Repositioning Kenya Airways on its Feet Fast
Turbulent times for Africa’s sixth-largest airline, Kenya Airways (KQ) seem far from over. The financial difficulty being experienced by KQ has become even more apparent with the latest profit warning of earnings for the year 2019 when compared to 2018. The airline declared its anticipation of a net loss in excess of Ksh 7.5 billion posted in 2018. Consequently, KQ stock plummeted to a new low of Ksh 2.10 ($0.02) and recorded a -76.97% decline over 2019. KQ financial performance continues to be volatile, with the impact of increasing competition from regional carriers such as Ethiopian and Rwandan airlines, and Middle East carriers such as Emirates, Etihad and Qatar airlines compounding its financial woes.
KQ is operating in a highly competitive environment and has reported a declining dominance in the African skies while the competitors in the region, particularly Ethiopian Airlines and Gulf Airlines are realizing increasing footprint. Ethiopian Airline has over the years reported a gradual growth, currently flying to 153 destinations and operating a fleet of 100 aircrafts while KQ flies to 53 destinations and operating a fleet of 59 aircrafts. This means that the KQ total freight is an eighth of Ethiopian Airline, reflecting the high dominance of Ethiopian Airline relative to KQ. Given the significance of KQ to the Kenyan economy, it requires restructuring towards a growth trajectory, and thus the proposed integrated model that entails delisting, nationalization of KQ and formation of a national aviation holding company is urgent.
Revenue Sharing Stalemate between National Government and County Governments
The Constitution of Kenya 2010 introduced a two-tier level of government: i.e. The National government and the County governments. The devolved system of government is the cornerstone of the Constitution and its implementation brought a major policy shift on how resources are shared in the country. The Constitution has outlined policies and guidelines on how resources are shared between these levels of government. Despite well formulated guidelines on revenue sharing between the two tiers of government, there has been delays agreeing on the amount to be allocated to the two levels of government, as witnessed in August 2019. There is also concern on delays in disbursement of funds to the devolved units by the National Treasury. Given that the total county revenue basket disbursements by the National Treasury make up a big chunk (over 70%) of the county financing requirements, delays in disbursement by the National Treasury adversely affects the day to day running of county activities to the extent that there is delayed payment of county staff, suppliers, and implementation of county work plans, programmes and development projects. This therefore affects county services such as health care and other services offered to the counties.
Ending Poverty for Youth Persons with Disabilities in Kenya
There is no accurate data on the number of young people with disabilities under extreme poverty in Kenya. However, evidence shows that youth with disabilities are the most marginalized and poor in the world. The United Nations estimates that there are about 180 and 220 million youth with disabilities world-wide, with approximately 80 per cent living in developing countries. Further, global data from the World Health Survey, according to World Bank 2011, indicates that employment rates are lower for men with disabilities (53%) and women with disabilities (20%) compared to men without disabilities (65%) and women (30%). Disability increases vulnerability of the youth to poverty while poverty increases vulnerability to disability. However, there is a strong intersection between disability and poverty, which leads to dynamic and multifaceted phenomenon that is difficult to measure. According to Sophie Mitra (2011), the onset of disability may lead to lower living standards and poverty through adverse impact on education, employment, earnings, and increased expenditures related to disability. This leads to persons with disabilities and households with a person with disability experiencing higher rates of insufficiencies, which include food insecurity, poor housing, lack of access to safe water and sanitation, and inadequate access to health care and fewer assets compared to persons without disability. In the wake of global economic integration and development, to achieve the long-lasting prospects envisioned in the Sustainable Development Goals and beyond, there is need to have inclusion of persons with disability in economic activities that sustainably contribute to economic development.
Today, 6th February 2020, we celebrate the international day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).
