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Exclusive interview: Dr. Moses Ikiara, PhD, MBS Managing Director KenInvest

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Kenya Investment Authority (KenInvest) promotes investments in Kenya. It is responsible for facilitating the implementation of new investment projects, providing After Care services for new and existing investments, as well as organizing investment promotion activities both locally and internationally. We speak to its Managing Director Dr. Moses Ikiara.

In 140 characters or less – what is KenInvest?

Kenya’s investment promotion agency – KenInvest – promotes and facilitates local and international investment into Kenya.

What was the driver for creating KenInvest – what gap did it fill?

KenInvest was created through an Act of Parliament (Investment Promotion Act No. 6 of 2004) with the main objective of promoting private investments in Kenya. Previously it had existed as Investment Promotion Centre since 1986.

KenInvest provides investors with pre-and-post investment information and services, assisting in areas such as licensing, tax incentives, advice on the business climate, operating rules, sources of capital, how to navigate government agencies and aftercare support. KenInvest’s primary goal is to act as a bridge between investors and the market, offering continuous liaison and interfacing with investors in their day-to-day operations; ultimately to make it easier to do business in Kenya.

As a result of KenInvest’s efforts and sustained momentum in promoting Kenya’s investment proposition led by His Excellency President Uhuru Kenyatta, The Deputy President, The Cabinet and private sector agencies, FDI into Kenya has doubled year-on-year, rising by 98 percent in 2013 and 92.4 percent in 2014. With major investments being made by international companies in various sectors, including tech giant Google purchasing a stake in Africa’s largest wind project, we are confident this momentum will continue.

Who is it primarily for?

KenInvest is coordinating local and international players engaging in private investment and continues to build a comprehensive and up to date database of investment opportunities in Kenya touching all sectors and counties across the country. Moreover, KenInvest, in conjunction with investment project promoters in the public and private sectors, is profiling investment projects to ease investor decision-making.

What difference does KenInvest want to make?

KenInvest is integral to the country’s development blueprint – Vision 2030, which aims to transform Kenya into a ‘newly industrializing, middle-income country providing a high quality of life to all its citizens by the year 2030.’ Private investment plays a big role in this. KenInvest is therefore promoting and marketing the country as the preferred investment destination in order to attain investment to GDP ratio of at least 32 percent.

KenInvest’s vision is to be a global leader in investment attraction and to position Kenya as a leading FDI destination.

What are the barriers to making that difference? Who’s helping you overcome those barriers?

As part of our remit, we are firmly focused on enhancing ease and cost of doing business in Kenya by urging the relevant institutions to implement reforms required to overcome barriers.

Kenya has made significant strides in improving its regulatory framework; recently enacting a New Companies Act, Insolvency Act and Business Regulation Act; in addition to the PPP Act of 2013 and on-going reforms to its Public Procurement Act.

We are also due to open a one-stop investor shop in Nairobi to provide investors with end-to-end guidance on establishing and growing businesses in Kenya. Investors will be able to visit KenInvest to seek guidance from our experienced consultants on navigating the business landscape in Kenya.

Following on from these reforms, Kenya has been ranked as the third most reformed country in the World Bank Ease of Doing Business 2016 report – an indication of the positive progress made by the country in overcoming barriers to doing business.

Beyond the regulatory sphere, the Government of Kenya has made unprecedented public investments in security, infrastructure, public infrastructure and economic and political governance structures, and continues to invest heavily in human resource development.

Is global action today commensurate with the energy challenges we face?

The Government of Kenya has identified energy as one of the infrastructural enablers of the three pillars of Vision 2030 – Kenya’s development blue print. The country has recognized and planned for an expected surge in energy use within the commercial sector in the coming years.

Kenya’s energy plans encompass renewable energy projects including wind, geothermal and solar energy development programmes on a commercial scale, with the Government of Kenya introducing an attractive feed-in tariff policy to attract private investments.

