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Kenya Airways Suspends Passenger Flights To UAE

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Kenya Airways (KQ) and the Emirates Airlines have suspended passenger flights between the United Arabs Emirates (UAE) and Nairobi.

The Middle East carrier said Tuesday the suspension of operations would see passengers who had booked after January 11 to travel between the two destinations hold on to their tickets until a new travel date is announced.

Affected passengers, KQ said, could also take a voucher for the value of their tickets for future travel up to January 11, 2023.

KQ passengers can also leave tickets open for future use at no extra charge. The suspension of operations by the two airlines does not, however, affect cargo flights that are normally operated by carriers such as Qatar Airways, KQ and Emirates airline from UAE into Kenya.

“Affected customers do not need to call us immediately for rebooking. Customers can simply hold on to their Emirates tickets and when flights resume, get in touch with their travel agents or booking office to make new travel plans,” said Emirates Airlines.

The airlines are cancelling flights to Nairobi barely a few hours after Kenya suspended all inbound and transit passenger flights from UAE for the next seven days to retaliate against a move by Dubai to ban all passenger flights from Kenya over fake Covid tests.

UAE had also extended the Kenya flight ban after it established that travellers from Nairobi were testing positive for Covid-19 after arrival in the Middle East nation, despite carrying negative test results.

KCAA director-general Gilbert Kibe said the scheme involved a racket of private medical testing centres that colluded with travellers to issue fake Covid-19 PCR results to aid their travel to Dubai.

The Ministry of Health has, however, launched a probe on the matter with a view to bringing to book health officials who were involved in the deal that will cost Kenya millions of shillings in lost passenger revenues.

The directive comes as a blow to KQ, which had seen an increase in bookings on this route occasioned by the ongoing Dubai Expo 2020 exhibition. The carrier was flaying two times per day between the two countries before the cancellations.

Emirates Airlines, on the other hand, was flying passengers 10 times per week between Dubai and Nairobi.

The Dubai-based carrier connects the bulk of the continent’s travellers to the rest of the world through its Dubai hub with the budget airlines feeding it with cargo and passengers in major cities like Nairobi.

Kenya exported goods worth Sh25.27 billion in the nine months to September 2021 from UAE while imports from the Middle East nation stood at Sh122.35 billion in the same period, official statistics show.

The temporary suspension of operations came barely a few days after Dubai introduced new travel requirements for those coming on direct flights from Nigeria, Kenya, Rwanda and Ethiopia.

Under the new measures, travellers from Africa to Dubai were required to provide a report on a rapid PCR test conducted at the departure airport six hours before leaving for Dubai.

This is in addition to a negative Covid-19 test certificate issued within 48 hours of arrival in Dubai.

The new measures will also see passengers, including those in transit, undergo a PCR test upon arrival in Dubai and self-quarantine until a negative test result is out.

The new rules, which apply to both passengers terminating their journey and those transiting through Dubai, are expected to affect Africans, most of whom prefer Dubai as a transit point, due to its interconnectivity and the lower fares charged by its national carrier, Emirates Airlines.

The report comes at a time Kenya has recorded a sharp increase in cases of Covid-19 infections in recent months, while the number of admissions in health facilities is also increasing.

The positivity rate climbed sharply by a double-digit from last month, raising concerns among health officials.

The rate has increased from a low of 0.5 percent in October to 20.8 percent as at January 10 as the government stepped up testing and vaccination.

By January 10, Kenya had vaccinated 10.60 million, with 4.48 million people fully vaccinated up from 746,267 on August 14 while the number of those who have received the first jab has jumped to 6.04 million from two million over the same period.

The country has so far vaccinated 16.5 percent of its adult population. To boost vaccinations, the Health ministry had ordered public establishments to lock out the unvaccinated.

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Business

Most Expensive Home in America To Be Auctioned

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The One mansion of the largest private homes ever built, with a colossal 105,00sq ft of living space will go to the highest bidder tonight during a public auction.

Once valued at $500 million, The One mansion in Bel-Air is being sold for $295 million and will be on the open market until it is auctioned off by Concierge Auctions, an online auction marketplace, from February 28 to March 3.

The home will be sold without reserve, meaning it will sell to the highest bidder. Even if it sells close to the price it’s listed at, it will surely break records.

Currently, billionaire and hedge fund tycoon Ken Griffin’s $238 million New York penthouse in 2019 holds the record as the most expensive U.S. home ever sold.

Developed by Nile Niami, the massive estate took more than 10 years to build and created massive debt for Niami. His development company, Crestlloyd, filed for bankruptcy last year, forcing the home to careen towards auction as part of the bankruptcy proceedings.