Female Genital Mutilation/ Circumcision or Cutting (FGM/C) comprises of all procedures that involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or injury to the female genital organs such as the clitoris, prepuce or labia minora. Those who refer to the practice as Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) tend to lay emphasis on its severity with a focus on the adverse effect it has on girls and women, while those who use Female Genital Cut or Circumcision (FGC) stress on the need to use a non-judgmental terminology, especially when interacting with communities that attach value and nobility to the practice. It is classified into four major types namely: clitoridectomy; excision; infibulation and other harmful procedures to the female genitalia for non-medical purposes.
Kenya Exports Oil for the First Time: What Can We Learn from Other Countries?
Oil Exploration and Production Journey
Kenya exported 200,000 barrels of crude oil to ChemChina, a Chinese company, at a cost of Ksh 12 billion in August 2019. This marked yet another milestone regarding Kenya’s oil exploration and production journey which begun in the 1950s. The first milestone in this journey was made in 2012 with the discovery of commercially viable oil deposits in the Tertiary Rift basin in Turkana. The discovery was made by Tullow, a British Oil Company. Since this discovery, the oil company has dug about 86 wells within four oil basins namely: Lamu, Tertiary Rift, Mandera, and Anza. Tullow oil considers the Tertiary Rift as the most promising among the four basins. The company estimates that Lokichar sub-basin within the Tertiary Rift has about 4 billion barrels of crude oil.
Cancer as a Non-Communicable Disease and the Status of Cancer Control in Kenya
The concept of epidemiological transition of mortality and cause of death dates back to the neolithic age. Omran in 1971 divided the manifestation of the phenomena into three phases. The first phase of The Age of Pestilence and Famine is characterized by an increase in infectious diseases, malnutrition and high mortality. This is followed by The Age of Receding Pandemics distinguished by progressive decrease in frequency epidemic peaks, declines in mortality rates, and increased life expectancy. The third and most relevant phase is The Age of Degenerative and Man-Made Diseases marked by continued increase in life expectancy and decline in mortality rates. Most developing countries, including Kenya, are in this third phase. This phase is associated with mortality increased mortality, and a shift from infectious diseases/communicable diseases to non-communicable diseases (NCDs).
According to the World Health Organization Global Status Report on NCDs, the number of deaths is projected to increase from 38 million in 2012 to 52 million by 2030. 48 per cent of these deaths are expected to occur in low- and middle-income countries. In addition, 42 per cent of NCD-related deaths occur before the average age of death of certain populations, otherwise known as premature mortality. In Kenya, NCDs accounted for 27.1 per cent of deaths in 2016, which was an increase from 15.8 per cent in 2000. The nature and severity of NCDs have added onto the burden of the unfinished agenda on infectious diseases in developing countries, resulting in a duo-disease burden.
In November 2019, Kenya hosted the 25th International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD25) which was first held in Cairo in 1994. The aim of the conference was to assess the achievements made by the 179 governments represented in advancing people’s rights and choices with particular focus on: empowerment of women; reduction of infant and child mortality to a rate below 35 per 1000 live births and under-five mortality rate below 45 per 1,000; eradication of gender-based violence and any abuses of women rights including female genital mutilation (FGM); reduction of maternal mortality disparities within countries and between geographical regions, socio-economic and ethnic groups; and improvement of gender equality and access to reproductive and sexual health services including family planning.
Women in Kenya have remained behind their male counterparts in many spheres, including access to information. This is besides the societal expectation of women’s roles as caretakers, educators, health providers, farmers, and as part of the labour market, inclusive of the informal sector.
The Constitution of Kenya in 2010 ushered in a decentralized system of governance comprising a national government and 47 county governments. This forms a two-tiered system of government in which the sovereign power of the people is exercised at the national and county levels.
Kenya’s budgetary needs have been increasing over the years partly due to high spending on infrastructural projects. A challenge that the economy keeps grappling with is the shortfall in revenues collected against increasing public expenditure needs. This has necessitated borrowing from both external and domestic market as a way of bridging the financing deficit. Borrowing from the domestic market has largely supported financing of recurrent expenditure.
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