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Safaricom plans to review legal terms to migrating M-pesa customers who opt to use the paper-thin overlay SIM card technology. This comes after Equity Bank attained approval to use the overlay thin SIM card to offer mobile phone services such as money transfer on a one year trial period.

Safaricom’s review of the legal commitments will address legal exposures that could emerge from use of the SIM overlay technology in relation to mobile banking activities.

According to Communication Authority of Kenya (CAK) and Central Bank of Kenya, the use of this technology will remain under strict observation and if any malice is reported then the system will be terminated during the one year trial period.

The Authority has approved Taisy’s SIM cards, Taiwanese firm Equity contracted through its Mobile Virtual Network Provider Finserve Africa, to operate in the Kenyan market.

In addition, the Authority has began hiring process of an internationally reputable firm to conduct a security inspection on all SIM cards and particularly use of thin SIM in mobile transfer activities. This will ensure that there is a framework regulating use of thin SIM cards in Kenya during this period.

How the thin SIM card operates

The technology enables placement of a thin SIM card on top of a primary standard one, a new technology that had been opposed by Safaricom over data security concerns. If you type your PIN code or other codes, for it to access your tool kit, the thin SIM sitting in between is capable of seeing that transaction.

The SIM thin card gets merged to the existing card and turns your phone into a dual SIM although it has only one slot. If somebody calls you on your Equity line, you can pick it and if they call you on another network, you do the same.

This means Equity customers will not need to migrate to the bank’s mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) by getting new SIM cards or be forced to purchase dual SIM phones. Equity Bank won an MVNO license in April this year.

The SIM cards will be available for free, a tactical move that analysts say could accelerate its penetration into the market.

Equity Bank has already started distributing 300,000 smartphones to retailers.







More than 2,500 residents of Mumias sub-County will enjoy clean piped water with the completion of the KES1.8 billion Mumias Water Supply Project. The project aimed at boosting water supply and sanitation services in Mumias Municipality and its surroundings through a new gravity scheme, designed to meet future demand by 2025.

The project executed by Lake Victoria North Water Services Board (LVNWSB) was jointly funded by the Government of Kenya and World Bank through International Development Association at a cost of over KES 1.4 billion.

It will become the major source of clean, piped water in the area with a capacity to provide 15 million litres of water daily. The project’s source of water is River Lusumu which is fed by the Malava forest catchment.

The construction works was carried out by a Chinese firm, Jiangxi Zhongmei Engineering Construction Co. Ltd and supervised by Mangat, I.B. Patel and Partners Consulting Engineers.




The Government of Kenya will go ahead with its plans to build an export pipeline as the Ministry of Energy estimate that Kenya’s oil resources will almost double to 1 billion barrels as drilling increases across different parts of the country. 

Tullow Oil and Africa Oil Corp. have discovered an estimate of 600 million barrels of oil in the South Lokichar Basin since announcing the country’s first crude find in March 2012. The discovery has spurred the East African nation to accelerate infrastructure growth plans, including construction of an oil pipeline that will link Uganda to a planned port in the Kenyan coastal town of Lamu.

Preliminary data acquired from Northern Kenya indicates that oil resources will rise significantly with increased drilling.

Meanwhile, Barakat Exploration has filed a law suit against Canadian Taipan Resource firm at the Nairobi High Court. Barakat is accusing the Canadian firm of faulting to pay consultation fees with relation to a Kenyan oil exploration deal.

Taipan Resources Inc. was to pay for services offered by Barakat Exploration firm after negotiating a KES500 million product sharing deal on oil exploration with the government. Later on, Taipan merged with Lion Petroleum and the two equally shared the exploration cost of two oil blocks, 1 and 2B, in North Eastern Kenya.

Barakat alleges that it carried out its agreed duties but Taipan failed to pay the KES50 million it was supposed to pay for the services rendered. The ruling is set for October 1, 2014





“The 16th East African Power Industry Convention (EAPIC) that took place in Nairobi in September has proven that it is still the most important gathering for quality discussions on where the power sector in the region is going. We look forward to taking the event to the next level next year with a strong push towards a much larger exhibition model.”  This is according to EAPIC programme director Irene Ochem.  

Ryce Engineering together with SDMO held a seminar with engineers on September 19, 2014 at the Southern Sun Mayfair, Westlands, Nairobi. The main objective of the seminar was to enlighten engineers and engineering companies on the importance of power generators as an alternative to power generation.

Based in Brest, France, SDMO is one of the designers and manufacturers of energy generating sets worldwide and plans to open a new office in Nairobi nextyear.

 “Ryce Engineering was established 50 years ago and deals with global brands such as SDMO generators and Daihatsu engine. We design, supply and commission stationery generators set (3kVA to 3,000kVA) suitable to meet the needs of the customers while maximizing efficiency with most cost effective configurations,” said Mr V.Balakrishnan, General Manager, Ryce Engineering.

“We also offer vital operational and maintenance services to ensure that there is minimal break down at any of the installed sites. We have in place skilled service technicians in various parts of Kenya who respond to emergency situations at site installations in a short period of time,” he added.

In relation to the installation and maintenance of their generators, Jean- Charles Ascoët, SDMO France representative said that the generator supports the widest power palette on the market and offers continuous backup power solutions from 1 kW to several megawatts.

