For the last seven months the Bank has been hosting customer networking forums for its Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSME) customers. The networking forums were held in selected towns across the country enabling business communities in those towns to network among themselves as learn about business opportunities in Kenya and specifically in their county, from the bank economist and treasurer.

The customer networking forums are a key part of Co-op Bank’s MSME offering, as it is widely acknowledged that MSMEs need the insights and training on economic matters that have a direct bearing on their business, and which they have little or no control over. To address these, the forums featured a detailed presentation by the bank’s treasurer on the opportunities that MSMEs can tap and the ways the bank is working to enable customers to seize them. This was followed by a panel discussion with bank representatives and successful entrepreneurs from the region, concluding with a networking session. The final MSME forum will be held in Kisii later this week.

Co-op Bank recently revamped its MSME offering and now has an arm in the bank which deals specifically with non-financial services for its MSME business banking customers. The bank retooled and refreshed the product offering to make it more responsive to the needs of MSMEs. They have made available a substantial kitty of Sh15.2 Billion for a package of loans that include an unsecured business loan, a first of its kind in Kenya, E-Credit through our MCo-op Cash App where businesses are able to borrow up to Ksh. 2 million via their mobile phone, packaged insurance cover which are handpicked and specifically negotiated to suit various segments under MSME, revised and pre-approved limits on overdrafts and loans. The loans will be supported by trade services that include Letters of Credit, guarantees, supply chain financing, among others. These services are available at all Cooperative Bank branches across the country.

The Bank, through its non-financial services arm, will also be taking customers for the second international business trip this year, from 2nd November to 12th November, 2019; where customers will visit Thailand and China. The trip will enable customers to create linkages for overseas business and build partnership opportunities as well as purchase various items at highly discounted costs which will enable them to pass the discounts to their customers, making their products competitive. The business trip is open to all business customers from across the country, looking to travel to China for business.

The customers will get a chance to tour Thailand and China, specifically Bangkok and Guangzhou. In Bangkok, they will visit clothes factories, multiple spare part shops and busy shopping districts. In Guangzhou, they will get a chance to visit various constructions sites where they will learn the latest building technologies and waste management processes. They will further visits markets for hardware, kitchen ware, tiles & ceramics, furniture, electronic appliances, clothes and leather among others.

Speaking about the upcoming business trip, Co-operative Bank Head of Business Banking, Moses Gitau said, “Earlier this year we took business customers to Shanghai and Yiwu; where they were able to interact and network with business in China. They were able to create linkages for overseas business and partnerships. This upcoming business exposure trip will present similar invaluable opportunities to the customers. The trip is a unique experience where participants get to mix business with leisure.”

The Bank continues to look for more opportunities and develop various programs to build on its vision for MSMEs, which is to grow world class entrepreneurs beyond the Kenyan borders.

 

The Co-operative Bank has continued to support the agricultural sector and specifically farmers in all corners of the country. This is evident at the ASK Mombasa International Trade Fair where the bank is showcasing its deep presence in the Coast Region, supporting farmers especially those organized in Co-operatives and producer groups. In partnership with both local and international partners, Co-op Bank is making tremendous progress reviving and expanding the incomes of farmers in the coast region, as may be seen in these select cases;

Kwale Pavi Cotton Program

PAVI Farmers’ Co-operative Society in Kwale was started as an initiative of Base Titanium Ltd for farmers who grow cotton, sorghum, potatoes and poultry. Through close support and collaboration with Base Titanium Ltd, the smallholder cotton farmers who previously had given up hope in their crop have been linked to mainstream international markets, enabling the farmers earn greatly improved returns for their cotton, as high as Kes 198 per kg of cotton lint as opposed to Kes 138 per kg of cotton lint offered by local ginneries.

The most notable foreign buyer of cotton from small-holder Kenyan farmers is CottonOn Corporation, which is the largest Australian cloth and fashion design group started in 1991 and which has since expanded to become a global player with 1,400 stores across 7 brands and 19 countries. It is also one of Australia’s leading global fashion brands.

Co-operative Bank has supported this cotton program with a Supply Chain Credit Facility of US$ 1 Million to ensure farmers are paid promptly upon harvesting and delivery of their cotton to the Co-operative Society. The bank financing has greatly motivated farmers to remain committed to the program by reducing the previous delays in receiving crop proceeds due to the long cash cycle of the cotton business. By making funding available in a timely fashion, Co-op Bank has enabled the farmers to continue with farm preparation for the next season as well as meet their other financial needs.

Lake Kenyatta Farmers’ Co-operative Society

This is a farmers co-operative society based in Lamu (Mpeketoni). Co-op Bank is offering financial support to these farmers through the same credit line with PAVI where PAVI is now able to purchase cotton from Lake Kenyatta for onward ginning and selling of the lint through the PAVI partnership with CottonOn Group. This is a major breakthrough as we have fostered a Co-operative-to-Co-operative trading partnership thereby locking away the brokers and enabling the farmers to earn much better returns on their produce.

Kilifi Plantations

This is a sisal producing company in Kilifi. The bank has supported them with asset financing to mechanize the production of sisal in the farm thereby enabling them enjoy substantial savings on production costs.

Co-op Bank that is predominantly-owned by the 15 million-member co-operative movement will sustain and deepen its presence in the Coast Region to continue supporting the banking needs of co-operatives, SMEs and public sector institutions including County Governments.

The short steps to the deputy head’s office, who doubled as the official discipline master, didn’t strike as much reverence as a visit to the hallowed bursar’s office.

The bursar at Ikuu High School, in those days, was an eccentric fellow. In the academic years I spent at the institution – in other circles referred to as the ‘Centre of Excellence’ – not once did I hear someone say, “The bursar hangs out with Mr. So-and-So”.

A notable bursar flies solo, like a fighter pilot.

At the bare minimum, he should tick most of the boxes on the Bursar Starter Pack list: Half-moon reading glasses. A dark moustache. A checked, sleeveless sweater, commonly called the wind-breaker. An aged, brown leather satchel common with campus professors and (collapsed) coffee society committee members.

A day after the opening, classes would be paused at midday, and we’d line up at his office. It wasn’t an office appointment, per se, just a peek through a tiny hole on the heavy grill on his office window. Boys be fidgeting all up the line to the last one, clutching at money orders and promissory notes in sweaty palms.

The tiny hole is set a little low, vertically-blessed visitors have to stoop. There’s nothing to ogle at in that sore office. Mountains upon mountains of browning paper files. The mustached, dour bursar sits in a low armchair at the middle of his desk, like an oracle receiving pilgrims on a holy mountain.

No matter how masculine someone felt, all pretenses dropped at this hole. A valid meal card is a powerful talisman to a reputable bullying status at the dining hall, especially on meat days.

‘Hello, Sir.” A boy matters under his breath, stooping at the window.

The bursar stares back with an expressionless look, above his half-moon glasses. No response. The boy thrusts a bunch of notes through the window. The bursar picks and spreads them on his desk. He methodically picks them up, in the ascending order of their value. Oh, the presidential image has to be the right way up.

Long moments as he counts the crumbled notes. Are those wheels and cogs turning in his head? Do I get the coveted meal card?

“You have a tuition balance, from last term.” Says the bursar, in a low voice.

“I know, sir. I told my father about it. Says he shall clear when the tea bonus is paid.” You literally whisper through the hole. You neither want your peers to know tea farming is your families’ only source of income, nor do you want your father getting to know the tuition money had you balling like a rock star at Jam Session.

“You have a week.” Declares the oracle, peering above his half-moon glasses. He proceeds to label and stamp a dining meal card, strictly 7 days. Phew, close call. If, and when it expires, utambana na hali yako.

The next fellow gets his chance at the hole in the window, and throws in a soiled money order. Except, the bursar has left the office, for a smoke and a soda at the school canteen. On the entire breadth of the walk, the sour man doesn’t speak a word to a soul. It’s him (and, his arithmetic), against the world.

He gets back. The boy points to a space on a desk littered with all sorts of paper scraps. Pentium PC’s had still a few years to become a common office feature.

He stares at the apprehensive boy above the rim of his half-moons’.

“Young man, are you sure?” He growls. “I need time to check it out. Next!”

Fast forward to 2019. Paying school fees and other bills doesn’t have to be so hectic. Coop Bank customers with M-Coop Cash app are already registered to PesaLink. It’s easy to transfer money from one account to another on very affordable terms. Paying school fees, paying rent, paying for new supplies at a business, is easy and flexible with PesaLink.

#CoopPesaLink

In modern times, back-to-school days are less stressful for the parent. In the days of yore, parents would have lots of choices to make on such days. Do they have to skip work to accompany their kids to school, specifically to pay school fees? Can I trust my wayward son whose seemingly sole ambition in life is ‘to be cool?’

It was akin to playing poker, and the roll of the dice sometimes came short.

A traumatising episode in my early high school days still haunts me. I was blessed with noble parents, but I doubt they’ve let it go, to this date. Take a seat, grab some popcorn.

Oh, this story involves your favorite salad fruit, the avocado. Did you know Mexican recipes refer to the avocado as the ‘guacamole’?

