African aviation has potential to rake in $29 billion

It has been by AviaDev event, in conjunction with partners, MIDAS Aviation and Futureneers Advisors, that the estimated potential revenue from new African aviation routes could yield $29 billion in direct revenue.

This revenue, which is more than the individual GDP’s of 70% of the countries in Africa, could be realized if the largest airports in each African country are connected with one another. Currently, only 33.7% of this huge market is served, meaning that there is over $19 billion in untapped annual revenue.

Now in its fourth year, AviaDev, brings together airports, airlines, tourism bodies, and suppliers and customizes one-to-one meetings so that new partnerships and routes can be created. AviaDev’s managing director, Jon Howell, unveiled the event’s mission: to connect the largest airports in each African country with one another. He stated: “AviaDev aims to challenge the status quo through encouraging disruptive thinking. We believe our new mission crystallizes the opportunity that African aviation presents, and we look forward to driving the industry forward and measuring the progress made. We are encouraged by the drive on the continent towards partnership and collaboration”

Rebecca Rowland, Partner at Midas Aviation, who estimated the current aviation services said: “We’ve looked at how well-connected Africa is in terms of the flights between the largest airports in every country, which mostly means the capital cities. Only a third of these routes currently have regular air services. We know that connectivity is vital for economic growth and trade, so the potential is huge. As the visa regimes become more open and regulatory constraints looser, we should see many more of Africa’s capitals connected to each other and, with that, we’ll see more of the opportunities realized.”

Martin Jansen van Vuuren, founder of Futureneer Advisors, quantified the potential revenue from the new aviation routes. He indicated that the potential aviation growth could result in additional hotel growth, which will further add revenue to the destination.  He said: “Considering the anticipated increase in air connectivity, estimations on the number of room nights and expenditure per person can be made.  With this is mind, it is fair to say that anticipated investment of US$194 billion could be made in new and existing hotels across the continent in the coming years, further showcasing the untapped potential of Africa.”

Africa also has plans underway to establish a Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM) as was discussed at the recently concluded Second Ordinary Session of the African Union Specialised Technical Committee in Transport, Transcontinental and Interregional Infrastructure, Energy and Tourism in Cairo Egypt. The SAATM is aimed at promoting intra-regional connectivity between the capital cities of Africa by creating a single unified air transport market in Africa, as an impetus to the continent’s economic integration and growth agenda.

African Union (AU) member states that have subscribed to the solemn commitment of establishing SAATM  are: Benin, Burkina Faso, Botswana, Capo Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Egypt, Ethiopia, and Gabon. Others are Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Swaziland, Togo and Zimbabwe.

Read Also: Single air transport market for Africa in pipeline

Single air transport market for Africa in pipeline

Nigeria’s Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, and other Africa transport ministers have rallied other countries on the continent behind the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM).

Sirika, at the ongoing Second Ordinary Session of the African Union Specialised Technical Committee in Transport, Transcontinental and Inter-regional Infrastructure, Energy and Tourism in Cairo Egypt, made the resolution of the ministers known via his twitter handle.

The ministers, in the resolution concerning transport in Africa, “urge all remaining member states to join the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM), ratify the African Road Safety Charter, the Revised Maritime Transport Charter and the Africa Civil Aviation Commission (AFCAC) Constitution.” Presently, only 28 African  countries have so far shown interest in the SAATM, even as the African Union awaits the decision of others to join the train.

According to African Union, SAATM is “Promoting intra-regional connectivity between the capital cities of Africa by creating a single unified air transport market in Africa, as an impetus to the continent’s economic integration and growth agenda. “In Cairo, the ministers unanimously agreed to strategies that would boost infrastructures in Africa. “We, the Ministers in charge of Transport Transcontinental and Inter-regional Infrastructure, Energy and Tourism meeting in Cairo, Arab Republic of Egypt on 16 and 17 April 2019, in the Second Session of the Specialised Technical Committee on Transport, Transcontinental and Inter-regional Infrastructure, Energy and Tourism , organised by the African Union Commission (AUC) in collaboration with the Government of the Arab Republic of Egypt to consider strategies for developing smart infrastructure to boost Africa’s continental transformation and integration,” said the ministers in Cairo.

