Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Kenya Tourism Board boosts regional tourism by targeting West Africa

Kenya has kicked off massive tourism marketing campaigns in West Africa by launching travel trade training sessions in different regions of Ghana and Nigeria.

Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) says the two countries have shown all the indications of contributing to the Kenya's tourism growth as Kenya turns to emerging markets and the Africa region for more tourists.

"West Africa is potential to us and this is the beginning of our efforts to tapping into the market that has high spenders with willingness to spend" says KTB Regional Marketing Manager Fred Okeyo during the launch of travel trade training and media engagement programs underway in the cities of Ghana and Nigeria.

KTB is training about 200 travel agents in West Africa as well as media engagement programs in a bid to equip them with information on Kenya's tourism products.

Last year Ghana and Nigeria recorded about 23,000 arrivals to Kenya, a figure KTB says will be increased significantly soon as a result of aggressive marketing being put in place.

Besides holiday leisure, education, conferencing and medical tourism are becoming key tourism products attracting Nigerians to Kenya.

Kenya High Commissioner to Nigeria Tom Amolo says assurance about the safety of destination is one of the key messages the Embassy will be pitching during the ongoing Kenya at 50 celebrations.

"We have continued to reassure the market of Kenya's safety and her conducive business for tourism business and other economic activities” says the Ambassador.

Kenya Airways sales manager in charge of Nigeria Diran Oloyede said the airline will launch a direct flight from Abuja direct to Nairobi early next year so as to handle the expected increase of travelers to Kenya.

"With these marketing activities by KTB, we will expect interest of travelers to Kenya and the launch of direct flight to Nairobi will come in handy" says the manager.

Currently Kenya airways airline operates Nigeria through Lagos ten times a week. At the moment passengers from Abuja are forced to fly to Lagos to catch Kenya airways flight direct to Nairobi.
Travelers have termed the introduction of direct flight from Abuja to Nairobi as a major Milestone in easing access to Kenya.

Monday, January 6, 2014

African Development Fund (ADF) gives $184.2 to cover political risk in Nigerian Power Sector Privatisation

Image: http://www.ifeadebayo.com
The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank Group (AfDB) (http://www.afdb.org) approved an African Development Fund (ADF) Partial Risk Guarantee (PRG) program of US $184.2 million1 , and an ADF loan of US $3.1 million, for capacity building, to support the Nigerian power sector privatization program.
The PRG program in Nigeria aims to increase the country’s electricity generation by catalyzing private sector investment and commercial financing in the power sector through the provision of PRGs. The PRGs will mitigate the risk of the Nigeria Bulk Electricity Trading Plc (NBET), a Federal Government of Nigeria entity established to purchase electricity from independent power producers (IPPs), not fulfilling its contractual obligations under its power purchase agreements with eligible IPPs. This in turn will increase the comfort level of private sector financiers and commercial lenders investing in the Nigerian power sector privatization program.

Following the Board’s decision, the Director of the AfDB’s Energy, Environment and Climate Change Department, Alex Rugamba, explained the potential impact of the program: “An effective and steady power supply is critical to the sustainability of Nigeria’s development path. The Board’s decision today will allow the AfDB to support the Nigerian Government’s efforts to reform the power sector and position the country for sustainable and inclusive growth.”

Over the long term, the Nigerian PRG program is expected to lead to increased productivity, economic activity and growth, and reduced poverty. In the short to medium term, the project will yield an increase in the maximum electricity supply and consumption per capita.
According to government statistics, power outages cost Nigeria about three per cent of its GDP annually. It is anticipated that the IPPs eligible for coverage under the program could generate an additional 1,380 MW of power by 2016, thereby contributing to increasing the population’s access to more reliable and affordable electricity (from 41 per cent currently to 50 per cent by 2016).

