UAE fund unveils Sh3.5bn investment deal in Kenya

The Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development (KFED), which is backed by the government of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi has announced its first investment in Kenya to the tune of $30 million (Sh3.57 billion). 

The UAE Fund in February established a local innovation and entrepreneurship centre with an eye on Kenya deals. 

The Abu Dhabi Stated-backed fund said the capital would be channelled through the Kenyan Youth Enterprise Development Fund. 

The funds will target to provide early-stage funding to promising start-ups and founders, it added. It was not immediately clear whether the capital is a loan or a grant. 

“More than 3,000 projects with 40 percent allocated for women will be financed and expected to generate nearly 13,000 job opportunities for the Kenyan youth,” said KFED. 

The fund says on its website that it has disbursed loans amounting to Sh40.8 billion (1.32 billion AED). 

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German Manufacturer Stihl Group Picks Kenya As East African Hub

German outdoor power tools manufacturer The Stihl  Group is set to establish its East African hub in Kenya.

The subsidiary dubbed Stihl East Africa will be servicing clients in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, DRC, Rwanda, and Burundi among others. The offices will be launched later this month. 

Stihl East Africa Chief Executive Officer Francois Marais said Kenya is a gateway into Eastern and Central Africa and its infrastructure allows for entry into these markets. 

“Our plan is to distribute our products from Kenya into the traditional East African Market which includes Tanzania, Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda, South Sudan, Ethiopia, and the Horn of Africa countries. We are also looking at the new partner state in the East African Community (EAC), the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).  We will have representatives on the ground in all these countries ultimately looking after our customers via the dealership model,” Marais said. 

The Kenyan hub will be the second in Africa, Stihl established its first Africa sales subsidiary in 1996 in South Africa. 

“Kenya is a stable and vibrant economy with a lot of growth potential, the local talent in Kenya has really allowed us to expand our business through their expertise and local insight,”  Marais said. 

The STIHL Group develops, manufactures, and distributes outdoor power equipment for forestry, agriculture, landscaping, construction, and cleaning customized for professionals and discerning consumers. 

The firm is targeting the booming Agriculture and construction sectors in the region, as governments continue to increase investments in these areas. 

Agriculture is a sector that is central to the EAC economy, contributing between 24 and 44 percent of GDP in partner states, while also accounting for the livelihood of about 80 percent of the region’s population. 

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Kenya’s iProcure closes $10.2m Series B to digitize rural supply chains in Kenya and beyond

Kenya’s iProcure, a startup offering agricultural inputs and digital supply chain solutions in rural Africa, has announced the closure of its $10.2 million Series B round.  

The investment was in debt and equity which came from a number of international investors led by impact investor Investisseurs & Partenaires (I&P).  

Joining the round were Novastar Ventures and British International Investment (BII) (formerly CDC Group) which injected $3 million into the deal. The impact investment group and US-based New General Market Partners and Ceniarth also participated in the round.  

iProcure, which has grown 23 times in the past five years, will use the investment to scale and solidify its position in East Africa and support its expansion into Uganda and Tanzania, as well as upscaling its technologies, logistical infrastructure, and distribution network. iProcure will also launch a credit offering for agro-retailers to purchase supplies.  

Niraj Varia, iProcure’s new CEO and former partner at Novastar Ventures, said, “In addition to bolstering our existing operations with more warehouses and delivery vehicles, this funding will expand iProcure’s product offering to include credit services and a new POS system for agro-dealers to better forecast their inventory needs and reduce pilferage within their shops. This will help our 5,000+ partner retailers increase their earnings and better serve the hundreds of thousands of farmers that depend on each shop.” 

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Kenyan insurtech Lami raises $3.7M seed extension led by Harlem Capital

Right from the launch of its first product in 2020, Kenyan insurtech Lami Technologies set out to increase insurance penetration in Kenya and the rest of Africa. It began on this path by building and distributing an end-to-end digital insurance platform and API that allowed businesses in different sectors to create tailored insurance solutions for their customers. 

With its API platform gaining ground in the insurance space, the startup is also planning to provide tech solutions that will digitize agents and brokers too, helping them streamline their operations — to reach a wide customer base and sell online. These plans also include enabling the digitization of traditional insurers as innovation continues to shape the industry. 