However, the home still has about 12 more months of work. The buyer will have to put down nearly $340,000 as a deposit.

The Los Angeles home is one of the largest ever built, and is twice the size of the White House. It spans 105,000 square feet and the property sprawls over 3.8 acres.

Outdoor features include a moat of water on three sides of the home, five pools, a 10,000-square-foot deck and a 400-foot outdoor running track.

The home is more like a personal, private resort than a single-family home. There are a whopping 21 bedrooms, 42 full bathrooms and seven half bathrooms.

Despite its grandiose nature, there is a pared-down, neutral color palette throughout and calming water features.

Within the home, there are custom-curated artworks from artists Mike Fields, Stephen Wilson and glass artist Simoe Cenedese, to name a few. Soaring, 26-foot ceilings make the home feel even larger than it is (if that’s possible), and rooms are oversized and expansive.

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Rwanda-Uganda Full Trading Resumes

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Full trading between Rwanda and Uganda is scheduled to resume on Monday January 31st following Kigali announcement that it had opened locks on its borders shut in March 2019.

“Rwanda has taken note that there is a process to solve issues raised by Rwanda, as well as commitments made by the government of Uganda to address remaining obstacles,” Kigali said in the statement.

Since the border closure Rwanda and Uganda recorded a significant reduction in trade flows and was further worsened by the covid-19 pandemic that struck a year after Rwanda had slammed its doors to the northern neighbour.

Before the border was closed in 2019, Uganda export revenues fetched from trading with Rwanda were valued over U$600million. During 2020 Uganda Exports to Rwanda was US$2.31 Million, according to the United Nations COMTRADE database on international trade.

President Paul Kagame said in his new year address that Rwanda prospered in the economic front.

“We are beginning the year 2020 after a successful 2019.Our country remained safe as a result of our efforts”.

The Africa Development Bank in its 2019 outlook on Rwanda, projected robust growth prospects even as the standoff with Uganda heightened.

For example, Rwanda and Tanzania signed the standard gauge railway (SGR) deal dubbed, sub-Saharan Africa’s first 570 Km bullet line with Tanzania worth US$2.5 billion.

Also Rwanda by December 2019 signed a U$1.3 billion deal on Bugesera Airport with Qatar.

One of the biggest blows that Uganda suffered in its standoff with Rwanda was the emergence of Tanzania as Rwanda’s new major trading partner.

Uganda exports to Rwanda include; mineral fuels, oils, distillation products ,plastics ,textiles ,cereals , electronics, vehicles, machinery, fish, edible fruits, soaps, cement, lubricants, waxes, candles and an assortment of manufactured articles.

With the border slated for opening on Monday, the gesture is expected to boost  the movement of goods, transport, persons and services and under strict observation of restrictions against covid-19 pandemic.

How Museveni Lost to Kagame in Race For Regional Dominance

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Business

Akabanga Tycoon Diversifies to Petroleum

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Sina Gerard famed for producing the hot oiled pepper ‘akabanga’ has diversified into petroleum products, Taarifa Business desk reports.

Under a new company registered as Sina Gerard Petroleum Ltd, the tycoon’s decision indicates that he is reading from a good business book on diversification strategy.

Diversification is a business development strategy in which a company develops new products and services, or enters new markets, beyond its existing ones.  Companies diversify to achieve greater profitability.

Diversification will never be an easy game, and managers must study their cards carefully. It takes smart players to know when it’s best to raise their bets and when it’s best to fold.

Havard Business review research suggests that if managers consider the following six questions, they can push their thinking still further to reduce the gamble of diversification. Answering the questions will not lead to an easy go-no-go decision, but the exercise can help managers assess the likelihood of success.

The issues the questions raise, and the discussion they provoke, are meant to be coupled with the detailed financial analysis typical of the diversification decision-making process.

Together, these tools can turn a complex and often pressured decision into a more structured and well-reasoned one.

Thus, when managers consider whether or not to diversify, they should ask themselves the following questions:

What can our company do better than any of its competitors in its current market?

Before diversifying, managers must think not about what their company does but about what it does better than its competitors.

What strategic assets do we need in order to succeed in the new market?

To diversify, a company must have all the necessary strategic assets, not just some of them.

Can we catch up to or leapfrog competitors at their own game?

Will diversification break up strategic assets that need to be kept together?

Managers need to ask whether their strategic assets are transportable to the industry they have targeted.

Will we be simply a player in the new market or will we emerge a winner?

What can our company learn by diversifying, and are we sufficiently organized to learn it?

Like good chess players, forward-thinking managers will think two or three moves ahead.

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