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KENGEN’s Olkaria Geothermal Plant Lower Evacuation Costs Causes Competitor To Lower Electricity Tariff

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Kengen’s Olkaria Geothermal plant which has low evacuation costs hence providing low power tariff to its customers has ignited its competitor to reduce its power tariff to set up factories in the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in Olkaria, Naivasha.

The Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA) said it had approved the tariff deal for the large industries that will set up base in the special zone.

The KenGen Green Energy Industrial Park, which has four zones had set the pace by offering direct connection to cheap electricity in addition to the connection to Mombasa port via the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) line.

KenGen recently moved to diversify its revenue streams by inviting investors to set up export-only textile and apparels plants on the 309-acre industrial zone in Naivasha.

It said the Olkaria property is divided into four plots: Site A (70 acres), Site B (82 acres), Site C (100 acres) and 57 acres reserved for Site D.

“Under the lease, the manufacturing/processing firms (locators) will be supplied with utilities such as geothermal steam and brine (hot water) as well as raw water,” said the electricity producer. Factories around the SEZ will also be served by the just-completed Naivasha-Nairobi-Mombasa Standard Gauge Railway (SGR), easing connectivity.

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This will enable them to import raw materials which will be delivered directly to their factories and later have manufactured products exported to other countries like Europe and the Americas with ease due to access to the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport as well as the Port of Mombasa.

Among the targeted companies are the labour intensive export-only textile and apparels plants. Kenya has been expanding and simplifying the tax incentives it offers for investment in special economic zones in a bid to attract investment into those zones.

In July 2019, the government designated 9,000 acres of land in Naivasha, Mombasa, and Machakos as SEZs in efforts to boost manufacturing. The SEZs are designated areas aimed at promoting and facilitating export-oriented investments. Kenya recently improved its global ranking among the world’s largest geothermal powerhouses after it completed the testing of the first unit of the Olkaria V project.

The 82.7 megawatts project pushed Kenya above Iceland to position eight in the global rankings as the country continues its advancement towards green energy. “We are delighted to announce the completion of the first unit of Olkaria V geothermal power plant and subsequently injecting 79 megawatts to the national grid,” said KenGen Managing Director Rebecca Miano last year.

 

 

 

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Pompeo warns of China promises, turns on the charm in African tour

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ARNALDO VIEIRA

By ARNALDO VIEIRA
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US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s five-day trip to sub-Saharan Africa was a subtle campaign to woo the continent “away from China” in Washington’s latest move against Beijing’s growing world influence.

Pompeo toured Senegal, Angola and Ethiopia. But it was in the latter’s capital, Addis Ababa, that he delivered his message.

Addressing a gathering of business leaders at the head offices of the UN Economic Commission for Africa, Pompeo said Washington was keen on helping entrepreneurs turn around African economies, but warned that other global partners may not have that ambition — a clear reference to China, which has invested heavily in Ethiopia.

“Look, not every nation doing business in Africa from outside the continent adopts the American model of partnership. Countries should be wary of authoritarian regimes with empty promises,” he said.

China is now Africa’s biggest bilateral investor, pumping some $300 billion into the continent by 2018. But critics like Washington have argued that the money doesn’t benefit local people.

“They breed corruption, dependency, they don’t hire the local people, they don’t train, they don’t lead them. They run the risk that the prosperity and sovereignty and progress that Africa so needs and desperately wants won’t happen,” he argued without naming Beijing, but taking up past references that targeted the Chinese influence in Africa.

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While Pompeo, who has been tasked with marketing President Trump’s bid to outdo China in Africa, was referring to Washington’s version of co-operation as business, he still ventured into the usual US policies on good governance and democracy, saying they could determine whether American firms will venture into countries or not.

“If you will all focus on the basics — if you will get it right, if you will get transparency right, good governance right — American businesses will come. We have been in Africa for an awfully long time. More capital will flow,” he told the audience.

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 “The Trump administration wants these trade ties to continue and to expand. We are committed to it. If there is one thing you should know about our president, my boss, you should know that he loves deals. He wants more to happen. He wants more to happen between the United States and nations all across Africa.”

He also visited Senegal and Angola, pushing for business, but staying on course for other governance-related issues.

In Senegal, he announced a deal between US engineering firm Bechtel and local authorities to build a road from Dakar to St Louis, “transforming infrastructure and creating opportunities.”

Dakar is significant for US military interests in west Africa and Pompeo described Senegal as “a vibrant democracy rich in culture and history.”

In Angola, US oil firm Chevron and others would be exploring offshore natural gas fields, bringing jobs and economic growth right along with them. US companies would reportedly be putting some $2 billion investment in Angola, helping the country to diversify its economy. And in Ethiopia, beverage maker Coca-Cola would be expanding a new $300 million investment. companies like FedEx and Citibank were also interested, Pompeo’s dispatch indicated.

Yet all these monies could snap up if local leaders encouraged graft, he warned. In Angola, he stressed on the narrative of corruption in the southern African nation and globally.