Speaking to Techcrunch, Lami’s founder and CEO Jihan Abass further announced plans to offer additional insurance product lines, while also revealing that the startup has made an entry into Egypt and Nigeria. All this against the backdrop of a $3.7 million seed extension raised in a round led by Harlem Capital — which invests in minority and women founders. 

Other investors that participated in the round include early-stage VC firm Newtown Partners, Peter Bruce-Clark (a partner at New York’s research-driven venture capital company Social Impact Capital), Caribou Honig and Jay Weintraub of InsureTech Connect (a networking platform for insurtech innovators) and senior members from Exotix Advisory, a corporate finance and mergers and acquisition boutique focused on emerging markets. The latest funding adds to the $1.8 million seed funding the insurtech raised last year. 

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Kenya commences shipment of fresh avocados to Chinese market

The first batch of fresh avocados grown in Kenya and destined for the Chinese market was flagged off Tuesday at a ceremony attended by senior government officials, diplomats, and industry executives.

The first batch of fresh avocados grown in Kenya and destined for the Chinese market was flagged off Tuesday at a ceremony attended by senior government officials, diplomats, and industry executives. 

Kenya became the first African country to export fresh avocados to China in a move set to further boost the economic ties between the two countries. 

David Osiany, the chief administrative secretary of the Ministry of Industrialization, Trade and Enterprise Development, said that by exporting fresh avocados to China, Kenya's foreign exchange earnings were set to spike and unleash economic vitality in the country. 

"The export of fresh avocados to China is a monumental feat that will boost our economy and benefit key players across the avocado value chain including farmers," said Osiany. 

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Kenya Power to set up electric car charging hubs September

Kenya Power will, from next month, start constructing electric charging systems for homes, businesses and the public across the country as the shift to clean transport gathers momentum. 

The State-owned power utility is seeking a firm to build an e-mobility network infrastructure system (ENIS) in Nairobi and Nakuru to pilot the charging stations. 

Kenya, like the rest of the world, is pushing for clean mobility to reduce environmental pollution from fossil fuels, placing Kenya Power at the centre of the shift due to the need for electricity supplies for motorists. 

The State utility has floated tender inviting bidders who will build the infrastructure that will also allow customers to pay via M-Pesa and credit like in the traditional fueling stations. 

Clean mobility is fast gathering pace in Kenya, with several companies already piloting electric-powered buses and motorcycles, placing Kenya Power at the centre given the need for electricity supplies. 

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Italian Firm Eni Commences Production Of First Kenyan Vegetable Oil

Italian multinational oil and gas company, Eni has commenced production of the first Kenyan vegetable oil for bio-refineries at its oilseed collection and pressing plant in Makueni. 

The agrihub will have an installed capacity of 15,000 tons with an expected production of 2,500 tons in 2022. 

“This project embodies all the pillars of Eni’s approach to sustainability. The carbon neutrality, as bio- refining is an important element in our path to zero emissions by 2050,” said Claudio Descalzi, CEO of Eni. 

The agri-hub will process castor, croton and cottonseeds to extract vegetable oil. 

The facility will also produce feed and bio-fertilizers derived from the protein component of the seeds for the benefit of livestock and food production, contributing to food security. The center will also work as a training and technical support hub for farmers. 

Eni Kenya, its supply chain and all agri-feedstocks developed have been certified under the International Sustainability and Carbon Certification (ISCC-EU) sustainability scheme, one of the main voluntary standard recognized by the European commission for biofuel certification (RED II). 

Notably, Eni is the first company in the world to certify castor and croton for biofuel use under the ISCC-EU scheme and has also enabled an African cotton mill to achieve such certification standard for the first time, offering new market opportunities to local farmers for the fiber. 

The first phase of the project in Kenya includes the construction of a second agri-hub to reach a total capacity of 30,000 tons per year of vegetable oil in 2023, as well as the development of associated agricultural supply chains. 

The startup of the production in Kenya represents the first step in Eni’s agro-industrial chain initiatives. 

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Kenyan construction tech startup Jumba raises $1m pre-seed round

Kenya’s Jumba, a tech startup working to rationalise the construction supply chain in Africa, has raised a US$1 million pre-seed funding round to build a digital business-to-business platform for the predominantly offline construction sector.

Launched in April, Jumba creates efficiencies in the construction materials supply chain by connecting manufacturers to hardware stores. Hardware store owners who place orders through Jumba’s platform benefit from standardised pricing, product selection and reliable delivery.  