On the material day, it was decided that I would be reporting back to school unaccompanied. None of my parents or elder sibling had a day to spare. I was a strapping lad of 15, with a brimming cauldron of teenage hormones. I was glad my folks had finally given me an ‘adult-stamp’, despite a turbulent few weeks of holiday.

I received the crumpled bundle of notes from my dad, with the solemnity of Biblical Moses receiving The Ten Commandments. Then, my pocket money in an assortment of coins neatly tied up in an old handkerchief. My dad then said it was my second term’s fees in full. It was a little over five thousand, but I broke out in a hot sweat. It had the weight of the national treasury.

At the time, I was also a budding entrepreneur in school. On opening days, I would pick a pack of fresh avocado from home to hawk off to my classmates. I had to boost my pocket money. I had a dilemma: where do I hide my treasury? The bag didn’t seem a good idea – in those days, brats from neighbouring schools would often mug their counterparts for the-hell-of-it.

I chose to hide my school fees in my socks.

At the bus terminus, there is the usual shoving and pushing for the few matatu available. In the midst of it, my school bag had the misfortune of bursting at the seams. I hadn’t factored in the weight of my avocado stock. It also didn’t help, that the terminus has a gentle slope. My guacamole salad started rolling down the hill on the tarmac.

It was mighty embarrassing sprinting after avocados, in my school uniform. In the melee, my Cash-In-Transit socks lost their elasticity, and dropped their cargo. I tasted Murphy’s Law before they taught me about it. To date, my folks haven’t believed I lost my school fees chasing avocados down the hill.

No need for that nowadays, with PesaLink. All Coop Bank customers with MCoopCash app, for instance, are already registered to PesaLink. This allows any parent to easily and safely pay school fees to multiple schools from the convenience of their homes. Coop Bank customers can access PesaLink by dialling *667# on their phones, or via MCoopCash app.

Even Non-Coop Bank customers can still send money instantly to a Coop Bank account via PesaLink. All they need is the details of the school’s Coop Bank account, and pay school fees directly.

Discerning business people use PesaLink to conveniently pay their suppliers instantly into their bank accounts, at very affordable rates. For other personal business transactions, Coop bank customers can send money instantly to any local account at very friendly rates – like, Ksh.10 up to Ksh.200,000 at an extremely low cost between Ksh.0 to Ksh.152 – depending on the amount due for transfer.

 

Rhythm &Brunch by Taurus Events is here. Are you ready? Are you looking for a place to be on 31st August? Well look no more, Taurus Events presents to you Rhythm &Brunch. This is an event like no other.

Rhythm &Brunch is the kind of fan that you wouldn’t miss. A day like no other with live music from, Ivlyn Mutua and Trina Mungai.

What to expect on Rhythm &Brunch

The duo has great voices that will leave your mouth salivating for more. Let me give a taste of these beautiful voices. Rhythm &Brunch is the only one bringing you the best.

Are you ready? Rhythm &Brunch by Taurus Events is here

Below is a link to Ivlyn Mutua’s Sham Sham.

Also do not forget that Trina Mungai will also be there.

Below is a link to one of her song Tonight.

Trust me you are going to have a great event at Four Points by Sheraton Hurlingham.

Also remember it is a day that you get to interact with the who is who in this country and maybe a life partner who knows?

They always say that music soothes ones soul, I tend to agree with the saying. Imagine music from 11 Am and free entry? It is worth your time and get ready you deserve it.

Fan Activities for the day

There are some fan activities prepared for you like;  board games if you love this take this day seriously. Also remember to carry your swim suits there is a heated pool. For the lovers of food you have not been left behind, food here is super good.

Are you ready? Rhythm &Brunch by Taurus Events is here

There is that group of people who love drinks and you will be served with Gin cocktails and EPL Screen.

It cannot get better than this at Rhythm &Brunch. You need this day you and your loved ones. Taurus Events has already sort your Saturday.

Rhythm &Brunch is well prepared for you by Taurus events. Imagine Four Points by Sheraton is just here. You need to give yourself a good break with the good music from our own girls.

Lets meet on 31st August at 11 am. Check out more about Rhythm &Brunch by Taurus Events and do not be late.

 

 

To a large extent, Kenyan boy-band Sauti Sol owed their audience a disclaimer at the end of their hit track, Nerea. If a parenting newbie takes its content literally, the hard truth slams down like a sledge hammer blow – every new born needs quite a definite budget. The band ought to have ended the track with a candid ‘Just Kidding!’

There’s also an indelible aspect of our African culture that weighs upon us. The extended family. That part of culture is passed down in generations. Does the adage ‘You only have a wife as your own, the offspring belongs to the village’ ring a bell?

 

Your brother’s kids are no different from your own, in the instance he’s in a disadvantaged position to cater for their needs. Hello, Sauti Sol. You lied.

That truth dawned on Mutiso, one early morning. Pardon the pun. Mutiso is a military officer, recently employed and based in a garrison in the outskirts of the city. When school holidays begun early August, his younger sister showed up at his doorstep with her two kids, aged six and thirteen. She had been a long-suffering housewife trapped in an abusive marriage, and had finally called it quits.

She didn’t have any income. Her brother was the only family she had in the city, so his house became her refuge.

For a while, Mutiso had a difficult time. He was a bachelor, and wasn’t used to the technicalities and skills to run a full household. Luckily enough, he has a good working relationship with his bank. Turns out his salary is processed through Co-op Bank, and that’s how he got help to absorb the sudden economic shock.

The military job is infamous for an erratic schedule – unplanned call ups and travel to remote places, often for extended times. For a few days after the impromptu arrival of his nephew and niece, Mutiso enjoyed relative calm. The kids adored him, and they spent a lot of time bonding and sampling fun spots in the city.

Then his job lived up to its billing. He suddenly received a call up for an operation along the volatile Somali border. There’s no time plan given for such operations, and Mutiso knew he had to plan ahead. His younger sister was still searching for a job. He had her register her younger kid in a school near their estate. The elder one was already in a girls’ boarding school.

On the day of departure, Mutiso logged into MCo-op Cash App and checked out salary advance loans. He was delighted to learn everyone whose salary processing was done through the bank had a leeway to apply a salary advance loan up to Ksh.200,000.00.

He didn’t need that much, though. Just enough money to cover school fees and living expenses for his household in his absence.

In a few minutes, the salary advance was conveniently processed. He withdrew the cash into phone. His sister was stunned by the ease of it. But she was worried he might be travelling to areas without internet coverage. Well, he explained, if he couldn’t access M-Coop Cash App, he could still access his account via dialing *667#.

#PesaIkoKwaMCoopCash is real. Thou shall not struggle with school fees. Dial *667# on your phone and apply for a salary advance loan straight to your phone.

“Umenifurahisha sana, una kipawa kwa uhakika….”

That’s a futile imitation of Judge Vanessa at East Africa Got Talent Show judge’s bench. It’s a pity that print hardly gives credit to her voice and the distinctive Swahili lilt when she candidly comments and talks to a contestant. All along she’s remained soft spoken, a little matronly. Let’s see if she keeps her cool on this weekend’s edition of #EAGTPoweredBySafaricom that airs on Citizen TV, 8:00 p.m. EAT.

Never before has this region had such an amazing array of fresh talents and gifts. Most of the talents are innate, while some skills are acquired over time through pure grit and hard work. For instance, the acrobatic group from Dar es Salaam made up of kids from unfortunate backgrounds – they are amazing. All we see is the talent, but really, hard work makes up half of that success.

This Sunday evening, the show will be smoking hot, to paraphrase Kenyan Judge Jeff Koinange – do not be surprised if he tags along his adored red fire extinguisher, from The Bench.

Lots of viewers love the fun side of life, and besides the comic side dish served fresh by the host Anne Kansiime, the stage will sure attract contestants blessed with the gift to make you collapse in stitches. It’s been a while, but everyone recalls Dan from Migori County – The Professional Mourner. Who shall beat that?

Be sure to tune in to Citizen TV on Sunday 8:00 p.m. EAT and find out.

The knife-thrower and his human targets. Those may be his point of targets, but aren’t they also deadly near-misses? Have you seen a fire-eating stunts man? Will we have less singers and acrobats this week, and have more of stunts men? Who doesn’t marvel at the skills needed to ride a unicycle?

On a personal level, I get thrilled by animal performances. What beats a dog that matches, stands on his hind legs, topples and rolls over on a simple command? That pulls my eyes right out of their sockets! Horses and ponies, too.

It’s relieving that snakes do not feature much in this region, else we would have a snake-performer – Indian style. These brave men are turbaned, and sit cross-legged facing their open basket. They play a flute, and dear Lord, a huge snake rises up. Nine out of ten times, it’s a deadly African Cobra. Scary stuff.

How does that work, since snakes are said to have no ears?

Let’s meet on #EAGTPoweredBySafaricom Show on Sunday, 11th August 2019 at 8.00 EAT, and watch amazing stuff.

The first time I flew back into the country, I had spent 8 years away swatting at leather-bound journals, for a law degree. No one in the family came to my graduation party – none could afford the air ticket and visa fees to the US. But my family outdid themselves at the airport. I met a busload of excited relatives in various levels of sobriety dancing and waving fly whisks at the airport.

