Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Lip Plates and other Body Accessories of the Mursi People

The Mursi (or Mun as they refer to themselves) are a Nilotic pastoralist ethnic group in Ethiopia. They principally reside in the Debub Omo Zone of the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and People's Region, close to the border with South Sudan and about 100 kilometers north of the Kenyan border.

The Mursi undergo various rites of passage, educational or disciplinary processes. Lip plates are a well-known aspect of the Mursi and Surma, who are probably the last groups in Africa amongst whom it is still the norm for women to wear large pottery, wooden discs, or ‘plates,’ in their lower lips. Girls' lips are pierced at the age of 15 or 16.

Occasionally lip plates are worn to a dance by unmarried women, and increasingly they are worn to attract tourists in order to earn some extra money.

Accessories aren't limited to lip plates but other various forms of head gear such as the one below are also popular.


Monday, July 24, 2017

Kenya Pre-Election Advisory

Anytime there are elections in Kenya, it is prudent to plan for the worst and hope for the best. The following are a few precautions you should take.

Election Precautions for Individuals

  • Avoid areas where there are gatherings, protests, and demonstrations.
  • Monitor media and local information sources for up to date information.
  • If you are intending to relocate during the election period, make sure you tell someone where you are going and advise them when you have arrived.
  • It is likely that bus and matatu routes may be disrupted or closed down for the duration. So, if you are planning to go away make sure there is available transport to do so.
  • For car owners, a complete service should be done before Election Day. A full tool kit should be included plus a serviceable spare tyre, a tow rope and emergency kit. Ensure cars are filled with fuel and, if you can store it safely, a jerry can of fuel for emergencies.
  • Make sure you have a fully stocked first aid kit and a sufficient quantity of any prescription drugs.
  • Don’t forget to keep an adequate supply of drinking water.
  • A full gas cylinder and where possible a spare one should be kept handy. Remember also that your domestic staff may need charcoal or kerosene to cook by and it would be helpful for you to have a small stock of food for them too.
  • Ensure domestic alarms systems are tested and serviced.
  • Have a serviceable fire extinguisher at hand.
  • Store dry food stuff (powdered or UHL milk, for instance) as opposed to fresh as electricity supplies may be disrupted and refrigeration may not be available.
  • If you use prepay ‘phones, you should purchase spare scratch cards in advance and invest in solar battery chargers – don’t forget your domestic staff! 
  • If you have a generator, ensure it is serviced and fuelled.
  • Finally, scan the following and store either in an e-mail or flash disk:
    • Passport / ID documents.
    • Insurance policies.
    • Family records (marriage, birth certificates etc).
    • Land Title deeds.
    • Bank and credit cards.
    • Driver’s license.

Election Precautions for Businesses

  • Have a basic emergency plan for all employees. Ensure the guard company understands its role in this.
  • Check that critical data is backed up at a remote and secure location.
  • Ensure logistics are set and in place.
  • Identify alternative suppliers for essential goods.
  • Check that all fire fighting equipment is serviceable and readily accessible.
  • Have power back up systems in place. 
  • Ensure both business alarms systems are tested and serviced.

Also, see Kenya Emergency Contacts.

Kenya Emergency Contacts

If you are in a problem and require assistance while in Kenya, the following are the emergency contacts for various services.


020 2188348 / 022187945
0202187968/020 2188111


999 / 112


0202724201/342305/ 310225


0708589522 / 0731170666


020 2222181/3


0722337778/ 020 2022694



Friday, July 21, 2017

Brew Tea Longer to Reduce the Risk of Cancer and Dementia

Tea is, without a doubt, the most consumed beverage in Kenya. But, according to Dr. Stuart Farrimond, a UK food scientist, tea must be brewed for exactly five minutes to make it healthier and more delicious.

Tea is a source of polyphenols, which research has shown reduce the risk of cancer and dementia. The levels of caffeine and antioxidant levels increase the longer you brew your tea. So, once you add the tea leaves it is best to turn down the heat and let the tea simmer for five minutes before serving. If you are using tea bags, let the tea bag steep in the cup for at least five minutes before you drink the tea.

You should also avoid drinking tea from styrofoam cups, the kind used in drink dispensers which are a common feature in most offices in Kenya. Styrofoam cups absorb flavor molecules and reduce the benefits associated with drinking tea.

It is also best to use soft water to make tea as opposed to hard water. The calcium in hard water reacts with the tea flavor compounds reducing the benefits and tastiness.

