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What will further fuel Kenya’s economic plans dreams



Kenya is just weeks away from announcing the discovery of new oil resources in the Lamu basin.

Bigger than what was found a decade ago in Turkana, in what could be a turning point for the country’s dreams of reaping petrodollars.

Five – kilometre exploratory drilling deep

Italian oil exploration company Eni — in partnership with France-based oil and gas company TotalEnergies.

And Qatar’s state-owned oil and gas firm Qatar Energy — is racing to conclude a five-kilometre exploratory drilling deep water well.

That will establish the potential oil resources in the Lamu basin.

700 million barrels

The oil resources that can be recovered from the Block L11B are estimated at about 700 million barrels.

According to early conservative estimates, more than a fifth of Turkana’s commercially extractable volume of 585 million barrels.

The large fiscal windfall associated with new oil resource revenue. Could help Kenya boost development and improve the standards of living for citizens.

Key services and amenities

Through access to key services and amenities such as roads, health, food security and education.

The well is located approximately 170km from the coast, underneath the Indian Ocean seabed where Eni has been prospecting and drilling for oil.

Eni’s drillship SAIPEM 12000 has been on location within Block L11B since late December 2021, when it started drilling, and is expected to complete operations this month.

Covid 19 pandemic

The drilling was expected to start earlier in the month but was delayed due to a number of factors.

Including meeting requirements to comply with Ministry of Health protocols to mitigate the Covid-19 pandemic.

Seismic surveys revealed that the area has the potential for oil resources estimated at four billion to 4.8 billion barrels. 

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Detailed images

Oil and gas explorers use seismic surveys to produce detailed images of the various rock types and the location beneath the earth’s surface.

And to determine the location and size of potential oil and gas reservoirs.

Eni expects to release deposits results of its drilling campaign in the block. That would determine whether there is commercial viability.


Eni Kenya BV managing director Tavolini Enrico remained tightlipped on Eni’s prospects in Lamu. Promising additional information later.

“We shall give you an update in the next two weeks,” Mr Tavolini said in response to queries.

Once a discovery is made, confirmation through appraisal wells would be needed. This would mean Eni and it’s partners would dig additional wells.

Lamu basin

To confirm whether any discovery would be big enough for the oil firms to develop Kenya’s first deep water field.

Early data however indicates the existence of oil resources. What is technically referred to as an active petroleum system in the area.

The well in the Lamu Basin offers Kenya another chance to become an oil producing country. It would come a decade after British exploration firm Tullow Oil.


Made Kenya’s first oil find in Turkana County’s South Loki char sub basin.

Kenya first announced the discovery of oil in Block 10BB. And 13T in Turkana in March 2012. The country is however yet to fully commercialize the crude oil.

“Data from this well and other exploration activities show that the Mlima 1 prospect. Could have a much more considerable accumulation. Than the discoveries in the South Loki char basin,” said Rita Maina, a senior energy transition advisor at the Kenya Civil Society Platform on Oil and Gas.

High probability

“If the drilling is successful, there is a high probability that the South Lokichar basin discoveries. Will take a back seat because the Mlima 1 prospect will have a more significant economic benefit. To the country and will be easier to develop,” she added.

Mlima-1 is tipped to be the first commercial oil discovery.

To date have almost exclusively resulted in gas discoveries.

An oil discovery in the Lamu basin would push Kenya to guard it’s maritime borders in the area amid a border row with Somalia. The basin lies within the disputed territory with Somalia.

Disputed area

Last year, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta said the country will not cede even an inch of the disputed area.

Tullow has been under pressure from Kenya. To develop the Turkana oil wells that it expects to produce up to 120,000 barrels per day once production starts.

Tullow and its partners in the project, Africa Oil and Total. Had initially planned to reach a final investment decision in 2019. And production of the first oil between this year and next year.

Field development plan

In October last year, Tullow presented a revised Field Development Plan for oil in the Turkana oil fields. To the government of Kenya just in time to beat the set deadline of December 2021.

Had the plan not been submitted on time. Then they would have risked losing concession on their exploration block as stipulated in the production sharing contract.

The British firm expects to recover 585 million barrels of oil from the project over the full life of the field.