We, the ministers, reiterating our commitment to develop Transport, Transcontinental and Inter-regional Infrastructure, Energy and Tourism sectors and our strong will to implement the outcome of the meeting as we have agreed.”

The committee of ministers requested the African Union Commission (AUC), to take the appropriate measures to accelerate the development of the African integrated High Speed Railway Network (AIHSRN) flagship project, revitalisation of the Union of Africa Railways (UAR) and speed up operationalisation of SAATM.

They also called upon the African Development Bank (AfDB) to continue providing support and mobilise more financial resources for priority intercontinental transport sector programmes such as SAATM and implementation of African Plan of Action for Road Safety.

The committee appealed to member states to speed up signing and or ratification of pending legal instrument related to infrastructure, notably Maritime Charter, Yamoussoukro Declaration (YD), SAATM, AFREC Convention and Road Safety Charter.

Member states that have subscribed to the solemn commitment are: Benin, Burkina Faso, Botswana, Capo Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Egypt, Ethiopia, and Gabon. Others are Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Swaziland, Togo and Zimbabwe.

The second Ordinary Session of the African Union was a meeting of the African Union (AU) Specialized Technical Committee on Transport, Transcontinental and Interregional Infrastructure, Energy and Tourism (STC-TTIET) with a theme: Developing SMART Infrastructure to Boost Africa’s Continental Transformation and Integration. The meeting occurred during 16th and 17th April of 2019, organized by the African Union Commission; through the Department of Infrastructure and Energy; in collaboration with the Government of the Arab Republic of Egypt, the African Development Bank (AfDB), the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and the African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD).

Also read: AfDB, AU banks on creative industries in Africa for GDP growth

 

Infrastructure Development will open Africa’s job opportunities

The Belt and Road Initiative is a China-led strategy to strengthen global trade links across the world, in particular between Asia, Africa and Europe

African governments should create an enabling environment for the private sector to participate more in the development of critical infrastructure on the continent.

Public-private partnerships supported by robust national institutions to ensure accountability and transparency hold the key to closing the prevailing infrastructure gap on the continent.

This came out at the inaugural AfroChampions Boma forum on African Infrastructure Financing and Delivery organized by the AfroChampions Initiative.

Competitive production for domestic and international markets

President Uhuru Kenyatta who spoke at the closing event said that Africa must work to address the insufficient stock of functional and quality infrastructure in energy, water and transport services.

This is to enable companies to produce competitively for both domestic and international markets.

He said that he was convinced that good infrastructure is the backbone upon which African nations will achieve economic growth that will, in turn, create the much-needed jobs for the youth as well as generate wealth to deal with the challenge of poverty.

“High-quality infrastructure reduces transactional and other costs; enabling efficient use of labour and capital, but more importantly, enhancing connectivity between production points and market points,” Kenyatta said.

The success of Africa’s private sector globally

The AfroChampions Initiative is driven by prominent private and public sector players in Africa.

The initiative is a set of innovative public-private partnerships and flagship programmes designed to galvanize African resources and institutions to support the emergence and success of African private sector in the regional and global spheres.

Kenyatta said the dream of connecting the continent cannot be realized unless viable solutions to mobilise the required infrastructure financing are found.

“African economies must also be diversified by promoting value addition and manufacturing to create job opportunities for the more than ten million young people joining the labour market each year. Industrialization is the way to go if we are to achieve and sustain shared prosperity and job creation for our peoples,” he added.

China’s “Belt and Road Initiative”

Already, the Chinese have looped in Kenya and other African countries in the “Belt and Road Initiative”.

The initiative is meant to boost trade and investment opportunities between China and Africa.

It is also hailed as a project that will provide economic development opportunities between China and various African countries.

The Belt and Road Initiative is a China-led strategy to strengthen global trade links across the world, in particular between Asia, Africa and Europe.

This initiative comes with an array of large-scale infrastructure projects along these two land and sea corridors.

China has gone off the rails in connecting Africa

In September and October 2013 during visits to Kazakhstan and Indonesia, Chinese President Xi Jinping unveiled the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-century Maritime Silk Road popularly known as the One Belt One Road (OBOR).

