Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Good signs for the times

The past few weeks have had very good signs for the nation of Kenya. We have been seeing genuine commitment towards rebuilding a country which was torn apart by tribal rivalries and competition. i have also seen leaders choosing not to be selfish and agreeing to accede substantial ground to others. very good

other good news include the formation of the brand kenya board to market the country not only to outsiders but also to Kenyans themselves

But the news all Kenyans were waiting for was the announcement of the safaricom IPO. the mother of all IPOs in Africa after the govt valued the mobile service provider at more than 200 billion shillings. i say more than since the offer price of 5 bob is actually a discount. All one has to do is buy 2000 shares. What will happen? people will sell their cattle, land, shares etc to participate in the deal of a life time. In the eye-shot (he he) one cannot see any other company which will grow at the same rate as safaricom. in fact safaricom is not great because of its size or its 10 million subscribers and counting, its great more for rate of its growth. netting just about 1/3 of kenyans in 8 years in no mean feat. And from the look of things, safaricom appears not to be done just yet. what with their offensive into the data market, E1 lines et al. their mpesa product is fast becoming another must have commodity in the country after they forced their airtime in that category over the decade.

But what will happen when you place 10billion shares in the market? will it generate the same excitement kengen did. will it cause the market to collapse? will the rouge stockbrokers have even a better field day? will it renew interest in get rich quick schemes and pyramid schemes?

whatever happens however some things are certain
one that safaricom will get unparalleled mileage from free advertising during the offer. and two that the kenya shillings will really get a boost. another sure thing is that the market will lose substantially as investors position themselves for the 'nyamami'

and i am really looking forward to another bull run like the one of 2006. it will be possible since everything will be just right. politics , fine etc

in fact another refreshing news was the sponsorship by supersport and GTV of the local football premiership. Now the local game will at least breathe. and another event that will help the game is Raila's appointment as Prime minister. since he has shown intention to continue attending the games, his spectator ship will give the game the much needed high profile publicity it requires and drive back the all important gate fees. and talking of sports, last week i again accompanied my rugby mad nephew to the bamburi series. the games were very entertaining but another thing which was more entertaining was the audience , sorry the fans. very funny jokes flying left and right. loud 'insults' on players and the referee. but my nephew assured me that ruj players are gentlemen and the insults last only as long as the game. after the game all the players congregate in the bar for binge drinking! and he was right since as we stood to go, the public address asked people to bring in their cars and proceed to the party!

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