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Athi Water Services Board hopes that the construction of Sh 7 billion pipeline from Murang’a will increase the supply of water for Nairobi residents to 140,000 cubic meters per day.

The company chief executive officer Mr. Malaquen Milgo said that the project, which is set to take two years, will significantly raise supply of water to residential and industrial establishments.

Mr. Milgo said that a contractor for the 11.7 kilometer pipeline financed by the World Bank had been picked and is expected on site once the deal is signed.
The pipeline, measuring 3.2 meters in diameter, will take about 40 months to complete, paving way for another mega project that will completely bridge the water deficit by 2030.

The pipeline will discharge raw water from Mragua, Gikire and Irati rivers to Githika river, which drains its water to Ndakaini dam, a major water source for Nairobi. From Ndakaini, a Ksh 4.8 billion water treatment plant financed by the French Development Agency will be constructed at Kigoro to process the extra water supply.

The plant, which was initially set to be built in Ngororo, 44 kilometers from Ndakaini, was shelved after it emerged that it would cost Ksh3 Billion to acquire the pipeline's way-leave. The treated water will then be pumped to Ng'ethu Water works for onward supply to the city.

                   

Samsung and Apple’s top smartphone series have a new challenger. A China smartphone domineer, Xiaomi on Monday unveiled a new smartphone, Mi4.The smartphone which some refer to as the “iPhone of the East” is considered a Galaxy and iPhone hybrid.

The Mi4 has a 5-inch full-HD screen and runs a special modified version of Android that Xiaomi uses in all of its phones. Like the iPhones,Mi4 is all-metal with smoothly-cut edge perimeter.It features a quad-core 2.5GHz processor, 2GB of RAM, a 13-megapixel rear-facing camera and 16GB of 64GB of internal memory.

To beat Samsung’s android phones, the device will run Xiaomi’s custom MIUI operating system – a skinned version of Android that allows for more customization and that removes the Android app drawer in favour of putting all the programs on the home screen (just like an iPhone).

Xiaomi also unveiled an fitness tracker dubbed the MiBand which tracks the wearer’s sleep and steps and can be used also to unlock Xiami’s phones.

Xiaomi however sells its phones only in China and other few emerging markets. It is said to have sold more phones than Apple in China.

Their Mi3 smartphone is ranked seventh in top selling Smartphones by Counterpoint Technology Research Firm as of May this year. Apple is rumored to be working on iPhone 6 which could be released before end of this year.

 

 

 

Sunswift, a team of engineering students from University of New South Wales have designed and built a fast solar-powered vehicle known as eVe. The vehicle has broken the 20-year -old electric vehicle record for the highest average speed over a 500 km (310 mi) distance.

The vehicle which goes at a speed of 140 kilometers per hour will be replaced with a fully charged battery instead of solar panels this week.

Car features
The design of the car is more conventional with a two-door and two passenger car making it almost street legal.

It is powered by a Li-ion battery pack that drives a pair of custom-designed motors with an astounding 97 per cent efficiency. The solar panel array has high efficiency flexible thin slim silicon PV cells providing 800 watts of power on a sunny day.

Regenerative braking replenishes the batteries, recovering up to 80% of the braking energy.

The TeXtreme carbon fiber body keeps the car’s weight at a trim 300 kg (661 lbs). Its wheels are made of carbon fiber (front) and aluminum (rear).

Lastly, the  vehicle has been recorded in the Guinness World Record for its uniqueness in design unlike past spaceship vehicles.


Safaricom has released the second edition of the Appwiz challenge, the contest. The challenge will target new app developers working in the mobile technology firms.
It aims at identifying and developing successful early stage mobile technology companies and come up with developing solutions to problems affecting the current Kenyan market.

As reported by a local daily “this edition will harmonize government’s efforts in achieving a middle-income economy by 2030 and boost ICT start-ups that will develop into profitable enterprises.”

Safaricom has invested Sh 7 million in the competition and the participants with the most successful mobile technology based solution will get the chance to expand their start-ups through financial support from the prize money and partnerships from government and private sector.

Applicants will be required to develop    solutions from five categories such as Mobile for Good and Community Development, Smart Business and Cloud Innovation, Financial Inclusion, Youth, Entertainment, Games and Media and Infrastructure and Utilities.

The statement added that the developers will be taught on how to attract investments through their solutions, how to manage and marketing techniques of their businesses in addition to training and mentorship.