Mr Jean-Charles Ascoët(L),SDMO representative(France) explains how the new generator iPad works to Mr V.Balakrishnan, General Manager, Ryce Engineering (C) and Mr. Stephane Nedelec,SDMO representative (France) (far right).

The power generating sets and electricity production plants are aimed at diverse audiences. Private users are directed towards portable or domestic power generators from the portable power range while building tradesmen and professionals will find suitable products in the professional Portable Power range as well as electric pumps and welding sets (SDMO).

 “I wish to challenge all arichtects to consider putting up generators site while constructing buildings or apartments. These generators are environmentally friendly and energy saving both to the residents and at workplaces too,” said Johnson Rutere, Technical Manager, Ryce Engineering.

Ryce East Africa, a pioneer member of the Sameer Group, is located along Kampala Road, off Enterprise road in industrial Area, Nairobi. Ryce is also the main dealer for General Motors products including Isuzu, Chevrolet and Opel.




Rift Valley Railways (RVR) commissions three of 20 General electric B23-7 locomotives from US at a cost of US$25m. This is in efforts to boost efficiency and speed of railway transport in Kenya and Uganda. They will also help ease freight volumes and ease movement across the region.

With Kenya-Uganda railway concessionaire, these are the first locomotives to be delivered in Kenya and Uganda since 1987. The  remaining 17 locomotives  are expected to arrive in the next five months.

RVR is on a 25 year contract to operate railway services along Mombasa –Kampala region and Nairobi commuter services. In August 2014, RVR acquired a simulator for driver training.

Currently, RVR total capital expenditure is KES 25.2 billion enabling it hire skilled workers, implement new technology, upgrade fleet and railway track despite facing opposition from the government over delay in purchasing new locomotives and rehabilitation.




Following steady growth in the truck segment in the region’s auto industry, local assembler General Motors East Africa (GMEA) has handed over a fleet of 10 Isuzu EXZ prime movers and trailers to logistics firm, Acceler Global Logistics (Acceler) making this the largest one time sale for the Company, to date.

Following Somalia’s suit against Kenya at the highest UN court, Attorney General Githu Muigai has selected a team of local and international maritime lawyers to represent Kenya over the long oil tussle in the Indian Ocean.

Read also Oil tussle lands Kenya and Somalia in UN court

The team is to have the first meeting at International Court of Justice by the end of this month. In the legal case, Somalia wants the International Court of Justice in The Hague to determine the maritime boundary between the coastal nations on rights for exploration and revenue collection from oil discoveries.

In June 2014, a preliminary prospectus read, “Kenya and Somalia are in discussion with regards to their respective submissions to the UN Commission on the Limits Continental Shelf.”

Later in 2009, Kenya and Somalia signed a memorandum of understanding that the border would run east along the line of latitude, but Somalia, which has lacked an effective central government since 1991, then rejected the agreement in parliament.

The UN Convention on the Law of the Sea states that all countries that border the ocean are allowed to use the 200 nautical miles into the ocean for exclusive economic purposes without interference from other countries.
Source: Business Daily




The largest irrigation project, Galana-Kulalu has been suspended by parliament as award of the contract was not subjected to competitive bidding. The Israeli firm, Green Arava was awarded the contract without following procurement laws.

Parliament affirmed the contract null and void until further procurement laws are followed, sufficient evidence, report and significant documents are provided to show that the company won the tender.

This project aims at boosting food security, employment opportunities and creating wealth across East African countries. The project set to commence next year will cost KES260 billion and is expected to ease Kenya’s reliance on rain fed agriculture.

The Galana-Kulalu Food Project located in the Coast region will have a substantial area under irrigation as a strategy and entry point for integrated farming for crop, livestock and fish production for local consumption and export.




Ministry of Energy and Petroleum plans to construct a 500MW natural gas plant in Hadado, Wajir County after discovering natural reserve gas in the county.

Africa Oil, a Canadian firm is presently conducting an assessment of the well to determine the immense gas deposits in Wajir. The gas plant is estimated at 1.8 trillion cubic metres covering an area of 200,000 square kilometers. In July 2014, Kenya announced the discovery of commercial gas in Wajir after a successful study was carried out in Hadado.

In addition, the earlier proposed plan to construct a 700MW Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) plant in Mombasa, Dongo Kundu has been put on hold at the moment as a new tender process is carried out. The gas plant was part of government initiative to add 5,000MW to the 1,664MW but bidders didn’t meet the set criteria required.

Meanwhile, oil and gas exploration at Badada location in Wajir County has received opposition from a local indigenous community protesting that it was not actively involved in consultations over the project.

Canadian firm, Taipan Resource Incorporation, is to carry out exploration activities in Badada Block 2B in Wajir.

With oil and gas exploration ongoing across the country, it is evident that high power and electricity costs will go down to improve the infrastructure sector.

  • CAK approves Equity’s SIM card technology

  • Mumias Water Supply Project serves over 2,500...

  • Kenya’s oil resource to double as drilling...

  • Taking the East African Power Industry...

  • Ryce, SDMO holds an engineering forum in Nairobi

    Ryce, SDMO holds an engineering forum in Nairobi

  • RVR launches three locomotives to ease railway...

  • General Motors East Africa records major sale...

  • International maritime lawyers defends Kenya at...

  • Galana-Kulalu irrigation scheme set for nextyear

  • Wajir’s 500MW natural gas plant to boost power...

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