It’s understandable – my law degree was the first one in the family.

We then embarked on slow bus ride for several hours to our rural home. I remember most of that bus ride was spent getting the updates, and it was a lot to cover. I was 8 years behind. It was hard to stomach everything thrown at me, and my cousins are not averse to hyperbole.

I got internship and a job in the US soon after, and since then, am usually away for spells lasting two, perhaps, three years. My relatives soon tired of the airport fanfare, and nowadays, I do not even call to alert them of my imminent arrival.

And, I usually hardly need their exaggerated updates on what’s happening in the country. Plus, their scope is a little limited to the affairs in the village – whose daughter has married off whose son, et al.

Airtel Kenya has got me covered.

Immediately I clear customs, I switch on my Airtel lines, and dial *544# for the latest data offers.

It sure feels nice to be home, with Airtel Kenya data packages. I have a lot to catch up on the long bus ride home – without drunken singing in the background.

Airtel Kenya has the UNLIMINET bundle. For just Ksh.500, I get an excess of 2.5GB + 150 Mins + 1000 SMS valid for a Month.

But I have nephews and nieces who love YouTube, so I usually get the Ksh.1000 package – an unbelievable 8GB + 400 Mins + 2000 SMS valid for a Month.

Once am online with Airtel data package, I usually sample the trending local hits. I realize the Odi Dance is slowly turning into a global revolution. There’s various hits – Na Iwake Remix, Wamlambez (a little hard to wrap my head around), the perennially awesome Moipei Sisters are still at it.

In my free time, I like to moonlight as an amateur chef, mostly through local cuisine. How else to treat your relatives than by making them their everyday dishes in a spanking new way? I log into cooking blogs, and there’s a whole lot of new ones – PikaChakula, Kaluhi’s Kitchen, Ordinary Kitchen among others.

Prepare your palates, family. Master Chef has landed.

I like to travel when I visit Kenya – I need to keep my bragging rights back in the diaspora. I skim all the latest travel news. I learn of the popular Sky Diving feature at Diani Beach, South Coast.

Not that I intend to try that. My mother would remind me to get married first. Thou shall not risk my future grandkids. So I skim news about The Serengeti, The Mara and the annual wildebeest migration. I certainly wouldn’t mind a road trip.

Thanks to Airtel, by the time I hit the rural, I am up to date. Perhaps, much more than the average resident.

Take advantage of Airtel affordable data, dial *544# and get going.

 

The East Africa Got Talent show aired at 8pm EAT on Sunday 4th – Citizen TV – was incredible.

For starters, professional mourning, starring 25 year-old Dan from Migori County.

Clad in a bright red shirt and colorful headgear – excellent regalia for a street carnival, this contestant brought down the entire house in stitches. Dan was confident, had an imposing stage presence, and superbly delivered endearing poetry to the deceased in-law. This performer could not be cut down by the judges banging down the bells!

That hilarious interlude aside, The East Africa Got Talent show indeed had first class, star-level contestants.

The performance bailed by Judge Vanessa as “beyond exceptional” came from Leyna K, a cute 7-year-old girl, from Uganda. She rocked an immaculate sprightly white bridal dress. At first, the judges couldn’t believe she could hack her choice of track – One day at a time, by Daniel O’Donnell – which most gifted vocalists wouldn’t touch with a ten-foot pole. Little Leyna K had it beautifully balanced in high and low vocals – which Judge Makeda wryly confessed “has given me goose bumps…”

She unbelievably had all the judges giving her a standing ovation!

The audience broke into poignant tears when her mother rushed onto the stage and hugged her. When, not if, she wins the Ksh 5,000,000 prize money, she wants to buy her brother a watch.

Everyone is awed by acrobats, and more so, when it involves kids. In this show, a group of kids tagged as Safi Theatre Group from Dar es Salaam ingeniously combined music and acrobatic stunts – really unique. Catch them at the semi-finals.

Also quite unforgettable is another group – there’s strength in numbers – of 5 little girls and a lady skilled with drums. It’s a Rwandan group named Uruyange, whose desire their guide hailed as to ‘show the strength of girls’ – and it’s easy to see they’re achieving that goal. Amazing performance.

The back stage was equally lit, with Host Anne Kansiime berating the viewers with endless goofs and comic antics. Her stylist was also on point, dressing her in a lovely off-shoulder African print dress. Kansiime’s girl-next-door mien visibly had the contestants relaxed and confident as they hit the stage, and huge audience.

There is beauty in language diversity, and following Judge Vanessa’s comments in flawless Swahili is captivating.

There is so much more amazing stuff to experience at the next airing of East Africa Got Talent on Citizen TV. Don’t miss!

Hosting the East African Got Talent is no mean feat. After months of preparations, presentations across different countries in the East African Region with thousands of hopefuls submitting their acts, the inaugural #EAGTPoweredBySafaricom show will air this Sunday.  

The resourceful, witty and charming host – Ann Kansiime’s traits flow with ease. Ann is the undisputed, Ugandan queen of comedy. She fits the bill perfectly. 

The East African Got Talent show airing this Sunday 4th August – Citizen TV – at 8 pm EAT will bring an array of acts that will showcase an endless pool of talent in the region. If you haven’t seen talents and gifts bordering on downright bizarre and insane, this is it.

While it’s modelled on the larger Got Talent franchise, the East African Got Talent edition will deliver/showcase the rich due to the cultural diversities in play, and the excitement it has generated across the landscape will bring forth an endless troop of hopeful stars.

The acts range from comedy acts, singers, acrobats and similar stunts. It’s open season, no-holds-barred as long as it borders on safety, sanity and excludes nudity. I expect the show stoppers to be the illusionists and magicians. My bet, though, is whoever wins the Ksh 5,000,000 prize money will be a fire stunts man, or something equally daring – say, a knife thrower?

 I ain’t sure where magicians draw the line, but I’d be excited to see them perform up on the stage. Of course, subject to prior rebranding efforts.

In this show, more excitement comes from the judge’s bench. It’s ably filled in by Jeff Koinange (Kenya), Gaetano Kagwa (Uganda), Vanessa Mdee (Tanzania) and Makeda Mahadeo (Rwanda).

I have hilarious memories of Judge Ian, who made his name bashing contestants in the seasons of a previously popular singing reality show, and am eager what goes down here.

I wouldn’t expect mellow-voiced Vanessa Mdee from Tanzania to be savage, for starters.

It’s an unwritten rule: You cannot be beautiful, and have an angelic voice, and still be nasty. Choose a side.

I suppose Jeff Koinange dons the hooded black cloak and brandishes the scythe, nipping self-appraising jokers in the bud – merciless, shooting straight from the hip, and probably ending childhood grand dreams of fame in an instant.

Gaetano Kagwa is the sympathetic uncle we sought to act as a domestic mediator when we got the dreaded suspension letter in high school. After all, Ugandans are universally known for empathy. I expect he’s the judge who soothes and massages back fragile egos. He should understand empathy: he outlived a lot of peeps riding on it on the first edition of Big Brother Africa.

Well, it all comes down to the wire on split decisions, Rwandese judge – Makeda Mahadeo will be expected to settle stalemates. The media personality, deejay and emcee decides the numbers, who goes home and who proceeds  to the next stages. I’d expect her to hold viewers in suspense and yearning, and either gives the wing to fly or hands Jeff-in-black-cloak-and-scythe the ammo to blow dreams apart.

Plus, she’s gorgeous. Choose a side, remember.

Make a date this Sunday 8pm East African Time to watch East Africa Got Talent on Citizen TV #EAGTPoweredBySafaricom

 

Co-op Bank has deepened its strategic partnership with the giant Metropolitan National Sacco (formerly Kiambu Teachers Sacco) to streamline and enhance service delivery to the members.

The Bank is offering corporate advisory services through its subsidiary, Co-op Consultancy to build capacity for long term sustainability.

In addition, under a Corporate Restructure Program, the Bank has restructured the Sacco’s funding requirements to better manage the members’ monthly loan demands as well as the overall liquidity flows aimed at a complete turnaround of the Sacco.

Metropolitan National Sacco is one of the largest Saccos in the over 15-million-member co-operative movement and has a membership of over 100,000, a total assets base of Sh13.6 billion and runs 8 branches spread across the country.

Co-operative Bank CEO/Managing Director Gideon Muriuki

The Sacco has stabilized its operations with additional effort geared towards recovery of the outstanding loans while availing the recovered funds for on-lending to members.

The Bank has re-launched the Saccolink debit card, Sacco Personal Cheques and trade finance partnership to increase the Sacco’s revenue base through its front office service activity (FOSA).

Speaking at the event organized to sign the restructuring agreement the Chairman of the Sacco Mr Christopher Karanja, highly commended Co-operative Bank for the timely intervention noting the restructuring has really injected new impetus for growth at the Sacco.

“We thank the Co-operative Bank for coming to our great support at such a critical moment. The recommendations and measures that have so far been put in place will certainly get the Sacco to new heights. The corporate restructure by the Bank is the best thing that has happened to the Sacco in a long time. We will now boldly and seamlessly offer services to our members,” he said.

