KCB, NBK & Britam General Insurance Target SMEs in Health Insurance Distribution Deal

KCB and National Bank of Kenya (NBK) have entered into an agreement with Britam General Insurance to distribute affordable health insurance products targeted at Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) across the country.

In the deal, KCB Bancassurance Intermediary Limited and National Bank of Kenya Bancassurance Intermediary Limited will jointly distribute the newly launched KCB Flme Simba Health and Uzima Tele Insurance Plans.

The two products are specifically designed to meet the needs of MSMEs by offering affordable premiums with a flexible payment plan, targeting registered companies with a minimum of 3 employees. They both have three benefits: inpatient, outpatient, and last expense.

KCB Flme Simba Health Plan is targeted at women entrepreneurs and offers them comprehensive medical solutions suitable to meet their unique health needs. Some of its features include the Diva Wellness Cover, Newborn Baby Expenses (For the first 90 days), Gynecological-related treatment, and Maternity Cover accompanied by the necessary ante-natal care.

On the other hand, the KCB Uzima Tele Health Insurance Plan is a specialized medical insurance solution designed for organizations that seek to affordably safeguard the healthcare of their employees and dependents. The cover grants SMEs access to quality healthcare, including maternity care, vaccinations, and Last Expense benefits. The minimum number of employees that can be covered is three.

KCB Bancassurance Intermediary Limited Managing Director, Mr. Aggrey Mulumbi “There is need to expand access to best-in-class insurance products and offerings, especially for niche markets like SMEs. Through this partnership, we commit to be a one-stop financial services hub that is keen on offering innovative insurance products and outstanding customer service to all our customers across the board,” Mr. Mulumbi said.

The partnership is premised on the fact that despite their critical role in supporting economic growth, SMEs in Kenya continue to face many risks, one of them being a lack of adequate risk management strategies. The situation is further aggravated by the fact that SMEs face higher exposure to threats while commonly available insurance offerings are not adapted to the needs of SMEs.

On his part, Mr.Tom Gitogo, Britam’s Group Managing Director and CEO noted that the resilience of SME businesses can only be enhanced through effective risk transfer and Bancassurance provides such a convenient platform to actualize this dream. “Recognizing the challenges faced by MSMEs, our partnership with KCB and National Bank of Kenya Bancassurance Intermediary Limited, is designed to cater to the unique needs of MSMEs, including women entrepreneurs, safeguarding their owner’s healthcare, that of their employees and their dependents,” said Mr. Gitogo.

Adding, “By providing affordable and accessible healthcare options, we aim to alleviate the burden on MSMEs, enabling them to focus on what they do best- growing their businesses.”

In Kenya, MSMEs constitute 98% of all businesses in Kenya, create 30% of the jobs annually as well as contribute 3% of GDP growth. However, underinsurance, fueled by a lack of knowledge on how best to use financial services, how insurance works, or what risks they should seek insurance coverage for has made it almost impossible for these SMEs to fully unlock their potential.

This collaboration with Britam General Insurance is the latest in KCB and NBK efforts to extend its value proposition to include emerging insurance market segments.

“This will create a mutually rewarding opportunity, giving the bank’s customers the choice of a diverse range of health insurance products and benefits. Our reputation for building a simplified in-path and tailored insurance experience through embedded insurance will play a great role in raising awareness of the value of insurance protection, especially for our SME customers,” said Mr. George Odhiambo, NBK Managing Director.

AGRA Unveils Strategy to Boost Food Security and Smallholder Farmer Resilience in Kenya

AGRA has launched its Kenya Strategy to support the country’s efforts to enhance food security and build the resilience of smallholder farmers by strengthening market systems.

The 5-year strategy aligns with Kenya’s Vision 2030 blueprint for long-term development, which aims to transform the country into a newly industrializing, middle-income nation.  The strategy builds on the achievements and lessons from Agra 2.0 strategy.

Speaking during the unveil of the new strategy in Nairobi, Kenya, AGRA President Dr. Agnes Kalibata noted that the strategy focuses on addressing key challenges facing the agricultural sector, such as the need to assess the impact of climate change and its shocks, prioritize disease monitoring, and focus on building markets to pull sustainable farming practices.

