BIK AGM Report 2017

The AGM took place as a breakfast event on Friday, 1st December, 2017. The venue was the Capital Club EA, Westlands as was the case the previous year.


  1. General introduction
  2. AGM Elements:
    • Approval of Accounts
    • New BIK Fees
    • Annual Report for 2017
    • Election of Office Bearers and approval of new BIK Co-Chair
  3. Security briefing by Insight
  4. Presentation of the new BIK website
  5. Panel discussion with invited guests
    • Ms. Carole Kariuki, CEO KEPSA
    • Mr. Brian Waluchio, CEO Oxygen 8
    • Mr. David Gatende, CEO Davis & Shirtliff
    • Mr. Mohamed Nyaoga, Chair of Board of the Central Bank
  6. Q&A and comments from the floor
  7.  Conclusion of meeting and announcements of dates for BIK meetings in 2018


1. General Introduction: – Dr. Vincent O’Neill

The BIK Co-Chair, Ambassador Vincent O’Neill, welcomed members and guests to the 2017 Annual General Meeting – with a festive flavor – noting that it had been a busy, yet very successful year for the network.

The Ambassador highlighted the 2-day visit to Kenya by Ireland’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Simon Coveney. This was the first visit to Kenya by an Irish Foreign Minister since the Embassy re-opened in 2014. In the course of his visit, the Minister had an hour long meeting with the President; he had high level political discussions (including on trade expansion) with Cabinet Secretary Amb Amina Mohammed and her team; and he participated in a meeting between Kenyan and Irish businesses at Capital Club. He also officially opened the Irish Embassy. The Minister launched the new Ireland Kenya Agri-food Strategy and witnessed the signature of several business to business agreements between Irish and Kenya companies in agri-business; fisheries, education and ICT.

The Ireland-Kenya Agri-Food Strategy brings together plans for growing business in agriculture, fostering key institutional linkages between our countries and programming development cooperation in this sector. The strategy is another output of cooperation between the Embassy, BIK and Enterprise Ireland along with several Irish state agencies.

The Ambassador also noted that two of Embassy colleagues, Lisa Doherty and Kenneth Gitonga, travelled to Ireland for a first ever Team Ireland Trade promotion event. This event involved all Government Departments and State Agencies involved in promoting Ireland abroad. In the course of their visit, Lisa and Ken flew the Kenyan flag in terms of promoting Kenya as a business opportunity for Irish companies.

The Ambassador introduced the Newstalk ‘Down to Business’ team, Mr. Bobby Kerr and his colleagues Aidan and John, who were visiting Kenya for the first time. Bobby Kerr is the presenter of the hugely popular ‘Down to Business’ show on Newstalk Radio in Ireland. He added that Bobby would be featuring business opportunities in Kenya in his show the following Saturday morning – and that he would be interviewing several BIK members.


2. AGM Elements

  • Approval of Accounts: – Mr. Niall Meany
    Mr. Niall Meany presented the accounts for the year ended, tabled at the meeting.
    These are attached as an annex.
  • New BIK Fees
    BIK members and guests were presented with a new membership structure for 2018. This structure included the newly introduced ‘Corporate membership’, ‘Half year membership’ and an increase in the fees for the ‘Individual Membership’ and Guest charges. The change is as follows:

    • Individual Membership
      Membership is a 12 month membership from January 1st 2018 – December 31st 2018.

      1. Full year membership = Ksh. 15,000 for individual membership.
        Membership gives you access to 4 business breakfasts and 2 social events with additional access to our membership area online and a branded membership card. This subscription also gives a member the opportunity to have 1 named delegate represent them in case they cannot attend a breakfast meeting.
        Early- bird discount: Members who pay in full prior to the first breakfast meeting in 2018 (23rd February 2018) will be charged a discounted KSh. 12,000 for all of the above.
      2. Half year membership = Ksh. 8000 for individual membership paid for from 1st July onwards.
        Membership gives you access to 2 business breakfasts and 1 social events with additional access to our membership area online and a branded membership card.
      3. Guest Membership = Ksh. 4,000 – A guest member must be accompanied/introduced by a paid member.
        Guest Membership gives you access to the BIK breakfast meetings. A guest member must be accompanied or introduced by a paid member.
    • Corporate Membership
      1. Bronze Membership = Ksh. 50,000
        Bronze Membership gives access to 3 named members of your organisation. The named members will enjoy all the benefits of an individual member including access to 1 free hour of consultation with Warrior Insight/Control Risks E.A.The early bird discount charges a company KES. 40,000 if they pay before the 1st breakfast meeting in 2018 (February 23rd 2018).

Niall presented the members with the membership structure and after a show of hands from the audience, the new fees structure was approved by the members present.

  • Annual Report 2017: – Ms. Jo Ryan:

The BIK annual report was summarised and approved (and can be found attached). Jo presented some of the highlights of 2017.