The commercially extractable volume for the Turkana South Lokichar basin rose to 585 million barrels from the previous estimate of 433 million barrels.

According to British petroleum consulting firm Gaffney Cline Associates.

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Three Global Firms Signed By Nairobi Financial Hub On Its Launch




Three companies were signed by Nairobi’s international financial centre on the day of its launch. The three include Prudential plc, ARC Ride Kenya and AirCarbon Exchange (ACX).

The Nairobi International Financial Centre (NIFC) is a special economic zone for financial firms.

Prudential, one of the world’s biggest insurers and asset managers, became the first firm to formally join the NIFC.

Singapore-based global carbon exchange ACX came along with Prudential. It seeks to set up a carbon exchange in Kenya.

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NIFC has also admitted ARC Ride Kenya. It is a new start-up that is going to establish an electric vehicle assembly plant in Nairobi. The plant will produce two and three-wheeled electric bikes and scooters.

Also, the Financial Centre is determined to bolster the manufacturing sector in the country. It has signed an MoU with the Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM), to help increase financing and investment in the sector.

NIFC authority has hinted at being in discussion with other participants seeking to join it and will give official news soon.

“Last year Prudential Plc, one of the world’s biggest insurers and asset managers, made a commitment to relocating their Africa headquarters from London to Nairobi and join the Centre. Today we are proud to announce that Prudential becomes the first firm to formally join the Nairobi International Financial Centre,” Vincent Rague, Chairman NIFC Authority.

After many years of waiting, the hub will eye large foreign firms, boosting capital flows to Kenya and the region.

The authority has singled-out four sectors that it will prioritise for growth: financial technology, green finance, investment funds, and becoming a hub for regional multinationals.

The NIFC general regulations have been enacted, as the initial set of tax incentive proposals have been passed.

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Certification from the NIFC Authority must be applied by Firms considering conducting business through the NIFC.

A 15% corporate tax will benefit firms operating a carbon market exchange or emission trading system under the NIFC. The 15% advantage will happen for the first 10 years of operation.

Companies certified by the NIFC Authority and have invested a minimum of Sh5 billion will benefit from the certainty that, the Capital Gains Tax applicable at the time they make their investments will remain unchanged during the lifetime of the investments.

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Hackers Make Tactical Change, Now Targeting Small Businesses




Traditionally, cybercriminals have been targeting big companies with aim of demanding ransoms running into millions. Nonetheless, the trend no longer holds, as new studies have shown the shift in hackers’ interest from big companies to small and medium ones.

Studies have shown that hackers are shifting their focus to small online businesses which they believe are more vulnerable.

Experts have warned that these SMEs and payment portals, especially those relying on mobile payment solutions, are now facing high risks of cyber attacks coordinated by these hackers.

Speaking during the inaugural Africa Cybersecurity Congress held in Nairobi, Hadi Maeleb, Agora Group co-founder and CEO said the threats to online businesses were growing at a high rate.

Further, he stated that more than 90% of business owners are unaware that their enterprises are at risk, despite the high growth rate of the attacks.

“Cybercriminals are now targeting small businesses more as they have realized that these enterprises do believe they would be exposed due to their comparatively low turnovers until they lose their data and payments are compromised,” said Mr Maeleb.

With the adoption of e-commerce platforms, State agencies, financial institutions, healthcare, energy and utilities have persistently faced cyber-attacks in the recent past.

According to CAK- Communications Authority of Kenya’s first-quarter data (between January to March 2022), a total of 79.2 million cyber-attacks were reported. This has prompted the government to issue 28,848 advisories in an attempt to fight the rising attacks.

Invest in Cybersecurity

Mr Maeleb noted that business owners should invest in cybersecurity tools as there is no magical solution to cybercrime.

“This ‘democratization’ of cyberattacks is expected to push losses due to business interruption, financial theft, personal data breaches and even ransom payments over the Sh4 trillion mark by end of 2022,” he said.

At the peak of the pandemic, several states adopted tough lockdown measures such as social distancing, working from home, and online learning.

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Hackers shifting focus to small businesses.