Speaking at the same function, the Director, Co-operatives Banking Division at Co-operative Bank, Mr Vincent Marangu said that the bank has a strategic interest in the turn-around and long-term growth of Metropolitan National Sacco a key stakeholder in the co-operative movement.

Mr Marangu added that the corporate restructuring deal will ensure the Sacco has adequate working capital to support the members as well as improve the operational efficiency of the Sacco.

“We have done it before for a number of co-operatives, with huge success, and therefore this will be in line with our mandate and commitment to the co-operative movement,” he concluded.The corporate restructuring program commenced this month.

Co-op Bank Headquarters

Co-op Bank Headquarters

I recently had an epiphany, listening to radio presenter, Jalang’o, aka Jalas, on Radio Maisha. For a comedian, he sometimes seems to make lots of sense. The topic that chilly morning was his unorthodox friend-picking criteria, based not on good times, but by the hard times he has gone through. It’s simple enough – pick the friend that sticks around when life goes off the rails.

Nicholas Okumo doesn’t need a comedian to teach him the ethics of basic friendship – just pick a friend that would pick you from a crowd to accompany him – for free – on an all-paid expenses trip to watch the AFCON Finals tonight, in Egypt.

Nick’s friend, Josephat Nyakundi was a lucky winner for a fully paid trip to Egypt, courtesy of Visa, to watch the AFCON Finals in Egypt. All the winners had to do was use their Coop Visa Card to pay their usual bills – buying goods and services. To add icing to that one-in-a-lifetime cake, the winners were accompanied by one other person, their choice.

I do not know if, presently, there’s a friend that I inspire enough to be their first choice to such a fete – in a narrow world crowded with adoring other-halves, patronizing relatives and prayer partners. Not that my friends are such keen soccer enthusiasts, anyways, but am glad most of them always tag along their Coop Visa cards conveniently using them to pay for fuel and other bills.

Perhaps, one day we can get to win a trip to something like the Lamu Cultural Festival.

Josephat Nyakundi had been pleasantly surprised to learn of his win to Egypt. On the material day, he hadn’t meant to use the card to pay his weekly tab at his favorite watering hole. He had a household constitution to follow, jointly formulated with his wife, Njoki. It had been just on a dare that he had taken the card along. Now he never leaves the house without his Visa Card.

In the Nyakundi-Njoki household, the Coop Visa card was to be strictly a household talisman. Pay hospital bills. Clear the weekly shopping bills at the supermarket. Pay for fuel at petrol stations during family trips.

Certainly not picking the Vodka tab with the boys at The Local. He had broken the rules, but Njoki was happy how well things had turned out. She was excited that her hubby had won the trip, and encouraged him to pick his long time soccer buddy, Nick. They watched most derbies together. She loved travelling, but couldn’t endure a minute of soccer.

In any case, she would use the weeks he’d be away to source for more carpets in Middle East. She dealt in rags and carpets at her high end outlet. She liked the idea her husband won’t be clearing beer tabs in Egypt over the card, she’d have it with her in Middle East. It’s always safer and convenient travelling with her card.

Oh, using Coop Card Visa card doesn’t incur any extra charges. No hidden charges.

Ignore the big boys, for a minute. We have an unlikely entry into the soccer arena. Picture a young girl, in early elementary school, watching today’s final with her mother. The endless possibilities in her future – the exposure, the enlightening.

Meet Natasha Angela, the lucky Jumbo Junior category winner, accompanied to Egypt by her mother Virginia Wamaitha. If reincarnation is real, this is who I’d love to be. This is a child the world has smiled upon, and shown it’s a world with endless possibilities.

At a young age, she has flown in a plane. She has witnessed firsthand, a once-in-a-lifetime happening most people in the world do not get to have. That’s amazing, thanks to her Jumbo Junior Account. Above all, Angela gets to treat her deserving mother on the world stage.

I would do anything to treat my mother on such a scale.

 

 

In my high school days, I met a very calm, patient lady. She was my languages teacher. She rocked black, horn-rimmed glasses, and had an eternal flowered scarf on her neck, and various brooches. I think she was pretty wise – she could look intently at a student – such piercing eyes, and give you a prediction of your career future.

Mrs. Apollo Agnes. She later left teaching and joined Co-Op Bank, for a managerial role.

If by chance she gets to read this, let her know those predictions were oddly accurate. Mostly, she did give positive reviews, but if you got on her nerves, well, her dark side showed. One of my then best friends had her wondering out loud if he would survive a possible gunning down past his 30’s.

 

Well, he survived, somehow, but he’s serving a stint at Kamiti Prison for handling stolen goods.

In her eyes, I was already a CEO, running a huge company, or at least some NGO, I think. Though her endorsement wasn’t exactly maternal, as I was a perennial bust in almost every crime – Noise Makers List, Monto List, Missed Morning Preps List, Sold School Piglets List, etc.

Every morning at assembly, she would be like, “….Munyeki and Company, please dress forward….” She made me CEO in Form Two North. Good enough. If only she had said I would be a billionaire……..

Anyways, I owe my elder brother, Joe, a lot in teaching me ways of the world. Especially economics, and how the money in the world moves. He had a degree in economics, and would really be irritating when he delved into the folds and crannies of his passion.

However, one New Year’s Eve, he showed me firsthand the mechanics of money, as he called it. It was his first year of employment, and that holiday was his first. In the village, partying starts just after Jamhuri Day, in December. It’s a fortnight of sin and debauchery. It’s the season to be merry, and do idiotic stuff. Joe wanted to treat his village crew – and he did.

Perhaps, too much. He ran out of cash just before New Year’s Eve.

January brings with it a load of blues, and responsibilities. Besides school fees for a few cousins he had drunkenly pledged to support, he needed to travel back to Mombasa. He didn’t seem fazed at all by his predicament, though I knew he was broke.

 

He had always banked with Co-Op Bank, and he had the mCo-Op Cash App. Joe coolly whips out his phone over breakfast on New Year’s Day, and takes a salary loan. That defined cool. Takes just a few minutes. But the best was yet to happen: his crash course on the mechanics of money.

This was his last day in the village. He takes me to town, which is a few miles off. He wants to spend his last day with me – his way of clearing his guilt – I had hardly seen him over the holiday. At the bus stage, he makes a withdrawal at an M-Pesa outlet, straight from his mCo-op Cash App. Convenient.

After a few drinks, Joe gets into his philosophical mood and starts to lecture me. He creates a pretty confusing make-believe tale, on the movement of the money.

Let’s start with the bank lending him money via mCo-op Cash App. 

We make for Cool Breeze Lodge. He inquires of any vacant rooms, and the lady at the counter nods. Joe slaps 2k on the counter, and without waiting for anyone, sprints up the stairs to check the rooms on the upper floor. He’s a regular, I see.

The lady at the counter takes the 2k, and goes out the main door towards the butchery next door. She pays the butcher at Ng’ang’a And Son’s Butchery 2k for meat supplied earlier in the day. She goes back. Am at the counter, still. She smiles at me, but I can see she doesn’t have the money.

Meanwhile, Ng’ang’a – the butcher – goes out of his premises and crosses the road. He finds a farmer who supplies him with fresh meat, he had a remaining bill unpaid, and so he pays him 2k. He then strolls back to his butchery.

The farmer abandons the Ojuok game he was playing against an old friend. He had been losing, anyways. Usually, he wins, but he had been distracted by a debt he had at the local Waigwa Agro Vet Store, a few meters away. He walks to the store and hands over the same 2k. He then walks back.

I am still at the counter. What’s taking Joe so long upstairs?

In a few minutes, I see a man in a white dust coat walk up to the counter. It’s Waigwa, the vet. He has had a running bill at this lounge, when he had treated his friends to a few drinks and roast goat meat. He hands over 2k. After a few moments of chit chat with the counter lady, he walks out.

The lady looks at the notes, bemusedly, and places them on the counter.

Almost as if on cue, Joe appears from the stairs.

Hizo rooms zenu ni chafu” He tells the lady. “Wacha tutajipanga kwingine”.

He picks up the 2k notes from the counter. We walk out.

“That’s how money works, Munyeki.” Joe tells me, over the rim of his glass. “My 2k makes everyone happy, and I still got to leave with it”.

What have I learnt? That puzzle still haunts me to date.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019, instantly turned around the life and future of a soccer enthusiast, through a meagre Ksh.100 stake he had placed on BetLion, in Nairobi, Kenya.

BetLion paid a whooping Ksh. 2,000,000 in prize winnings to Mr. Samuel Wambui who turned out as the biggest winner in last weekend’s soccer action. This enthusiast had only 8 teams on his bet slip, and used just ksh.100.

Mr. Samuel, attributing his stroke of success to keen team and individual player analysis, was still dazed by the glare of his success, when he collected his dummy check.

“I was completely speechless when I realized how much was at stake with the existing odds on my bet slip, at one time I thought of cashing out during the 8th game but I challenged myself to see the game out. Honestly, it was one of the best decisions I ever made.” said an excited Mr. Samuel Wambui.

At hand to receive the excited client at BetLion, was the Managing Director, Mr. Spencer Okach. The MD emphasized the firm’s keen policy for attractive odds and timely pay outs to stake winners.

