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Road Safety: Can Google Maps Help Kenyans Leapfrog Unmarked Bumps?

How long has it been since you heard the word “leap frog”?

It’s a term that grew in popularity as it was used to describe the outcome of the arrival and spread of the mobile phone in Sub-Saharan Africa.

For decades, “development” had appeared to stagnate in many of these countries, with slow-growing economies and little change in how people led their lives. In some instances, things appeared to have even gone into reverse gear.

But then, while the developed world was freaking about something called the Millennium Bug in 2000, mobile networks were coming up across the continent.

In the next decade, mobile phone usage would explode as many Africans were finally able to own phones for the first time ever. Previously, you had to lease a land line from a state-owned company and many of these had waiting lists several years long.

With mobile networks came SMS and USSD which innovative businesses took advantage of to create basic applications even within the limitations of these channels,…
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Nairobi is a 2 Bedroom Haven

About two years ago, I looked at how much rent Nairobians pay in different parts of the city.

I also looked at how much they pay in matatu fare, and their perception of the safety of their neighbourhoods.

Then, I found that 2 bedrooms were the most popular followed by 1 bedrooms and then 3 bedrooms.

This shows that family units are more preferred. There was a twist to my findings - 3 bedrooms were partly less popular because some potential tenants could not find any/or suitable units, hence settled for 2 bedrooms.

In the last two years, 11 more people responded to my survey, in addition to the 43 who had previously responded. This means that about 25 per cent more people have since given their input.

Let’s see how the new tenants compare to the old data.

Again, 2 bedrooms are the most popular with half the respondents leasing these, followed by 1 bedrooms at about a quarter of respondents. 4 bedrooms and a bedsitter with one toilet inside each have one respondent, which is not so…

Holidaying in Zanzibar: Stone Town and Nungwi

Zanzibar offers one of the most enchanting holiday destinations in East Africa, and even in the world. It’s also pretty accessible with a well served international airport. At the moment, getting there from Kenya costs from as low as KShs. 26,300 by Kenya Airways, which is recommended for not only being the most affordable option, but also its relative reliability and comfort.

For those travelling there, it is recommended to do some research around your destination and potential places to stay at. Stone Town - part of the capital city is the most popular destination of course, followed by Nungwi which is on the extreme tip of the island.

There are other destinations around Ugunja (Zanzibar's main Island),  such as Matemwe, though these come recommended for those looking for more secluded or scenic places. Also important to note is that the area around the capital doesn’t offer much of a beach, hence why Nungwi is Zanzibar's second most popular destination. Besides Ugunja,  Za…

2 bedrooms most preferred rentals in Nairobi

A survey done by yours truly has found that 2 bedrooms are the most popular units in Nairobi. Of 43 respondents to my survey, just about half of them at 48.8% were renting 2 bedroom units.

The story, however, is in 3 bedroom rentals. While these come third in terms of preference at 18.6% after self contained 1 bedrooms at 30%, there indeed is a shortage of 3 bedrooms in the city. Rather, there is a mismatch of demand of 3 bedrooms and supply of the same.

The devil in the details is in the people leasing 2 bedrooms. A separate survey shows that while 71.4% of people leasing 2 bedrooms were interested in 2 bedrooms, 33.3%, or about an entire third settled on 2 bedrooms out of lack of their preferred units.



Of the 33.3% that settled on 2 bedrooms, 72.7% were interested in 3 bedrooms while the rest were equally interested in the rest of the units.

What my survey shows is that there is a 21% shortfall in the supply of 3 bedrooms - in simple language, 1 in 5 people leasing a 2 bedroom …

Why can't Kenyan banks voluntary lower their lending rates?

In one of those episodes where history is doomed to repeat itself, September 2016 saw Kenya implement interest rate caps, which had been done away with in 1991.

Many Kenyans rejoiced, mistakenly thinking that it would result in easy and affordable loans. The result, however, was a distorted market. It is safe to claim that most Kenyans have never borrowed from a bank. Cheaper loans weren’t going to see them rushing to borrow from banks.

Capped interest rates also saw banks become more careful with whom they lend to. Many small businesses will naturally fail - business is hard, for those who have attempted their hands at one. It therefore makes no sense for a bank to lend to many of these businesses - you simply won’t get your money back.

The other thing with this country is that it’s very hard to tell who will repay a loan and who will not. Those who have lent to their friends and family can attest to this. There are also fewer ways to make those who have borrowed repay loans. Given b…

How much Nairobi Residents Pay in Rent

In my last post, I explained how difficult for people looking for housing in Nairobi. The main challenge is lack of information. On this front, I began a project that will collect some information, which will provide some start for those looking for housing in different areas in the city.

In the last one month, 33 people have given their responses.




Interesting enough, majority of the respondents, 16 to be exact, live in 2 bedrooms. This may mean that either 2 bedrooms are the most popular rentals in the city, or the most available. Only one way to find out - if you live in a 2 bedroom rental, here’s another survey.

10 of those who filled in the survey live in self contained 1 bedrooms.

5 people have 3 bedrooms, including 2 in Kikuyu, 1 in Ngong and Lower Kabete each, and another around Langata/National Park.

1 respondent has a 4 bedroom, while another one has a self contained bedsitter.
Pricing




Turning to pricing, the price of 1 bedrooms ranges from Kshs. 10,000 in Rongai to Kshs…

Why moving houses in Nairobi is hard

Moving in Nairobi is hard. The hardest bit about moving isn’t even finding houses or finding a mover, but getting the courage to move.

Most of us are already used to our current neighbourhoods and know its insides outs- where to get the mbogas, the butcher with the meanest cut, neighbourhood crushes, where all the potholes are, water and power outage schedules, what time we can come in at night.

Having to move to a new neighbourhood, relearn all these and the fear that something may not fit into our established lifestyles makes us baulk at the prospect of moving. Change, after all, has never been easy.

Should you, however, get the courage to move, one then needs to audition different neighbourhoods to find one that fits their expectations in security, location, utility reliability, price, schools and much more. 
The next challenge with moving is finding a house. There’s a mismatch of information between landlords seeking tenants and tenants seeking landlord. We all wish there were a T…