The ‘Belt’ was to connect the three continents of Africa, Asia and Europe in an ambitious plan China says it is to ‘enhance regional connectivity and embrace a brighter future’.

African players in infrastructure development

The AfroChampions Initiative is important as it presents an exceptional opportunity for stakeholders in infrastructure development to provide solutions to the challenges in financing and implementing world-class infrastructure systems in Africa.

Government agencies, private financiers and other stakeholders can come together to share their knowledge, expertise and experience to create innovative solutions for infrastructural challenges.

Nairobi is home to over 50 international development organizations and several global multinationals.

Kenyatta hailed Pan-Africanism saying the continent is brimming with promise and it should find its stand in the modern world, striding confidently into a future of peace, prosperity and unity.

With the coming into force the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), Africa becomes the world’s largest free trade zone, essentially.

AfCFTA is expected to increase intra-African trade by 52 per cent by the year 2022 and remove tariffs on 90 per cent of goods.

The UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) says the AfCFTA will be the world’s largest free trade zone by the number of countries if ratified by all the 55 African countries.

“The Pan-African dream of peace, prosperity and unity is set to be spurred by the imminent entry into force of the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement.  This continental feat presents an extraordinary opportunity for Africa to become the single largest market in the world,” Kenyatta said.

The African Union’s (AU) High Representative for Infrastructure Development and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga called on African countries to remove barriers that hinder the free movement of people, goods and services by abolishing policies that curtail the involvement of the private sector in infrastructure development.

He says that Africa is capable of addressing its infrastructure needs.

You can also read about why Central Africa is dragging Africa’s growth, why trade in East Africa will be simpler and sectors that will grow West Africa’s 15 economies.

Tatu city owner Rendeavour rolls out 30 MW Solar strategy

Initial solar plant by Rendeavour is expected to produce enough power for 8,500 people per year

Rendeavour, a real estate developer based in Nairobi Kenya has installed its first solar power plant in Kenya, as part of a 30 MW strategy for Tatu City, the company’s new city development in Nairobi.

The installation is in line with Rendeavour’s long-term commitment to environmental conservation through harnessing renewable energy sources. The solar power plant – installed on the roof of Dormans Coffee’s global headquarters at Tatu Industrial Park – provides 1 MW of electricity. Installation of the entire plant, including 15 kilometers of cables, took only six days.

Tatu City’s strategy is to install solar panels on all rooftops at the industrial park, the largest in East Africa, said Nick Langford, Kenya Country Head for Rendeavour, Tatu City’s owner and developer.

Read also: Tatu City partners with Karibu Homes for 1,000 affordable houses around Nairobi

Tatu City is a 5,000-acre, mixed-use development with homes, schools, offices, a shopping district, medical clinics, nature areas, a sport and entertainment complex and a manufacturing area for more than 150,000 residents and tens of thousands of day visitors.

Schools and businesses are already open at Tatu City, and a range of houses are under construction to suit all incomes. Located in Kiambu County, Tatu City represents a new way of living and thinking for all Kenyans, creating a unique live, work and play environment that is free from traffic congestion and long-distance commuting.

“Solar power allows us to contribute to clean energy, which is one of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals,” Langford said. “The power produced from the solar panels will be distributed for use by homes and businesses within the city. We are proud of this milestone and pleased to know that residents will enjoy sustained power supply at very minimal costs.”

Tatu Industrial Park is zoned for light, non-polluting industries. Leading international, regional and local companies are positioning their business at Tatu City for growth in East Africa and beyond. They include Dormans Coffee, Kim-Fay, Unilever, Coopers K-Brands, Chandaria Industries, Freight Forwarder Kenya, Stecol, and Tianlong. Backed by CDC Group and International Finance Corporation, Africa Logistics Properties at Tatu Industrial Park is the largest Grade A warehousing in Kenya.

Other developments at Tatu City, a 5,000-acre new city, include schools by Nova Pioneer and Crawford International, as well as more than 5,000 homes under construction and development.

Read also: Tatu City Industrial Park sold out, company doubles zone size

Fixing the missing link through the Mbarara – Kisangani Road Network

Bottlenecks to the completing of the planned Trans African Highway include difficult terrain and climate conditions, inadequate funding for Road maintenance and upgrades as well as insecurity due to civil conflicts that have damaged roads that now require reconstruction.

