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Maiden Visit To Kenya By Ireland Minister Deepens Trade Links Between The Two Countries



Minister Moran with KEPSA CEO Ms. Carole Kariuki on the successful signing of trade pact between Kenya and Ireland.

For over 100 years, the Irish people have been in Kenya and impacting livelihoods of citizens in various community spaces. Primarily, they’ve engraved their stand in religion and healthcare from back in time. 35 ministers from Ireland were sent across the world to join their citizens and world in celebrating the day. St Patricks Day is Ireland’s National Day. It is a time of celebration for all of those of Irish descent and affinity around the world.

Luckily, Kenya was the only country in sub-Saharan Africa privileged to have hosted one of them. Kevin Moran, minister for public works, was in the country for three days for a series of action-packed events. In a nutshell, he supervised and oversaw several projects the Ireland government through the Irish Embassy under Amb Vincent oneil have been running. His visit was also tuned to further strengthen trade links between the two countries and further positive relations.

Minister Moran with Nyandarua Governor, Kimemia during the launch of Potatoes project.

In Nyandarua, Minister Moran launches Potato Sector Capacity Building Project that addresses issues on farmer training, market linkages, and production and distribution of high-quality potato seed with a goal of improving yields and farmer revenue. The project is a PPP that involves IPM an Irish seed production company, IFDC an NGO involved in capacity building in agriculture sector, Kevian Kenya, a private company involved in food processing and the Nyandarua County Government. The project will be funded for 3-years by Irish Aid through the Embassy of Ireland and will benefit over 3000 smallholder farmers in Nyandarua.

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Minister Moran also held a meeting with key Kenyan trade partners at the Kenya Investment Authority offices to learn of opportunities for deepening Ireland-Kenya trading links and investments. During the meeting, a presentation was made on the work that has been done to develop KenInvest’s One Stop Centre (OSC), funded by Irish Aid through the Embassy of Ireland. The Minister witnessed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Embassy of Ireland and the Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA) and the plans for the development of a Trade Compact between Ireland and Kenya in 2018.

Minister Moran leads Irish delegation in holding talks with Kenyan government delegation

Ireland also has a growing business presence in Kenya, working in close collaboration with Kenyan investors. A business network, Business Ireland Kenya, established with embassy support in 2014, now has over 70 members. BIK members are involved in a wide range of businesses, which include financial services, security, education, ICT services, tourism, construction, and pharmaceuticals.

The Minister also presided over the launch of a partnership between an Irish company, Novaerus, and a Kenyan company, Quintons Pharmacy. Novaerus is an Irish company that develops technology for infection prevention and control through their unique plasma technology air filtration system. Quintons Pharmacy is a Kenyan based company that was incorporated in 2015 and distributes international healthcare brands into the East African market.

During his visit, the minister also visited Mukuru slums in one of the many urban settlement programmes that the embassy is sponsoring in Nairobi. Also looked over Young Scientists Kenya, a programme run by Irish aid and met students involved in this innovative competition.

Minister Moran and Ambassador Vincent posing with ‘Simba’

With the Global greening theme of St Patrick’s celebration, Kenya Wildlife Service Headquarters was the highlight of the tour, where the embassy was launching a massive initiative. The St Patrick’s greening event. Ireland ‘Greens’ iconic images all over the world on St. Patrick’s Day. The purpose of Ireland’s Global ‘Greening’ Campaign is to bring attention to Ireland’s relationship with its diaspora communities and also with friends in countries across the world.

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Ireland Embassy has been ‘Greening’ the Big Five for the past few years, with Ahmed the Elephant Greened in 2016 and a Rhinoceros Greened in 2017. This year the Embassy was even more innovative by ‘greening’ a life-size Lion. However, this was no ordinary Lion. This life-sized Lion was made entirely from flip-flops that have been washed up on Kenya’s coastline and recycled into a Lion statue.

On his last day in Kenya, the Minister, together with the Chief Guest, Hon. Ababu Namwamba, Chief Administrative Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade presided over the official St Patricks Day Reception which took place at the Irish Ambassador’s Residence.

The trip can be described as a success if we’re to borrow Moran’s own observation that in his entire life in public service, Kenya’s visit was the highlight of his career. He said the welcoming nature of Kenyans charmed him and found vast openings in business that will see the two countries continue tightening their bond.