Based on membership feedback, BIK breakfasts took a specific sectoral focus and proved to be very successful; with average attendance of 80 plus representatives, including industry experts, government and private sector.  During 2017, BIK held four other breakfast meetings with the following focus themes:

    • Fintech
    • Education
    • Agribusiness
    • Healthcare

There were a number of firsts for BIK during the year, including facilitating a first members’ excursion. A group of 15+ members visited Tatu City in September to tour the development and explore potential investment opportunities. The network also held its first informal BIK social networking events, both hosted by the Ambassador at his residence on behalf of BIK.

During 2017, BIK membership grew to 70 fully registered and 61 paid guests in the 4 breakfast meetings, resulting in an increase in the diversity of the membership and a widening of the network.

The Ireland-Kenya Agri-Food Strategy 2017-2021 – Our Shared Interests:
Thanks to the combined effort of the Embassy of Ireland and the Business Ireland Kenya network and the generous support of partners both in Kenya and Ireland, “The Ireland-Kenya Agri-Food Strategy 2017-2021 – Our Shared Interests” was launched by Ireland’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Simon Coveney, in November 2017. The purpose of the Strategy is to present, in an accessible format, key information about Ireland’s overseas development and trade promotion objectives, while supporting the creation of new institutional linkages between Ireland and Kenya.

European Business Network Association:
BIK is a founding member of the European Business Network Association – which was launched on 9th November 2017 with over 150 attendees. The association is a coming together of various European Business networks in Kenya to strengthen advocacy on common issues, leverage networks and share information.

BIK Social Media:
The BIK website was extensively upgraded in 2017 in time for its launch at the BIK AGM on 1 December. The network also has an active social media presence on Facebook and Twitter.

  • Election of Office Bearers and approval of new BIK Co-Chair:

This event was presided over by Ms. Sharon Gordon, Committee Member. She thanked the retiring co-chair Ambassador Dr. Vincent O’Neill (who will remain on the Committee) and retiring Committee member Mr. Barney Barrow (in absentia) for their service to the BIK Steering Committee. She then reported that the rest of the Committee members had kindly agreed to serve another term.

Niall Meany was nominated as the 2018 BIK SC Co-Chair by the Steering Committee.
After a show of hands, the members present unanimously agreed and approved Mr. Meany as the new Co-Chair replacing Amb Vincent O’Neill.

Two new members were proposed and elected:

  • Ms. Kathy Vaughan; Proposed by Jack O’Regan and seconded by Andrew Hollas.
  • Mr. Darren Gillen; Proposed by Vincent O’Neill and seconded by Jack O’Regan.

It was further proposed that there would be two permanent seats in the Steering Committee: for the Embassy of Ireland and Enterprise Ireland. This was approved.

The other members of the committee retained their seats in the Steering Committee as follows:

  • Co-Chair: Lau Larsen
  • Treasurer: Jo Ryan
  • Committee Member: Sharon Gordon
  • Committee Member: Lisa Källbäck (Enterprise Ireland)
  • Committee Member: Kate Kiguru
  • Committee Member: Lisa Doherty (Embassy of Ireland)


Proposed Amendments to Constitution:

The two amendments to the constitution proposed were passed by majority vote:
1) Revised membership fee structure for 2018
2) Two permanent positions in the Steering Committee


3. Security briefing by Insight

There was a brief presentation on the current security context in Kenya, and outlook for the coming period.


4. Presentation of the new BIK Website

The new BIK website was launched and now features the following:

  • Easy online member registration
  • Updates on the latest BIK news and events
  • Access to the BIK picture gallery
  • Access the BIK Doing Business Guide in Kenya
  • The BIK Membership Community platform

Mr. Zawlin Kassam and Ms. Caitlin Nordahl presented the new website to the BIK members and guests. Visit the page at:


5. Panel Discussion

The BIK Steering Committee Co-Chair Dr. Vincent O’Neill introduced the four speakers in the panel, highlighting their involvement in diverse areas of business. Panellists included:

  • Ms. Carole Kariuki, Chief Executive Officer of the Kenya Private Sectors Alliance
  • Mr. David Gatende, Group Chief Executive Officer of Davis & Shirtliff
  • Mr. Brian Waluchio, Chief Executive Officer of Oxygen8 Group East Africa
  • Mr. Mohammed Nyaoga, Chairman of Board of the Central Bank of Kenya


Mr. David Gatende

Mr. Gatende gave a brief presentation of Davis and Shirtliff, informing guests that they are the leading supplier of water related equipment in East Africa. He noted that the key principal product sectors include: Water Pumps, Boreholes, Swimming Pools, Water Treatment, Generators and Solar equipment. He added that they have 33 branches in Kenya with 4 new branches recently opened outside Nairobi and 25 branches in the East Africa region. He noted that he is very positive about growth aspects in 2018, as they look forward to increase business in the new year after the election period has ended.

Mr. Gatende went on to outline three areas that attributed to the success of Davis & Shirtliff:

  • People: Mr. Gatende informed the audience that the average age of staff at Davis & Shirtliff is 35 years and that some workers have served the company for more than 25 years. The strong culture and values adopted at Davis and Shirtliff have contributed to the success of the company.
  • Adapting to change: Change is inevitable. The ability of the company to adopt to the changing environment enables it to grow and learn more about their customers and the needs that are required to serve the customers well.
  • Systems: The systems adopted at Davis & Shirtliff help the management in serving and leading their staff well.


