Business highlights – Ketraco fibre network rollout to boost internet access among consumers

25% of Kenyans still lacking access to financial services

  • Nearly a quarter of the country’s consumers lack access to financial services and are therefore unable to access loans or invest in their respective futures, the National Treasury has revealed
  • Treasury Cabinet Secretary, Henry Rotich said in a statement yesterday that 75.3% of Kenyans now have access to financial service.
  • He noted that over Ksh25 billion has been cumulatively availed through the Uwezo Fund, Women and Youth Enterprise Funds to help deal with financial inequality among women and the youth

Rotich described the developments as a massive growth from 26.7% in 2006. They come at a time when access to finance is still the biggest barrier to women’s entry into the field of business. This is according to a study commissioned by the Graça Machel Trust (GMT). It found that roughly seven out of every ten women entrepreneurs in East Africa finance their start-ups from their own savings because they have no access to capital.

The report, dubbed Explore Growth Barriers Faced by Female Entrepreneurs in East Africa, aims to establish the key factors that hinder growth from micro and small enterprises to medium and large-sized businesses. The research covered Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda and surveyed hundreds of women entrepreneurs across all sectors of the economy.

READ ALSO: Mobile money solutions providing opportunities for financial inclusion, says Safaricom

Rotich’s statement also comes at a time when mobile money has had the biggest impact on closing the gender gap in access to financial services in Kenya.

Deputy Central Bank Governor Sheila M’Mbijiwe said at a recent forum that mobile phone ownership and the access it provides to financial services has left women nearly at par with men. Ms M’Mbijiwe was citing statistics indicating that mobile money coverage among women stands at 71% compared to 79% for men.

This was the first Budget to be read before June to allow the country prepare for elections in August.

Ketraco fibre network rollout to boost internet access among consumers

Kenya Electricity Transmission Company (Ketraco) is seeking telecom companies interested in partnering to operate its planned nationwide fiber-optic infrastructure

The company is looking for private sector players to express interest in the prospective co-ownership of the network to provide a robust infrastructure for telecom services in the country

Ketraco expects to construct about 7,000 kilometres of high voltage lines across the country and for regional interconnection in the next five years

Workers laying down fibre optic cables. Ketraco has been implementing a broadband strategy that involves leasing extra fibre optic capacity, in a move meant to generate additional revenue for the state company. Photo: Motshwari Mofokeng

The strategy to leverage on its current fibre infrastructure will rope in third parties with vast experience in the telecommunication sector to design, deploy, operate, manage and sell active networks.

READ ALSO: Zuku triples internet speed to meet customer demand

In 2014, the Communication Authority of Kenya (CA) granted Ketraco a network facility provider tier 2 (NFPT2) licence. This allowed the power transmission company to lease out fibre to licensed application and content service providers as a way of diversifying its revenue base.

Ketraco said the operator will be required to deploy network equipment, operate and maintain the network and also manage it.

Labour Court bars government from hiring Tanzanian doctors

  • The Employment and Labour Relations Court has temporarily stopped the government from hiring foreign doctors
  • Justice Nelson Abuodha issued the order after five Kenyan doctors sued to stop the State from hiring 500 doctors from Tanzania
  • They argue there are trained medics in the country who are unemployed

Doctors Kahindi, Teddy Menza, Yunas Mohammed Shee, Lilian Nyambeki Magara, Victor Muia Mutisya and Aldran Flavian Liguyani sued the Ministry of Health, the Council of Governors, the Public Service Commission and the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Board.

Doctors at work

The five also want the court to issue orders compelling the government to absorb 1,400 medical practitioners who are currently jobless but are trained and qualified.

READ ALSO: EAC nationals qualified to work as doctors in Kenya, doctors registration board says

The doctors want the State completely blocked from hiring foreign doctors as well as other medical practitioners. The judge directed that the sued parties be given copies of the case documents before a hearing on April 21, 2017.

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