Interview sessions in Turkana and Garissa counties.

Having gained a more detailed understanding of the challenges, ILO PROSPECTS Kenya partnered with Turkana and Garissa county governments, the East Africa Institute of Welding (EAIW) and the Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) to deliver a dual-learning welding skills programme accessible to refugee and host communities.

News | 01 April 2021
The two refugee-hosting counties in Kenya, Turkana and Garissa, are classified as Arid or Semi-Arid (ASAL) and are home to some of the traditionally marginalized national populations with limited resources. Hosting large numbers of refugees for over two decades has further exacerbated the socio-economic development challenges for both host and refugee communities. The youth population in these areas have few employment and entrepreneurship opportunities, particularly as a result of limited labor market information and mismatched skills.

Having gained a more detailed understanding of the challenges, ILO PROSPECTS Kenya partnered with Turkana and Garissa county governments, the East Africa Institute of Welding (EAIW) and the Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) to deliver a dual-learning welding skills programme accessible to refugee and host communities. Seventy young people, including 14 women and two persons with disabilities, were selected through a competitive recruitment process in November and December 2020. The process involved several partners, including the county governments, UNHCR, EAIW and Film Aid Kenya.

The young people’s training journeys began on 11 January 2021 with the official “flagging off” by county government representatives as the students boarded their buses to Nairobi for a five-month specialized welder training programme at EAIW, which will culminate in work-based learning activities supported by KAM through its affiliate members.

Congratulations goes to all of you for accepting this offer and I would love to urge you all to work hard to gain these skills. Remember you are the first beneficiaries of the programme and your performance matters a lot. My hope is you will take full advantage of this opportunity, enhance your skills and hence make Turkana County proud. "

Hon Pauline Lokuruka, Chief Officer Education, Sports and Social Protection, Turkana County Government.
Turkana County Director of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET), Mr Stephen Eregae, applauded the partnership between the county government and the ILO Stating: "This shall enable our young people to tap into rare skills that have not been promoted in the county for some time. Young people should have a more positive attitude towards skills development and help promote entrepreneurship in the region.“

The main objective of the programme is to provide market-relevant skills through TVET using Competence-Based Education and Training (CBET) curriculum in welding. The programme builds these skills through three levels: welder training at level 1 (known as fillet welding), level 2 (plate welding) and level 3 (pipe Welding). The soft skills and work-based learning components qualify the graduates for the TVET-CDACC (Curriculum Development Assessment and Certification Council) level 4 welding and fabrication certification that means that the training is situated within the national accreditation framework.

Students working on a project during a practical lesson on level 1 fillet welding.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and in line with Kenya Vision 2030 which pursues a move towards a digitally-enabled society, a blended learning approach was adopted in this programme. This meant that theoretical aspects, such as digital literacy, entrepreneurship, environmental literacy, communication skills, numeracy skills, employability and occupational safety and health skills, were delivered digitally through a learning management system.
A group of students at the East African Institute of Welding.
The Google app logo. Image: FILE
 
In Summary

•Other league games that also trended include Burnley versus Arsenal, Arsenal versus Tottenham, and West Ham versus Arsenal.

•Below are the March Search Trends for Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa

The Kenya-Egypt soccer match, former and late Tanzanian President John Pombe Magufuli, and the AstraZeneca vaccine.

These are some of the Google Search trends that dominated Kenya in March 2021. 

Kenyans’ love for football reigned supreme throughout the month as they closely followed the national team and the European football leagues. 

The Kenya versus Egypt match topped March Search trends as Kenyans showed patriotism following the national team.

Kenyans were keen to secure a win that would have restored hopes of the Harambee Stars qualifying for next year’s Africa Cup of Nations.

Second on the trending list was fallen Tanzanian President John Pombe Magufuli.

Speculation was rife for about a week that he had been flown to Kenya while seriously unwell and admitted at a Nairobi hospital. This made Kenyans to search for information about him.

