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  • An aerial image of the Ksh88 billion Nairobi Expressway. FILE 
  • Nairobi has been named among the world's 50 greatest places of 2022 in a new ranking by TIME Magazine.

    In the ranking, TIME noted that the Expressway was among the major reasons why Nairobi made it to the list due to the advantage it has brought in solving the traffic jam crisis in the east African city.

    The publication noted that Nairobi offers a variety of outstanding sites and treats that visitors may enjoy. Moving away from the usual Safari that Kenya is popularly known for, TIME noted that the capital offered art and cultural experiences that newbies would enjoy.

    An image of the Nairobi Westlands toll station of the expressway.
    An image of the Nairobi Westlands toll station of the expressway. FILE

    "The brand-new Nairobi Expressway, the $650 million (Ksh76 billion) project, provides a long-overdue reprieve from congestion in the centre of the city, so residents and visitors can access it more easily and quickly than ever before," the magazine noted.

    "And although tourists may have previously opted to make a beeline into the bush, today Nairobi is offering visitors plenty of reasons to keep inside the capital. The Nairobi Contemporary Art Institute (NCAI) just celebrated its opening with an exhibit showcasing Nairobian artist Sane Wadu." 

    The growing food scene in Nairobi was also a key point in the recommendations by TIME. According to the publication, the city holds a variety of cultures and the food scene had grown to accommodate travellers looking to enjoy international cuisine.

    "In the food scene, a synthesis of global inspiration is heating up. Cultiva Farm Kenya is an exceptional example, where Ecuadorian restaurateur Ariel Moscardi renders East African ingredients and flavours with South American techniques."

    Kenya is among Africa's fastest-growing economies and a number of international start-ups and businesses have planted their roots in Nairobi, this has also expedited the growth of education with companies giving back to the local communities through CSRs.

    "In the district of Mukuru, Micato Safaris opened the Harambee Community Centre, providing resources and education to help ensure that the recent economic boom will be felt more equitably," TIME noted.

    Nairobi was among the only four other cities in Africa that made it to the TIME magazine ranking. Kigali, South Africa's Franschhoek, known for its wineries, and Zambia's Lower Zambezi National Park were also recommended.

    An undated photo of Nairobi City's skyline.
    An aerial view of Nairobi City's skyline dated October 2020.  FILE  EYECONIC MEDIA

    The list was compiled by TIME's international network of correspondents and contributors. 

    The 50 cities to make the list include classic big-hitters and less-explored spots, but what unites them is that they are "thriving, growing and changing." By MUMBI MUTUKO,

  • Catherine Kibirige poses for the camera while in a medical laboratory.  HIV PLUS MAG 
  • Kenyan-born scientist Catherine Kibirige joined the class of global geniuses after she made a breakthrough with her new invention to revolutionise the testing of HIV virus.

    Her interest to pursue the field was shaped by her childhood experience following the late 20th-century break out of HIV infections in her native Uganda and parts of the Republic of Kenya.

    After her father moved them to the UK, Kibirige developed an interest in pursuing science-based subjects and returned to Uganda as a volunteer where her interest in developing a better HIV testing kit was pricked. 

    She noticed that the widely used kit, majorly in African countries, was unable to detect some strains of the disease that devastated the East African nations in the 1990s and in the aughts.

    Catherine Kibirige who invented an assay to test HIV
    Catherine Kibirige who invented an assay to test HIV. IMPERIAL COLLEGE LONDON

    Two years after her volunteer period, she earned a scholarship to the United States where she concentrated on developing a new testing kit, known as an assay in medical circles. 

    The then assay, which is a lab test used to find and measure the amount of a specific substance, could not easily detect emergent variants of the virus.

    “I was working in a technology assessment laboratory and my supervisor had been involved in developing viral load tests and other kinds of tests for HIV…and was involved in helping the different companies test out new versions of the assays and making sure that they covered all the different strains.

    "The military, having troops deployed all around the world, had a very diverse repository [of HIV strains], so they were able to provide all sorts of different strains for companies to kind of test and upgrade their assays," Kibirige stated in an interview with HIV Plus Magazine.

    She hit the lab and emerged with a better assay capable of detecting a wide array of HIV strains but she is concerned with making the kit financially affordable - especially in African nations.