This adoption of digital solutions such as e-commerce, remote working and banking went up as Kenyans turned to online platforms to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

“Unfortunately for them, the business of cybercrime has evolved to a point where attacks like ransomware are now sold as a service,” he added.

Even though these measures triggered the adoption of digital platforms, they also increased vulnerability such as ransom, data breaches, harassment, cyberbullying, and data breaches.

Kenya’s ICT Policy which came into effect in 2006, is credited for creating an enabling environment for the growth and usage of technology.

Kenya’s ICT Policy which came into effect in 2006, is credited for creating an enabling environment for the growth and usage of technology.

To achieve Kenya’s Vision 2030 goal of a regional ICT hub, the tech sector was expected to contribute directly and indirectly to an additional 1.5% of Kenya’s GDP by 2017/2018.

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Why Buyers Are Now Running Away From Popular Used Toyota Cars




As it has been noted that Kenyans are now running away from the popular used Toyota car models, contrary to what has been a tradition in the country. The rise in their costs has seen even dealers cut down on imports of these vehicles due to decreased demand.

Traditionally, popular models such as Toyota Premio and RAV4 have been synonymous with middle-income earners over the years. However, this is no longer the trend.

Car dealers say more Kenyans are now going for vehicles such as Nissan Sylphy and Mazda, which cost less compared with popular Toyota models.

Toyota Vs Nisaan and Mazda models

According to Charles Munyori, the secretary-general of Kenya Auto Bazaar Association, Nissan Sylphy and Mazda’s CX5 and Axela, are quickly gaining popularity among Kenyans.

Mr Munyori said the price of a Toyota RAV4 has short up to Sh3 million currently from Sh2.8 million in February while a Premio is going for Sh2.2 million from Sh2 million four months ago.

On the contrary, Mazda Axela is now selling for Sh1.6 million with Nissan Sylphy (Blue Bird) going for at least Sh1.5 million.

Currently, consumers find these brands to be the best alternatives to their preferred models, as they are relatively cheaper and good.

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With the rising household costs, these car prices are making them affordable to most Kenyans as they struggle to balance the high cost of living.

“We are seeing a shift where Kenyans are now moving from the popular brands such as Toyota Premio and RAV4 to other models. This shift has been occasioned by the high cost that these cars are now fetching at the market,” said Mr Munyori.

“In fact, most of the car dealers are hardly bringing in Premio and RAV4 models because they are not moving and they will tie up money that they would need for importation of more vehicles,” he said.

Ex-Japanese vehicles

Ex-Japan vehicles dominate the Kenyan second-hand sector with a more than 80% market share.

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The buyers in the sector prefer these cars as their spare parts are easier to obtain locally compared to other brands. Additionally, buyers believe that the resale value of Toyota vehicles are higher than that of other brands like mazda or Nissan.

Reasons for risisng vehicle cost

The rising cost of vehicles in the country has been linked to the unavailability of dollars locally, a shortage of electronic chips in Japan, and a weakening shilling against the dollar.

The country is currently experiencing extreme dollar shortage, that one has to wait for at least three days to get $20,000 or $25,000 from the banks.

“We have to wait for like nine days in order to accumulate $80,000, and this has seen car dealers delay in making their orders. We are really feeling the impact of the dollar shortage in the market,” Mr Munyori said.

banks have imposed regulations on dollar purchase. This has forced traders to face difficulty in meeting their obligations.

Industrialists are forced to start seeking dollars in advance. The shortage puts a strain on supplier relations and the ability to negotiate favourable prices in gap markets.

On the other hand, Semiconductors are used in making electronic devices. Their shortage has forced the vehicle manufacturers to scale down the production. The quantity and quality cannot be maintained with decrease in one of the crucial raw material.

Finally, the shilling has persistently remained weak against the dollar. this has made it costly for importers shipping in goods.

The shilling has hit a record low trading at of Sh 117.06 against the dollar. This predicts a continued rise in imported goods, and signifies a further dollar shortage crisis.

The continuous depreciation in shilling stability is attributed to increased demand for dollars from importers. This highly arises on importaion of crude oil and merchandised goods.

It should be noted that most external debt is repaid in the dollar. Therefore, a weakened shilling increases prices of imported goods, and puts pressure on the country’s debt repayment.

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