There is a new-found political will and High-level commitments by the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Uganda to develop and upgrade the Northern Corridor Road Sections  of their country of the Trans-African Highway (TAH) Network No 8 from Lagos, Nigeria to Mombasa that is expected to open the whole of Africa to interstate trade.

Uganda and DR Congo are already working to fix the gaps of the northern corridor in Mbarara-Bushenyi-Kikorongo-Mpondwe-Kasindi-Beni-Komanda-Kisangani  which measures 940Km.

Bottlenecks to the completing of the planned TAH include difficult terrain and climate conditions, inadequate funding for Road maintenance and upgrades as well as insecurity due to civil conflicts that have damaged roads that now require reconstruction.

However, with the current high political will between partner states, this project seem to be a reality. The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the Republic of Uganda are committed to prioritize the development of the Mbarara-Mpondwe-Kisangani Road section of the Northern Corridor Road Network and tasked the Northern Corridor Secretariat to take the lead in fast-tracking bilateral discussions and Funds Mobilization.

In this framework, two delegations from the Northern Corridor Secretariat led by Mr. Omae Nyarandi, the Executive Secretary, undertook consultations with high level Government officials in DRC and Uganda to get updates on all the Transport Infrastructure projects and trade facilitation initiatives in both countries, and most importantly, promote joint bilateral efforts between the two Northern Corridor Member States to develop the Mbarara-Mpondwe-Kisangani Highway.

In July 1971, the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) launched the Trans-African Highway Project between Lagos, Nigeria and Mombasa, Kenya, as a pilot project to make it possible to draft principles and methods for effective intra-African co-operation in the construction of international highways.

The African Union (AU), through the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), an AU economic development programme, is responsible for coordinating the development and realisation of the ten  planned Trans-African Highways Networks. Its broader Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA) has absorbed the project.

The Trans-African Highway No 8 which is contiguous to TAH N0 7 in Lagos, was expected to cover a total 6,259 km shared among 6 countries as follow; 737 km in Nigeria, 1,044 km in Cameroon, 1,319 km in the Central African Republic (CAR), 1,561 km in DR Congo, 740 km in Uganda and 1,100 km in Kenya. TAH 8 is complete in Nigeria, Cameroon Uganda and Kenya. However, there are missing links in the Central African Republic and DR Congo thus preventing its complete use. Together TAH 7 and TAH 8 form the east to west African highway of 10,819 km.

Why DR Congo is mulling joining the EAC

Controversial cable car to boost tourism on Mount Kilimanjaro

Overlooking the sprawling Savannah plains of Tanzania and Kenya, the snow-capped Mount Kilimanjaro rises majestically in splendid isolation to 5,895 metres above the sea level, making it the world’s highest freestanding peak.

Tanzania Deputy Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism Constantine Kanyasu stated the Cable Car facility was part of the government’s latest strategy to woo tourists with over 50 years of age.

Mr. Kanyasu said that they hope that the cable car will allow more ageing tourists to experience the wide variety of nature and wildlife of Mount Kilimanjaro. Instead of the familiar views of snow and ice, he said the cable car would offer a day trip safari with a bird’s eye view, contrary to the eight-day hiking trip.

The initial work for the cable car has just taken off with AVAN Kilimanjaro hiring the Crescent Environment and Management (CEM) Consult Limited to conduct Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA).

CEM engaged tour operators and other mountain stakeholders in Kilimanjaro and Arusha region where the company has made presentations on the proposed cable car and a lodge projects as part of the ESIA process.

However, key industry players, namely tour operators, guides and porters strongly protested the new facility, saying climbing the magnificent Kilimanjaro Mountain on foot is a lifetime experience that should never be compromised by cable cars.

Mount Kilimanjaro Porters Society (MKPS) opposed the cable car product outright, saying it will deny employment to nearly 250,000 unskilled porters scaling up Mount Kilimanjaro for a wage each year.

The MKPS showed disappointment in decision makers who had overlooked interests of the huge number of unskilled labour force, which solely depends on the mountain to eke out a living, citing the ripple effect on families of the 250,000 unskilled porters.