Nigeria, in its development objective to rank amongst the top 20 economies of the world by the year 2020, targets an ambitious 40,000 MW of electricity generation, which represents more than half of the current installed capacity on the African continent. With a population surpassing 160 million, its current maximum electricity generation capacity – approximately 5,500 MW – is inadequate to meet demand estimated at 10,000 MW. To meet the generation targets set for 2020, significant private sector investment is required in the supply chain, including generation, gas to power infrastructure and distribution networks.
This is the second ADF PRG issued by the Bank in less than two months after the one in support of the Lake Turkana Wind Project in Kenya. The AfDB’s innovative approach for crowding-in private financing for infrastructure investments with the guarantees will have a catalytic and replication effect in Nigeria and more broadly in Africa.
The ADF PRG is a political risk mitigation instrument that covers private lenders and investors against the risk of the government or government-owned entity failing to meet its contractual obligations to a project. Since 2004, the AfDB has made African Development Fund PRGs available to catalyze private investment in middle-income countries. With the introduction of the ADF PRG in 2011, it has offered the financial instrument to low-income countries as well.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Joe Keshi appointed UBA chair

Joe Keshi (left)
United Bank for Africa (UBA), the pan-African financial services group in which investment company Heirs Holdings (http://www.heirsholdings.com/) has a strategic interest, has announced the appointment of a new board chairman, Ambassador Joe Keshi. The appointment of Ambassador Keshi, who brings significant foreign service experience, signals the increasing importance of UBA’s pan-African and global network.

Heirs Holdings Chairman, Tony O. Elumelu (http://www.tonyelumelu.com/), who retired as Group Managing Director and CEO of UBA in 2010 and whose strategic vision is responsible for today’s UBA, confirmed that Keshi's appointment would add significant value to UBA’s shareholders.

Elumelu said, "Joe Keshi brings to this position a track record of rigorous governance, an international perspective and experience in policy formulation. These qualities are critical to UBA’s strategy of consolidating its position as the leading pan-African financial services group in Africa."

He added, “This appointment lays to rest some of the ill-informed speculation relating to my own possible return to UBA.   With Heirs Holdings developing an increasingly diversified portfolio, including Transcorp (http://www.transcorpnigeria.com/), as well as Tenoil (http://www.tenoilenergy.com/), Afriland (http://www.avonhealthcare.com/), our real estate business, and Avon Healthcare, leading Heirs Holdings and ensuring that we capture the many exciting opportunities in Nigeria and across Africa, requires my full time attention. I can think of no better person than Joe Keshi to lead UBA.''

Ambassador Keshi has over 35 years of public service, working at the highest levels of government administration in Africa and during his career served as Permanent Secretary, at the Nigerian Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Charge d’Affaires, Embassy of Nigeria, The Hague, Netherlands and Consul-General of Nigeria in Atlanta, USA. Ambassador Keshi was first appointed to the UBA Board in 2010 and became Vice Chairman in 2011. Ambassador Keshi’s appointment follows the retirement of Chief Israel Ogbue, a member of the UBA Board since 2005 and who has served as Chairman since January 1, 2011.

Speaking on his appointment, Ambassador Keshi said, “UBA has demonstrated ability for creating sustained value for our various stakeholders. Our pan-African footprint, particularly, gives UBA an extremely effective platform for harnessing and indeed contributing to, the growing economic potential of African markets.”

UBA Group is a significant investment within Heirs Holdings’ financial services portfolio and is listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange. The UBA Group closed third quarter 2013 with operating income of N130 billion and total balance sheet size of N3.03 trillion.

A leading pan-African financial services group with presence in 22 countries globally, UBA has a strong retail franchise providing banking services to over 7 million customers through over 750 branches and other customer touch points in 19 high growth African markets.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Tusker's reality show to take beer bottle in 50 day Nairobi - London trip

image: http://www.thirstytrekkers.com
25 teams from Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania will set off on an exciting journey across 13 countries to take a Tusker bottle from Nairobi to London in 50 days in Tusker Twende Kazi, a new television reality show.
Tusker Twende Kazi”, which to date ranks as a groundbreaking and the most audacious investment by Kenya’s iconic beer brand is creating entertainment content aimed at the mass market and aired across the East African Community. It will feature a cast of 25 well-known East African celebrities, and 25 East Africans from all walks of life.

14 well known Kenyans from the music and sports fraternity will team up with 14 Kenyans from all walks of life who will be chosen through an elaborate selection process between December 13, 2013 and February 13, 2014.  The competition will take place over a 50 day period and will traverse a total of 13 countries. The rest of the contestants will be cast from Uganda and Tanzania.

Working in a relay team, the 25 teams will criss-cross two continents, with only their clothes on their backs and will have to rely on the local communities to help them find their way and complete their assigned tasks successfully.

