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Shift in investor focus as Kenya tops Africa in H1 venture capital

Shift in investor focus as Kenya tops Africa in H1 venture capital

KENYA continued its impressive investment run for the third consecutive semester, hauling in US$244 million in startup funding in the first half of 2024. In the review period, the East African nation captured almost a third (32%) of all funds raised by startups in Africa, according to the startup tracker, Africa: The Big Deal. Kenya's share of total funding grew by 5 percentage points compared to 2023 as other 'Big Four' markets, Nigeria, South Africa and Egypt struggled. In East Africa, Kenya accounted for 86% of the region’s total funding, down slightly from 89% in 2023 while overall, the region…
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Kenya’s protests are different this time: 3 things that make it harder for government to crush them

Kenya’s protests are different this time: 3 things that make it harder for government to crush them

ON 25 June 2024, a youth-led protest primarily composed of Gen Zs, as they are popularly referred to, stormed Kenya’s parliament. Legislators voted to pass the Finance Bill 2024 in its third and last reading ahead of presidential assent. This was the second countrywide protest over the proposed taxes in the draft law and excesses in government spending. The finance bill is a framework that determines how the government raises revenue. The Kenyan government had proposed raising US$2.7 billion by increasing taxes on essential goods and services, from cooking oil to bread. The bill also targeted digital revenue, where the…
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Protestors call on Kenyan President to quit

Protestors call on Kenyan President to quit

Kenya experienced widespread unrest, with riot police clashing with protesters in Nairobi and other cities across the country. This marks the most extensive demonstrations since deadly protests a week ago that resulted in at least two dozen fatalities. According to Reuters, the protests began peacefully but turned violent as the day progressed. In Nairobi's business district, police fired tear gas and charged at stone-throwing demonstrators. The news agency describes scenes of burning kiosks, injured protesters, and police arrests. Reuters reports that the unrest has spread beyond the capital, with hundreds marching in Mombasa, Kenya's second-largest city. The news agency notes…
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The IMF is failing countries like Kenya: why, and what can be done about it

The IMF is failing countries like Kenya: why, and what can be done about it

THE recent Kenyan protests are a warning that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is failing. The public does not think it is helping its member countries manage their economic and financial problems, which are being exacerbated by a rapidly changing global political economy. To be sure, the IMF is not the only cause of Kenya’s problems with raising the funds to meet its substantial debt obligations and deal with its budget deficit. Other causes include the failure of the governing class to deal with corruption, to spend public finances responsibly and to manage an economy that produces jobs and improves…
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Eliud Kipchoge’s quest for a third Olympic gold is achievable – running experts explain

Eliud Kipchoge’s quest for a third Olympic gold is achievable – running experts explain

THE 2024 Paris Games are fast approaching and Kenyan marathoners are poised to shine, given the rich pool of talent in the country's Olympic team. Could this be 39-year-old Eliud Kipchoge's moment to make history as the first athlete to win three Olympic Marathon titles? The questions for Kenya's famed runners don't stop there, however. Another question is whether Helen Obiri could use the Paris games to upgrade her Olympic silver medal (she has two in the 5000m, from 2016 and 2020) to gold in the marathon to add to her world championship titles in 5000m and cross-country. Can Benson…
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Kenya’s tax-bill turmoil complicates IMF cash, could boost borrowing costs

Kenya’s tax-bill turmoil complicates IMF cash, could boost borrowing costs

THE violent unrest that forced Kenya's president to withdraw support for a finance bill has left the country's efforts to meet International Monetary Fund targets in doubt and could make borrowing more costly, investors and analysts said. The bill included unpopular levies on bread, vegetable oil and sugar, mobile money transfers and some imports. It had been meant to raise 346 billion Kenyan shillings ($2.68 billion), or 3% of GDP, in additional revenue, Morgan Stanley's Neville Z. Mandimika wrote in a note. Its withdrawal "will likely result in Kenya missing the 4.7% fiscal deficit target this year and 3.5% target next year as per…
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Police fire tear gas in Kenya finance bill protests

Police fire tear gas in Kenya finance bill protests

A climbdown by Kenya's president over plans to raise taxes brought no end to nationwide protests on Thursday, with at least two people reported killed in clashes near the capital Nairobi and others shot by police elsewhere. A day after President William Ruto abandoned a tax hike bill, demonstrators in Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu and other cities called for him to step down, although crowds were smaller than earlier in the week. Police fired teargas at dozens of protesters in Nairobi and blocked off roads to the presidential palace. In the town of Homa Bay in western Kenya, police said officers had…
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Kenyan police and protests: researchers on a violent, corrupt security force that’s beyond reform

Kenyan police and protests: researchers on a violent, corrupt security force that’s beyond reform

KENYA’S police are being criticised for their violent response to protests over the past week against government proposals to raise US$2.7 billion in additional taxes. Hundreds of thousands of people, across 35 of Kenya’s 37 counties, poured out onto the streets in opposition to the tax hikes. The police have reacted with force, using live bullets and tear gas. At least five people are known to have been killed and hundreds have been injured. The reaction by the police force didn’t come as a surprise. Kenya has a long history of policing with excessive force, often resulting in unnecessary deaths.…
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Kenya president backs down on tax hikes after deadly unrest

Kenya president backs down on tax hikes after deadly unrest

KENYAN President William Ruto withdrew planned tax hikes, bowing to pressure from protesters who had stormed parliament, launched demonstrations across the country and threatened more action this week. The move will be seen as a major victory for a week-old, youth-led protest movement that grew from online condemnations of tax rises into mass rallies demanding a political overhaul, in the most serious crisis of Ruto's two-year-old presidency. But some demonstrators said on social media that despite Ruto's climbdown they would go ahead with a rally planned for Thursday, with many reiterating demands that he resign. Ruto announced he would not sign a finance bill including…
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Kenya’s finance bill: Why has it triggered protests?

Kenya’s finance bill: Why has it triggered protests?

YOUTH-LED protests against the Kenyan government's plans to raise revenue through additional taxes are expected to intensify when lawmakers vote on proposed amendments to the bill. At least one person has been killed and more than 200 injured since protests against the finance bill swept the country earlier this month. Here are some details about the tax proposals: WHY THE FINANCE BILL? A finance bill is usually presented to parliament before the start of a financial year that runs from July to June, laying out the government's fiscal plans. In the 2024/25 bill, the Kenyan government aims to raise $2.7 billion in…
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