“Ensuring that our players receive their winnings as soon as any bet is settled is our number one priority. We appreciate the trust showed by our customers, who believe in us to honor payouts, on time.” Says the Managing Director.

Congratulations, Mr. Samuel Wambui.

Samuel speaks on his huge win – https://we.tl/t-rFKsZVpBGd

The spotlight on betting companies is not dimming just yet. This is due to a drawn out dispute with the Kenyan Government on the revision of taxes due and owed. As such the government is yet to renew business licenses on most betting companies.

However, a lucky pack of 7 firms have managed to have their business licenses renewed. This is the list of companies that have secured the elusive green light to operate:

  • BetLion
  • MCheza
  • Kwikbet
  • OdiBets
  • Gamemania
  • Betpalace
  • Betika

The Kenya Government has zeroed in on the industry with reports of most firms failing to prove that they were tax compliant as required by the Betting Control and Licensing Board (BCLB). Subsequently, a multi-agency team was constituted to probe the betting and gaming companies.

Nigeria's Chukwueze

Nigeria’s Chukwueze

The most damning of the findings of the Board during the vetting is that the companies made a cumulative amount of Ksh.204 billion last year, but paid a partly Ksh. 4 billion in taxes. The crackdown on the firms also brings a threat to their senior non-Kenyan managers – who risks possible deportation.

The Co-operative Bank of Kenya together with leading leasing company Super Group of South Africa have reiterated their commitment to deepen the partnership in the local leasing business, through the joint venture firm owned by the two institutions named Co-op Bank Fleet Africa Leasing Limited.

(L-R) The Chairman, Co-operative Bank John Murugu, Fleet Global Chief Operating Officer Super Group, Philip Smith and Group Managing Director and CEO Co-operative Bank Dr. Gideon Muriuki sign-off the joint venture strategic partnership arrangement in leasing business, witnessed by Company Secretary Co-operative Bank Samuel Kibugi (standing).

(L-R) The Chairman, Co-operative Bank John Murugu, Fleet Global Chief Operating Officer Super Group, Philip Smith and Group Managing Director and CEO Co-operative Bank Dr. Gideon Muriuki sign-off the joint venture strategic partnership arrangement in leasing business, witnessed by Company Secretary Co-operative Bank Samuel Kibugi (standing).

The strategic partnership between Co-op Bank and Super Group is intended at penetrating and growing a modern leasing business aiming at market leadership, securing long-term partnerships and joint ventures to sustainably support growth, building on world-class competencies in the supply chain, fleet management, and dealerships, and providing customers with innovative leasing solutions.

Co-op Bank Fleet Africa Leasing Limited, known in short as ‘’Co-op Bank Fleet’’ has within a short time since its establishment moved to stamp its presence in the leasing space, is a joint venture of two major players who bring to the table complementary capabilities in leasing.

Super Group of South Africa delivers its proven expertise in customer screening, product structuring, and risk management as Co-op Bank makes available it’s excellent client base to whom leasing is critical such as SMEs, Co-operatives and the Public Sector.

A truck branded with Supergroup logo

A truck branded with Supergroup logo

“Co-op Bank Fleet’’ already got off to a roaring start by concluding its first leasing deal worth over Ksh890 million in January of this year. This maiden transaction, which is part of a larger Ksh2.2 billion deal, entails the financing and delivery of a fleet of 125 vehicles to the Ministry of Interior.

Also read: 5 reasons why the MCo-op Cash app is the best first resort when you’re in a tight financial spot

The Co-operative Bank was the financier, with Co-op Bank Fleet arranging the leasing in collaboration with motor vehicle dealers Isuzu East Africa Limited who are to deliver the fleet made up of trucks, pickups, and buses.

“Super Group Limited is an established global leader in leasing business operating in three continents and is listed on the Johannesburg and Sydney stock exchanges. This partnership between Co-op Bank and Super Group continues to deliver mutual benefits as it taps the synergies created by the joint venture,” said Co-operative Bank Group Managing Director and CEO Dr. Gideon Muriuki.

Co-op Bank CEO Gideon Muriuki

Co-op Bank CEO Gideon Muriuki

“Co-op Bank Fleet enables the bank to better support customers to acquire the assets, technologies, and equipment they require at the same time enable the bank to diversify its income streams,” added Dr. Muriuki adding that Co-op Bank Fleet enables the bank to better support customers to acquire the assets, technologies, and equipment they require at the same time enable the bank to diversify its income streams.

Picky Picky Ponkie…..

Well, that works perfectly in the art of sharing toys, and polishes infantile cheating, but falls bottom first in soccer prediction. I give up on that.

M-Bet Kenya happens.

Divock Origi in action

Divock Origi in action

I decide to join up. It’s easy. I don’t have a smart phone, but joining up is easy. I just Sms ‘M-BET’ to 79888, and get an instant free bet with a 50 bob deposit. A free bet, I intend to upgrade, though. If I had a smartphone, I would just have logged in via the M-Bet website, or downloaded the safe, faster and secure M-Bet App.

It’s a walk in the park downloading the premium M-Bet App

A bare minimum betting low-limit of just 25 bob appeals to me, plus the best odds in Kenya. That’s realistic. I ain’t breaking no bank. I have pampers to buy. To spice things up, M-Bet is awarding its customers with the official 2019 Harambee Stars jerseys this AFCON season, all you have to do is play 3 tickets today and you could be a winner.

It’s pretty easy to remember the deposit process details, too. The Safaricom or Airtel Money paybill number 298888 rolls off the tongue, and sticks in the mind. I intend to do a lot of deposits. Hell, no. I’ll be doing lots of withdrawals because winning is all I do. And, that easy, too.

So much for Picky Picky Ponkie….

I guess I shall overcome teething problems, and I’ll season out in this art. I shall play the PERFECT 12 Daily Jackpot, pretty simple, too. There is a list of 12 games plus 5 reserve games from different soccer competitions going on at the time – World Cup Women, Euro Cup Under 21, AFCON 2019 Kenya Premier League, EPL, Bundesliga, La Liga etc.

The trick is accurately predicting the outcome of all 12 games. Plus the outcome of the 5 reserve games, selecting 1, X or 2. That means Home Win, Draw or Away win. Well, there’s a puzzle. Why do I need to predict the outcome of the 5 reserve games?

Well, turns out the reserve matches aren’t initially considered, unless a game in the main list is cancelled. Lots of reasons may cause this cancellation – bad weather, for instance. Rowdy fans, we’ve seen this not only in Kenya but worldwide and such interruptions – like invading the pitch.

Things people do for love. Love for ‘Okombe’.

If only one game is cancelled, the first game in the reserve group is considered. If a second game is cancelled, the next team is considered. And so on, in sequence – 3rd, 4th, and 5th. It’s highly improbable to have such many cancellations, but, well, this is a little like having friends.

Ain’t it said its better to have a friend and not need one, than need one and not have one?

The PERFECT 12 jackpot win goes to the winner correctly predicting all the 12 games, but in the event that the gods are taking a nap and I manage 9, 10 or 11 games, I’ll still win huge bonuses. Perhaps, I’ll have to share the gigantic dummy cheque – and with a few others, the prize is equally distributed.

Well, a chauffeured Limo ride. Red carpet treatment. The photo shoot. That’s still a lot to smile about.

My crew is a skeptic lot when I introduced M-Bet to them, and did a mini-panel.

Maish: I don’t have a smartphone, boss.

I say: It’s easy. You can use M-Bet prime USSD, just dial *798# on your kabambe.

Ng’ang’a: My village has little internet coverage.Si kila mtu anaishi mtaani.

Oh, this guy Ng’ang’a runs a kiosk. He often threatens to close it, when we disrespect our debts.

I say: Use the USSD number. Dial *798# – doesn’t need internet. Just normal coverage. Next?

Tonie: Life’s hard, bro. How much money do I need?

I say: M-Bet is pocket-friendly, and has a low minimum figure at just 25/- bob only.Hio ni Samosa tu!

Tonie likes freebies, so I remember to tell of the instant Free Bet with the first 50/- deposit.

Tonie: Really? Niko ndani mbaya. Una load aje hio deposit?

I say: Just go to M-Pesa or Airtel Money M-Bet’s Paybill number is 298888, and on account, fill ‘Deposit’. Itaingia.

Kenya's Victor Wanyama

Kenya’s Victor Wanyama

I take leave from this noisy bunch. I want to Play the Perfect 12 Daily Jackpot.

When, not if, I win The Super Prize, I may buy a ride, perhaps German. I may remember you from our ‘walking’ days and give you a ride. If that happens, don’t go shouting greetings to everyone from the window – I hear that burns more fuel.

 

 

 

 

Wakanda Lounge

Five months after its launch, Club Wakanda is a place you would not want to miss going to.

Club Wakanda is a high end lounge that has seen many of the Kenyan Celebrities being part of.It is located in Westlands at Krishna Centre on the First floor along Woodvale.

The club is said to be owned by one of Nairobi’s flashiest businessmen.

This is the place where the sons and daughters of  Billionaires and  Millionaires of this country go to. Lately it is the busiest club in the city.

If you are looking for a  classy, Swanky, sleek and luxurious place to be for a night out, then Club Wakanda is the place to be. Why?