“As we join Kenyans’ in celebrating the 50th anniversary of independence, this show is meant to demonstrate the resilience of the Kenyan spirit to achieve whatever it sets out to do. This show is tailored to reflect Kenya’s coming of age,” said Eric Kiniti, Corporate Affairs Director, KBL

The six-month campaign is yet another milestone for the 91 year old brand that has traditionally been associated with the Kenyan spirit of resilience and celebrating life together.
“With the help of East Africans we will send a Tusker on an incredible journey carried by 50 of East Africa’s finest over mountains, through valleys, across deserts and seas, to bring a smile to our distant son, Humphrey Kayange, but more importantly to bring us together and ignite the belief that we can do anything,” added Kiniti.
 “This show is about pulling together and overcoming challenges to achieve our goals. If our journey has taught us one thing it’s this – that a little bit of Kenya can go a long way. So when they say, It is impossible, we say, we’re Kenyan.” He concluded.
The 50 participants will be divided into pairs, a celebrity and an ordinary “mwananchi”. It will be exciting to see the dynamics involved, the inter-personal relationships among the competitors while we celebrate the “never say die” attitude of Kenyans and our brothers and sisters from the neighbouring countries.

Monday, December 9, 2013

REA Vipingo to remain in sisal farming

R.E.A. Trading Limited has announced that REA Vipingo Plantations Limited (RVP) will not divest from large-scale sisal growing even after the conclusion of the proposed buyout of the sisal producer’s issued shares.

Richard Robinow, the chairman of the R.E.A. Trading which currently holds 57 per cent of RVP, said that to protect the sisal business, and the employment that the company provides in Kenya and Tanzania, RVP will need to expand its existing business into new areas such as utilisation of bio-mass and bio-gas. 

Mr Robinow further commented: “We will move ahead with the transaction subject to the relevant regulatory approvals. Our commitment is to the thousands of Kenyans and Tanzanians, their families and the local communities that derive their livelihoods from the sisal plantations and the associated commercial eco-system.

Ultimately, we are plantation people and we intend to retain our controlling interest in the sisal operations of RVP.  We are not real estate people and have no expertise in real estate development but we do understand the sisal business and its heritage, backed by 30 years of experience.

The expansion of the group’s business into new areas will require RVP to commit new capital to diversification and to take significantly greater financial risks than it has hitherto assumed.  It would be easier to do this if the group’s operations were privately held.”

In view of developments since R.E.A. Trading made its offer for RVP, R.E.A. Trading is evaluating options for the better creation of value from RVP’s assets for the benefit of all stakeholders, including its minority shareholders.

On November 13, 2013, R.E.A. Trading, announced its intention to take over 100 per cent of the issued shares of RVP which is listed at the NSE.
The proposed buyout is at the price of KS. h40 per share, which is 42 per cent premium, and values the firm at nearly Sh2.4 billion.

R.E.A. Trading is in the process of seeking regulatory approvals and meeting transactional conditions for the deal. Its decision to steadfastly remain in sisal farming is further reinforced by the company’s commitment to the Kenyan economy, its robust agriculture sector and its people.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

African Travel Week gets full backing from Western Cape Province and City of Cape Town

Thebe Reed Exhibitions is delighted to announce that Africa Travel Week comprising ILTM Africa, IBTM Africa and WTM Africa, has received the full backing and support of the Western Cape Province and the City of Cape Town.

The strategic partnership in this long awaited inaugural 3 in 1 travel and tourism event, will ensure the City of Cape Town and the province as a whole can fully engage alongside the organisers to maximize the impact the region will have on the major features, events and experiences that all participants can enjoy during Africa Travel Week.

Africa Travel Week will be managed by the newly formed Thebe Reed Exhibitions in conjunction with Reed Exhibitions, and will be held at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) from April 28th to May 3rd 2014.  The event will comprise three co-located shows – ILTM Africa, IBTM Africa and WTM Africa, encompassing Africa’s inbound and outbound markets for general leisure travel, luxury tourism, and the MICE/business travel sector.