Mr. Mohammed Nyaoga

Mr. Nyaoga provided an erudite summary of the effects of the elections on both the economy and the banking sector; asserting that elections come with political risks affecting the economy every 5 years. He noted that the growth of the economy slowed down due to the ‘wait and see’ perspective from both local and international investors. Some of the challenges that the Central Bank faced during the political period included those related to withdrawal limits and the drop in the shilling after the Supreme Court Presidential Election judgement.

He noted the concerns about limited access to credit by businesses with the new interest cap. He informed members that the interest cap was introduced in Parliament to act as a price control. The main challenge was implementation. As a result, financial institutions have become overly cautious as small businesses and enterprises are having a difficult time in the market. The bank is conducting research on the effects of high caps. He went on to address the concerns about Kenya’s growing level of debt. He noted that in the last few years, corruption issues have been featured on both print media and broadcast news.


Ms. Carole Kariuki

Ms. Kariuki gave her perception on how the country can move forward from 2017. She informed the members that optimism is not lost and that investors are still interested in Kenya as a business hub. She noted that there had been recent visits from international investors from Belgium and France despite the election period, showing that the Kenyan market is of high interest to the investors.

To increase the availability of jobs in the country she noted that the manufacturing sector is where 20-50% of the jobs are readily available. Empowering the youth to participate in technical training would help them in acquiring the hands-on jobs available in the manufacturing sector. Furthermore, Kenya has the fastest internet in Africa and 14th in the world, creating more online jobs would help reduce the unemployment rate in the country since every business is into technology, using social media to market and conduct their day-to-day business transactions. She concluded by stating that the best way to deepen the business relations between Kenya and Ireland is by investing in areas of interest to both Ireland and Kenya; for example in agri-business and ICT.


Mr. Brian Waluchio

Mr. Waluchio gave a brief background of Oxygen8 East Africa. Oxygen 8 Group are a global provider of integrated mobile solutions with offices in 11 countries, operations in over 32 countries and a turnover in excess of 120 million euros. Working in partnership with its clients, Oxygen8 enables businesses to drive new revenue streams, improve customer communication, build brand awareness and increase customer loyalty. He added that the management team draws on many years of experience and expertise, having been at the forefront of the mobile marketing industry especially in the mobile betting sector, since its inception.

He noted that as a company, they are leveraging on Ireland to get professional help in getting foreign investors in the country in the betting sector so as to merge their knowledge. He also added that there are vast business and growth opportunities in the Fintech industry; that is in mobile lending and insurance. In addition, smart partnerships would be key when doing business with Irish companies as they require data for their technologies which most African countries have. This would enable Kenyan companies to compete globally.


6. Questions and discussions

Ambassador O’Neill opened the floor to questions and comments:

  • Several audience members thanked BIK, and the panellists for the event and gave their support to efforts to address the current economic situation in Kenya after the election and increasing Kenya- Ireland trade relations.
  • It was highlighted that there is no way to separate water and food despite climate change in the country.
  • There is need for support for building capacity to increase food production in the agriculture sector using irrigation equipment.
  • There should be a focus on creation of jobs for the unemployed youth. Participants spoke of the need to increase the number of jobs in the manufacturing industry.
  • The key is to boost the number of jobs in Kenya; how can Ireland assist in this?
  • Increased focus on older people, as both a resource and target for development.


Responses from the panel

  • Mr. Gatende noted that solar pumps, solar lighting and solar heating have helped to mitigate the problem of climate. At national level, D&S are introducing equipment that will aid in avoiding pollution by treating effluents before discharging the waste and to aid in harvesting water for irrigation farming. They are also ensuring that their equipment is affordable and available to both an individual and companies.
  • Ms. Kariuki pointed out that there is the possibility of the creation of a SME Maturity program which would help SMEs to go from one level to another and help businesses grow. She noted that KEPSA is working with the Ministry of Labour to create an ICT platform whereby artisans can register and include their various skills in the market and engage with customers who would be interested in their businesses. She also added that the Irish market can help to create jobs by introducing innovative technology to help the agricultural sector, especially farmers.

Dr. Vincent O’Neill concluded the session by acknowledging the contributions of the panellists and audience members. He presented the panellists with a token of appreciation each. He suggested that the focus of BIK in 2018 would be to engage in ongoing work that takes into consideration the whole East African region, to work with the county governments to support job creation and to increase Kenya-Ireland trade relations. He also noted that there is a need to link businesses to corporate social responsibility which would be further explored by the Steering Committee in early 2018. He thanked all participants for their support and urged members to pay early for their subscriptions for 2018. A card noting the dates for BIK Breakfast Meetings in 2018 was circulated to all members.

The meeting ended at 9.45am.

Embassy, Nairobi.
Wednesday, 20 December 2017