“Our delivery model will continue to scale and leverage proven approaches to deliver a competitive and inclusive agricultural transformation in Kenya. We are committed to working closely with smallholder farmers, the private sector, and other stakeholders to enhance food security and build the resilience of the agricultural sector,” Dr. Kalibata said.

In Kenya, agricultural sector has traditionally, played a crucial role in ensuring food security, job creation, income generation, foreign exchange earnings and linkages with other sectors of the economy.   Over the years, the successive governments have prioritised agriculture through digitising the subsidies programme and loan commercialisation; despite these efforts, the sector remains characterised by weak vertical integration as result of unpredictable weather patterns and recurrence of insecurity particularly in the ASALs.  Some of the many challenges facing the sector remains major threats to national economic progress.

“The Kenya Kwanza Government is keen on strengthening longer-term resilience and increasing agricultural capacity investments to boost domestic food production. Public-private partnerships have the potential to revolutionize food security in Kenya by combining the strengths of both sectors to create sustainable solutions that benefit the entire population,” said Hon Mithinka Linturi, Cabinet Secretary Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development

The Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development will implement various programmes to improve agricultural productivity, food and nutrition security, value chain development, market access and trade, climate change, and the policy and legal framework. The ultimate goal is to ensure 100% food and nutrition security and contribute to income and employment creation in a secure environment.

In recognition of the wide-ranging nature and complexity of the challenges facing smallholder farmers in Africa, AGRA sees strategic partnerships as a key pillar of its strategy.  These partnerships support the creation of alignment between government priorities and private sector interests, for improving impact at smallholder farmer level and for mobilizing private sector investment to scale. As such, The Partnership for Inclusive Agricultural Transformation in Africa (PIATA) was launched in 2017 as a vehicle of mobilising strategic partnerships for transforming agricultural systems. This is being achieved by driving integrated delivery within agro-economic zones and across value chains, for enhancing in-country coordination and for deepening engagements with the private sector to transition African agriculture from subsistence to sustainable business occupations.

Kenya’s economy projected to slow down at 5% in 2023

Kenya’s economy is expected to remain subdued in 2023, growing at a projected 5%, pulled down by a persistent rise in commodity prices, global events and a high risk of debt distress.

However, there is an opportunity for the economy to register a remarkable upward trend if the government focuses more on fiscal consolidation efforts that include cutting back on non-priority expenditures to increase investment and help tame runaway inflation.

The findings were revealed in a report titled Macro-Fiscal Analytic Snapshot 2022/23, released by the Institute of Public Finance (IPF) in collaboration with the Oxford Policy Management (OPM).

The report also indicates that the deferment of fiscal consolidation in 2020 and 2021 made it difficult for the country to attain the necessary economic stability and resulted in the move from “medium: to “high risk” of debt distress.

Speaking during the official launch of the report, James Muraguri, the Chief Executive Officer of IPF noted that while there have been efforts by the current government to tighten its fiscal policy, more needs to be done in terms of cushioning Kenyans against the runaway inflation, effects of the Russian-Ukraine war and the depreciating value of the Kenyan shilling against the US Dollar.

“The last two years saw the government set revenue and fiscal deficit targets that were overly ambitious. With limited buffers against external shocks, the government is finding itself in a tight spot as it tries to navigate the global tightening of the monetary policy and rising debt interest payments. With this in mind, we expect a change in policy direction focusing more on fiscal policy coordination to address surging price levels, cushion citizens facing hunger and starvation and the successful distribution of subsidized fertilizer during the upcoming long rains,” Mr. Muraguri said.

On donor support, the report notes that it has been on a fluctuating trend between 2016 and 2020. While there was an increase in total Official development assistance (ODA) disbursement in the years 2017, 2019, and 2020, of 12%, 21%, and 24%, respectively, the increase was because of expanded assistance to the education sector, health sector, WASH, production, and the humanitarian sector. However, there has been a decline in support for the economic infrastructure and services sector post-pandemic, partly because of a change in commitment from the financing partners.