According to several studies, tea brewed for only 30 seconds only contained 35 milligrams of caffeine, compared to a mug brewed for five minutes that contained 50 milligrams. Tea brewed longer also contains double the number of antioxidants.

Interestingly, there is also research that shows that tea from a red or pink mug tastes sweeter than tea drunk from a white or blue mug... it's a psychological issue!

Kenya Tea Facts

  • According to the Tea Board of Kenya, Tea consumption in Kenya 2016 was 29.75 Million Kgs 
  • Kenya tea is free of pests and/or diseases because it is produced without the use of agrochemicals. 
  • There are over 50 varieties of Kenyan tea. Each new variety developed enhances the health attributes attributed to tea. 
  • Only the best top two leaves and a bud are used in production. 

Series 3 of Inside the Factory starts on BBC Two

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

The 7 Best Freelance Sites to Find Work

There are already hundreds of Kenyans working online. Conservative estimates that at least 100,000 Kenyans are working online either part-time or full-time. According to Ajira Digital, there are least 40,000 Kenyans registered on one of the largest freelance sites in the world, Upwork.

The following is a breakdown of seven of the best freelance sites to find work. We have included information on their terms to help you make an informed choice.

Site Jobs Available Terms
Upwork All types. Programmers, designers, writers, data entry, virtual assistants, accountants etc 20% of your earnings initially. This reduces as you gain experience.
Guru All types. Programmers, designers, writers, data entry, virtual assistants, accountants etc Fees start at 8.95% of your earnings for a free account and reduces to up to 4.95% if you buy a membership plan. Membership plans start at $10 per month.
Freelancer All types. Programmers, designers, writers, data entry, virtual assistants, accountants etc 10% or $5.00 USD (whichever is higher) fee for fixed price contracts. Service fese for hourly jobs is 10% of the total project cost.
Fiverr All types. Programmers, designers, writers, data entry, virtual assistants, accountants etc

99Designs As the name suggests, this one is exclusively for designers. Freelance designers compete in contests. The client chooses the design that they like the best. No fees
Toptal Toptal is an exclusive network of the top freelance software developers, designers, and finance experts.

PeoplePerHour All types. Programmers, designers, writers, data entry, virtual assistants, accountants etc 5% (excl. VAT) on all work billed (earnings), above the first £375 | €520 | $560 USD earned in the month which has a 15% (excl. VAT) Service Fee.

Corporate Income Tax Rates

The following are the corporate income tax rates in Kenya as at July 2017:

Type Tax Rate
Resident company 30%
Non-resident company (branches) 37.5%
Person with gross business income whose turnover does not exceed 3%
Kshs 5 million pa. (from 1 January 2008)
Newly listed company (NLC) 27%, 25% & 20%*
Export Processing Zone enterprises:
  • First ten years
  • Next ten years
Special Economic Zones Enterprise, Developer and operator:

  • First ten years
  • Subsequent ten years
Tax on residential rental income (income below KShs144,000 per year) NIL
Residential rental income tax (income above KShs 144,000 pa but not exceeding Kshs. 10 million per year) 1O % of the gross rental income**
Tax on residential rental income (income above Kshs.10 million pa.) Normal taxation rates (individual rates or corporate rate for companies)
Company that has constructed at least 400 affordable approved housing units in a year 15%

*The 27% rate applies where at least 20% of the issued share capital listed for NLC listed after 1st January 2002 for 3 years following the year of listing; 25% (at least 30% issued share capital listed) for those listed after 1 January 2003 for five years following the year of listing; and 20% (at least 40% issued share capital listed) for those listed after 1st January 2006 for five years, following the year of listing.

*25% for SMEs that introduce their shares at the stock exchange.

** A taxpayer may elect to the Commissioner to opt out of the residential rental income tax rate of 10% on gross rental receipts, Where the taxpayer opts out of the residential rental income tax, normal rates of taxation will apply. That is, 30% of the taxable profits if the taxpayer is a body corporate or tax at the individual rates of tax if the taxpayer is an individual.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

List of Tax Free Employment Benefits

The following are the tax-free employment benefits in Kenya as at July 2017:

