarantine in China with the number of deaths approaching 2000. This is actually thought to be the largest quarantine in human history. Africa is especially vulnerable given how most economies on the continent are dependent on exporting commodities.

The economic impact has spread along the same path as the virus. There are more than 73,00 confirmed cases in 29 countries. It has threatened a cascade effect throughout global supply chains that bodes poorly for the world economy as well as Kenya if authorities are unable to get the outbreak under control soon. The virus is believed to have a 14-day incubation period. The future weeks will also reveal how much economic disruption will spill over from China to the rest of the world. With the death toll rising in China and thousands more infected, there are mounting concerns that Chinese officials will be unable to stop the spread of the increasingly virulent coronavirus in the short term.

Kenya’s economy is the most vulnerable in Africa to China’s coronavirus outbreak, a new study from the Overseas Development Institute shows. Vulnerability stems from the high risk of physical exposure due to Nairobi’s transport hub status and the fact that it is one of the least prepared countries to deal with the virus. Kenya’s imports of electronics and surgical gear are currently stuck in China because suppliers have never returned from New Year celebrations due to travel restrictions.

Kenyan students are also among the foreigners stuck in the coronavirus hit Chinese City, Wuhan. Most of them are on competitive scholarships and are scared of the current situation which will discourage students from seeking further studies in China.

The most immediate economic implications from the coronavirus outbreak will manifest through a fall in tourist arrivals from, and weaker exports of goods to China and other economies integrated into the Chinese supply chain. Kenya’s small businesses which import merchandise from China to sell in Kenya will feel the pinch due to shortage of stock.

China’s economy was already slowing before the coronavirus outbreak but now with tens of millions of consumers hunkered down in their homes, and worried about potentially bank-busting healthcare costs, consumer spending is widely expected to slow even more. This could have an immediate impact on demand for African agricultural exports like the Kenyan tea

Kenya is much more exposed to the China market than other regions around the world so this crisis could also be the impetus that prompts forward-thinking policymakers on the African continent to expedite plans to further diversify their trade and investment relationships

SEX FOR FISH IN KENYA


Sex for fish sometimes referred to as “fish for sex” is a phenomenon in which female traders engage in sexual relationships with fishermen to secure their supply of fish.The women fish traders are often pressured into having sex with the fishermen who supply them with daily fresh fish. Along the beaches where the sex for fish practices have been observed, the fishermen do maintain several transactional sexual relationships with women at different beaches where they land with their fish.

To make a living, many female fish traders around Lake Victoria region in Kenya trade sex for the right to purchase fishermen’s catch. This practice has contributed to high HIV infections, largely affecting women. Even with efforts put in place by the government and other stakeholders to curb the HIV infections around the region, the problem has remained of concern. This leaves one to wonder, why is the HIV infection rate still disproportionately high in the region despite the various prevention, treatment and care interventions?

Kenya has the joint third-largest epidemic in the world, alongside Mozambique and Uganda.This evening while watching a Report by Citizen Television on this particular subject, lots of thoughts raced through my mind prompting me to pen down this.

Omena, the major catch in this region, is fished at night with the aid of solar lamps. Most women at the Lake Side depend on selling fish as the only hope to earn a living in order to support themselves and their children. Most women after many days of disappointment and going home without any catch, have no other choice other than opt for sexual relationships with fishermen so that they are given fish in exchange for sex.

Even with alot of awareness creation on HIV /AIDS, most men and women in the region are not keen on the same. In Kenya, sex for fish has been identified as one of the leading causes of the high HIV incidence among the fishing communities around the Lake Victoria region. According to the Kenya AIDS Response Progress Report, 2018, Siaya recorded a prevalence of 21 per cent followed by Homa Bay at 20.7. Kisumu County was third at 16.3 per cent while Migori and Busia came fourth and fifth with 13. 3 per cent and 7.7 per cent respectively.The situation is similar in other fishing communities of some sub-Saharan African countries, especially among the inland fisheries. In spite of the vast HIV prevention and treatment initiatives, a number of studies have identified concentrated epidemics among fishing communities in Uganda, Tanzania and Malawi.

To achieve the Agenda 2030 goal on ending the AIDS epidemic, every country should work on reducing the HIV prevalence among its key populations and also offer care and treatment. There is need to develop and scale up innovative and target-oriented prevention, treatment and care services. In particular, the interventions need to respond to the needs of the local communities such as advancement that allows women to be free from sexual exploitation in order to secure their fish supply.