They also argued that the glittering cable car product will contradict the country’s conservation policy, as it will encourage mass tourism and become a major threat to the ecology of Mount Kilimanjaro. The car is planned to be installed along the Machame route, which doubles as an irreplaceable birds` migratory route, creating worry over electric wires severely affecting the migration of birds.

They further accused authorities of deliberately violating the law of the land by allowing a foreign investor to operate a cable car service on Mount Kilimanjaro. The law provides for exclusivity of Mount Kilimanjaro services to local operators with Section 58(2) of the 2008 Tanzania Tourism Act No 11 clearly stating mountain climbing or trekking registration should be issued to companies fully owned by Tanzanians.

Tour operators are also worried over the cable car harshly affecting revenues in a long run, owing to the service significantly reducing the length of stay from eight to one day. They fear the multiplier effect of the decline to the entrance, camping, rescue and crew fees will also be reflected on the national economy.

Also read: Tanzania: Independence and Tourism

 

China set to support ailing TAZARA line

The Chinese ambassador to Tanzania, Wang Ke made the pledge on 5th April during the tomb-sweeping activity to commemorate the Chinese experts who died during the construction of the Tanzania Zambia Railway Authority (TAZARA) line in the early 1970s.

The ambassador said that her country was ready to fund the refurbishment of the TAZARA to explore ways and means of upgrading and overhauling the TAZARA line once a consensus is reached.  The ambassador noted that the embassy had initiated talks with the government over the fund stressing that her country was ready, willing and able to support the refurbishment, and reminded that joint efforts by China, Tanzania and Zambia in overcoming numerous difficulties and obstacles was highly needed to reach the target.

Last year the TAZARA management appealed to the member states to inject more funds in order to make the railway line improve its operations and performance. The TAZARA Deputy Managing Director, Dr. Bertram Kiswaga said that additional efforts would go a long way in ensuring the performance of the railway was improved. He said that TAZARA was transporting 208,000 tonnes adding that in order to be profitable it needed to transport 600,000 tonnes annually.

Dr. Kiswaga said that despite all those, the corporation is unable to pay salaries because it is not making profits, calling the member states to inject more funds to sustain the railway`s performance. He further stated that the challenge was to increase the corporation`s locomotives, wagons, coaches and repairing tracks.

TAZARA  was constructed as a turnkey project between 1970 and 1975 through the interest-free loan of Tshs.1.1 trillion ($500 million) from the People`s Republic of China, with commercial operations starting in July 1976, covering 1,860 kilometers from Dar es Salaam to New Kapiri Mposhi North Eat of Zambia.

However, aged between 30-40 years, most mainline locomotives that are currently in operation have outlived their lifespan and frequently breaking down, a situation exacerbated by the authority`s failure to adhere to maintenance schedules due to liquidity challenges. Over the years, passenger service operational levels have dropped drastically, where four trains per week lifted around 455,000 passengers in the 2014/2015 financial year, compared to double that number of passengers ten years ago despite a growth in population. Earlier, TAZARA used to run six trains per week.

Also read: Discussions on revamping TAZARA to be held in Beijing

 

French firm Meridiam’s Infrastructure Africa Fund over subscribed by €546 million

The Africa Fund is the first Meridiam portfolio to systematically apply to all its projects the sustainable development criteria and objectives established by the United Nations in 2015 (UN SDGs).

French firm Meridiam has announced the closing of its Meridiam Infrastructure Africa Fund (MIAF) for a total amount of €546 million, above its initial target of €510 million.

Launched in 2015, for an initial amount of €207 million, the initial commitment has already been fully invested two years before the end of the investment period. At the end of this closing, it is now 2.5 times bigger than at the beginning.

The MIAF fund is well known in Kenya as of the entities mooted for the the construction and operation through tolling for 30 years of  Nairobi and Mau Summit highway in Kenya, an essential road axis for freight transport.

This operation demonstrates the strong enthusiasm and confidence of Meridiam’s partners for this fund, the proposed projects and the important development prospects in Africa. With this closing, Meridiam consolidates its position as the leading investment platform on the African continent for greenfield infrastructure projects that have a positive impact on the climate, the environment and communities.