  1. Medical services or medical cover provided by an employer for a full-time employee or his beneficiaries, and whole time service director. In the case of a non-whole time service director, or a sole proprietor or partner the value of the non-taxable medical benefit is up to a maximum of KShs1 million per annum.
  2. Income of up to KShs 200,000 for disabled persons to cushion them against expenses such as drugs, purchases of devices and home care services and treatment. The validity of period of Income tax exemption for persons with disabilities has been extended from three years to five years.
  3. Employer’s contribution to a pension or provident fund. However, employees of organizations not chargeable to tax are taxable on contributions the employer makes to an unregistered fund or on the excess contribution to a registered fund.
  4. Educational fees of an employee’s dependents or relatives if taxed on the employer.
  5. International passage costs paid by an employer for a non—citizen employee recruited outside Kenya.
  6. Premiums paid by employers in respect of group life policy cover that does not confer a benefit to the employee or the employee’s dependents.
  7. Benefits in kind valued at less than KShs 36,000 per annum.
  8. Meals served in canteens and cafeterias operated or established by an employer or by a third party who is a registered taxpayer either at employer’s premises or the third party’s premises where the value of the meals does not exceed Kshs 48,000 per year per employee.
  9. Payment of up to KShs 240,000 per annum into a registered pension scheme in respect of gratuity or similar payments for services rendered to an employer.

Friday, July 14, 2017

How To Accept #mVisa

mVisa is a new mobile payment service by Visa in partnership with leading Kenyan banks. vVisa eliminates barriers like transaction costs, gives customers a convenient, secure and affordable experience.

Advantages of Accepting mVisa

As a merchant, there are several advantages of giving your customers the mVisa payment option, these include:

  1. Increased sales opportunities - Receive payments from anyone, they don't need to operate banks accounts in the same bank as you do.
  2. Payment direct to your bank account - Get payments made straight into your bank account. You don't need to buy any expensive point-of-sales (POS) machines.
  3. Simple cash flow management - Get SMS notifications once a payment is credited to your account.
  4. Security, dependability and global acceptance - Enjoy the security and dependability of Visa’s global network and payments expertise. 

Getting Started with mVisa

If you are interested in accepting mVisa, here's how.

  1. Register with your bank and link your bank account.
  2. Download the mVisa application on your smartphone.
  3. Display the mVisa signage at your business establishment together with the QR code.
  4. Accept payments

Visa Kenya

How To Register and Use #mVisa

On 13th July 2017, Visa in Kenya announced free mobile money transfer through mVisa. mVisa is a simple, secure and cost-free way to make mobile payments.

Key Highlights of mVisa

  1. You access money from your bank account on your mobile phone.
  2. Payments come directly from your bank account and are secured by your bank and Visa Card.
  3. There are no transaction costs when making an mVisa payment.
  4. The concept has been made possible through Visa's alliance with partner banks in Kenya.
  5. Merchants do not have to invest in expensive point of sale (POS) infrastructure as mVisa gives them the freedom to accept bank to bank payments.
  6. You no longer need to wait for your cash to move to mobile money then wait to read the paybill number to sort out your bills.

Registering on mVisa

  1. Register for mobile banking with your bank. Your bank must be a partner bank. 
  2. Download your bank's mobile banking app or upgrade your existing mobile banking app.
  3. Open the app or access your bank's USSD platform and select mVisa.
  4. Set an mPIN, if required.
  5. Select your desired Visa card and link it

Using mVisa

  1. Open your mobile banking app.
  2. Select mVisa.
  3. Scan the merchant QR code
  4. Enter amount if required. Or, in case you are paying a bill, the amount you owe may automatically appear.
  5. Confirm payment.
  6. Receive payment confirmation
  7. For USSD, simply access your bank's USSD platform, enter merchant ID, amount and make payment.
Visa Kenya

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Find Out How Your County Spent Funds #DevolutionData

Do you want to know how much devolution funds your county has received and how they have spent it? Well, this is now possible.

On July 12th 2017, The Commission on Revenue Allocation launched an integrated devolution data portal, a one-stop shop where stakeholders and the public can access data and information on devolution and fiscal decentralization. The web portal will serve as a central information repository and analytics platform on devolution.

The portal will also provide information on key legislation enacted by county governments, public participation forums in addition to fees, taxes and charges for various services offered by county governments.

It contains information data from the counties. The initial phase contains information from five pilot counties, namely; Migori, Nairobi, Nyeri, Kwale, and Wajir. The second phase will encompass data from all the other 42 counties. The data will also integrate with national government data sources.

The chief guest during the launch was the ICT Cabinet Secretary, Joe Mucheru. Mr Mucheru remarked that the portal was vital in assisting counties to handle governance and accountability issues.

The portal is widely seen as a response to the recent public spats between the national government and counties regarding how much funds counties had received.

The portal can be accessed at this link