              

The general public is being invited to a validation workshop on the Nairobi Integrated Urban Development Master Plan (NUIPLAN).The workshop organized by the Nairobi City Council and JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency) is scheduled for 22nd July  (tomorrow) from 9:00am-4:00pm at Kenya School of Monetary Studies.

“This follows successful and highly participatory plan preparation and SEA process that have involved a broad spectrum of local and international stakeholders”, notes the NUIPLAN secretariat in a statement.

The draft NUIPLAN and draft Strategic Social & Environment Assessment (SEA) reports will be subjected to public inspection and the final plans will be made.

The plan is aimed at providing a guiding framework to manage urban development in Nairobi City County from this year (2014) to 2030.It will also help integrate all urban development sectors and realize the goals of Kenya Vision 2030 for the city county of Nairobi.

 

 

 

                              

Kenyans with project ideas that can positively affect lives of ten to thirty people have a chance to receive funds to fund their projects. The funds totaling up to Ksh1.653B will be made available via the Renewable Energy and Adaptation to Climate Technologies (REACT) funding window of the Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund (AECF).

“The AECF is now accepting applications in the third round of the renewable energy and adaptation to climate technologies (REACT R3) window.”, notes REACT in a statement.

REACT provides grants and interest free loans to businesses with innovative and transformative climate change solutions. The fund seeks those businesses with ideas that are profit driven, have the potential to go scale and that by doing so will have a deep social impact throughout the region.

The projects on target are mainly under solar energy, power generation from agricultural waste, draught-resistant crops, small irrigation projects and weather insurance for small farmers.

REACT goes on to add, “The overall driving forces for REACT are that the business idea must show an environmental benefit and that it must demonstrate a positive impact on the rural poor through either increased incomes, employment and productivity or reduced costs.”

The application is open until 23rd September this year. Applicants can apply on the AECF website. The best ideas are awarded up to US$1.5m in grants and interest free loans while the least amount awarded is Ksh250, 000.
REACT is currently investing in 32 companies across East Africa and 12 in Mozambique, with an overall portfolio size of approximately US$34 million. So far, 179 grantee businesses around Africa have been selected for funding through various competitions out of over 8,000 applications received in six years.

Among the beneficiary projects under REACT so far are; Mkopa, MicroEnergy Credits, Mobisol,Cummins Cogeneration, Ecosmart Energy SolarNow, Off Grid Electric Tanzania Ltd among many others.

The AECF is a Sh18 billion challenge fund capitalised by multilateral and bilateral donors to stimulate private sector entrepreneurs in Africa. The AECF is supported by the governments of Australia, Denmark, Netherlands, Sweden and the United Kingdom, as well as the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).



 

 

 

                          

Local internet providers will now save up to $1.5 million a year on international connectivity charges thanks to growth in internet exchange traffic in the country.

This announcement was made yesterday as the Kenya Internet Exchange Point (KIXP) officially launched the East Africa Data Centre. KIXP whose traffic capacity has grown four times since 2011 will own the first Tier 3 data centre in East and Central Africa.

Research conducted by Independent Strategy and Research Consultancy, Analysis Mason, found that the IXPs in Kenya and Nigeria had saved millions in telecommunications costs, raised additional revenues, accelerated local data exchange and encouraged the development of locally hosted content and services.

Improved access to local content has led to increased usage, subsequently helping increase the mobile data market by at least $6m per year in Kenya.

The report also revealed that KIXP has drastically reduced latency of local traffic, speeding data from 200-600ms (milliseconds) to 2-10ms on average.

There are four tiers of data storage worldwide but Africa has no dedicated Tier 4 facilities yet. The Tier 4 facilities provide the highest level of data security. EADC however, guarantees 99.98 per cent availability of data in order to qualify for its grading and becomes the first to reach these standards in East and Central Africa.

KIXP was previously hosted at Bruce House in the Nairobi CBD.

Counties going Smart
Elsewhere, since 2013 when the government decentralised its functions to the county governments,
efforts have been made to enhance efficiency of the county government by enrolling ICT in service delivery.

In a move to accelerate counties efficiency and effectiveness in public service delivery, the ICT Authority secured funding to support ICT readiness and deployment in identified projects. A total of $30 million from the World Bank has been secured to support the initiative, Kenya Transparency and Communications Infrastructure Project (KTCIP).

