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Kenyan jobs: The good, the bad and promising

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IFC jobs

Dear jobseeker,

This week in our survey of the Kenyan job market, we take a different approach that includes a review of job opportunities we have highlighted previously. Our aim is to help you understand links between events and your employment chances.

Industries that continue to show high promise:

Money Remittances: we have previously highlighted the entry of various money transfer players into the Kenyan market as well as offerings by local players targeting diaspora inflows. This week another player has entered Kenya: Trans-Fast. The entry is through a joint venture with ABC Bank which is also partnered with MoneyGram. So where should you be looking for a job in this sector? ABC Bank.

Infrastructure: especially transport. The Ministry of Transport will be awarding tenders for 10,000km of road next week. Also Deloitte, a consultancy, has just released a report on investments in Kenya: 60% in transport, 37% in Energy. Follow the money.

Renewable Energy: wind, gas, solar, biogas are all flourishing in Kenya this year. In fact, some wind turbines were last week offloaded at the Mombasa port for the 60MW Kinangop wind power project by MS Iberdola Engineering & Construction. Olkaria geothermal has also announced the construction of a new power line to Kisumu by Ketraco. Construction begins in May and is expected to end in June 2017

Industries that continue to show little promise:

Oil extraction: oil prices are still low. Most drilling firms including Tullow will not be pumping any oil they have discovered until those prices rise again. Job opportunities in this industry may not increase this year.

Education: KeMU has just cut staff allowances by up 30% and also terminated the Vice Chancellor, Alfred Mutema, a month ago. We have previously highlighted the SRC’s rejection of proposed increases in allowances for public university lecturers. If interested in teaching, consider other avenues away from the schools system, such as corporate training firms

New Good News

Website Design and Management Opportunities: The Kenya Network Information Center has just slashed the price of .ke domain websites down to sh 1000 from sh 3000. The hope is that more Kenya firms will buy .ke domains which could spur demand for website designers and managers, if those companies have not already bought .com domains. Keep a look out for these opportunities.

Safaricom: the Kenyan money maker has just become an even better place to work. This year, the telecommunications giant will up paid maternity leave from 12 weeks as required by law to 16 weeks while also allowing reduced working hours for the first six months after birth.

Safaricom has also expanded its involvement in the remittances industry by joining up with Vodafone Tanzania to ease M-pesa transfers cross-border. Also, Tagpesa, which previously allowed members to transfer bitcoins into M-Pesa, has just been acquired by the fastest growing Bitcoin exchange in the world: Igot. Now, you may not secure a job in posh, Safaricom, but clearly, there are many companies working with M-Pesa (e.g. KCB’s new mobile based loans). How about investigating them and identifying positions that may suit you.

The Japanese are Coming: This week President Kenyatta was in Japan to secure some of the billions Japan has set aside for Africa. $32 billion in total. New Japanese projects include a bus assembly plant in Changamwe, a joint venture between Nissin Food Holdings and JKUAT for the manufacture of food stuffs and a Toyota project to build Kenya’s first fertilizer factory (any chemists in the house?).

Facebook is sneaking in:  Look into the Creative Accelerator programme to learn which brands and agencies the social media giant is looking to work with in Kenya in a bid to expand its share of online advertising. Those are jobs, right there.

New Bad News

Maize-Associated Industries: Maize farmers are still waiting for their payments because Parliament is yet to approve a supplementary budget for these payments. How does this affect you? Well, if you are looking to do sales in agriculture, especially for inputs and machinery, no cash for farmers means low demand for now. And if Cherangany MP, Wesley Korir is successful in passing a Bill to control the prices of farm produce and inputs, you can expect sales, marketing, food processing and manufacturing jobs to shrink somewhat.

Manufacturing Forecast Turns Gloomy: In previous weeks, we have been highly positive about jobs in manufacturing in Kenya. The World Bank estimates that the sector provides 280,000 jobs currently and has great potential to provide many more.

However, productivity in this sector is very low and Kenyan firms have very low survival rates when competing against importers. In fact Chinese and Indian firms are stealing EAC market share from Kenyan firms especially those dealing in plastics, chemicals and paper. Our advice for coming months is to focus your job search more on importers and less on local manufacturers

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