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Kenya West is a trained investigative independent journalist and a socio-political commentator on matters Kenya and Africa. Send me tips to []

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Government Abandons New SGR



Kenya has been rolling deep down into public debt in the name of development. Government handlers have been on the frying pot for advising the government of projects that are not profit generating at the expense of the tax payers.

Recently a Chinese loan worth Ksh.374 billion for the extension of the SGR from Naivasha to Malaba didn’t materialize. With some saying that Chinese now wants the government to prove that they are going to pay for the first loan.

The government of Kenya now has plans to modernize the old railway track to link a newer line to neighbouring Uganda at a cost of Ksh.21.3billion.

Sources in the government indicate that unidentified private financier has offered to fully back up the project. This is almost 15 times cheaper than building another almost modern railway with Chinese loan.

also read:Container Freight Station Owners To Lose Sh35B Investment In SGR’s Cargo Debacle.

The SGR was under  China’s “One Belt, One Road” initiative, a multi-billion dollar series of infrastructure projects upgrading land and maritime trade routes between China and Europe, Asia and Africa.

The Nairobi-Mombasa SGR that was launched at a cost of Ksh 323.9 billion then later linked with Nairobi-Naivasha line costing Ksh.151.7billion might sound as a serious wastage joke when the government links it to Naivasha-Malaba track that will cost Ksh 21.3 billion.

“We need to make sure that when we commission the SGR in August, we have connectivity to Uganda from the SGR so we have to rehabilitate that line to make sure it is properly functional,” said CS James Macharia,

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Macharia also said that using Ksh.15 billion to rehabilitate decades-old line from Malaba on the border with Uganda and using the remaining amount construct another short track connecting to the SGR at Naivasha within a year would be a faster option than building another SGR.

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Henley Index: The Kenyan Passport Is Now The Strongest In The Region With 71 Countries You Can Visit Without A Visa



New generations Kenyan passport.

For some people, a passport is a portal to the world. For others, it is a barrier to the travel freedom they seek.

According to the Henley Passport Index, which is the most rigorous and sophisticated measure of global access, Kenyan passport has been ranked the 73rd most powerful powerful in the world with 71 destinations listed that you can visit without a visa or issued with a visa on arrival.

The Henley Passport Index is the only passport index that is based on IATA data, enhanced by extensive in-house research, supported by expert commentary, and updated regularly throughout the year, making it the most robust, credible, and reliable index of its kind.

Kenya which is still the strongest passport in the East African region, has however dropped in rankings compared to 2017 where it was at 68th now down by 4 points to 73 a significant drop.

South Africa holds the 3rd strongest passport in Africa at position 52 globally with 102 visa free destinations. Nigeria is at 94th with only 47 destinations.

Kenya has the 6th most powerful passport in Africa after Seychelles which is 25th with 152 destinations, Mauritius, 31st with 146 destinations, South Africa and Namibia which is at 69 with 79 visa free destinations.

Regionally, Kenya is the strongest with Tanzania coming right after at position 74 with 68 visa free destinations. Uganda, 77th with 64 destinations. Rwanda at 87th with 54 destinations.

Chart indicating Kenya’s performance over the years.

Japan has overtaken Singapore to claim the top spot on the 2018 Henley Passport Index, having gained visa-free access to Myanmar earlier this month. Japan now enjoys visa-free/visa-on-arrival access to 190 destinations, compared to Singapore’s total of 189. Japan and Singapore have been neck and neck on the index since they both climbed to 1st place in February — following a visa-exemption from Uzbekistan — and pushed Germany down to 2nd place for the first time since 2014.

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This quarter, Germany has fallen further to 3rdplace, which it now shares with South Korea and France. France moved up from 4th to 3rdplace last Friday when it gained visa-free access to Uzbekistan, while South Korea moved from 4th to 3rd place on 1 October when it gained visa-free access to Myanmar. Germany, France, and South Korea all have a visa-free/visa-on-arrival score of 188. Iraq and Afghanistan continue to hold the bottom (106th) spot of the Henley Passport Index, with only 30 destinations accessible to their citizens.