Later, the then Tanzania vice-president Samia Suluhu Hassan said Magufuli had died of heart complications.

Hassan said that Magufuli was hospitalised on March 6 at the Jakaya Kikwete Cardiac Institute and died at Mzena State Hospital in Dar es Salaam.

Journalist Winnie Mukami and former President Mwai Kibaki emerged at numbers three and four respectively on the trending list.

Winnie succumbed to Covid-19 related complications with Kenyans turning to Google Search for information about her life and career journey.

Kenyans also searched for former President Mwai Kibaki as an online debate ensued about who, between him and the current president, is the best. 

Champions League draw emerged as the fifth most searched query by Kenyans seeking information about their favourite teams and how they were paired to face each other in the quarter-finals.

The draw also emerged as the third trending search query by Nigerians.

The sixth trending search query, “Uhuru’s speech today” led Kenyans to want to know the details of the new Covid-19 containment measures imposed by the president during his 14 and 15 addresses on 12 and 26 March respectively.

Manchester United versus AC Milan match was the seventh trending Search query in March as Kenyan football lovers followed to know which team would win and proceed to the quarter-finals of the Champions League.

Both South Africans and Nigerians also searched for this game, making it the seventh trending query in South Africa and eighth in Nigeria.

Kenyans also turned to Search seeking information on the effectiveness of the AstraZeneca vaccine after it was rolled out in the country, making it the eighth trending search query.

Endometriosis emerged as the ninth trending query as Kenyans turned online to get information about it.

This comes as March is recognised as Endometriosis Awareness Month and aims to raise awareness on the magnitude of the condition.

English Premier League games also dominated the trending list with the Manchester City versus Southampton match closing the top 10 trending searches by Kenyans in March.

Other league games that also trended include Burnley versus Arsenal, Arsenal versus Tottenham, and West Ham versus Arsenal.

Below are the March Search Trends for Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa  By Nancy Agutu, Star

  • Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) building in Nairobi. SIMON KIRAGU KENYANS.CO.KE 
 
  • Ksh1.07 trillion from the pension fund was taken up by the national government as part of its domestic debt stock according to the latest Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) weekly bulletin. 

    According to the report published on March 26, the pensions fund is the government's second biggest lender contributing 30.34% of the total domestic debt. The gross domestic debt currently stands at Ksh3.5 trillion.

    Notably, the latest CBK bulletin also revealed that there has been an overall trend of a drop in oil prices around the world, despite the current fuel prices in the country.

    "International oil prices continued to decline during the week on account of threat of new lockdowns amid
    new Covid-19 infections. Murban oil price declined to $61.61 (Approximately Ksh6,715) per barrel on March 25, from  $66.03 ((Approximately Ksh7,200)  per barrel on March 18," reads an excerpt from the bulletin.

    A petrol station attendant pumping fuel into a car.
    A petrol station attendant pumping fuel into a car.

    In the worldwide oil industry, an oil barrel is defined as 42 US gallons, which is about 159 litres. This translates to approximately $0.42 per litre or Ksh45.80.

    Commercial banks maintained their position as the government's biggest lender contributing 52.98% of the total domestic debt as of March 2021. 

    The implication is that the government and citizens are competing for loans from the same commercial banks leading to the crowding-out effect. 

    Commercial banks prefer to lend to the government since they view it as a low-risk investor as compared to the citizens.

    "The Treasury bills auction of March 25, received bids totalling Ksh 22.97 billion against an advertised amount of Ksh 24.0 billion, representing a performance of 95.7%," the report reads in part.

    Pension funds in Kenya hold assets under management at Ksh1.3 trillion, a ratio of 13.4% to gross domestic product (GDP). 

    These cover about 20% of the working population with about 40% invested in securities (Treasury bills and bonds) and earning about Kshh60 billion annually in interest income. 

    Pension funds generally have longer-term liabilities payable over many years into the future.