The country is targeting to generate an additional 5000MW of power in less than three years, and as a result opportunities within the sector are abound for global investors.

How can people – individuals and organizations – find out more about KenInvest?

Local or international investors eager to learn more about doing business in Kenya can visit www.investmentkenya.com or contact us via info@investmentkenya.com with information on their sector focus. A member of our team will then be in touch. We also encourage investors to visit makeitkenya.com for an overview of Kenya’s investment landscape and latest news.

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Economy

How Going Green Can Save A Company Money

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going green can save company money
Shutterstock Licensed Photot - By GOLFX

What is going green?

Going green means to live life in a way that is environmentally friendly for an entire population. It is the conservation of energy, water, and air. Going green means using products and resources that will not contaminate or pollute the air. It means being educated and well informed about the surroundings, and how to best protect them. It means recycling products that may not be biodegradable. Companies, as well as people, that adhere to going green can help to ensure a safer life for humanity.

The first step in going green

There are actually no step by step instructions for going green. The only requirement needed is making the decision to become environmentally conscious. It takes a caring attitude, and a willingness to make the change. It has been found that companies have improved their profit margins by going green. They have saved money on many of the frivolous things they they thought were a necessity. Besides saving money, companies are operating more efficiently than before going green. Companies have become aware of their ecological responsibility by pursuing the knowledge needed to make decisions that would change lifestyles and help sustain the earth’s natural resources for present and future generations.

Making needed changes within the company

After making the decision to go green, there are several things that can be changed in the workplace. A good place to start would be conserving energy used by electrical appliances. First, turning off the computer will save over the long run. Just letting it sleep still uses energy overnight. Turn off all other appliances like coffee maker, or anything that plugs in. Pull the socket from the outlet to stop unnecessary energy loss. Appliances continue to use electricity although they are switched off, and not unplugged. Get in the habit of turning off the lights whenever you leave a room. Change to fluorescent light bulbs, and lighting throughout the building. Have any leaks sealed on the premises to avoid the escape of heat or air.

Reducing the common paper waste

paper waste

Shutterstock Licensed Photo – By Yury Zap

Modern technologies and state of the art equipment, and tools have almost eliminated the use of paper in the office. Instead of sending out newsletters, brochures, written memos and reminders, you can now do all of these and more by technology while saving on the use of paper. Send out digital documents and emails to communicate with staff and other employees. By using this virtual bookkeeping technique, you will save a bundle on paper. When it is necessary to use paper for printing purposes or other services, choose the already recycled paper. It is smartly labeled and easy to find in any office supply store. It is called the Post Consumer Waste paper, or PCW paper. This will show that your company is dedicated to the preservation of natural resources. By using PCW paper, everyone helps to save the trees which provides and emits many important nutrients into the atmosphere.

Make money by spreading the word

Companies realize that consumers like to buy, or invest in whatever the latest trend may be. They also cater to companies that are doing great things for the quality of life of all people. People want to know that the companies that they cater to are doing their part for the environment and ecology. By going green, you can tell consumers of your experiences with helping them and communities be eco-friendly. This is a sound public relations technique to bring revenue to your brand. Boost the impact that your company makes on the environment. Go green, save and make money while essentially preserving what is normally taken for granted. The benefits of having a green company are enormous for consumers as well as the companies that engage in the process.

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Energy

5 Easy Things You Can Do to Make Your Home More Sustainable

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sustainable homes
Shutterstock Licensed Photot - By Diyana Dimitrova

Increasing your home’s energy efficiency is one of the smartest moves you can make as a homeowner. It will lower your bills, increase the resale value of your property, and help minimize our planet’s fast-approaching climate crisis. While major home retrofits can seem daunting, there are plenty of quick and cost-effective ways to start reducing your carbon footprint today. Here are five easy projects to make your home more sustainable.

1. Weather stripping

If you’re looking to make your home more energy efficient, an energy audit is a highly recommended first step. This will reveal where your home is lacking in regards to sustainability suggests the best plan of attack.

