Aga Khan in deal with Harvard to train executives

Ivy League university Harvard has partnered with Aga Khan University to offer a series of courses for senior executives.

The courses aimed at sharpening the leadership and communication skills of the managers will be offered at the Aga Khan University Graduate School of Media and Communications (GSMC). The programme targets senior leaders in business, government, civil society and media.

“The courses are designed to offer senior leaders a unique learning experience that will change the way they think about leadership and communicate in their professional and personal lives,” said the founding dean of GSMC, Michael Meyer.
The first week-long course begins in November, followed by a second module in February.

“We live in an era of accelerating change and unprecedented complexity. Organisational strategies today will be obsolete if not self-defeating tomorrow. Success requires agile leadership and intelligent communication,” said Mr Meyer.
“That is why we are proud to offer an extraordinary opportunity to sharpen two of the most vital skills demanded by these challenging times.”

To qualify for the course, one needs to be a proven, or emerging senior leader with a minimum of a ten-year experience, and “be in a position that involves leading others and making mission-critical decisions”.
The programme also accepts those who have a personal leadership challenges that they wish to address as well as those looking for the opportunity “to reflect, to connect with oneself and to re-examine their leadership in a global context”.
Upon graduation, the leaders will become part of a global network of leaders from a professionally and geographically diverse class and faculty.

Source: Business Daily

Chicken Inn owner eyes LSE listing to raise cash

Zimbabwe’s largest fast-food restaurant operator, Simbisa Brands, that also operates in Kenya is planning a secondary listing at the London Stock Exchange (LSE) junior market to raise capital for expansion and potential foreign acquisition.

The Africa-focused fast-foods business — which operates quick service restaurant chain in Kenya including Chicken Inn, Pizza Inn, Bakers Inn and Creamy Inn — said it has set sights on expanding in African markets, including Kenya to take on international brands like American McDonald’s.

“Shareholders are advised that the Simbisa Brands Limited board of directors has approved, subject to Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, other regulatory approvals and shareholder’s approval, the application for a secondary listing of Simbisa’ Ordinary Share Capital on the London Stock Exchange Alternative Investments Markets,” Simbisa Brands said in a cautionary statement.

Zimbabwe and Kenya have the largest number of Simbisa outlets. It has 193 counters in Zimbabwe and 205 abroad. The firm recently invested $4.3 million (about Sh446.7 million) in the expansion of its operations in Kenya, Zimbabwe and Mauritius.
“The combined revenue for the regional operations (Kenya, Zambia, Ghana, DRC and Mauritius) increased by 10 per cent to $30.2 million (about Sh3.1 billion) (2015: $27.4 million) driven by a gratifying performance from our largest market, Kenya, and the contribution of our expansion activities in Mauritius,” said chairman Addington Chinake recently.

Source: Business Daily

Three counties to gain from UN’s Sh860m cities upgrade plan

The UN will invest Sh860 million in upgrading social amenities in Nairobi, Mombasa and Machakos counties under an urban development programme.

Kisumu County is also lined up for a Sh260 million city upgrade to be financed by the UN-Habitat, the French Development Agency and Israel.
The UN-Habitat said on Tuesday counties that had sought guidance in planning for extension of urban centres in the face of surging population.

“We will help in developing planned city and town extensions as millions of people continue moving to urban centres,” executive director Joan Clos said Tuesday during a breakfast meeting organised by the Kenya Property Developers Association.
“Without planning, the country runs the risk of ending up with an increase in the number of slum dwellers,” he noted.
On top of designing plans, the UN’s project will see upgrade of public leisure parks in city centres alongside flowerbeds along roads.
The Gigiri-based agency said that there was a need for creation of smart cities in Kenya by embracing green technology in building designs and use of renewable energy.

UN-Habitat has already partnered the national government and Machakos County to set up 2,000 low-cost housing units in Mavoko.
The units will be constructed by the National Housing Corporation using the cheaper expanded polystyrene technology which uses soft boards and wire-mesh to make floor, wall and roof panels.
The UN has been advocating adoption of eco-friendly building technologies to arrest emissions of greenhouse gases blamed for global warming.

In 2012, a UN-habitat satellite survey revealed that most cities in the sub-Saharan Africa fell short of recommended standards.
Mr Clos said that most African cities, including Nairobi had dedicated less than 10 per cent of space to streets, resulting in congestion in the central business district.

The recommended street space is about 30 per cent of an urban centre while another 20 per cent open space should be for public parks and flower gardens. Building blocks should occupy the remaining space.
Additionally, the street network should be at least 18 square kilometres to accommodate a large transport catchment.
The UN habitat said that counties could help stem the growing tide of people moving to cities and major towns by encouraging investors set up shop in sub-counties.

This, Mr Clos said, would result in new clusters and services agglomeration forestalling the exodus of people looking for jobs.
During the meeting the UN habitat signed a memorandum of understanding with KPDA for advocacy of sustainable green building designs.

Source: Business Daily

Small private firms spared need to hire external auditors

Small private firms can now breathe a sigh of relief after fresh changes to the law lowered the threshold for companies required to hire external auditors to prepare annual financial statements.

Latest amendments to the Companies Act (2015) now exempt companies with a gross annual turnover of less than Sh50 million and asset base of Sh20 million, from hiring auditors, leaving the decision to the discretion of the firm’s directors.
The initial provision of Section 717 of the companies’ statute compulsorily required all companies to hire accountants to prepare their financials.

While tax and legal experts reckon that the changes are in line with global best practices aimed at cutting red tape for small companies with less than 50 employees, accountants say the amendments are not aligned to existing value-added tax (VAT) laws.
“The reason behind the audit exemption for small companies was to reduce red tape and costs. The provision has been virtually lifted from the Companies Act of England,” said Shitul Shah, a partner at Daly & Inamdar Advocates.

But the Institute of Public Accountants of Kenya (ICPAK) faulted the amendments saying the line should have been set at Sh5 million turnover, which is the threshold for paying VAT.
“We have been talking to Treasury on this because the threshold is not aligned to the income tax and VAT Act,” said Julius Mwatu, chair of the accountants’ regulatory body.
The ICPAK also warns that the audit waiver puts small businesses at risk because they will not access prudent financial advisory on the health of their enterprises.

Analysts at consultancy firm Grant Thornton said audit firms are unlikely to feel the pinch of reduced business from small private firms, because they are still required to file tax returns with Kenya Revenue Authority.

“Whether or not one carries out an audit you are still required to file your accounts with the KRA as you file your tax return. Many companies would still need guidance on this, more so to ensure the rightful amount of tax is paid,” said Mbiki Kamanjiri, tax manager at Grant Thornton.

Source: Business Daily

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