Friday, August 30, 2013

Kenya Airways to fly new Boeing 777-300ER direct to Guangzhou, China

From November 19, 2013 the airline will begin flying its new aircraft non-stop three times a week between Nairobi and Guangzhou – China’s third largest city and a key hub of the country’s southern region. The Boeing 777-300ER aircraft is expected to be delivered in mid-October and will commence revenue service in mid-November.   At the moment, Kenya Airways flies to Guangzhou via Bangkok, daily.

Kenya Airways’ Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Dr.  Titus Naikuni, said that the new direct flights to Guangzhou would facilitate interaction between the two regions by opening up Africa to China through its robust connections from Nairobi. The airline flies to over 40 destinations in Africa.

“China has emerged as a key trading partner for Africa. Our direct flights to Guangzhou seek to build on this relationship in order to make a contribution towards sustainable development of Africa, which is in line with our core purpose as a company,” Dr. Naikuni added.

The direct flights will be operated on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays departing from Nairobi just after midnight while   maintaining the current flights to Guangzhou via Bangkok of four times a week.   Together with code-share partner, China Southern, whose hub is Guangzhou, Kenya Airways will be able to service most parts of China. China Southern is the biggest carrier in Asia.    

The introduction of the direct flights to Guangzhou comes only days after Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta concluded a state visit in China during which the two countries signed financing deals to the tune of about KSh425 billion.

In 2012, the value of trade between China and Africa was estimated at US$200 billion. Besides trade, the interaction between China and Africa has been mainly through foreign direct investment and infrastructural development assistance. A study conducted by the African Development Bank (AfDB) in 2011 indicated that Chinese finance will be a significant source of capital for African countries.

Meanwhile, Kenya Airways has made changes on its flights to Hong Kong. From October 2, 2013, the airline will only fly to Hong Kong via Bangkok three times a week, discontinuing the previous service through Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. KQ will in effect maintain daily frequencies to Bangkok from Mid-November.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Alexander Forbes members can now use their pension as mortgage security

A retirement benefits and financial services company, Alexander Forbes has launched a mortgage facility through their multi-employer retirement fund, the Alexander Forbes Retirement Fund.

While addressing the media during their Annual General Meeting, the fund’s Chairperson Ms. Lucy Kambuni shared the driving motivation behind the launch of the mortgage facility as the need to improve the utility of benefits in the retirement fund for the overall betterment of its members’ lives, over and above providing for retirement benefits in old age.

Mr. James Olubayi, the Group Chief Executive Officer and a Trustee of the umbrella retirement fund said that the mortgage facility would enable the members of the retirement fund to utilize up to 60% of their accumulated benefit under the Fund as a security for purposes of securing a mortgage. He added that to date, housing needs of Kenyans by far outstrip the supply and there was now an opportunity for members of the retirement fund to leverage off their existing savings to secure a home, without risking their long term financial security in retirement.

The Divisional Head of Umbrella & Retail Solutions at Alexander Forbes, Ms. Angela Okinda who heads the management of the Fund noted that the launch of the mortgage facility was a great milestone. “For the everyday Kenyan, mobilization of capital to undertake the purchase of a property is quite an uphill task,” Ms Okinda said. The high cost of living with daily consumptive needs competing for the same disposable income as savings and investment, the latter usually loses, she argued. “We want to change the lives of our 22,000 members by making a meaningful impact to their long term well being,” Ms Okinda added. She said the facility will be one of the ways through which more Kenyans can have a permanent shelter and a title deed.

The Alexander Forbes Retirement Fund (AFRF), one of a kind was the first multi-employer umbrella retirement fund in East Africa. Established seven years ago, the fund has experienced tremendous growth with assets worth Kes 10 billion making it a faster growth path in the retirement industry. Currently it is providing retirement and other related benefits such as ill-health early retirement, immigration as well as insured death in service and disability benefits to its 22,000 members and an estimated 300,000 beneficiaries.

So far the fund has about 90 employers participating in it. Ms. Okinda mainly attributed this growth to the fact that the umbrella fund provides a simple, practical, cost effective solution to employers who are seeking a professionally managed fund for their employees.