Toward this end, there is a need for the government to shift from donor reliance and to develop a domestic resource mobilisation strategy to bridge the budget gaps currently being witnessed. Lower borrowing should also create space for private sector credit and higher investment in health, agriculture and education sectors which are critical pillars for long-term economic growth.

The Institute of Public Finance (IPF) also reckons that some of the key focus areas likely to shape economic performance during the current budget cycle include; The need to ease fiscal pressure through budgetary consolidation, Harmonisation of revenue measures, Level of debt distress, Support to the agriculture sector, Reorganization of the health budgets as well as the performance of the County Governments.

“Our projections point to some pain for the local Mwananchi especially in the shorter term as the government continues to implement its macro-stability agenda. Sustained poverty reduction and growth over the next few years is possible if the government makes good its intentions to support the manufacturing and export sectors,” Mr. Muraguri added.


Bliss Healthcare Appoints Dr. Denis Ogolla as the new Chief Operating officer as it eyes regional expansion

Bliss Healthcare’s Board of Directors has announced changes to its leadership structure with the appointment of Dr. Denis Ogolla as the new Chief Operating Officer. This was after the promotion of its former Chief Operating Officer, Dr. Gabriel Njue to the role of Chief Executive Officer.

The announcement came against the backdrop of the organization’s ambitious expansion agenda which will see its foray into the East African region of Uganda, Tanzania and Ethiopia.

Dr. Denis Ogolla has over 22 years of experience in the healthcare industry. He is a seasoned executive with extensive practical experience in healthcare management as well as the ability to balance strategic decision-making and financial discipline.

He is also an Adjunct Faculty and the Course Leader for the Managing Healthcare Businesses program at the prestigious Strathmore Business School, Institute of Healthcare Management. Prior to joining Bliss, he served as Managing Director – Kenya for Evercare Group, an integrated healthcare delivery platform operating in Africa and South Asia. He has also been the Group Chief Executive Officer and a Board Member of Avenue Group where he was responsible for leading the development and execution of long-term strategies for the Group.

Dr. Ogolla holds a Master’s degree in Public Health degree (MPH) from JKUAT, a Master’s degree in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Nairobi and a Bachelor of Medicine & Bachelor of Surgery from the University of Nairobi.

Speaking after the announcement, Dr. Denis Ogolla said, “I am very impressed by the Bliss team and the incredible brand that they have built over the last decade. I am committed to its continued success through increased service delivery and expansion as we seek to ensure quality healthcare is both affordable and accessible all over the region.

Bliss Healthcare is currently Kenya’s largest network of outpatient Medical Centres with 65 Centres spread across 37 counties. It employs about 2000 staff both directly and indirectly serving about 1 million patients annually.

Its planned expansion aims at replicating its successful business model by setting up over 200 medical facilities in the region to serve over 5 million patients annually while providing employment to over 10,000 East Africans.


Schmidt Futures and the Rhodes Trust Open Applications and Call for Brilliant Kenyan Teens to Join the Global Rise Community

Schmidt Futures, in partnership with the Rhodes Trust, has announced the opening of applications for 2023 Rise Global Challenge with the launch of ‘Rise To’ campaign.

The applications are open to young people ages 15 to 17 years (as of July 1st, 2023). The flagship program of Schmidt Futures and the anchor of a broader $1 billion philanthropic commitment from Eric and Wendy Schmidt, Rise finds brilliant people who need opportunity and supports them for life as they work to serve others.

Rise will build a lifelong community of students, teachers, and institutions across sectors who aim to serve others.

The program, which identifies young people between the ages of 15 and 17 from around the world, is designed to encourage a lifetime of service and learning by providing support that could include scholarships, career services, and funding opportunities to help these leaders serve others for decades to come.

Over the last two years, a total of seven Kenyan students have been selected as Rise Global Winners.

Their projects include:

Promoting reading among underprivileged communities in Kenya;

 Developing the Rapidcovix Breathalyzer to help rural, low-income families better detect

Infectious disease at low cost; and

 Preventing deforestation through a program aimed at planting trees in local communities, among others.

