Unless you have managed to avoid every news outlet possible, you know that Kenya’s air travel and freighting industry got off to a rocky start this week with news of a shameful assault in Nyandarua.
One captain Alistair Patrick Llewelyn had been the pilot for Deputy President William Ruto to a fund-raiser in Nyandarua when he, apparently displeased with Corporal Mercy Wandera’s handling of the crowd, proceeded to assault her.
This was of course all captured in a horrifying video which having whipped the nation into a rage over the incident, has now seen the pilot in handcuffs.
Captain Llewelyn now facing criminal charges of assault and creating a disturbance.
It’s not all bad news, though; in fact, air travel in Kenya received a wonderful boost in the form of an airstrip in Mandera.
Known as the Elwak airstrip, it part of a larger government project to create or upscale such airstrips around the country in an effort to boost local tourism and air travel.
This is also a welcome sign of developments to come, as plans to upgrade Mandera’s infrastructure and improve resident’s quality of life are also underway.
Speaking of logistics and travel innovations, the ubiquitous Uber continues to persevere in spite of the steep hurdles the attractive Kenyan market has thrown up.
This week has seen one of the more ugly attacks on the ride-hailing app, as one of the partner cars was set ablaze in an ugly reminder of the continuing clashes between traditional taxi operators and those working with Uber.
While Kenya may not be a particularly welcoming market, Uber continues to innovate and interrupt the transportation industry, with a new product aptly named “uberMOTO”.
Capitalizing on the two wheeled taxis popular in developing nations – you may know them as the annoying motor bikes whizzing past you in the city centre or perhaps even ‘nduthi‘- this new product has been rolled out in Thailand.
This comes along with the cash payment option that was also unveiled in Thailand, a promising emerging market.
We can only hope Uber survives the opposition they have so far encountered in Kenya to see the day when customized new products are launched on our streets first.
In spite of the resistance to technology in the taxi industry, the financial sector continues to embrace advancements with open arms. Mobile money transfer volumes grew by a clean 19%, which may not sound impressive, until you also hear that while purchasing electricity tokens using your mobile money option, you helped Kenya reach a new record in mobile money transfer volumes.
Recent CBK figures represent a growth of mobile money payments from KES. 2.3 trillion in 2014 to KES.2.8 trillion last year. How much of those transfers did you make last year?
It is apparent that while there has been unfortunate news in the transportation and travel industry this far, we have reason to smile as we send the month off, and not just because of where we were on Valentine’s day. Wishing you all a swift but profitable end to the mid week slump.