Citing the benefits such an event can bring to the city, Councillor Grant Pascoe, Mayoral Committee Member for Tourism, Events and Marketing, said: “The benefits of hosting an event of this magnitude are boundless, not only for Cape Town but for the region and the continent. Cape Town will have the world leaders in luxury and business travel on our doorstep for a full week, including some 500 top travel buyers, 4 500 trade visitors, over 200 global media representatives and 2 000 exhibiting personnel. Through Africa Travel Week we are actively looking to position the City as a holistic destination that is more than just tourism. Cape Town is open for conferencing, trade, business meetings, leisure travel and so much more. The event also presents the City with a fantastic opportunity to showcase our new design inspired tourism  products to international buyers in the year that Cape Town celebrates being the World Design Capital 2014.”

Reflecting these sentiments and recognizing the clout that Reed Travel Exhibitions has around the world, the CEO of Cape Town Tourism, Enver Duminy added his endorsement. WTM is a leader in travel conferencing and exhibitions and it is an honour for Cape Town to host the first WTM Africa. We are looking forward to interacting with trade, exhibitors and buyers from the continent and across the globe. This is also a chance for us to put Cape Town in the spotlight during our fascinating year as World Design Capital 2014 and on the occasion of our marking twenty years of democracy.”  

“This event comes at an opportune time in light of the resumption of the center’s expansion plans, which will double the CTICC’s exhibition capacity by 2017. Reed Travel Exhibitions decision to launch into Africa in partnership with Thebe Reed Exhibitions starting with Africa Travel Week will have the effect of raising Cape Town and South Africa’s profile as a leading global exhibition and trade fair destination in the emerging markets”, says CTICC Chief Executive Officer, Rashid Toefy.

The three events during Africa Travel Week will welcome more than 5000 travel and tourism buyers from Africa and beyond to the City of Cape Town and over 700 tourism companies to exhibit from around the globe. 

Richard Mortimore, CEO Reed Travel Exhibitions added, “The host city for a Reed Travel Exhibitions’ event is a valuable and strategic partnership to the development and success of our shows.  We are therefore delighted to be working alongside the City of Cape Town and also welcome the support we have from Cape Town Tourism.  We expect Africa Travel Week to provide a real economic impact for the City through the number of participants we expect across all of our events who will no doubt experience Cape Town as both a business and leisure destination.” 

Africa Travel Week events are:
•           ILTM Africa 28 – 30 April 2014
•           IBTM Africa 28 – 30 April 2014
•           WTM Africa: 02 – 03 May 2014

For further information about each of the Africa Travel Week events, please visit www.africatravelweek.com

Monday, December 2, 2013

Kenya is "World’s Leading Safari Destination"

Commerce and Tourism PS Dr.Ibrahim Mohamed
(second right) receives the leading safari destination
award from the President of the World Travel Awards
Mr. Graham Cooke (Centre) along with Kenya Tourism Board
managing Director Mr. Muriithi Ndegwa (second left) and
Kenya’s ambassador to Qatar Galma Boru.
The event took place in Doha, Qatar on Saturday,
Kenya has done it again; the country has scooped the World’s Leading Safari Destination at the 20th World Travel Awards (WTA) grand finale in Doha, Qatar.

Kenya got the most votes from travel agents worldwide at the auspicious ceremony event held on 30th November 2013 to beat other competing destinations.

The award comes barely a month after the country’s tourism marketing agency Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) was voted Africa’s leading Tourism Board in Africa by WTA during the Africa chapter held in Kenya in October.

KTB Managing Director Muriithi Ndegwa termed the award an endorsement of Kenya as a home to authentic safari.

“Kenya’s pride has been reaffirmed by this award which comes after KTB was also voted Africa’s leading Tourism Board in October this year,” said Ndegwa.

He added, “The award has raised the brand equity of the country following the successful implementation of the diversification agenda and adoption of new promotion strategies.”

“While we have been in contention for this and other awards, this is by far the greatest achievement we have received. We are alive to the fact that we must sustain our lead, through additional investments in the sector to ensure that the Kenyan experience for tourists remains unmatched,” said Mr. Ndegwa.

Kenya is the original quintessential safari destination. Famous for its sweeping plains, abundant wildlife and unique cultures, a Kenya safari is guaranteed to leave a lasting impression. Kenya also has an exceptional tropical coastline of warm waters, coral reefs and powdery palm-fringed beaches – the perfect curtain call to a Kenya safari.

Unique attractions such as the annual wildebeest migration are one of the most memorable Kenya safari experiences that have continued to put Kenya on the map as a safari destination.