The Africa Fund is the first Meridiam portfolio to systematically apply to all its projects the sustainable development criteria and objectives established by the United Nations in 2015 (UN SDGs). 100% of the projects undertaken by Meridiam are SDG 9 certified according to UN standards. They aim to build a resilient infrastructure, promote sustainable industrialization that benefits all and encourage innovation. And nearly half of them are also renewable energy projects on the continent (SDG 7).

To support this commitment, Meridiam has developed its own methodology with clear principles and measurable indicators. The environmental, social and governance impact of all its projects are measured according to the geographical and socio-economic context, technical design and relations with public authorities. Results and indicators are monitored and evolve throughout the project, with a view to continuous improvement. They are regularly reported to investors.

AfDB’s Uhuru Fund targets West Africa champions

This fund has already financed and developed 14 major projects for Africa amounting to more than EUR 3 billion, including 4 solar power plants in Senegal for a total of 140 MWp, two of them are part of the Scaling Solar initiative, jointly led by the Senegalese authorities and the International Finance Corporation (IFC, a member of the World Bank Group) in Senegal. These projects offer some of the lowest tariffs in Africa (€4 cts/kWh) and address the challenges of local populations’ access to clean and low-cost electricity.

Other projects financed includes the Tulu Moye geothermal power plant, with a final capacity of 500 MW, it is the first Independent Power Producer (IPP) in Ethiopia as well as the mineral port of Owendo in Gabon and the container port of Nouakchott in Mauritania, two strategic projects aimed at diversifying national economies and massively developing logistics capacities.

The Biokala biomass power plant in Cote d’Ivoire, the first biomass power plant in Sub-Saharan Africa was also financed through the fund and it hascreated 1300 jobs and saves 178,000 tons of CO2 per year.  MIAF also financed  the rehabilitation and extension work of Madagascar’s two main airports, which will increase passenger capacity and local economic development by 50%.

Meridiam’s MIAF fund is more than 70% supported by private investors, including leading European pension funds and insurers. As well as by leading development finance institutions, for the remaining 30%.

The reopening of the fund was subscribed to by 50% of the historical and existing partners, which demonstrates their confidence in the quality of the projects carried out but also in the prospects for future investments.

In Africa, Meridiam has a team of 20 people working in two regional offices in Dakar (Senegal) and Addis Ababa(Ethiopia).

For Thierry Déau, CEO of Meridiam: “The Africa Fund reflects our ambition, strategy and expertise: to develop and invest in sustainable and resilient infrastructure projects that improve the quality of people’s lives and provide them with essential services. We are already involved in emblematic projects in Africa for a total amount of more than €3 billion. Today, by more than doubling the size of our fund, we are taking our ambition for the development of the continent even further and acting for future generations.”

Read also : Zambia’s surplus electricity to power the SADC

Will Kenya’s Cabinet reshuffle affect Chinese investments?

Members of parliament allied to Jubilee are calling on the ‘handshake’ that brought Kenyatta and Odinga together to be denounced.

President Uhuru Kenyatta is expected to reshuffle his cabinet any time now as demands for accountability and decisiveness in fighting corruption from Kenyans increase.

Facing the axe are three Cabinet secretaries as investigations into the Ksh21 billion ($207.38 million) Arror and Kimwarer dams’ scandal continue.

The Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) has widened the net in the probe where those culpable in the scandal are targeted.

It is expected that Kenyatta will use his State of the Nation address on Thursday next week to ask those implicated in the scandals to step aside.

This list also includes Principal Secretaries embroiled in various scandals.

National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich, his Agriculture counterpart Mwangi Kiunjuri and Devolution’s Eugene Wamalwa have already been questioned by the DCI over the dams’ scandal.

Rotich is allied to Deputy President William Ruto and has held the docket since his nomination on April 23, 2013.

Another CS allied to DP Ruto is Simon Chelugui who is in charge of the Water Ministry. He has not yet been questioned by detectives but he is a person of interest in the investigations.

Kenyatta’s style of firing government officials

Since Kenyatta assumed office for his second term, many Kenyans have become uncomfortable with high-level corruption with no convictions.