This is because,party and Fun lovers that have been to this place can a test that this club is not your everyday kind of club.

Don’t get me wrong , Club Wakanda boasts of  the best experience when it comes to fun and party.

Inside the lounge, it has latest state of the art sound system, blinding flashing lights crowned with royal ambiance.

Further the   DJ booth is breathtaking, colorful indoor decor and a mind blowing set up.

They host guest artists and celebrities in their events.On a daily basis it is happy hour for Cocktails, where you buy one and get one free.

 

The also have masquerade parties.

Experience……

After its launch early this year, it was evident that this club ‘Itasumbua sana”-would be the talk of town.

In Wakanda they have hosted top celebrities with the likes of the OG hilselg Khaligraph Jones, Gabu -Mr Bugubgu,Mc and Radio Host Jalang’oo among others.

Recently  once Gospel artist now Bwana Mkunaji, Willy Paul was hosted there during a Masquarade Party.

Trust Willy Paul he was caught on Camera grinding on his female fan.I think hapo ndio alihamia secular officially. Mmmmhhh!!!

This to tell you the kind of fun you will have at Wakanda Lounge.

You would not want to miss out on your celebrities who constantly visit this place for a fun filled entertainment.

To feed you eyes and interest these are some of the pictures from Club Wakanda. Let’s turn up for more pomp and fun.

 

 

 

Naivasha is one of the towns with the most fascinating clubs in Kenya. Its nightlife is quite something. Most people have no qualms travelling long distances just to have a feel of what it is like to party in Vasha.

Bonfires in Club Bubbles Naivasha

One of the entertainment joints that really stand out in Naviasha is Club Bubbles which is located along the Off Nakuru-Mai-Mahiu Highway. Most people agree that it’s the best spot for a night hang out in the whole town.

Apart from hosting the biggest parties, Bubbles is also known its bikini car wash which occurs on Sundays and glow in the dark parties that go down on Thursdays.

Club Bubbles dance floor

You can enjoy karaoke on Wednesdays; you can also be part of Tuesday in Paris with Kenya’s finest Dj Crème de la crème.

In addition, this Saturday the 15th of June 2019, Bubbles is launching the biggest Lights party ever held in Kenya. Yes is said the biggest!

There is a massive parking, you do not need to worry. Bubbles serve you drinks and food at a very affordable price. If you are so much in to dancing, the space is enough. Also, the best Dj’s in Kenya are found in this house, the music is boom.

Club Bubbles is a perfect destination for you and your team this weekend.

Twende Lights party.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Co-operative Bank of Kenya has partnered with leading digital money transfer company WorldRemit to enable digital money transfers to over 6 million Co-operative Bank accounts and 150 new cash pickup locations nationwide.

Using the WorldRemit app or website, Kenyans living in over 50 diaspora countries can now send money directly to their loved ones personal Co-op Bank accounts in over 150 branches. The transfers can be made directly from the senders mobile phones, and the receiver can withdraw the funds from a nearby Co-op Bank Agent, ATM or Branch.

Co-operative Bank Retail and Business Banking Division Director Arthur Muchangi (left) and Head of Business Banking Moses Gitau

Co-operative Bank Retail and Business Banking Division Director Arthur Muchangi (left) and Head of Business Banking Moses Gitau

WorldRemit saves customers time and money, enabling them to send funds home in a few taps from their phones without having to visit a bricks and mortar agent. Customers sending to Kenya can choose from a variety of convenient pay-out options including bank transfer, cash pickup, mobile money and mobile airtime top up.

Over 3 million Kenyans live abroad, with top senders to the country including the United Kingdom, the United States, and Australia. The World Bank estimates that in 2018 the Kenyan diaspora sent $2.7 billion in remittances, now the countrys top foreign exchange earner exceeding tea, coffee, and tourism.

Many Kenyans in the diaspora support family and relatives here at home to fund basic needs including education, food, housing and access to healthcare. According to recent WorldRemit research based on national household survey data, Kenyans abroad contribute over $300 million to childrens education nationally. Receiving remittances halves a Kenyan childs chances of being out of school.

Mr. Arthur Muchangi, Director Retail Banking at Co-operative Bank of Kenya confirmed the banks commitment to support remittances.

“As a bank that handles some of the largest volumes of remittances to Kenya, Co-op Bank will continue to invest in partnerships that provide Kenyans in the diaspora with the most affordable and secure means of transferring their funds home for domestic support, savings and investment.

“Co-operative Bank has a dedicated Diaspora Banking Center that is available 24/7 to serve diaspora clients irrespective of time zones, the first of its kind in Kenya,” he explained.

Sharon Kinyanjui, Head of East and Central Africa at WorldRemit said, “Kenyans around the world make WorldRemit their top choice when it comes to sending money home.

“We are delighted to partner with Co-operative Bank of Kenya, a trusted household name with strong ties to the diaspora and a shared commitment to financial inclusion, to further expand our network in the country and make our convenient service accessible to all.”

Visit the WorldRemit or Co-operative Bank websites for more information on how to send money to Kenya.

Co-operative Bank CEO/Managing Director Gideon Muriuki

Every time the AFCON tournament comes around, it invokes powerful nostalgic memories of my late Grandpa.

Ok, hold up. I am telling this story all wrong.

The football bug bit me around 2002. I was then a strapping lad in between 12 and 13. I wasn’t particularly fond of soccer, then, as I had found a more pleasing engagement drafting cramped, erotic love notes to a geeky girl I had befriended next door. Plus, village soccer then was brutal and unforgiving. It’s a mystery how players in my village weren’t maimed for life.

They didn’t know shin guards, and bone would crash against bone. A lad would limp for a few yards and be good for it. Hit a hidden rock in the elephant grass pitch and lose a toe nail, well, another will grow. And it didn’t help that I was always in my only favorite pair of North Star shoes I had inherited from my elder brother.

I couldn’t risk wearing those out – I couldn’t tell when he would outgrow his current size. Shoes were hard to come by. It’s not like you’d just log in on Android and get a Flexi-Loan from Co-Op Bank to grab another pair. No, you had to please the gods first. Times were hard.

I was branded a village wuss, and no village team captain would give me a call to his team. I had to find solace in my poetic love notes.

I couldn’t help catching the bug, though, from my grandpa. The old man was absolutely nuts about football. Dear old Grandpa was a sultry 60-ish then, still had his wits and energies around him. He would shed the cloak of age faster than Bolt would shatter the world record. Everything else stood still when a game came on – didn’t matter the media it came on. Radio was perfectly fine with him, too.

Victor Wanyama, background, Messi

Victor Wanyama, background, Messi

It’s important to remember, too, that 2002 was the year Grandpa spent a night locked up in a cold cell at the local Police Station. If I ever chance upon retired football star El Hadji Diouf, the Senegalese dribbling maestro, I’ll tell him that it’s his fault that my old man spent a night in police custody.

All for the love of soccer.

So, Grandpa calls me up and asks if I would like to watch a match with him. He didn’t own a TV set, and neither did anyone in the village. We would have to trek to the market center to watch it at The Hotel. It didn’t have a name, even. Everyone knew The Hotel. It boasted a 14’ Black and White Calcum TV in a wooden cage above the counter.

The CAF, as it was then called, was hosted in Mali, and Cameroon eventually took the trophy. But we weren’t there for no Cameroon. Grandpa was a Nigeria die hard fan. Indeed, he had weathered the entire tournament listening in on his little elastic-bound transistor radio, but for the Nigerian fixtures. He would grab one of his grand kids and treat him at The Hotel.

This year’s AFCON tournament in Egypt is expected to be an easy cruise for Nigeria in the Group Stages. Grandpa must be boiling with joy, on the inside. Not jump and down, hello, he’s in heaven. You supposed to be cool. I expect he shall be watching it live – through the clouds, no less – as his team trounces entire Group B featuring Madagascar, Guinea and Burundi.

Cameroon, Winners 2017 AFCON

Cameroon, Winners 2017 AFCON

The Hotel is packed tight, and people not in the financial bracket to afford cups of tea had to line up against the wall. The wooden benches, that’s VIP. Keep to your lanes, gentlemen.

We get a seat somewhere on the VVIP, that’s the front bench. It has the who’s who in the village circles. The village Chaplain. The Sub-Chief. A guy studying something at The University of Nairobi – perhaps, I should pay him tribute as the ‘only’ guy in campus, then. That was huge.

Well, the game started. It was the Knock Out Stages, and Nigeria was facing Senegal in the Semis. I kept stealing glances at the tiny TV on the counter. Forgive me, but most of my attention had been taken by the glass display below the TV. It was chock full of neatly arranged Mandazi and round balls we fondly called Kaimati.

I had a gentleman’s arrangement with Grandpa. I get both delicacies at alternate times, all I had to do was point at the glass display when I finish one, and the good lady brings me another. It was an All-You-Can-Eat fiesta. A buffet of sorts.

As the game progressed, lots of things started to rise. Ok, besides my tummy, that is. General agitation, for instance, and the previously soft spoken Chaplain could be heard at halftime apologizing profusely to someone he had insulted.