In Africa, Black Is Not Really Beautiful


In Africa, some women believe that lighter skin enhances their beauty, skin bleaching products tend to sell well. In Kenya when Kenya Bureau of Standards set about to confiscate them, the reaction got ugly online.Gone are the days when skin bleaching/whitening was considered a culture shock. Today, skin whitening is considered a luxury, an expensive addiction and a tool for attracting and winning over desirable members of the opposite sex. This is despite the fact that there is damning evidence and an abundance of health-related articles espousing the dangers of skin bleaching.

Kenya is not the first in Africa, or the world, to outlaw skin bleaching lotions and potions. In countries such as Ghana and South Africa there are laws that prohibit the import of such products, especially those that contain the harmful chemical hydroquinone.

The highly unregulated global skin lightening market is estimated to be worth billions of dollars. At least four out of every 10 women in Africa bleach their skin, according to the World Health Organization.
Regardless of whether you are for or against it, there is no denying the fact that skin bleaching has come to stay. In fact, it is a multi-billion dollar industry with massive potential and an impressive annual growth rate. Surprisingly, this practice is unrestricted to women alone: men, as well, are now very active participants.

Walking through the streets of Nairobi, I notice that many of the women have uncharacteristically light skin faces while the rest of their bodies are darker.Some even have scabby burns on their cheeks from the harmful chemicals used to strip the skin of pigmentation.The stigmatisation of dark skin has led to the popular practice of skin bleaching.

There have been attempts by governments to discourage the use of skin bleaches through sales bans, but these have been largely unsuccessful.For as long as black people continue to idealise light skin, the bleaching syndrome will continue to afflict many dark-skinned populations.he

The bleaching syndrome will only come to an end when Africans and all black people learn to love their skin, just as they have learned to love their hair. Only then will bleaching creams become obsolete

Kenyan-German TVET Initiative


This week in Frankfurt-Germany, The Kenya TVET Delegation led by the Principal Secretary(State Department of Vocational and Technical Training) Dr. Kevit Desai, Dr. John chikati, (Secretary for Strategy and Delivery in the Office of the Deputy President) and Hon. (Dr.) Langat Christopher Andrew (Chair of the Education Committee in the Senate) finalized discussions for strengthening Kenya-Germany partnership in support of Technical Education in Kenya. Discussions for  increased financial support towards Technical Training has been realized with expected increased funding the sector. The Germany Delegation was led by Jurgen Diermaier, the GIZ Division Director for Africa.

As the strongest economic nation in East Africa, Kenya has seen significant economic progress since the turn of the century. Despite economic success, Kenya is characterized by high youth unemployment (26 per cent) as well as a shortage of skilled workers. The Kenyan-German TVET Initiative (KGTI) was launched in early 2017 as part of the new priority sector entitled Sustainable Economic Development – Promotion of Youth Employment and TVET.

The key aim of this initiative is promoting the establishment of centres of excellence for cooperative technical and vocational education and training (TVET). Particular emphasis is placed on increasing private companies’ involvement to ensure that the supported training measures are geared to the requirements of the labour market. A total of 15 companies have signed the memorandum of understanding (MoU) to sponsor centres of excellence. Cooperation between these companies and the centres of excellence is intended to strengthen the selected occupational fields and implement cooperative training on a pilot basis.

The companies conduct training for trainers and are involved in developing curricula. They also offer trainee-ships and provide expertise. The project has already participated in carrying out a planning workshop in cooperation with three centres of excellence, the private sector and the Ministry of Education, and has developed a plan for its own mainstreaming.

This project promotes private sector actors in cooperative TVET and training institutions (setting up of centres of excellence) and is strengthening the range of cooperative TVET on offer through TVET reforms. In light of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), TVET underpins many of the proposed goals and the achievement of sustainable development. TVET is crucial in reorienting society to adopt the low-carbon mentality so essential to addressing climate change. It is also impossible to think of making gains in poverty reduction, job creation and decent work provision without transforming TVET. For example, Goals 4, 6 and 8 of the SDGs are directly related to TVET, with many of the targets capable of being supported by a well-designed TVET system and targeted skills-development interventions.