Schmidt Futures recognizes that talent is created equally, but opportunity is not, which is why the Rise program partners with 30+ global organizations, including NBA Africa, the HALI Access Network, KenSAP, and Akili Dada in Kenya, to scour the globe to find brilliant young people who are passionate about building a better world.

“Akili Dada is thrilled to continue growing our partnership with Rise in Kenya as we work together to nurture the next generation of young and innovative leaders looking to build a better world,” said Diana Njuguna, Head of Programs for Akili Dada.

Since its inception, Rise has welcomed more than 150,000 people from over 170 countries to its community and selected 200 Winners from 69 countries of origin who have showcased their brilliance – from making education more accessible to mitigating global warming and developing tools to better detect cancer.

Rise Global Winners will receive individualized and flexible support to achieve their goals as they work to serve others.

The program is designed to encourage a lifetime of service to develop innovative solutions to solve society’s hard problems. That’s why Rise provides all applicants, regardless of Winner status, with access to its global network, free online courses, and curated opportunities from partners.

To stay up to date on the benefits available for Rise applicants each year, please read the Official Rise Challenge Rules by visiting https://www.risefortheworld.org/rules.

“Eric and I have been impressed by the optimism, initiative and curiosity of the young people in the growing Rise community” said Wendy Schmidt, co-founder of Schmidt Futures and president of the Schmidt Family Foundation.

“We are excited to continue expanding this network with the 2023 cohort and can’t wait to see what these talented teens can accomplish when they work together in service for others. We look for hidden brilliance, in whatever form it takes, wherever it is in the world,” said Eric Braverman, CEO of Schmidt Futures.

“There are so many extraordinary people who could do so much more to make the world better if they only could find opportunity — and each other.  We hope to make the longest bet we can imagine on exceptional talent with perseverance, integrity, and care for others.We know that amazing things happen when talented people from different backgrounds are brought together and given opportunities to study, collaborate, and innovate,” said Elizabeth Kiss, CEO of the Rhodes Trust.

“Rise is an extraordinary opportunity for people from every corner of the world to embark on a lifelong journey of service and impact. Wherever you are, we encourage you to apply. You only know what you can achieve when you try.” She added.

All Rise Global Winners receive the following benefits upon selection:

 Residential Summit: A fully-funded, three-week residential summit with other members of    the Rise Global Winner cohort.

 Global Winner Network: Access to the Rise Global Winners network to connect on common interests, make service commitments, launch enterprises, and collaborate.

 Counselling and Career Support: Advice and support for applying to university and selecting a career

 Programming: Access to specialized programs, courses, and other opportunities through Rise partners.

 Higher Education Scholarships: A four-year, post-secondary scholarship at any accredited university, including tuition and a living stipend, based on need and where not already covered by financial aid.

 Technology: A technology package, such as a laptop or tablet, to be determined annually.

In addition, all Rise Global Winners can apply for the following benefits:

 Partner Network: Matching to programs, secondary school scholarships, internships, and other benefits from partners who are part of the Rise network.

 Funding Opportunities: Apply for funding to experiment with innovative ideas to address major problems in local communities or around the world—ranging from seed money to start a social enterprise to a grant for a non-profit.

 Education Support: Apply for scholarship funds for a graduate degree.

To celebrate the opening of applications, the ‘Rise To’ creative campaign invites brilliant young minds to continue to turn opportunities into action as they ‘Rise To’ face the world’s most pressing issues.

Produced by Ogilvy, the campaign seeks to inspire and foster a global community of 15- to

17-year-olds invested in creating a better future. Rise has partnered with multi-platinum singer-songwriter Bishop Briggs, known for her viral track “River,” on a series of beautifully shot films and audio ads featuring 2021 Rise Global Winners. The ads will come to life across social media as well as on Spotify and are set to the tune of Brigg’s new single “superhuman.” The song, which was recently released, is inspired by this new generation of young people and recognizes the super humans that lie dormant in each of us.