Many prominent personalities accused of embezzling public funds remain in public office with no consequences for the crimes they are accused of committing.

While a few have been moved in mini-reshuffles, only one Cabinet Secretary has been fired for impropriety. And even so, it is on politics and not integrity matters.

Rashid Echesa, the former sports CS was fired after just one year in government becoming the first minister to be outright sacked by the President.

Echesa was DP Ruto’s henchman and in an unlikely style where Kenyatta has in the past re-deployed ministers or relieved them of their duties by asking them to step aside, the president sacked the Sports CS.

However, with former Prime Minister Raila Odinga having cosied to the government, there is a likelihood that a reshuffle will happen.

But, this is not guaranteed since there has been disquiet among members of the ruling party Jubilee who feel that Odinga is a spoiler and has come to disintegrate the party.

Members of parliament allied to Jubilee are calling on the ‘handshake’ that brought Kenyatta and Odinga together to be denounced. This is a muted threat to the president to clean up the house and get rid of Odinga, especially.

How would a Kenyan government reshuffle influence China-Kenya cooperation?

According to an author, registered licensed and practising Valuer Kariuki Waweru, most Chinese projects are done on a government to government agreement thus the reshuffle-real or imagined would have no effect whatsoever on the main projects.

Kariuki says that even if the projects are related to transportation and finance or even treasury, nothing much would happen to the China-Kenya projects.

“I think any housekeeping (reshuffle) won’t affect the main projects. A reshuffle will not affect any current or future projects. These projects are not anchored on an individual but on a government that has a life of 5 years.”

In June 2015, China Wu Yi was at the centre of a controversial hospital upgrade project where the Chinese firm was accused of bribing Deputy President William Ruto.

At the time, China Wu Yi Chief executive Officer Liu Hui said they had interacted with the DP because the project is in his home are.

“We made a courtesy call to the Deputy President’s office to brief him on the proposed project at Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital mainly because the project is in his home area.”

Hui denied any impropriety adding, “We at no time presented any gift to him. We only showed him designs of the work we intended to do.”

While the conduct of China Wu Yi may have been questioned at the time, the company’s dealings with the DP cannot imperil any projects between the two governments.

China Wu Yi would upgrade the referral hospital with the China Machinery Engineering Corporation (CMEC) in an Sh17 billion deal.

Effects on big projects, especially Nairobi-Mombasa and Nairobi-Malaba SGR?

Kariuki says that projects that have been signed by Kenya and Chinese governments remain safe.

However, those that have been negotiated by individual companies would not be safely guaranteed unless it was legal recourse in case of a contractual breach.

“In case a Chinese company agrees to work with a Kenyan one, then the government cannot intervene or interfere. It is only the courts that can handle such a case of contractual abandonment by either party,” adds Kariuki.

In a post-reshuffle scenario, any bilateral cooperation and the foreign relationship remains since the government only changes hands.

Avoiding politics

For any Chinese company to survive in Kenya, there is a need to avoid political interference or siding with any particular individual as this may spell doom for any projects.

For instance, in August last year, 9 Chinese contractors were arrested in Nairobi with Governor Mike Sonko confirming the arrest of the Chinese nationals and various Kenyans.

The governor said, “We wish to inform the general public especially people residing around Parklands, Westlands and Riverside that we have this morning stopped the construction of the Avic International Building along Chiromo Road and arrested all the Chinese and Kenyan contractors on site for defying the county planning laws by encroaching on the famous Chiromo close public access which is a feeder road to Chiromo lane which feeds Chiromo road and then Waiyaki Way.”

Sonko’s press statement betrayed his intentions since the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) is the body mandated to make such announcements.

The nine were later freed on Sh100, 000 cash bail each.

“It is alleged that they paid a substantial under table amount totalling 2 million dollars in cash to the previous administration as protection fee and we should confirm that with the current staff in the building plans approval department bosses who are still with us,” said Sonko.

Sonko’s approach shows that he was making a political statement. He was flexing his muscle and he knew where to hit.

You can also read about the Chinese connection in Africa’s disappearing wildlife, what, where Chinese invest in Africa and how Russia is roped in as China-US war over Africa intensifies.