Mr. John Okondo, a trustee said the Fund will continue to devise various strategies that benefit members to better plan their personal and retirement finances.

Members of the Fund can now apply to utilise up to 60% of their mortgage (or the value of the house, whichever is lower) as a security. This implies that the house is the primary charge and the pension is a secondary charge. In the event of default, the financial institution would first dispose of the house to meet the outstanding obligation. It is only if the proceeds from the same of the house are not sufficient, then the consideration of recover from pension can be pursued.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

OMO launches Omo Extra Fresh, alongside a new promotion

Women groups from across the country have a chance to walk away with up to Ksh 75,000 in cash prizes, courtesy of the newly launched OMO Extra Fresh, a variant of the popular OMO detergent..
In line with the detergent’s strategy of creating better life for its consumers, OMO Extra Fresh, which was launched in June, has been engaging women all over the country through their investment groups that are popularly known as ‘chamas’. . .
Ms. Kendi Kilonzo, Unilever’s Regional Category Manager said: “The OMO team appreciates that women are at the heart of what we do. It is therefore important to us that we go to where they are and share in their efforts to create better lives for themselves.”
For each 145 gram packet of OMO Extra Fresh bought, consumers will stand a chance to win cash prizes by sending an SMS to the number 22702. The more SMSs sent the higher the chances a group has of winning.
The leading women group from each region will get Ksh 75,000 while the second runners up will walk away Ksh 50,000. The group that comes in third will get a cash prize of Ksh 25,000. The participating regions include Eldoret, Nairobi, Nyeri, Embu and Mombasa.
Individual consumers also stand to win. All top collectors of the packs in each region walk away with a cash prize of Ksh 1,000.
Through continuous research and development, the OMO detergent has gotten better with time, reducing the time, physical effort and amount of water needed to wash clothes by hand.
“We brought together the power of our laundry detergent with the softness of a fabric softener to enable Kenyan mothers to save time and money as they do not have to buy fabric conditioner separately,” Ms. Kilonzo explained.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Kenya Airways introduces daily direct morning and evening flights to Kigali, Bujumbura

Image of hilly Kigali - Wikipedia
Kenya Airways has introduced new direct flights from its Nairobi hub to Kigali in Rwanda and Bujumbura in Burundi as it consolidates its presence in the East African market.

The twice daily direct flights, in the mornings and evenings, to each of the two East African cities are in addition to the existing round flight from Nairobi, passing through Kigali and Bujumbura and back every day.

In the mornings, the new direct flight to Kigali will depart Nairobi at 0745 hours Kenyan time every day; while at 0905 hours Rwandan time, it will set off for the return flight. In the evenings, it will leave Nairobi at 1700 hours Kenyan time for Kigali, departing Kigali at 1820 hours Rwandan time.

The direct flights to Bujumbura will leave Nairobi at 0810 hours Kenyan time every morning; while the return flight will depart at 0940 hours Burundian time. The evening flight will leave Nairobi at 1730 hours Kenyan time, returning from Bujumbura at 1900 hours.

Kenya Airways’ Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Titus Naikuni, said that the new service aims at enhancing convenient    travel and trade amongst East African countries following the implementation of the common market protocol that paved way for free movement of people, goods and services within the region.

“These twice a day direct flights from Nairobi to Kigali and Bujumbura tie in with our plans to fly to every African capital by 2016 as we seek to contribute to the sustainable development of Africa,” Dr Naikuni added.

The new direct flights to Kigali and Bujumbura add to Kenya Airways’ current combined night flight that serves  the two cities. Every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, the flight departs  from Nairobi at 2350 hours (Kenyan time) for Kigali, leaves Kigali for  Bujumbura at 0105 (Rwandan time) and arrives back in Nairobi at 0520 hours (Kenyan time). On Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, the flight leaves Nairobi for Bujumbura at 2350 hours (Kenyan time), leaves   Bujumbura for Kigali   at 0125 hours (Burundian time) and arrives back in Nairobi at 0525 hours (Kenyan time) from Kigali.

Within East Africa, apart from Kigali and Bujumbura, Kenya Airways also flies to Dar-Es-Salaam, Entebbe and   Kilimanjaro