    Throughout her childhood, Kibirige lived through the devastating effects of the epidemic, coupled with a civil war in her native Uganda that forced her parents to flee to Kenya - where she was later born.

    She noted that her family, which was based in Kenya, lost a number of relatives. 

    “The first cases of HIV were actually recorded or reported in Uganda, in a town called Rakhi — tents near the border with Tanzania and it really devastated our country because we’d just come through a series of civil wars. And actually, I think they trace the way the virus spread to some troops that had come in to help depose one of the dictators, so the route it followed into the country was associated with that.

    “It was very, very devastating…. We ended up losing a lot of people, even within the Uganda community in Kenya, so it really did affect me…(we) lost close cousins, relatives and science being my strongest subject…it just piqued my interest," she remarked.

    A HIV specimen
    An HIV specimen. FILE  BY Derrick Okubasu,


Police fired used teargas and live bullets to disperse motorcyclists who had staged protests in Jinja over the skyrocketing fuel prices.

The motorcyclists staged protests within different trading centres along the Jinja-Kamuli highway, where they placed and lit logs and old car tyres in the middle of the roads. The protests were largely held in the trading centers of Mafubira, Namulesa, Wakitaka, Nakabango, Nsuube, Muguluka and Buwenge.

The protestors also attacked their colleagues who had failed to join the protest forcing a number of them to abandon the main road for feeder roads. They also pelted stones at police officers who had been called in to quell the protests.

Fuel prices have skyrocketed in recent months hitting a record high Shs 6,300 for a litre of petrol and Shs 6,200 for a litre of diesel at pump stations in major towns across the country. This is almost double, the cost of the same fuel product over the last one year.

Alimansi Mugerwa, a motorcyclist operating in the area faults legislators for failing to address the issue affecting their electorate. Another motorcyclist Joseph Mukose says that many of them cannot earn enough to support their families with the current cost of fuel.

“The cost of fuel in Uganda is the highest within the East African Community, but with this price discrepancy still, our area MPs have neither come out to educate us on this abnormally, neither do they use the parliamentary platform to agitate for us on the same,” he says.

While addressing journalists on the same, the Kiira regional police spokesperson, James Mubi said that intelligence reports implicate a section of individuals employing motorcyclists to fuel the protest over unknown gains.

Mubi stresses that footage retrieved from their highway CCTV cameras showcases a numberless saloon car, which was making stopovers at different points along the Jinja-Kamuli highway and issuing whistles, vuvuzelas, and old tyres, among other unidentified items to random motorcyclists with the aim of aiding the protest.

"We completely disagree with our brothers who are in the boda boda industry who blocked the road using stones and bricks and some of them were even demanding money from people who are travelling. So as police we had to step in restore sanity. However we're not stopping at that because intelligence indicates that there is a section of people who are fueling all this," said Mubi. - URN/The Observer

  • File photo of President Uhuru Kenyatta meeting outgoing UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson FILE 
  • UK government has clarified its stance on funding Kenya's upcoming general election and its interests in the outcome.

    Through transcription of the British High Commissioner to Kenya, Jane Marriott's speech posted on Tuesday, July 12, the UK government maintained that it is not participating in any way in the organising and funding of Kenyan polls.

    "I want to be very clear, therefore, that the funding and organising of elections is a Kenyan responsibility. Who Kenyans elect is a matter for the people of Kenya. The UK respects Kenya’s sovereignty. We remain neutral and impartial," Marriott explained.

    British High Commissioner to Kenya, Jane Marriott giving a speech during the Kenya national elections conference held on Monday July 11, 2022
    British High Commissioner to Kenya, Jane Marriott giving a speech during the Kenya national elections conference held on Monday, July 11, 2022.  MARRIOTT'S TWITTER

    In a meeting with other diplomatic heads and representatives from the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), Marriott made it clear that the UK is not interested in who wins the polls but in the shared interests between the two nations.

    This is in line with a deal that was sealed by President Uhuru Kenyatta and the outgoing UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson. 

    "We have a Strategic Partnership, agreed by His Excellency President Kenyatta, and Prime Minister Boris Johnson. It is a five year partnership deliberately designed to span Kenya’s elections this year and the UK’s Parliamentary elections, due before 2025. Because the mutual interests of our two countries is greater than whoever is in power, in either place," a statement from UK government read in part.