Kenya and African leaders should place emphasis on TVET and encouraging partnerships just like the Kenya-German TVET Initiative. The success of TVET in Africa will depend on the African leaders’ ability to implement reforms in the sector and also align the SDGs with its own transformative agenda 2063 endorsed by the African Union’s Summit

The Delegation


Africa Wealth Report 2019 : Rich Get Richer Even As Poverty And Inequality Gap Widens


Africa is now home to more than 160,000 people with personal fortunes worth in excess of $1m (£642,000), a twofold increase in the number of wealthy individuals since the turn of the century that highlights the problem of deepening inequality as some of the world’s poorest nations register strong economic growth.The Report by AfrAsia Bank further revealed that three African billionaires today have more wealth than the poorest 50% – or 650 million people across the continent.This shows how rising and extreme inequality across Africa is undermining efforts to fight poverty.

In a summary, the report shows that:

  • 3 African billionaires now have more wealth than the poorest 50% – or 650 million people across the continent
  • The most unequal country in the region, Swaziland, is home to one billionaire, Nathan Kirsh, who is estimated to have $4.9bn. If he worked in one of the restaurants that his wholesale company supplies on a worker’s minimum wage, it would take him 5.7 million years to earn his current level of wealth
  • The combined wealth of the 5 richest Nigerians is more than enough to end poverty in Nigeria. Nigeria’s girl population makes up 60% of the more than 10 million children who do not go to school.
  • 75% of the wealth of African multi-millionaires and billionaires is held offshore, as result the continent is losing $14billion annually in uncollected tax revenue.
  • Dangerous and unsustainable levels of debt are hurting social spending. In 2018, Angola spent 57% of government revenue on debt repayments while public spending was cut by 19% between 2016 and 2018. Similar trends are present in Ghana, Egypt, Cameroon and Mozambique.

African women and girls are also most likely to be poor. They also stand to lose the most when public services like healthcare and education are underfunded. In Kenya, a boy from a rich family has a one-in-three chance of continuing his studies beyond secondary school. However, a girl from a poor family has a 1-in-250 chance of doing so. Women and girls also bear the brunt of failing healthcare systems, clocking in hours of unpaid care work looking after sick relatives. In Malawi, women spend seven times the amount of time on unpaid care work than men.

International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD)-Nairobi, Kenya


This week, Nairobi plays host to global leaders, policymakers and influencers to mark the 25th anniversary of the groundbreaking International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in 1994, which established an ambitious programme of action to achieve comprehensive sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights for all.

The Summit runs from November 12-14, bringing together more than 6,000 delegates from around the world, with at least 164 countries and delegates drawn from civil society organisations, grassroots organisations, young people, business and community leaders, faith-based organisations, indigenous peoples, international financial institutions, people with disabilities, academics and many others working towards the pursuit of sexual and reproductive health and rights.

The Summit comes at a time when there is growing political momentum in countries to provide affordable, quality health for all — universal health coverage — we must ensure that the full panoply of sexual and reproductive health interventions are included in national health plans, with the financial resources to back them up. It is fitting that ICPD+25 is being held in the region of the world most vulnerable to the negative effects of cuts to sexual and reproductive health and rights

In Kenya, an estimated 6,300 women die each year during pregnancy and childbirth,a tragic number that refl ects inadequate progress toward providing essential health services to all women. According to the World Health Organization, Kenya is among
the 10 countries that comprised 58 percent of the global maternal deaths in 2013, contributing 2 percent of these deaths.These are some of the cruel realities young women face every day. However, there is renewed hope that delegates expected to attend the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in Nairobi this week will re-energise and breathe new life to the Cairo Promise.

This summit should be call to action to Kenya and other countries and partners to fulfil the Cairo Promise by making concrete commitments towards achieving the ICPD goals. There is need for creation of awareness on the relationship between population growth and sustainable development.

As a young woman from Kenya, I hope that delegates attending the summit will make new commitments that will lead to completion of the unfinished business of ICPD.I hope this will be an opportunity for the Kenyan government and other partners to make commitments, and own the process.

As we commemorate the 25years, I hope enough Women will earn places at top decision-making tables — in governments, legislatures, civil society, academia, the media and other institutions with power and influence.

The Battle Between The Rich and The Poor In Kenya


We are still in the first century of Kenyan time and it seem unfortunate how the poor hate the poor and how very quick they are to dispence jungle justice to criminals and these criminals (petty) takes pleasure in unleashing terror to the poor who suffer the same economic misery with them (criminals) While on the other hand, the rich seem to be highly co-operative and sympathetic to their course irrespective of how urgly the situation seem.