Some form of weather stripping is nearly always advised because it is so easy and inexpensive yet can yield such transformative results. The audit will provide information about air leaks which you can couple with your own knowledge of your home’s ventilation needs to develop a strategic plan.

Make sure you choose the appropriate type of weather stripping for each location in your home. Areas that receive a lot of wear and tear, like popular doorways, are best served by slightly more expensive vinyl or metal options. Immobile cracks or infrequently opened windows can be treated with inexpensive foams or caulking. Depending on the age and quality of your home, the resulting energy savings can be as much as 20 percent.

2. Programmable thermostats

Programmable thermostats

Shutterstock Licensed Photo – By Olivier Le Moal

Programmable thermostats have tremendous potential to save money and minimize unnecessary energy usage. About 45 percent of a home’s energy is earmarked for heating and cooling needs with a large fraction of that wasted on unoccupied spaces. Programmable thermostats can automatically lower the heat overnight or shut off the air conditioning when you go to work.

Every degree Fahrenheit you lower the thermostat equates to 1 percent less energy use, which amounts to considerable savings over the course of a year. When used correctly, programmable thermostats reduce heating and cooling bills by 10 to 30 percent. Of course, the same result can be achieved by manually adjusting your thermostats to coincide with your activities, just make sure you remember to do it!

3. Low-flow water hardware

With the current focus on carbon emissions and climate change, we typically equate environmental stability to lower energy use, but fresh water shortage is an equal threat. Installing low-flow hardware for toilets and showers, particularly in drought prone areas, is an inexpensive and easy way to cut water consumption by 50 percent and save as much as $145 per year.

Older toilets use up to 6 gallons of water per flush, the equivalent of an astounding 20.1 gallons per person each day. This makes them the biggest consumer of indoor water. New low-flow toilets are standardized at 1.6 gallons per flush and can save more than 20,000 gallons a year in a 4-member household.

Similarly, low-flow shower heads can decrease water consumption by 40 percent or more while also lowering water heating bills and reducing CO2 emissions. Unlike early versions, new low-flow models are equipped with excellent pressure technology so your shower will be no less satisfying.

4. Energy efficient light bulbs

An average household dedicates about 5 percent of its energy use to lighting, but this value is dropping thanks to new lighting technology. Incandescent bulbs are quickly becoming a thing of the past. These inefficient light sources give off 90 percent of their energy as heat which is not only impractical from a lighting standpoint, but also raises energy bills even further during hot weather.

New LED and compact fluorescent options are far more efficient and longer lasting. Though the upfront costs are higher, the long term environmental and financial benefits are well worth it. Energy efficient light bulbs use as much as 80 percent less energy than traditional incandescent and last 3 to 25 times longer producing savings of about $6 per year per bulb.

5. Installing solar panels

Adding solar panels may not be the easiest, or least expensive, sustainability upgrade for your home, but it will certainly have the greatest impact on both your energy bills and your environmental footprint. Installing solar panels can run about $15,000 – $20,000 upfront, though a number of government incentives are bringing these numbers down. Alternatively, panels can also be leased for a much lower initial investment.

Once operational, a solar system saves about $600 per year over the course of its 25 to 30-year lifespan, and this figure will grow as energy prices rise. Solar installations require little to no maintenance and increase the value of your home.

From an environmental standpoint, the average five-kilowatt residential system can reduce household CO2 emissions by 15,000 pounds every year. Using your solar system to power an electric vehicle is the ultimate sustainable solution serving to reduce total CO2 emissions by as much as 70%!

These days, being environmentally responsible is the hallmark of a good global citizen and it need not require major sacrifices in regards to your lifestyle or your wallet. In fact, increasing your home’s sustainability is apt to make your residence more livable and save you money in the long run. The five projects listed here are just a few of the easy ways to reduce both your environmental footprint and your energy bills. So, give one or more of them a try; with a small budget and a little know-how, there is no reason you can’t start today.

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