    "Our fundamental interest is that Kenya becomes ever more stable and prosperous, and continues to be a leading democracy, setting standards across the region. We have enjoyed standing shoulder to shoulder on the world stage with Kenya – on climate change, on education, at the United Nations Security Council. And we want that modern friendship and partnership, based on mutual respect, to continue," Marriott added.

    In a message to all candidates, IEBC led by its chairperson Wafula Chebukati and other election stakeholders, UK reiterated the need for Kenya to hold free, fair, credible and peaceful elections.

    "As a friend of Kenya, the UK government calls on all present across all six types of election – and those whom they represent – to do their part in contributing to free, fair, credible and peaceful elections, before, during, and after the 9th August elections. We call on all candidates and political contestants to promote peace and unity, and not division or conflict."

    Other than the UK, European Union also announced its willingness to ensure a smooth transition. EU deployed election observers as part of their efforts in ensuring credibility in the polls.

    Responding to UK's sentiments, Chebukati assured the international community that the commission is ready to deliver credible polls. 

    IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati Addressing The Media In A Past Event  CAPITAL GROUP  BY Geoffrey Lutta,

How do you describe someone innovative?

 The characteristic of great innovators and great companies is they see a space that others do not. They don’t just listen to what people tell them; they actually invent something new, something that you didn’t know you needed, but the moment you see it, you say, ‘I must have it.

Innovation is about turning a vision into new products or services. This definition clearly depicts what Norah Magero has achieved in her career and how her unique inventions have impacted people’s lives positively.

She made history in the UK by being the second woman and the first Kenyan to be awarded the Africa Prize by the Royal Academy of Engineering.

Alessandra Buonfino, the judge for the Africa Prize, stated during a virtual ceremony that Magero’s invention, VacciBox, demonstrated the continent’s capacity for medical innovation.

We’re delighted to award VacciBox the Africa Prize. The potential impact of improving the cold chain delivery of medicine – especially vaccines – to rural areas is immense.”

“Norah truly represents the idea that one innovator can change an entire community. We look forward to watching her and her team scale this innovation to reach even more people,” Buonfino stated. 

Magero won Ksh3.6 million (£25,000), which will enable the idea to reach more people throughout Africa. In order to safely store and carry medications, such as vaccines, for use in field vaccinations and distant clinics, VacciBox is a compact, portable, solar-powered fridge.

Magero expressed her gratitude for the honor and mentioned that the idea was created to help doctors practicing in underdeveloped areas.

“VacciBox was designed with our local challenges in mind. It’s versatile, reliable, and localized. We’re ensuring that it works the way healthcare workers need it to work for the conditions they face each day so that they can save lives without worrying about technology,” she stated. 

The award, which began in 2014, is the continent’s biggest prize in the engineering field that seeks to recognise the inventions by men and women in the industry. 

How did she come up with the unique innovation?

In a recent interview with The Optimist, a UK Publication, Magero says that she didn’t set out to use her appliances to help people get jabbed. She says her “lightbulb” idea came when she was approached by Kenyan farmers to find ways to keep their milk from turning sour during transit.

After the coronavirus pandemic struck and vaccines became available in Kenya, the team realized that the cool box solved two problems in one: Not only could it store vaccines and keep them cool, it was small enough to be portable, and so could be used to transport vaccine vials to the most remote outposts while keeping them at the right temperature.

The concept was then brought to life with the help of investors including RES4Africa Foundation and Startup Energy.

Magero has vast experience in the design and management of off-grid energy utilities. According to her LinkedIn profile, she is passionate about energy access in Africa and gender issues. 

She has received other honors including a Booking.Com Technology Playmaker Award 2020 finalist and Women in Energy East Africa Community, Philanthropy Award winner 2017. She is also an alumnus of the Young African Leaders Initiative, YALI, and the Micro-Grid Academy.

Key takeaways

Find your purpose and stick to it. Norah had a clear vision when she created Vaccibox, she was passionate about making sure that healthcare was accessible. You too can be able to discover what your dreams and passions are.

Is it that online business? Is it that career in Project management? Whatever it is, go for it! Don’t give up!

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