The rich appear to understand the game of advantage, much more than the poor and ultimately unite amongst themselves to enrich and favour themselves at the expense of the poor.The poor are inexperienced to the game of advantage, little wonder they hate and cause terror to themselves.

A good example can be pictured in how the so-called Kenyan “big man” loot and launder funds meant for millions of persons go scott free with little or no prosecution and persecution all thanks to his friends and associate in the elite circle, especially the judges who presides over cases in our court of law.

The co-operation amongst the rich is so strong and rock-solid in Kenya, that even the poor unknowing and unconsciously support their cause. To them [the rich] the battle line had been drawn a long time ago and the poor whom are seen at the lower rung of the socio ladder had been declared sworn enemies tacitly. The battle against the poor isn’t just physical which comes through various means of opperssion, but psychological, which seem to be the coventional form of battle which has gained so much currency in contemporary times.

Each time we [the poor] make constant compain about our numerous problems, it gives a clear signal to the rich that they are winning the war and they rejoice and pontificate about it in their inner chambers: if the poor doubt this, why is it that the rich has done little or nothing to savage the bad situation which befall the poor? ( courtesy of their handiwork).

The poor need to learn: why kill one another, why terrorize one another, why scold one another, why the jungle justice, while the rich give each other palace justice: if the poor must steal, let them toe the path of Robin Hood of English lore, who steals from the rich and freely give to the poor.

So why should the poor steal from themselves and take out jungle justice amongst themselves? i guess the obvious reason is ignorance, delibrately crafted via our non-functional educational system which gasp for breath everyday. The poor must learn if they must rise from the pit of subjugation and helplessness into the pedestal that they dream and daydream about.

We[the poor] must unite, we must learn and understand the game of advantage very fast and take what rightfully belong to us, we must see past hate and prejudice towards one another, we must tacitly declare war against the rich and fight the war with everything inside of us, if we want a society that we so desire.

Consequently we [the poor] mustn’t steal from ourselves, terrorize ourselves, take out jungle justice towards ourselves, instead all anger and aggression Should be directed towards the rich either physically or psychologically.

This article is aimed at waking the hoi-polois, the proletariat, the have-not and generally the poor to the consciousness of the reality on ground so as to ebb the tide and perhaps break the deplorable chains of poverty. if this can be done, a fair society will emerge which will shrink the gap between the rich and the poor..

ERADICATING POVERTY IN KENYA


Despite being the fourth largest economy in Sub-Saharan Africa and directing its efforts to eradicating poverty and inequality since independence in 1963, Kenya’s poverty levels continue to increase with a widening inequality gap. This is attributed to political instability, lack of evidence-based policies and corruption. The fact that the number of millionaires is predicted to grow to 7,500 over the next decade, against 2.9 million in extreme poverty should trigger action by policymakers.

The Africa Wealth report for 2019 report published this month by Mauritius based AfrAsia Bank ranked Kenya 4th based on super wealthy persons with 356 billionaires living here.

The Report further indicates that the bulk of the Kenya billionaires make their wealth from the manufacturing, real estate and technology sectors. The heavy concentration of billionaires in Nairobi indicates inequality in the country’s economic development.

To reduce this inequality , I propose some the following solutions :

1).Kenyan government should implement economic policies and legislation to reform the fiscal system, raise sufficient financing for free, quality public education and healthcare, and close the economic inequality gap for women.By doing so, it could help to lift millions out of poverty and ensure a more equal and prosperous future for all Kenyans.

2).We should also support poor and marginalised people in demanding their fair share, participating in the political decisions that affect them, and claiming their rights.

3).Access to Technical and Vocational training. Skill training enhances productivity and sustains
competitiveness in the global economy. Worldwide countries are renewing efforts to promote technical and vocational education and training, this is because it is the only way to prepare young people for the world of work, which reaches out to the marginalized and excluded groups to engage them in income-generating livelihoods.Skills development
can therefore also contribute to strengthening the social links of a community by promoting local employment, creativity and sustainable means of subsistence.

4).Improving agricultural productivity, through high-quality extension services to help farmers apply best practices and better access to inputs am other influencing

Development is people centred. People are both the key actors and principal beneficiaries of development. Poverty is about people. Poverty reduction in Kenya will only happen where the people become fully involved. Statistics will remain at the core of the development process; only then can we know whether we are on track in our development process.