“As a new parent, when I wrote ‘superhuman,” I was inspired by this brilliant up-and-coming generation. The Rise Global Winners dedication to building a better world truly exemplifies what the song is about — knowing you have the strength to continue on no matter what comes your way” said Bishop Briggs.

Over the next two weeks, ‘Rise To’ will feature an integrated digital campaign showcasing the diverse brilliance of Rise Global Winners and inviting more to join the community. The activation will involve celebrating two years and 200 Global Winners across two iconic locations — Times Square in New York and the Burj Khalifa in Dubai.

Winners featured in the ‘Rise To’ campaign include:

 Rushank Goyal (India), who advocates against food adulteration in his community by conducting discussion sessions.

 Leah Mtindya (Zambia), who spreads awareness among teenagers about sexual and reproductive health, Trans healthcare, and domestic abuse.

 Saoirse Exton (Ireland), who rewrote Irish mythology from a feminist perspective, Foregrounding the strong characters that traditional narratives tended to suppress.

 Artash Nath (Canada), who created a way to measure the effectiveness of COVID-19 Lockdowns using seismic vibrations to track human movement.

 Jennifer Uche (United States), who launched a podcast that highlights the importance of youth advocacy and the power of young people to change the world.

How to Apply?

The online applications are open on the Rise website and are available until January 25, 2023, at 16:59 GMT. For applicants without access to mobile technology, Rise works with its partners on the ground to offer alternative pathways through paper applications.

Rise provides applicants with multiple opportunities during the application process to showcase their potential through videos, projects, and group interviews. The application allows applicants to select projects most suited to their interests, abilities, and time availability.

The Rise 2023 Challenge has three stages: 

 Submission: Applicants introduce themselves through videos, create an individual project that demonstrates their talents and benefits their communities, and peer review otherapplicants; projects, among other activities.

 Interview: Rise then selects up to 500 Finalists to advance to; Finalist Days; where they demonstrate their motivations, problem-solving abilities, and teamwork skills in an innovative interview format.

 Global Winner Selection: From the Finalists, Rise selects 100 Global Winners to receive a lifetime of benefits as they work to serve others.


Four Points by Sheraton Nairobi Airport bags two prestigious global awards as it marks 5 years anniversary

Four Points by Sheraton Nairobi Airport has won two globally recognized awards, cementing its position as a leading player in hospitality industry on the global scene.

The awards are; Best Airport Hotel, Kenya 2022 by CEO Destinations and Kenya’s leading Airport Hotel 2022 by World Travel Awards.

The awards come at a time when the luxury hotel is celebrating 5 years anniversary since setting up at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Nairobi.

Leadership Team, Four Points by Sheraton Nairobi Airport.PHOTO/Courtesy.

2022 is the year of rebounds and comebacks for the hospitality, travel, and tourism industry. For award-winning property Four Points by Sheraton, Nairobi Airport it also marks a milestone year with many reasons to celebrate this October.

Not resting on previous success (having been recognized for 4 consecutive years as the continent’s leading airport hotel), the property has pulled off a hat trick of awards this season.

Endorsed by two globally recognized bodies the hotel cements itself as THE LEADING AIRPORT HOTEL both locally and on the continent for the 5th year in a row.

This coincides with the five-year anniversary of the hotel since opening its doors in October 2017.

Four Points by Sheraton Nairobi Airport has become a mark of excellence for hospitality industry professionals, executives and leisure travellers jetting into the country.

The CEO Destinations listing, and awards is the ultimate guide for corporate executives and companies.

It provides insights and rankings for exceptional properties that provide a business conducive environment and superior experience across the world. Four Points by Sheraton, Nairobi Airport’s accolade was announced on October 24th, 2022.

Similarly, the hotel was also featured in their World Travel Top100 locations for traveling executives who want to enjoy luxury business and travel experiences in 2022.

Accepting both accolades was Four Points By Sheraton, Nairobi Airport General Manager, Vivek Mathur who has been instrumental in leading the property to great success.