“Our efforts to help Angola hold some individuals accountable who engaged in corrupt activities here. The answer is yes. We’re committed; we do this all across the world”, he told journalists.

“Corruption is the enemy of a nation’s growth and progress. Here in Angola, damage from corruption is pretty clear. I spoke with the President today. I was unabashed in talking about the work that he has done, and the work that needs to continue to be done”, Mr Pompeo added.

Pompeo’s trip saw him meet Presidents Macky Sall of Senegal and Ethiopian counterpart Sahle-Work Zewde and Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, as well as foreign Ministers of the three countries and African Union Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat.

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Macron says ‘not sure’ EU-UK trade deal possible before end of 2020 » Capital News

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French President Emmanuel Macron said that trade negotiations between the European Union and Britain will “become more tense” © POOL/AFP / Ludovic Marin

, Paris, France, Feb 23 – French President Emmanuel Macron on Saturday said he was “not sure” it would be possible for the European Union and Britain to reach a trade deal by the end of the year.

Britain and the EU are about to embark on negotiations aiming to hammer out a trade agreement by the time the post-Brexit transition period shuts at the end of December.

But France has made clear it thinks the negotiations will be particularly difficult, especially in such a tight timeframe.

“I am not sure that an agreement will be reached between now and the end of the year,” Macron said at a meeting with fishermen, who are concerned for their livelihoods after Brexit, at an agricultrual trade event in Paris.

“Anyway, it is going to become more tense because (the British) are very hard,” he said, adding that fishing rights would be a key point of contention.

Britain formally ended its 47-year membership of the EU on January 31, nearly four years after a majority voted to leave the bloc in a 2016 referendum.

France and several other countries want to be able to keep fishing in British waters, while London wants full autonomy and limited access for European fishermen.

The EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier has said the EU’s top priorities are fishing, security and maintaining fair trading conditions for European companies.

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He has also firmly rejected a British suggestion that City of London companies could be given broad, permanent access to EU markets without conditions.

Overall, French fishing boats generate 30 percent of their revenue from catches in British maritime territories, particularly rich in fish stocks.

French officials say that the UK exports the bulk of its catch to Europe, indicating that British fishermen have plenty to lose if the two sides fail to reach a deal.


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Atheists dismiss census data, say they have1.5m members

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NICHOLAS KOMU

By NICHOLAS KOMU
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Atheists have rejected census data showing that 700,000 Kenyans do not believe in deity insisting they are twice as many.

Following the release of detailed census data, Atheists In Kenya (AIK) now claims that the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) deliberately failed to count atheists and the actual number of non-religious Kenyans is 1.5 million.

According to the detailed report on the Kenyan population based on their religious beliefs, 755,750 Kenyans do not believe in any religion. That is about 1.6 per cent of the total Kenyan population.

Kilifi County leads in the number of nonbelievers with 146,669, more than double the number of atheists in Nakuru which stands at 67,640.

Nairobi has the third highest atheist population with 54,841 followed by Narok (45,617), Kiambu (30770), Kitui (23,778), Meru (20,985) and Mombasa (11,148).

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However, AIK now insists that the data is inaccurate and that KNBS enumerators deliberately failed tally atheists during the 2019 census.

“We find these statistics to be grossly inaccurate and not fit for purpose. We contend that we have well over 1.5 million atheists in Kenya, and the number is growing steadily. An independent survey of our members has revealed that some KNBS employees deliberately skipped asking whether one is an atheist during the 2019 census. We have evidence that many atheists were undercounted and miscounted,” AIK said in a statement on Saturday.

The statement dated February 23 was signed by the group’s President Harrison Mumia and recently elected Assistant Secretary Kio Kinuthia, questioned the statistics bureau credibility in the 2019 census. Now the atheists’ society is questioning the entire census data, terming it as inaccurate.

According to the 2009 population census report released by the same institution, the number of Kenyans who said that they were not affiliated to any religion was said to be 922,128.

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We find it odd that the 2019 census report indicates that the number of atheists has declined by almost 200,000 in a span of 10 years, yet the population of Kenyans has increased by 10 million over the same period. This undermines the accuracy of not just the atheist data, but the entire KNBS 2019 census report,” AIK said.

While Christianity and Islam are the predominant religions in Kenya, atheism has been attracting quite a following in the past few years.

This has, however, been a tough rise in popularity for the movement under the leadership of Mr Mumia, an Information Technology specialist.

AIK was registered on February 17, 2016 but, just two months later, it was suspended by Registrar of Societies.

The final census report shows there are 15,777,473 Protestants in Kenya, the majority religious group.

Catholics are 9,726,169 in total while 9,648,690 people attend evangelical churches.

About 3,292,573 go to African Instituted Churches, Orthodox (201,263) and other Christian (1,732,911).

Islam has a following of 5,152,194, while Hindu has 60,287. About 318,727 Kenyans are traditionalists.

Atheists in Kenya now wants a review of the census data by KNBS.

“We reject the figure of 755,750 atheists reported by the KNBS 2019 census report. We call for an independent review of how the KNBS collects, analyses, and reports census data,” the society leadership said.

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