    On October 21, 2020, former U.S. Ambassador to Kenya Kyle McCarter, together with representatives from the World Bank and American advisory firm MiDA Advisors, launched the Kenya Pension Fund Investment Consortium (KEPFIC).  

    He went on to detail how KEPFIC would enable pension schemes to jointly make sustainable long-term infrastructure and alternative asset investments in the region.

    “The United States Government is pleased to support a Kenyan institution that presents an innovative approach to infrastructure investment in Kenya as it follows recent changes to the Retirement Benefits Authority guidelines allowing pension funds in Kenya to invest up to 10% of their assets into infrastructure, potentially unlocking over Ksh100 billion,” he stated at the time.  

    Kenya’s annual infrastructure funding gap currently stands at more than Ksh 200 billion, presenting private investors with numerous opportunities in sectors including power, transportation and urban development.

    Pension funds are the ideal funding partners for infrastructure projects due to their longer return on investment horizons and significant role in financing infrastructure projects in many countries, including the United States. 

    Former US Ambassador to Kenya Kyle McCarter launches the Kenya Pension Fund Investment Consortium on October 21, 2020.
    Former US Ambassador to Kenya Kyle McCarter launches the Kenya Pension Fund Investment Consortium on October 21, 2020. FILE   Kenyans.co.ke
 

 

(Bloomberg) -- Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan has nominated Philip Mpango, who has been serving as finance minister, to be deputy president, according to the speaker of the nation’s parliament.

Lawmakers will vote on his nomination on Tuesday, Speaker Job Ndugai said in the capital, Dodoma.. Hassan became president after the death of John Magufuli earlier this month. She didn’t immediately name a replacement for Mpango. - Bloomberg

Kenya's trade CS Betty Maina with British High Commissioner to Kenya Jane Marriott

NAIROBI, KENYA: Kenya’s Agriculture Sector Network (ASNET) has welcomed a new trade deal between Kenya and United Kingdom opening markets for traders in the two countries.

In a statement, the Network noted that the pact will facilitate the continued duty and quota-free access of Kenyan exports to the UK as they do in the EU market bloc, and secure foreign exchange earnings.

The sector acknowledges the agreement will enhance the competitiveness of Kenya’s leading agricultural exports namely cut flowers, fresh produce, coffee and tea even as the sector look forward to the expansion of the list to include other products.

Agriculture plays a leading role in Kenya’s economy and is a critical pillar to the country’s development strategy.

It is estimated that more than 75 per cent of Kenyans’ livelihoods depend on the sector, contributes about 33 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and employs more than 40 per cent of the total population. This calls for facilitation in all the key areas to enable the sector to thrive.

 

Since the vast majority of Kenya’s poor depend on smallholder agriculture increasing their productivity can contribute immensely to improving food security, increasing rural incomes, lowering poverty levels and growing the economy.

The contentious trade deal between Kenya and the United Kingdom (UK) is legally in force after a year of negotiations and parliamentary approval by both countries.

The agreement became operational in late March this year after top officials from the two countries signed and exchanged instruments of ratification.

This means firms exporting to the UK will now benefit from duty-free, quota-free access following the United Kingdom’s transition period with the European Union on January 1, 2021.

“The Kenya-UK Economic Partnership Agreement allows Kenya access to the UK market free of duty and quota restrictions and we are glad to know it is a contractual agreement,” said Industrialisation, Trade and Enterprise Development Cabinet Secretary Betty Maina.

CS Maina and UK Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Kenya Theo Clarke signed and exchanged the instruments ratifying the agreement.

The pact allows for a phased and gradual liberalisation of the tariffs on some imports from the UK. It is not a sweeter deal but is the same as the one signed and ratified by the European Union and Kenya in 2016. The UK deal gives a phased liberalisation for some goods for more than 25 years.

Some tariffs start to reduce after seven years. Some will not be effective until 12 years and will continue reducing slowly until 2046. By Fredrick Obuya, The Standard
 

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