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Safaricom PLC appoints first Kenyan CEO2 minutes read

Peter’s appointment follows a strong desire expressed by the board to appoint a Kenyan for the first time to the helm of one of Africa’s most respected and leading brands.

Peter brings with him substantial multinational experience from previous senior management roles in Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya and the United Kingdom.

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Peter Ndegwa is appointed first CEO of Safaricom

Following months of immense speculation, Kenya’s most profitable company and the largest company by revenue in East Africa has announced the appointment of a new Chief Executive Officer, Peter Ndegwa.

“The Safaricom PLC Board of Directors has today resolved to appoint Mr Peter Ndegwa as the company’s Chief Executive Officer effective April 1, 2020,” said the company’s chairman Nicholas Ng’ang’a in a statement released on Thursday.

The announcement comes only after a day after interim CEO Michael Joseph, alluded to the conclusion of the recruitment exercise for the top job during the company’s 19th-anniversary celebrations. Peter’s appointment follows a strong desire expressed by the board to appoint a Kenyan for the first time to the helm of one of Africa’s most respected and leading brands.

He becomes the third CEO of the company after Michael Joseph and the late Bob Collymore, the former of whom stepped back into the CEO position after Bob Collymore succumbed to cancer on July 2019. Collymore is remembered for his key role in growing Safaricom into the regional business powerhouse it is today, particularly with its revolutionary mobile money transfer product, M-Pesa. He is also remembered for his unwavering support of the arts in Kenya and beyond.

As he returns home from a years-long sojourn abroad and while he has inordinately large shoes to fill, the board of directors appear confident in their pick. “We are confident that Peter will carry on our vision of transforming lives while keeping us focused on meeting our customers’ needs and holding us to our new commitment of being simple, transparent and honest,” said Mr Ng’ang’a.

Peter brings with him substantial multinational experience from previous senior management roles in Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya and the United Kingdom. He joins Safaricom from Diageo, one of the world’s largest producers of alcoholic beverages, where he is currently serving as the Managing Director of Continental Europe and oversees a portfolio of 50 countries.

He is the first African to do so for Diageo outside Africa. He holds an MBA from the London Business School and a bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of Nairobi. He is also a Certified Public Accountant and a member of the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Kenya (ICPAK).

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Uganda approves return of over 2,500 nationals stranded abroad

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Over 2,500 Ugandan nationals stranded abroad amid the Covid-19 pandemic can now return home as approved by the Ugandan cabinet.

The cabinet on Monday, agreed that Ugandan nationals trapped in 66 countries can return home at their own cost.

The government is making arrangements with the UN World Food Program (WFP) to fly the stranded citizens home, Judith Nabakooba, the country’s minister for information, communication technology and national guidance says, adding that all the returning citizens will have to undergo a 14-day mandatory institutional quarantine. 

President Yoweri Museveni last month, directed Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda to study the possibility of evacuating dozens of citizens stranded abroad amid Covid-19 pandemic travel restrictions. 

To contain the spread of Covid-19, the country on March 22 suspended all incoming flights, except cargo flights. 

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Border closure hurts Tanzania’s horticultural exports

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A border closure between Tanzania and Kenya has hit Dar es Salaam’s horticulture sector due to long delays at the crossing for fresh produce truckers, resulting in a disruption of the supply chain.

Horticulture is one of Tanzania’s economic pillars.

This past week, Tanzania Horticulture Association (TAHA) Chief Executive, Jacqueline Mkindi asked the governments of Tanzania and Kenya to resolve the border issue for the sake of an already struggling exports industry.

Most of Tanzania’s horticulture produce is exported through Kenya’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA). “If this tug of war continues, we’ll be the first to suffer as we still rely on JKIA and the port in Mombasa to export crops whose routes are not open from Tanzania,” Mkindi adds. “Our government has all along been considerate to horticulture. We advise it to embark on economic negotiations with Kenya to allow cargo to continue crossing borders smoothly.”

After an international aviation halt, the TAHA signed a deal with Ethiopian Airlines.

Despite the deal with Ethiopian Airlines to ferry fresh vegetables, fruits, herbs and flowers to global markets from Kilimanjaro International Airport, the airline has still not been granted long-term landing permits.

Currently, TAHA has to apply for a landing warrant for every incoming flight at routine airport charges and has to attach backup documents each time.

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Ethiopia to divest 40% of Ethio Telecom

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The Ethiopian government is finalizing plans to sell a 40 percent stake in Ethio Telecom- the country’s sole telecommunication provider . The plan was announced by Ethiopia’s State Minister of Finance, Eyob Tekalign Tolina.

Ethiopia’s telecommunication industry is considered one of the last closed markets. It has been one of the government’s plans to liberalize the country’s economy launched by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. Ethio Telecom has a large market serving a population of around 110 million.

The government will retain ownership of the remaining 60 percent.

Foreign firms in the telecom sector will be invited to bid and a percentage of the minority stake will be sold to Ethiopian citizens. South Africa’s MTN and Kenya’s Safaricom have shown interest in expanding into Ethiopia in the past.

Ethiopia’s communications regulator says the country would proceed with the privatisation of the telecommunications sector despite the novel coronavirus outbreak.

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