Egypt's talisman, Mo Salah

Egypt’s talisman, Mo Salah

At half time, the teams had a barren draw. I noticed Grandpa getting restless and sitting on the edge of the bench. That didn’t look or feel good. Bad things happen when Grandpa lost his cool – he had a reputation. He had lots of player names rolling off the tip of his tongue.

“Sunday Oliseh, kwani ulikula nini leo babaa, ama umelipwa?”

“Kanu, what’s the hell with you today, man?”

“Who the hell substitutes Jay Jay Okocha?”

I later learnt Jay Jay Okocha had been at the peak of his career.

I didn’t give much thought to a match happening hundreds of miles away. I had my own goals to score at the glass display.

At the half time mark, the teams had reached a stubborn 1:1 draw.

Grandpa stands up, fishes a fist of coins from his leather jacket pocket and hands them to the hotel lady, who’s left counting them. She ain’t sure my tally would be included in that fist of coins. I was winning by a large margin.

Fast forward to 2019. If I were treating my son to a Semi Final match in the coming AFCON football bonanza in Egypt, I would probably have swiped my Co-Op Visa Card. I would have won a trip for two to Egypt to watch the final match live, but I don’t know if I would have tagged along my son, Zack, though he could have won through his Jumbo Junior Account. Thank heavens for Visa.

Man, I’d give anything to be there for our motherland, Kenya. In the group stages, we up against Senegal, Algeria and immediate neighbor, Tanzania, in Group C. I’d expect us to cruise to the Knock Out Stages, at the very least. The host country, Egypt, who has the highest tally of AFCON trophies since its inception, is up in Group A, against Uganda, Zimbabwe and DR Congo. Will Egypt up its trophy tally to 8?

But its 2002, still, and I have to watch my Grandpa – who has since left his VVIP spot on the front bench and stood on edge near the door.

The 103rd minute, Senegal’s Diouf scores the winning goal. Not that we would know, then, that that would be the winning goal, because a mug of tea had crashed on the tiny TV shattering the screen in a bright ball of fire.

Yes, that’s the day Grandpa came to spend the night in a cold police cell. He had thrown his mug in rage and crashed the only TV in the Market Centre.

El Hadji Diouf, you owe me.

Co-operative Bank Group has registered a pre-tax profit of Ksh. 5.1 billion for the first quarter of 2019 compared to Ksh. 4.9 billion recorded in the first quarter of 2018.

This is a steady growth of 4.4 per cent against the backdrop of a challenging economic environment in the period. Profit after tax was Ksh 3.6 billion compared to Ksh 3.4 billion in the previous year.

The group continues to leverage on the benefits of the “Soaring Eagle” Transformation Agenda that has re-tooled and equipped the business with added competitive edge as reflected in the sustained growth in market share across all market segments and Counties; which has progressively deepened the Financial Inclusion model rooted in the over 15 million-member co-operative movement, that is the face of Kenya.

Cooperative Bank Group MD Gideon Muriuki (right) and Chairman Stanley Muchiri

The total non-interest income increased by 19.1 per cent from Ksh. 3.5 billion to Ksh. 4.2 billion with interest income from government securities increasing by 39.6 per cent from Ksh. 2.0 billion to Ksh. 2.8 billion.

The operating income grew by 1.7 per cent from Ksh. 10.9 billion to Ksh. 11.1 billion while total operating expenditure decreased by 1.2 per cent from Ksh. 6.1 billion to Ksh. 6.0 billion as a result of prudent cost management strategy and enhanced efficiency.

Assets grew by Ksh. 27.9 Billion (+7 per cent) to Ksh. 425.7 billion compared to Ksh. 397.8 billion in the same period last year.

Net loans and advances book remained relative stable at Ksh. 251.6 billion.

Investment in government securities grew by Ksh 29.0 billion (+38.6 per cent) to Ksh. 103.9 billion compared to Ksh. 75.0 billion in first quarter of 2018.

Customers’ deposits grew by 7.4 per cent from Ksh. 295.9 billion to Ksh. 317.8 billion.

Borrowed funds from development partners grew by Ksh. 3.1 billion (+14.9 per cent) to Ksh. 23.7 billion compared to Ksh. 20.7 billion in the same period the previous year.

Shareholders’ funds grew from Ksh. 67.9 billion to Ksh. 72.8 billion.

The bank closed the quarter with a sound capital base, with adjusted total capital against total risk-weighted assets standing at 16.5 per cent, which is 2.0 per cent above the statutory minimum of 14.5 per cent.

Also read: 5 reasons why the MCo-op Cash app is the best first resort when you’re in a tight financial spot

Through its multi-channel strategy, the Bank has successfully moved 88 per cent of all customer transactions to alternative delivery channels that include self-service kiosks in 155 branches, an expanded 24-hour contact centre, mobile banking, 585 ATMs, internet and over 11,600 Co-op Kwa Jirani banking agents.

A successful universal banking model and the implementation of sales force effectiveness has seen the Group serve 8.2 million account-holders across all sectors.

Key focus on digital banking, with the all-telco Mco-op Cash mobile wallet continuing to play a pivotal role in the growth of non-funded income with over 4.3 million customers registered and 1.2 million loans worth over Ksh. 5.1 billion disbursed as at the close of Q1 2019.

Over 26,800 customers have taken up the rolled out MSME packages that Co-op Bank launched in 2018 and 1600 have been trained on business management and planning.

The bank has earmarked Ksh. 15.2 billion for MSME lending and to date we have disbursed Ksh. 3.2 billion under the program.

These include 24,167 mobile unsecured business e-loans and 450 supply-chain loans disbursed in Q1 2019 alone.

Co-op Bank’s unique model of retail banking services through Sacco FOSAs has enabled it to provide wholesale financial services to over 464 FOSA outlets, and issue over 1 million Sacco-Link cards.

Co-operative Bank of South Sudan that is a unique Joint Venture (JV) partnership with Government of South Sudan (Co-op Bank 51 per cent and GOSS 49 per cent) made a profit before tax of Ksh. 1.7 million in Q1 2019, which was 28.7 per cent higher than Ksh. 32.4 million posted in 2018.

Co-op Bank Foundation has also provided scholarships for gifted but needy students from all regions of Kenya. The sponsorship includes; fully-paid secondary education, full fees for university education, internships and career openings for beneficiaries.

The foundation is fully funded by the bank and has so far supported 7,689 students since the inception of the program.

Co-op Bank Headquarters

Co-op Bank Headquarters

Co-operative Bank, through its subsidiary, Co-op Consultancy & Insurance Agency on Thursday concluded its Annual National Co-operatives workshop where CEOs from across the country deliberated key issues concerning the industry.

The workshop themed Co-operatives Tomorrow: Technology and Innovation for Sustainable and Inclusive Development was presided over by the PS State Department for Co-operative Development, Mr. Ali Noor Ismail, who in his keynote speech highlighted the importance of leveraging technology in Co-operatives to spur innovation.

Speaking at the workshop, Mr. Noor Ismail explained that co-operatives are operating smarter today than they did in the past due to the adoption of technology.

“With adoption of technology in Co-operatives, we have seen new types of products introduced that meet more specific needs of members, improve liquidity in Saccos and even yield better margins for Co-operatives,” he stated.

Co-op Bank Director, Co-operatives Division, Mr. Vincent Marangu (left) with Mr. Noor Ismail, Principal Secretary State Department for Co-operative Development

The three-day workshop focused on engaging the CEOs on how to revolutionize their societies and operate within the competitive business environment with the constantly changing market dynamics. The bank’s subsidiary Co-op Consultancy’s main role is to enhance the institutional capacities of co-operative societies, who are the core stakeholders of the bank.

Speaking at the workshop, Coop Bank Director Co-operatives Division, Mr. Vincent Marangu stated that the bank facilitates such workshops every year to create an environment where co-operatives can  deliberate, share learnings and build each other.

“We understand that organizations are faced with numerous institutional challenges which they must address in order to attain their goals in the dynamic business environment in the country,” he said.

This year’s workshop covered a wide range of topics such as building technological capabilities in Co-operatives which will help the participants think strategically about technology beyond adoption and managing the associated risks. It had a panel discussion focusing on three key areas, building capacity in terms of strategy, governance and security.

It also covered demystifying digital transformation in Co-operatives; many Co-operatives have carried out system changes and adopted new technologies but they are not fully digital. The session gave a breakdown what digital transformation is and demonstrate what the Co-operatives need to do to achieve it. They also covered management and expansion of the Agricultural value chain, this session challenged the participants to think further on what they can do to expand their value chain and introduce new alternatives to their existing business models.

The Co-operatives CEOs  also covered managing technology partnership, leadership and coaching and the Impact of the Proceeds of Crime and Anti Money Laundering Act (PoCAMLA) to bring on board Deposit-taking SACCOs into mandatory reporting of large transactions in respect to prevention of money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism.

This workshop is one of several trainings offered to Co-operatives by Co-operative Bank, through Co-op Consultancy & Insurance Agency, to help them in capacity building, development and growth.

The vibrant and dynamic co-operative movement in Kenya is a key player in the economy, controlling about over 40 per cent of Kenya’s gross domestic product (GDP).

