Facts: Infrastructure

Honda Motor Co. created a subsidiary to produce and sell motorcycles in to meet local demand

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Honda is building a new plant that is expected to open in September 2013.

“With its well-educated workforce and relatively strong tertiary education sector, the country is well positioned to create the right environment for advanced manufacturing and the high-wage high-skill jobs it brings with it.”

- Stepane Paquier, President, Dow Africa

  • The plant will have an initial production capacity of 25,000 units per year.
  • The Nairobi-based subsidiary is one of only three Honda has opened in Africa.
  • Honda expects local demand to increase as Kenya's economy continues to grow.

Sources: Japan Times, Business Daily Africa

Kenya will soon be home to IBM's first research lab on the African continent

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  • Kenya will be the fourth nation, and the first on the African continent, in which IBM has opened a research lab in the last two years. Other countries recently selected for IBM research facilities include Ireland, Australia and Brazil.
  • IBM and its researchers will work with the Kenyan Government to develop solutions to common African problems such as traffic congestion and water shortages. Additionally, IBM will use the lab to help tailor products and services to African companies and governments.
  • The partnership with IBM represents a key milestone in implementing Kenya's Vision 2030, a blueprint to transform Kenya into a middle-income country providing a high quality life to all its citizens by the year 2030.

Source: Bloomberg
Source: The New York Times
Source: Financial Times

Kenya has achieved remarkable progress in implementing electoral reforms.

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Did you know? Kenya has achieved remarkable progress in implementing electoral reforms.

  • Election commissioners are no longer appointed by the president without approval of parliament; they now face a competitive application process for the positions, which includes the approval of parliament. The commissioners, meanwhile, have the power to investigate and prosecute elections irregularities.
  • Kenya is utilizing technology to ensure the integrity of the next election. For example, a new biometric voter registration system is being implemented along with electronic voter rolls. Meanwhile, election results will be transmitted electronically from polling stations to a central tallying center once the polls close. All of these measures reduce the opportunities for improper voting or fraud.
  • The new, strengthened Judiciary is working hard to instill confidence in the courts and improve the credibility of the legal system before the election. The Judiciary has appointed a team of eight judges to help the courts prepare to handle election disputes.

Source: International Foundation for Electoral Systems
Source: Daily Nation
Source: Reuters

Kenya leads Africa in mobile government services

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  • Africa is the world's fastest-growing mobile market, and Kenya's government is leading the charge. A recent report shows that Kenya is the second most ready African nation “to embrace mobile government services.”
  • In keeping with its commitment to transparency and good governance, Kenya is leading the quest to deliver public information and services via cellular technology, such as offering agricultural advice to businesses and allowing citizens to pay utility bills remotely.
  • A robust E-government is only part of Kenya's broader effort to make its government more accessible. Earlier this year, Kenya launched its Open Data Project, a user-friendly database that includes national census data and government spending records, and even information of parliamentary proceedings.

Source: Associated Press
Source: Business Daily Africa

 

Kenya is utilizing Twitter to inform the public about its military operation in Somalia

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  • Kenyan Military Spokesman, Major Emmanuel Chirchir (@MajorEChirchir) has been updating the public with information about “Operation Linda Nchi” (Protect the Nation) using the hashtag #operationlindanchi.
  • Major Chirchir said that Twitter is a way to quickly and easily communicate the military’s message. He also asked his Twitter followers to pass the word on to those residents who do not possess the technology.
  • In early November, Kenya's military used Twitter to warn civilians about air raids near 10 Somali towns, affording them time to avoid danger.

Source: Huffington Post
Source: Mobiledia

Kenya has just announced the construction of a state-of-the-art geothermal power plant

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  • Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen) will work with an international consortium to build a 280 megawatt geothermal plant named Olkaria IV, which is expected to be operational in 2014.
  • The project, which enjoys international investment from the likes of The World Bank, Germany’s Development Bank KfW and the European Investment Bank, will help diversify Kenya's energy base and reduce the country's reliance on hydroelectric dams, whose output can drop during droughts.
  • Already the first African country to drill for geothermal power, Kenya has set a goal of producing at least 5,000 megawatts of geothermal power by 2030.

Source: Reuters

Kenya now has its own YouTube domain, YouTube Kenya.

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  • YouTube announced the launch of YouTube Kenya (http://www.youtube.co.ke) in October 2011.
  • The designated domain will  make it easier for Kenyan users to find and view the most informative and entertaining video content from around the world through a local interface that promotes the content most relevant to Kenyans.
  • Speaking at the Nairobi launch event, Permanent Secretary of  Information and Communications Dr. Bitange Ndemo said, “Accessing relevant information and sharing helpful stories on the Internet is enabling people to learn, train and partner with each other to help better their lives.”

Source: IT News Africa

Kenya developers are creating innovative mobile applications.

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  • Simba Technologies has created an app called MedKenya, which delivers heath information to Kenyans via mobile phone. The company plans to launch an expanded version, called MedAfrica, to bring similar content to other countries on the continent.
  • Since 2007, Kenyans have used the mobile banking platform M-Pesa to transfer funds via text messaging. (“M” stands for mobile and “pesa” is Swahili for money).
  • In partnership with the World Bank and Nokia, Kenya recently created an “m-lab” to incubate more mobile application startups. According to Dr. Bitange Ndemo, the country's permanent secretary of the Ministry of Information and Communications, thousands of young Kenyans are involved in app development.

Source: Mercury News

Kenya is digitizing government records to increase transparency and government accountability.