 

 

 

 

China Road and Bridge Corporation, contracted firm to construct the Standard Gauge Railway has been constrained by Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure to buy all local materials from the local industries in Kenya. A move that will see the economic status of the country rise.

Some of the materials they will buy include sand, steel, galvanized iron, electric cables and cement costing Ksh 327billion from the contract price.

Standard Gauge railway will be one of Kenya‘s achievements in achieving vision 2030 and is set to begin in September and completed in June 2017. It will bring major changes into the transport sector as there will be cheaper means of transport and regional integration.


Read also http://www.kenyaengineer.co.ke/index.php/columns/powertrains/1852-an-open-letter-from-an-engineer-to-the-president

In efforts to increase power affordability in Kenya, Lake Turkana Wind Power Project has received an addition Ksh 21.75 billion from the US government.

Read also http://www.kenyaengineer.co.ke/index.php/f/1928-adf-funds-first-partial-risk-guarantee-for-the-wind-power-project-in-turkana

The 310 megawatt project being channeled through Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) will serve 2.5 million Kenyans. Thus, Kenyans will be able to enjoy cheap electricity at their homes and in industrial applications, save cost of energy and heighten Kenya’s electricity by 20%.

Employment opportunities will be accessible to 2,000 Kenyans and almost 200 full time jobs will be accessed from the project thanks to the collaboration between OPIC and Kenya.

This will also eradicate traditional methods used during the dry season and if the project is completed in time, issues of power shortages experienced across the country will be minimal.

This comes after the Board of the African Development Bank funded the commencement of a power generation plant in Turkana with a loan of Ksh75.3billion ($870million) from investors.

OPIC, is a US Government development finance institution and joins other development finance institutions in completion of the wind project.

The Ministry of Industrialization and Enterprise Development, has outlined elaborate plans to revitalize and promote the local leather industry.

The plans, which are part of the Ministry’s 5 year strategy, will be facilitated through programmes and will also be rolled out in conjunction with respective County Governments across the country.

Speaking during a familiarization tour of the Bata Shoe Factory in Limuru, the Ministry of Industrialization and Enterprise Development, Cabinet Secretary, Mr. Adan Mohamed, pledged to provide further support for local value adding factories to promote the local leather processing industries.

The local leather industry, Mohamed disclosed, has a capacity to make a significant economic contribution of up to $630million of the GDP.

Despite a heavy demand of up to 28million units of leather, Mohamed expressed regret that the demand is heavily reliant on imported supplies against a current local supply of less than 4million units annually. Kenya, he noted are ideal production zones for quality leather.

“The government will spare no effort to ensure that we revive and strengthen the local leather industry for our domestic consumption and export,” Mohamed said. And added; “With the global leather demand now estimated at more than US$ 60Billion, we must work hard to grab a share of the cake.”

The local leather production capacity, he noted has been progressively hampered by low production capacity at the grassroots’ level. Such lack of capacity, he pointed out leads to more than 85% loss of raw skins due to damage or poor handling during slaughter.

To address the challenge, the Ministry, he said, will soon commence an engagement programme with MOIED & county governments geared at encouraging them to establish modern abattoirs’ and regional tanneries in their respective areas to spur industrial growth and create jobs.

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Remaking the Highways of Nairobi

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The notorious traffic jam along the Uhuru Highway could be a thing of the past if the newly released proposal for the upgrade of the road is implemented. The project to be financed by the government and World Bank has the design of an elevated highway to run above the existing Mombasa Rd-Uhuru Highway from Likoni road junction at Ole Sereni Hotel to James Gichuru junction off Waiyaki Way.

The design done by Otieno Odongo Engineering Consultants will get rid of the roundabouts between Nyayo stadium and Westlands which are considered a main cause of the traffic along the route. The Nyayo Stadium roundabout will be replaced with single point diamond interchange. An elevated roadway-viaduct will be constructed towards Haile Selassie roundabout and end past the University Way roundabout.Haile Selassie road, Kenyatta Avenue and University way will all pass below the elevated roadway viaduct.

The 12km road upgrade project is set to start in January next year and be ready for use in 2015. It is part of Kenya National Highway Authority’s (KeNHA) larger plan to improve the thoroughfare from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport to Rironi. Other improvements will include proper pedestrian pavements, service roads and a functional storm water drainage system.

 

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