The US and the UK, both with 186 destinations, have also slid down one spot — from 4th to 5th place — with neither having gained access to any new jurisdictions since the start of 2018. With stagnant outbound visa activity compared to Asian high-performers such as Japan, Singapore, and South Korea, it seems increasingly unlikely that the US and the UK will regain the number 1 spot they jointly held in 2015.

Countries that you can visit with a Kenyan passport without a visa or be issued with one on arrival can be accessed here:

Asia: Cambodia, Laos, Macao(SAR China), Maldives, Nepal, Timor-Leste.

Africa: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde Islands, Comores Islands, Congo, Djibouti, Guinea-Bissau, Madagascar, Mauritania, Mozambique, Seychelles, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Togo.

Oceania: Palau Islands, Samoa And Tuvalu.

St. Lucia

Americas: Bolivia

Middle-East: Iran and Jordan.

This list mutates so you have to check with your travel agent.

For several years, the South African passport has remained the third strongest on the continent in terms of its levels of access, with Lrst and second place held by the Seychelles and Mauritius, respectively.

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Both islands continue to outperform their continental counterparts due to their maintenance of prized visa-waiver agreements with Schengen countries as well as their own relatively open visa policies, which have generally been reciprocated.

The Seychelles, which renders itself a completely visa-free destination, secured further deregulated visa access for its passport-holders through visa waivers from the governments of Thailand and Angola in the Lrst quarter of 2018. Similarly, Mauritius, which is visa-free for all but 16 countries, secured a visa-waiver agreement with New Zealand in April 2018.

Although the rest of Africa continues to lag behind in the accessibility of their passports, there is reason for optimism. While visa-free access outside of the continent is still limited, African states are increasingly deregulating visa regulations for their continental counterparts.

A case in point is Angola, which recently removed visa requirements for nine African countries: namely, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Cabo Verde, São Tomé and Príncipe, Morocco, Swaziland, Algeria, and Zambia. Similarly, the undertaking of the Central African Economic and Monetary Community to grant visa waivers to passport-holders of its member states (Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Central Africa Republic, Congo- Brazzaville, Gabon, and Chad) could also be replicated by other regional political blocs seeking to promote the African Union’s vision of increasing inter-African trade and travel, as outlined in its Agenda 2063 mandate.

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Mombasa County Launches Open Roof Double Decker Sightseeing Busses As Joho’s Goverment Strives To Boost The Tourism Industry



The launched double decker bus.

Trade, Tourism and Investment CECM Hon. Fawz Rashid officially launched the Mombasa Sightseeing Bus at the Tusks earlier today. Among those present during the launch were Archbishop Martin Kivuva, Mombasa County Chief Officer Mr. Innocent Mugabe, Tourism Finance Corporation MD Mr. Jonah Orumoi, Proul-Mombasa Sightseeing Bus Limited acting CEO Ms. Evelyn Lelle, Kenya Association for Hotel Keepers and Caterers CEO Mr. Sammy Ikwaye and Kenya Coast Tourist Association CEO Mr. Julius Owino.

The bus

The introduction of the double-decker sightseeing buses to Mombasa’s tourism scene is a major milestone towards elevating our tourism industry and building the infrastructure for sustainable tourism success.

This service addresses a gap in the sector that exists today, whilst also making Mombasa more appealing as a leisure destination to tourists. These tours will be one of the best ways for visitors in Mombasa to get acquainted with all that this unique city has to offer.

The county government of Mombasa will work hand in hand with the management of the sightseeing buses to put a facelift at the various stopping points to give tourists the opportunity to have quality interactions with our rich history and culture through sampling of our local cuisines, shopping for our traditional souvenirs and taking part in our local dances and music.

A ride on the bus giving such a view.

This will also loop in our youth and women into the tourism value chain as they provide these lasting memories to our visitors. This sightseeing bus should not only offer a fantastic service for tourists coming to Mombasa but for people living or working in or around Mombasa who might have a couple of hours to spare, or friends and relatives visiting from out of town.

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The open roof double decker bus will allow tourists to hop-on and hop-off as much as they like at any of the bus stops on the route and see all the best sights and attractions that Mombasa city has to offer.

Kenya Insights allows guest blogging, if you want to be published on Kenya’s most authoritative and accurate blog, have an expose, news, story angles, human interest stories, drop us an email on or via Telegram
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