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Kenyan e-Logistics company, Lori, Expands to Nigeria

Kimani Patrick

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East Africa’s largest eLogistics service provider, Lori, has officially announced its expansion to Nigeria in a bid to cement its footprint across Africa.

Speaking at a media launch in Lagos on Monday, Lori’s Chief Operating Officer Uche Ogboi said the company’s mission was to reduce the high cost of transportation of goods, which was up to 75 per cent of the cost of products in some countries across Africa.

“Our mission in Nigeria is to create a more efficient logistics experience for cargo owners who are burdened with the task of moving their goods across the country. We have successfully created a digital platform to enable the movement of goods through a transparent supply chain management system that is affordable, reliable and flexible,” she said.

Uche was appointed as the Lori’s COO in July 2019 to lead the company’s strategic expansion across African market.

Ogboi added that the company is aiming to achieve this by eliminating the challenges encountered by customers along the cargo journey with new technologies and superior user experience.

“This expansion presents a massive opportunity for Lori, as the company seeks to facilitate and connect technology innovation, smart policy and government partnership, and seamless operations to continue to lower the cost of goods.

“Lori is at the forefront of revolutionizing cargo transport across Africa from the ground up,” said Ogboi,

Launched in Kenya in 2016, Lori seeks to seamlessly connect cargo owners to transport in frontier markets.

The startup leverages technology in reducing inefficiencies in the logistics chain by providing real-time tracking and optimization. The solution helps in informed decision making, utmost utilization of trucking assets and ultimately, reduction of transportation costs.

In the last 10 months, the company carried out a successful pilot in Nigeria with some of the country’s top cargo companies including Olam, Honeywell Flour Mills and Flour Mills Nigeria.

Ogboi says the company has successfully created a digital platform to enable the movement of goods through a transparent supply chain management system that was affordable, reliable and flexible.

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Africa

Kenya Airways Withdraws Flights to Gabon and Benin

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The National carrier, Kenya Airways has withdrawn its flights from two West African countries, Gabon and Benin effective October 14, 2019 citing unprofitability for the two routes resulting from changing market demand. Travelers who have booked the airline to the two destinations, beyond this date, will be rerouted or re-booked through KQ partner airlines.

“We have made the necessary arrangements to continue serving our customers who had made forward bookings through our existing cooperation with partner airlines to ensure no disruption to their travel,” said Kenya Airways Chief Commercial Officer, Ursula.

Speculations had it that the suspension of flights to Gabon and Benin is linked to its probe with the pilots on delays, something the carrier has denied. The company argues that the decision to suspend the flights to the cities of Libreville and Cotonou is in line with the current airline’s strategy to align its network worldwide.

The carrier which its first-half revenue rose 12.2 per cent from a year earlier to 58.55 billion shillings, has attributed to the launch of new routes and more frequent flights.

The national carrier has labored under a huge debt has had three changes of chief executive in the past five years as it struggles to compete with regional rivals. The government is making plans to buy out minority shareholders including Air France-KLM’s 7.8 per cent stake.

Sebastian Mikosz, KQ CEO,  says that there is no need to ‘sweat out assets’ with a view of reaping from the efficiency created from a larger network and frequency.

The carrier’s recent flight trend has however been on the positive with KQ having stuck to network expansion in the last year to include new entries in Mogadishu, New York and Geneva.

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Uhuru Pushes for Free Movement of Labor, Goods and Capital Across Africa

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President Uhuru Kenyatta on Wednesday urged African labor unions to promote free movement of labor, goods and capital across the continent.

Addressing the 42nd General Council of the Organisation of African Trade Union Unity (OATUU) which was held in Nairobi yesterday, Kenyatta said that in support of Oatuu initiatives, the Kenyan Government will donate an annual grant of Sh. 20 million to the organization.

Further to this, the president announced that his administration has eliminated Non-Tariff barriers between Kenya and other East African countries.

“It is very sad and disheartening to see our sons and daughters lose lives while crossing the Mediterranean and get humiliated in foreign lands because Africans cannot come together and create opportunities for the future,” said President Kenyatta. “We are not rivals. We must learn that our solidarity will bring prosperity.” he added.

The President also made comments on the recent xenophobic attacks in South Africa and some of the African countries and stated that Kenyans understand migrant labor empowers rather than inhibit economic success.

“Kenyans understand that businesses and investments from our African brothers and sisters within our borders bring vibrancy and vitality to our economy. At the same time, it brings opportunities for Kenyans to economically enhance themselves.” he noted.

Speaking at the conference, Central Organization of Trade Unions (COTU) Chairman Francis Atwoli urged the President to try and improve the wages of Kenyan workers.

“Next labour day, we are looking forward to his excellency taking measures to adjust the minimum wage bill to the level that will better the welfare of workers,” said Mr Atwoli.

In response, Mr. Kenyatta said for workers’ wages to increase, trade unions must ensure industrial unrest is non-existent.

“A stable market where industrial relations are cordial, will allow African nations to strengthen local businesses and attract foreign investment. Industrial antagonism is bad for business,” he said.

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Tala Loan App Downplays its Decision to Downs its Tools in Tanzania

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International Mobile lending company, TALA, has  downplayed its decision to close down its operations in Tanzania under unclear circumstances which analysts says is due to increased stiff competition from rivals as well as recent legal challenges.

“We regret to inform you that Tala is no longer offering loans in Tanzania.” the company had said in a statement shared across its social media pages on September 6.

A company official who only established herself as Kelly through Facebook on Tuesday also confirmed the decision to The Citizen. “Yes, we are no longer offering loans in Tanzania. Unfortunately, due to legal reasons, we cannot divulge any more information other than what was communicated on social media,”

However, in a new turn of events after concerns raised by its customers in Kenya, the company downplayed its earlier decision which it termed as not final and also expressed its commitment to continue serving its Kenyan market.

In a statement released on Wednesday 18th Sept, the company clarified and said that it has not yet made a final decision on its exit from Tanzania market. “Tala Tanzania has not made a decision to permanently close operations. However, after piloting our credit product in Tanzania, we have paused our lending operations and are undertaking a review of our operations to determine our path forward in the market,” the company said.

“Our operations in Kenya continue uninterrupted as Kenya is a critical part of our global business. We are continuing to evolve our product to meet the needs of our 3 million customers here and are also piloting some exciting new offerings in financial education and coaching”. the Tala statement read.

However, Tala users in Tanzania are required to clear their debts despite the shut down. In the statement made by Tala, it is said that they will actively continue to support financial access in Tanzania

Reports by The Citizen indicate that the company’s exit comes months after it was accused of economic crimes which caused the Tanzania government to loose $2.5M in fraudulent use of the networks under the Economic and Organised Crime Control Act 2002.

Tala has attracted over 27 million customers globally and can be accessed in Mexico, Philippine, Kenya and India. In Kenya it can be accessed by anyone for as long as one has an android phone, an Identification Card and a registered Safaricom M-pesa line

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