“The market has been very receptive to us. We are currently available in Nairobi, and have begun our expansion to Garissa, Nakuru, Njoro and other urban centers across Kenya. We are expanding our work with suppliers to improve the availability of construction materials in Kenya and in East Africa,” said Jumba co-founder and CEO Kagure Wamunyu. 

The startup’s US$1 million pre-seed round was raised from investors including Enza Capital, Seedstars International Ventures, Chandaria Capital, Future Africa, Logos Ventures and First Check Africa, as well as several angel investors, among them startup founders and industry experts.  

“Africa’s populations are rapidly growing and increasingly urbanising, and the construction industry is a core economic engine supporting sustainable growth Across Africa. In a US$10 trillion industry yet to be reshaped by technology, we are thrilled to be backing Kagure and this exceptional team building Jumba,” said Mike Mompi, managing partner at Enza Capital. 

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In Nairobi, two TotalEnergies stations will collect electronic waste

With Kenya generating 3,000 tonnes of electronic waste every year, TotalEnergies' Ngong Road and Gigiri service stations will collect used appliances from households in the capital Nairobi. The initiative, led by the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Centre, comes on the heels of the enactment of the new Sustainable Waste Management Act in the East African country.  

In Kenya, people can now drop off their used appliances (televisions, computers, smartphones, cables, etc.) at TotalEnergies’ service stations in Ngong Road and Gigiri, near Nairobi. This is part of a partnership between the French oil group and the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Centre based in Utawala in Nairobi. 

 “More than 50% of diseases today are related to e-waste and industrial chemicals. We are doing the right thing, not just for Kenya, but for the world,”says Tom Musili, the chairman of the WEEE centre’s board. Once the end-of-life devices are dropped off at TotalEnergies’ service stations, the centre will destroy the data and magnetic fields from the equipment using “internationally approved” software. 

Sustainable development in focus 

By accepting the collection of electronic hutocktterwaste in Kenya, TotalEnergies wishes to reinforce its sustainable development policy in East Africa. The French group also announced that it would be donating recycled computers to several schools in the region. “TotalEnergies’ commitment is to work with like-minded partners such as the WEEE Centre. Our partnership aims to provide a safe, responsible and environmentally friendly way to dispose of e-waste, especially through consumer awareness,” says Eric Franchini, TotalEnergies’ Managing Director in Kenya. 

Parallel initiatives are also underway in Kenya. This is the case of an operation aimed at collecting, decommissioning, transporting, storing and recycling electronic waste launched by the Kenyan subsidiary of the Indian telecommunications company Bharti Airtel in Nairobi. The initiative targets household appliances containing motherboards, batteries, screens and cables. Ultimately, it will enable Airtel Kenya to minimise the environmental impact of its operations and products in use, with the help of the WEEE Centre. 

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Kenya, Seychelles sign ten cooperation agreements

Kenya and Seychelles on Monday signed ten cooperation agreements following high-level talks led by Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Seychellois counterpart Wavel Ramkalawan in Victoria. 

The Kenyan President arrived in Seychelles on Sunday for an official three-day visit. 

According to the Seychellois presidency, Kenyatta and Ramkalawan's discussions centered on how their two countries can further enhance their bilateral cooperation and agreements on matters of tourism, maritime and security, capacity building in various sectors, health, agriculture, sports, economic progress, and trade as well investment. 

Seychelles' Minister for Foreign Affairs and Tourism, Sylvestre Radegonde, and Kenya's Cabinet Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Raychelle Omamo, signed the agreements concerning Defense, mutual assistance on criminal matters, Blue Economy, Memorandum of Understanding for peace, security and law enforcement at sea, maritime affairs, tourism development, agriculture, livestock and cooperative sectors, security and crime combatting, sports, promotion on partnership on gender equality and promoting women economic empowerment. 

"Our meeting in Seychelles testifies to the importance we place on the relationship between our two countries. It is an opportunity to give a new impetus to the Seychelles-Kenya relations. President Kenyatta and I had excellent discussions this morning. First of all, we reminded ourselves of the bonds of history and personal friendship that unite our two peoples. Seychellois and Kenyans have known each other like forever," said President Ramkalawan. 

He also expressed his wish for Kenya to consider establishing an Honorary Consulate in Seychelles. 

On his part, President Kenyatta commended the Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC) of the two nations for putting together the agreements that were signed which outlined the avenues to be explored to enable Kenya and Seychelles to fully maximize and further solidify their existing ties. 

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