He comments “These awards on the eve of our 5th anniversary serve as a testament to the passion and hard work of our entire Four Points team. Throughout the pandemic and beyond, they have been unwavering in their commitment to delivering a world-class experience that is unmatched elsewhere. It is my firm belief that our people are the key reason we continue to remain a leader in our category. It gives me great joy to see my team progress through the ranks, starting out as juniors and growing into leadership roles. The future is bright for our sector, and we are committed to reaching the next milestone”.

Driven by changes in the operating environment, Four Point By Sheraton Nairobi Airport has been at the forefront of deploying a transformational business continuity model that has resulted in consistent growth in the number of guests at the property.

In 2021 the hotel was also acknowledged as Africa’s Leading Airport Hotel by WTA and the International Hotel Awards body.

The Four Points by Sheraton Nairobi Airport is a 172-room hotel located strategically inside the JKIA Complex, opened in October 2017.

The hotel amenities include multi-functional meeting and event spaces, a dedicated business lounge all-day dining restaurant, pool bar and grill, coffee lounge, rooftop pool, gym, and spa. The hotel benefits from views of the airport runway and the Nairobi National Park.

Lavington Rotary Eco Club hosts a charity run to honor Prof. Wangari Maathai

Douglas Wakiirhui, former Kenyan long-distance runner planting a tree.

The Lavington Rotary Eco Club in partnership with Kenya Forest Service, Kenya Forest Research Institute (KERFI) I & M Bank, and Muguga
Ecosystem Research Community Forest Association (MERCFA), on Saturday hosted the annual Rotary charity run in memory of Kenya’s heroine and nature conservationist, the late Prof. Wangari Maathai in Muguga Forest.

The annual charity run marked the 11th  commemoration to celebrate her outstanding achievements to empower communities, reduce poverty and conserve the environment through tree planting.

All participants were able to join in 5 KM family run 16KM run and
other activities geared towards educating the public on the importance of environmental sustainability.

In addition, participants had a chance to plant trees in a push to sustain and protect Muguga forest and its natural resources.

(Left) Douglas Waiirhui, former Kenyan long-distance runner with (Right)Rotary Club of Lavington Eco club president Wambui Mbarire.PHOTO/Courtesy.

“Wangari Maathai is the benchmark for environmental responsibility and set an example ofwhat it means to care for the future of the planet and our community. The annual charity run helps create awareness in our quest for environmental protection and preservation. We want to build a network of people who can benefit from each other’s knowledge experience and perspectives on environmental issues,” said Wambui Mbarire, President, Lavington Rotary Eco Club.

Special guest, Douglas Wakiihuri, the first ever Kenya to win a gold medal in the marathon at the 1987 World Championships in Athletics in Rome, graced the event and spearheaded the 16Km run.

“Sustaining our natural environment is a responsibility and cause that I am proud to be part of.  More than ever before, it is important that wetake appropriate actions necessary to address the issues of our surroundings the spirit and zeal of the late Prof. Wangari Maathai”
said, Douglas Wakiihuri, Former Kenyan long-distance runner.

The effects of environmental degradation are far-reaching and tree planting in all available spaces within and outside forests ensures sustainability and that these effects are mitigated.

Tree planting is also fundamental to the survival of forest-dwellers, and one of the most effective ways to mitigate the effects of climate change. A single mature tree can remove upwards of 25kgs of harmful greenhouse gases out of the atmosphere.

The Lavington Eco Rotary Club is a single-focused cause-based club initiated in 2019 as a subsidiary of the Rotary Club of Lavington aims to engage its community in dialogue, networking, and hands on service projects around environmentally sustainable causes.

Through its activities, the club seeks to build a “green culture” within and outside of Rotary.

It also aims to identify environmental issues in communities and work collaboratively with others to promote sustainable existence in communities.


Johnson Arthur Sakaja is the Governor-elect Nairobi

Johnson Arthur Sakaja is the Governor elect Nairobi county.

Sakaja who contested the seat on UDA ticket garnered 699,392 votes beating his closest rival Polycarp Igathe of Jubilee who got 573,516 votes.

He has vowed to ensure that all the devolved function are reverted back to the county government once sworn in.

It will be recalled that some of the key functions were handed to Nairobi Metropolitan Service.

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