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  • Kenya is digitizing judicial records and land deeds, as well as the government procurement process, in an effort to increase transparency and eliminate opportunities for corruption.
  • Dr. Bitange Ndemo, permanent secretary of Kenya's information and communications ministry, said that Kenya plans to have e-procurement ready by early 2012. “If we automated [procurement], we'd find $500 million a year,” he said.
  • In September 2011, Kenya became one of the founding countries to launch the Open Data Partnership, a multilateral initiative aimed at fighting corruption and increasing the transparency of governments around the world.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

 

Kenya is one of the founding countries to launch the Open Government Partnership.

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  • The Open Government Partnership, launched in September 2011 by 46 countries including the United States, Brazil and Kenya, is a multilateral initiative aimed at fighting corruption and increasing the transparency of governments around the world.
  • At the launch, Kenya announced it will officially release its open government plan at the partnership's next meeting in 2012. The plan is already publicly available.
  • Kenya is the first African nation to make its government data available online. The Kenya Open Data Project makes a wealth of information easily accessible to the public, including data on the national census, government expenditure and parliamentary proceedings.

Sources: The Wall Street Journal, Kenya Open Data Project

Kenyans are using the country's revolutionary mobile phone banking service to contribute to drought-relief efforts.

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  • Kenyans are using M-Pesa, a mobile phone banking service, to donate money to Kenyan drought-relief efforts.
  • Originally developed as a mobile banking service to allow users to instantly transfer money between phones anywhere in Kenya, M-Pesa is now also being used as a means of fundraising during a time of crisis.
  • Bob Collymore, head of Kenyan telecommunications company Safaricom, said that in the early stages of fundraising efforts, more than 86 percent of individual donations came through M-Pesa and totaled $1.7 million. The money is sent to the Red Cross and used to purchase food aid for Kenyans affected by the drought.

Source: USA Today


 

Kenya's judicial reforms continue with the appointment of a new attorney general and 28 new judges.

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  • As part of Kenya's ongoing judicial reform efforts, Kenya appointed lawyer Githu Muigai as the new Attorney General. Muigai was sworn into office on August 29, 2011.
  • Kenya's Judicial Service Commission has also appointed 28 judges to the country's newly established Supreme Court, including 13 women and two members of the Kenyan Diaspora.
  • Chief Justice Willy Mutunga said the newly appointed judges will help ease the case load the Kenyan judiciary faces. In total, 120 judges will be appointed by the end of the year.

Sources: Capital FM News, Daily Nation, Reuters Africa


Kenya will soon break ground on its first ultramodern superhighway.

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  • The 31-mile Thika Road, expected to be commissioned early next year, will be Kenya’s first ultramodern superhighway, allowing for new business opportunities by reducing traffic and opening Nairobi up to increased investment. The highway is expected to make a positive impact on key sectors of the economy, including real estate, manufacturing, transport and the labor market.
  • Thika Road will also help reduce congestion in Nairobi by allowing for the development of real estate outside of the city along the highway.
  • The Kenyan government has invested more than Sh100 billion ($1.1 billion) in the construction and rehabilitation of key roads in the country, Permanent Secretary for Roads Michael Kamau recently said. In the past year, the government has repaired over 60 percent of Kenya's major roads.

Sources: All Africa 1, All Africa 2


Kenya is working to develop a new electronic voting system.

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  • The Kenyan government recently announced it is partnering with IBM to develop a framework to support the development of an electronic voting system.
  • In July 2011, a delegation of IBM officials visited Kenya to help draw up the master plan that will aid the soon-to-be-formed Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) in implementing the new voting system. Many hope the country could begin using the electronic voting system as soon as the 2012 election.
  • Kenya is steadily working to increase government transparency and public access to information. The recent launch of the Open Government Initiative has made thousands of official records available online to the public and is the first of its kind in Africa.

Sources: All Africa, Business Daily, The Voting News

Kenya is increasing government transparency and public access to information.

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  • In July 2011, President Kibaki launched the Open Government Data Portal, which for the first time makes several large government data sets, including national census data, available online to researchers and the general public. Through the Portal, users can compare different data sets, create maps and other graphics and directly download data for their own use.
  • Kenya recently partnered with Google to develop an online database of more than 2,000 copies of the Hansard, a record of parliamentary debates from the past 40 years. The database will enable Kenyans to see if their MP was present in Parliament on a given date, his or her contributions to the day's debate, as well as his or her voting patterns, all at the click of a button.
  • These initiatives represent “a fulfillment of the citizen's right to access public information, a right introduced by the new Constitution. This right places an obligation on the Government to provide public information in a time and form that is reliable and accessible to the citizen,” said Deputy Chief Justice Nancy Baraza.

Source: Business Daily

Kenya is forging ahead with the judicial reforms contained in its new Constitution.

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  • Following a stringent nomination, vetting and approval process, Kenya in June 2011 appointed Willy Mutunga, a former Ford Foundation officer, as chief justice of the country's newly established Supreme Court, forging ahead with the judicial reforms enshrined in the country's new Constitution. The country also appointed Deputy Chief Justice Nancy Baraza and Director of Public Prosecutions Keriako Tobiko.
  • The justices were sworn into office June 20, 2011 and President Kibaki signed a bill officially operationalizing the Supreme Court on June 22, 2011.
  • As outlined in the new Constitution, the Supreme Court will be charged with the interpretation of the Constitution and will hear appeals from the Court of Appeal and other lower courts.

Sources: Daily Nation, Capital FM 1, Capital FM 2, Capital FM 3

Kenya is developing a “Silicon Savannah” to foster growth in the IT industry.

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