An interesting account of the tense moments at the Nairobi County lockdown barrier on Thika Road

Have you travelled to Nairobi City from other counties, lately?

Well, the lockdown road blocks are a thing – to stem the rapidly spreading Covid-19 pandemic. The tension, the uncertainty as one waits for clearance to leave or enter the city is almost tangible.

The Thika Road block, for instance.

This road block has been mounted off Thika Town, at the Del Monte Factory point. It’s meant to stem the flow of humanity to and from Eastern and Central region. Its perhaps one of the busiest, round the clock.

This is where I am, on a cool Wednesday afternoon seeking to re-enter the city after a few weeks working from the rural home.

A mile or so to the actual block, we join the queue of cars. There are a smattering of armed police officers on foot patrol, holding brief conversations here and there. Presently, a smiling officer asks passengers in our van to alight and walk towards the front of the queue.

The policy is that only the driver stays in a vehicle, to the road block. It’s a work staff van, and everyone has permits. But, still, everyone is silent and nervous.

We alight and start the walk.

The slow mile to the check point feels weird. It’s laden with dreadful feelings. Will I pass the test once again? Have I interacted with a risky person of late?

Dear Lord, I know I’ve sinned and fallen short …. You get it, right? It’s ok to be prayerful.

The walk to the road block testing point reminds one of the 999 steps to the famous Heaven’s Gate. No, not that heaven. We talking of one of the world’s most spectacular locations – a stunning tourist attraction in Hunan, China.

The 999-step stairway to Heaven’s Gate is an architectural wonder, winding up a stunning piece of landscape around Tianmen Mountain. Global tourists have made iconic challenges climbing, hiking and even driving up the steps. It commands a Mecca-kind of reverence for wanderlusts.

Well, the testing tents have a long queue.

It’s easy to ignore the happenings in the tension leading up to the tests, but there’s a lot happening – especially on the business level.

While the pandemic has slowed down and closed up lots of businesses, it has also spawned a couple. At the Thika Road check-point, there’s a lot of personnel around the clock – and this has attracted entrepreneurs.

The road block has security officers, medical officers, charity organizations’ staff and elements of administration. This obviously needs welfare planning from refreshments, feeding and other essential services.

On our queue as we await our turn on the test, a lady in a smart orange apron comes along. She’s balancing colorful, blended juice in tumblers on a tray, selling at Kes. 50/- a piece. They seem tantalizing.

Anything to make us release the tension of the looming tests.

“Have some juice, brother. You are sweating”, she tells me.

“Ok, what’s in it?” I ask, pointing to a reddish-yellow tumbler on her tray.

“Oh, that’s mango juice blended with guava…Its delicious” She says, handing it to me.

“Sina cash, tutalipa vipi?” I ask.

I also want to treat my colleagues. The bill comes to Kes.200.

“I prefer cashless payments. Cash ni risky sana kwa hii road block”. She says. Her name is Naomi.

Naomi visibly lights up. She’s well spoken.

She informs us that she has a Co-op Bank account, and the bank recently assisted her get a till number at no cost on which clients can send money straight to her account. Alternatively, we could also pay through Coop Bank’s M-Pesa pay bill number 400200 straight to the account.

In my case, though, I opted to pay via M-Coop Cash app on my phone. It was easy and convenient – to send money from my Coop Bank account straight to hers – via M-Coop Cash app.

For a minute, we forgot the tension leading up to the test.

For startups or established business owners, learn more on E-commerce Business Solutions or visit the nearest Co-op Bank branch. The bank shall also assist you acquire M-Pesa till numbers to facilitate cashless payments at no cost.


Co-op Bank sets the bar for corporates with a Kes.100million donation to the COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund

The Co-operative Bank of Kenya becomes the first corporate institution to act by donating 100 million to the COVID-19 emergency fund to fight the ravaging pandemic. The contribution is expected to support the sourcing of critical life-saving medical supplies and equipment, especially ventilators.

In a letter released to media houses, Group Managing Director & CEO, Dr. Gideon Muriuki is recognizant of the fact that it’s a critical moment for our country, Kenya. He tagged the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic as the biggest crisis of our time, particularly in the effort to source critical life-saving medical supplies and equipment, like ventilators that are in short supply globally.

Dr. Muriuki further appreciates the gallant efforts of H.E. The President, Uhuru Kenyatta, in leading the fight from the front and rallying the country to come together as one.

The appointment of the COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund Committee to mobilize resources for the fight gives all Kenyans and indeed the entire community of goodwill the opportunity to offer their much-needed support.

The Group’s CEO further made a passionate appeal to other corporate institutions and Kenyans of goodwill to join hands and support the most worthy once-in-a-generation global fight against a common enemy.

We shall overcome; Psalm 91:1-4

Renaissance Capital’s insightful analyst comment on Co-op Bank’s audited 2019 results

Renaissance Capital is a leading independent investment bank, providing access to over 50 markets across the globe with operations in Africa, Central and Eastern Europe, North America, and the Middle East.

The firm’s unique on-the-ground footprint, with offices across the world’s top business capitals – Lagos, London, Moscow, New York, Johannesburg, Cape Town, Nairobi, Cairo and Nicosia – provides its clients with an unrivalled offering, serving as a gateway to emerging and frontier markets for international investors.

Renaissance Capital has carved a successful niche in several core businesses: Equity and Debt Capital Markets, M&A, Global Markets – including Equity & Equity derivatives, Fixed Income, FX and IR derivatives, Commodities, REPO and Financing, as well as Research and Prime Brokerage.

On the dynamic banking field, the firm has released an insightful market analysis on The Co-operative Bank of Kenya’s audited 2019 results, with several key highlights:

  1. Renaissance Capital maintain a BUY Rating on Co-op Bank stock, which they give a Target Price of KES 21.40, implying an upside potential of 45%.
  2. Co-op Bank continues to clean-up its loan book, with the ratio of Non-Performing Loans (NPLs) improving to 9.9% in 2019 as compared to 10.3% in 2018.
  3. Co-op Bank has improved operating efficiencies by controlling costs, with the Cost-to-Income Ratio (CIR) improving to 52.1% in 2019 as compared to 54.6% in 2018.
  4. Co-op Bank’s proposed dividend of KES1.0 per share translates to a final Dividend Yield of 8%, as compared to 5% from KCB and 6% at Equity.

The firm steadily continues to provide a full scope of investment banking products to its clients, delivering a unique, integrated offering in emerging and frontier markets.