The Co-operative Societies in Kenya employs more than 500,000 people, besides providing opportunities for self-employment to many more. Savings and credit societies (SACCOs), the fastest growing sub-sector in the movement, controls over 30 percent of national savings.

Co-operative House, Headquarters of the Co-operative Bank of Kenya

Co-operative Bank, through its MSME offering, has taken customers to Shanghai and Yiwu in China for a business networking trip. The trip will enable customers to create linkages for overseas business and build partnership opportunities as well as purchase various items at a highly discounted costs which will enable them to pass the discounts to their customers making their products competitive.

Also read: Isuzu East Africa & Co-operative Bank announce ‘daily repayment’ asset finance scheme

The customers, drawn from across the country, will tour China, specifically Shanghai and Yiwu. In Shanghai, they will visit one of the world’s busiest shopping streets, Nanjing and in Yiwu, they will visit Futian Market which is the biggest hub in China for all kinds of products. It is divided into 5 districts, each with various sections selling specific products. In this trip, the customers will get to meet suppliers of electric appliances, electronics, hardware tools & fittings, telcom equipment, vehicles and many others.

They will further visit markets for office supplies, sports equipment, stationery, cosmetics, beauty/salon equipment, fashion accessories, beddings, curtains, fabrics, auto & motorcycle accessories, hair ornament & jewellery, festival arts and decorative arts.

Speaking about the business trip, Coop Bank Head of Business Banking, Mr Moses Gitau said it will be instrumental to all the business customers who will travel as they will create linkages for overseas business and partnership opportunities.

Co-operative Bank's Arthur Muchangi and Moses Gitau

Co-operative Bank’s Arthur Muchangi and Moses Gitau

“From our engagement with various business customers, we know that their business needs go beyond finance; they also need exposure and networking opportunities with business practitioners, in Kenya and beyond the border especially in successful countries like China,” he stated.

Later this year, in October, the bank will organize another business networking trip to Guangzhou for the 126th Canton Fair. This is the largest trade fair in China with the largest assortment of products, largest attendance and with the largest number of deals made at a fair. It is a unique experience where participants get to mix business with leisure. This trip is open for all business customers looking to travel to China for business.

Also Read: Co-op Bank will finance and help you import your dream car, here’s how

Co-operative Bank recently revamped its MSME offering and now has an arm in the bank which deals specifically with non-financial services for its MSME business banking customers. The bank retooled and refreshed the product offering to make it more responsive to the needs of MSMEs. They have made available a substantial kitty of Ksh. 15.2 billion for a package of loans that include an unsecured business loan, a first of its kind in Kenya, E-Credit through our MCo-op Cash App where businesses are able to borrow up to Ksh. 2 million via their mobile phone, packaged insurance cover which are handpicked and specifically negotiated to suit various segments under MSME, revised and pre-approved limits on overdrafts and loans.

The loans will be supported by trade services that include Letters of Credit, guarantees, supply chain financing, among others. These services are available at all Cooperative Bank branches across the country. The vision for this revamped MSME offering from Coop Bank is to grow world class entrepreneurs beyond the Kenyan borders.

Cooperative Bank Group MD Gideon Muriuki (right) and Chairman Stanley Muchiri

Co-operative Bank has formed a joint partnership with World Navi Co. Ltd, a leading Japanese exporter of used units to Africa and Europe, launching a financing scheme to enable Kenyans to import second-hand cars.

Co-op Bank’s Moses Gitau with World Navi Co. Ltd Managing Director Yoshifumi Sawada during the signing of the deal

The partnership guarantees a 100pc safe and reliable vehicle importation including three months warranty on the engine & transmission, accident free & genuine mileage certificates and zero risk of stolen parts or non-performance.

In line with the Bank’s efforts to build a strong offering, this service will help customers to import quality second-hand vehicles at affordable prices through a secure platform from key source markets in Japan, UK and Thailand as well as secure up to 80% financing for the purchase.

With this service, the Bank will also finance approved motor vehicle dealers to enable them to import vehicles on behalf of their customers.

Co-op Bank’s Moses Gitau with World Navi Co. Ltd Managing Director Yoshifumi Sawada during the signing of the deal

Speaking during the agreement signing with World Navi at a Nairobi Hotel on Friday, the Head of Business Banking at Co-operative Bank, Mr Moses Gitau said the partnership creates a end-to end solution for people to import quality second hand vehicles at affordable prices.

“Majority of Kenyans depend on the import second-hand vehicle market to own a car but one of the prevailing issues plaguing the public is the anxiety of finding a reliable agent who will ensure they get what they are paying for,” he stated

Speaking at the same event, World Navi Co. Ltd Managing Director, Mr Yoshifumi Sawada said the partnership intends to meet the local market’s needs on used vehicles which will reach out to the majority of the market areas across the entire country through its 150 branches.

“Our company is offering its 20 years’ experience in the business of exporting used cars globally with the assurance of every customer receiving high quality cars through the unique: 3 months warranty on engine and transmission which no other exporters can offer,” he said.

The service is open to both Co-op Bank customers and non-customers wishing to import vehicles using either their own funds or looking to be financed by the bank.

For customers purchasing the vehicle using their own funds, they would identify the car on the World Navi’s website, place the order then receive a general pro-forma invoice.

The customer will then deposit the whole amount into an internal account with the bank, where it will be held until the car is shipped and delivered to them.

Co-op Bank’s Moses Gitau shakes hands with World Navi Co. Ltd Managing Director Yoshifumi Sawada after signing the deal

Customers seeking financing from the Bank to buy the vehicles, would follow the same process in identifying and ordering the car, however on receipt of the general pro-forma invoice they would start the loan application process with the bank.

Once approved, the customer will receive an indicative offer letter and would then proceed to deposit their own contribution (at least 20%) into an internal account and the Bank will cover the rest, enabling the import agent to ship and deliver the vehicle.

The vehicle purchase will be handled wholly by World Navi; they will purchase the vehicle on behalf of the customer, carry out quality checks and ship the car to Kenya.

The documents will be consigned to the bank, who will release them to the clearing agent to facilitate clearing and registration following which the vehicle is delivered to the customer. Once the customer receives the vehicle they will execute a delivery note confirming receipt. The minimum car purchase amount is Ksh. 500,000/-.

Co-operative Bank firmly believes that forming partnerships that benefit the customer is key to success. Before providing a financial solution, Co-op Bank will ensure that they weigh the business need and the prevailing market situation versus the opportunity and customers needs. This ensures that the partnership deal meets the customer needs and keeps up with the ever changing market.

 

Ghetto life can be rough. Many young people who grow up in Kenyan slums are forced to turn to crime to make ends meet. More often than not, this does not end well for them and their families.

A Kenyan Catholic priest known as Father John Webootsa of St. John’s Parish in Korogocho knew this too well and this explains why he set out to change the ‘ghetto narrative’ in 2008.

The 38-year-old cleric was keen on improving the living conditions slum dwellers so much so that he asked Elizabeth Njoroge to teach young people music at a community centre in Korogocho.

This community project is what became the Ghetto Classics. With time, the centre was able to acquire instruments which have helping underprivileged children from various parts of Nairobi.

In 2013, Kenya’s leading mobile service provider, Safaricom, through its CEO Bob Collymore, asked Elizabeth to form the Safaricom Youth Orchestra.

Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore with Ghetto Classics

In 2014, the teleco started the Safaricom Jazz Festival and donated all proceeds from ticket sales to the program.

Since then, Ghetto Classic has received approximately Ksh 60 million from Safaricom. These funds cater for music training, schooling and basic needs of over 650 children from different slums in Kenya.

The beneficiaries of this program have acquired skills that have given them hope and opened a world of possibilities.

Ghetto Classics

Apart from performing before the likes of Pope Francis and President Uhuru Kenyatta, these young boys and girls have also shared stages with music greats like Branford Marsalis, Kirk Whalum, Salif Keïta, Marcus Miller, just to name a few.

On Wednesday May 1, 2019, Ghetto Classics will have another opportunity to perform alongside two music legends i.e. two-time Grammy awards winner Paco Sery (Ivory Coast) and Cheick Tidiane Seck (Mali) who will be the headlining acts in this year’s edition of Safaricom International Jazz Festival.

Paco Sery

The event, which will be held at Carnivore Grounds from 12 noon, will also feature performances from Mandla Mlangeni and the Tune Creation Committee (South Africa), Sylwester Ostrowski and The Jazz Brigade ft. Freddie Hendrix (Poland and USA).

Kenya will be represented by Nairobi Horns Project, Shamsi Music, Jacob and Kavutha Asiyo, Kato and The Change Band.

Safaricom Jazz Festival

Safaricom Jazz Festival

Tickets go for only Ksh. 2000 (adults) and Ksh. 500 (students). You can get your passes at select Safaricom shops, at the gate or by dialling 1511.

What’s more is that regular tickets are now down to Ksh. 1500 on Masoko.com

Get yours and turn out in large numbers to support these young boys and girls from Ghetto Classics as they showcase the skills that they have acquired over the years. This way, you’ll be part of their story. #SafaricomJazz

Below is a video of Ghetto Classics performing alongside Nairobi Horns Project.