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Former NTV business editor Wallace Kantai appointed CBK head of communications

The former NTV business editor replaces Grace Okara, an economist who has been redeployed within Central Bank of Kenya

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WALLACE KANTAI: His appointment at Central Bank of Kenya as communications head will be welcomed by the media fraternity.

Former NTV business editor Wallace Kantai has landed a new job. He is now the Head of Communications at Central Bank of Kenya, six months after leaving Nation Media Group.

Kantai replaces Grace Okara, who has been Head of PR & Communications. The fate of Ms Okara is not clear yet, but insiders say she has been redeployed to a different department at the CBK.  Ms Okara, an economist by profession, joined CBK in June 2016 from the Kenya School of Monetary Studies where she worked at its research centre.

Announcing Kantai’s appointment today, Central Bank of Kenya said Kantai, who left NTV in May this year under unclear circumstances, is a familiar media and communications professional.

“During his media career,” CBK said, “Wallace has interviewed and interacted with many world and regional leaders, heads of global businesses, and policymakers. He has also served as moderator for a number of high level panels and conferences.”

RELATED: Why Wallace Kantai quit NTV 

The business media fraternity will certainly welcome Kantai’s entry at CBK as, for the first time in many years, the banking regulator will have a communications person with a strong media background. Non-media communication professionals often frustrate journalists and try too hard to push only PR stuff by shielding the regulator from probing media.

Mr Kantai’s experience extends beyond the media as he has also held positions in Information Technology sector, and in the non-profit and public relations fields in Kenya, South Africa and the United Kingdom. Before Ms Okora the position of head of communications was held by Samsom Burgei, who moved to the Nyeri Currency Centre last year.

At Nation Media, Kantai became a victim of the convergence model being implemented by media house, which led to the collapsing all its business media platforms – print, digital and TV – into one.

The business desks were put under the Business Daily, led by managing editor Ochieng Rapuro. Journalists from Daily Nation and NTV, which was then headed by Kantain, had their reservations about the new development. It then created tension between bosses from print and broadcast, forcing Kantai to exit.

At CBK, Kantai is expected to play a key role in repositioning communications and how the governor and the entire CBK interacts with media. The business media expects to make the Governor and chairman more accessible away from the regular press conferences.

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“CBK welcomes Wallace to the Bank fraternity and looks forward to leveraging on his wide experience in the communications and related fields, in our efforts to ensure an open and vibrant exchange with members of the media and the public at large,” said the CBK.

For Kantai, it is a case of the boot changing feet. As a journalist and editor, he controlled what would be aired and now he will have to expand his relations with media people to establish a mutual working relationship.

READ: Kenyan journalist shortlisted for two UK journalism awards

Business Today is the leading independent online business website in Kenya. Started in 2012 by a veteran business journalist, it has a huge following both in Kenya and abroad. It covers various business and related issues. Email editor at: [email protected]

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Business News

Govt to back Public Relations Bill

Principal Secretary Sammy Itemere said they will collaborate with the PRSK in the journey that will also see the umbrella PR Society transformed to the Kenya Institute of Public Relations (KIPR) once the necessary legislative processes are concluded.

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Public Relations Society of Kenya Secretary General Lilian Nganda (left) and Chairperson Jane Gitau (right) engaging Principal Secretary Sammy Itemere during the PRSK Annual Summit. Credit: Courtesy

The Government has pledged to support the establishment of a statutory instrument to guide the practice of Public Relations in Kenya.

The plans will involve the introduction of a Legislative Bill in the National Assembly as part of an effort to streamline professional PR practice in the public and private sectors.

Speaking in Mombasa at the ongoing Public Relations Society of Kenya (PRSK) Annual Summit, Broadcasting and Telecommunications Principal Secretary Sammy Itemere said the introduction of a law governing PR practice will be undertaken to build capacity and instil professional ethics and discipline.

The Government, Itemere said, will collaborate with the PRSK in the journey that will also see the umbrella PR Society transformed to the Kenya Institute of Public Relations (KIPR) once the necessary legislative processes are concluded.

“As a government, we consider that we will be beneficiaries because we have over one hundred and fifty Public Communication Officers deployed in various corners of this country. It means we can count on PRSK under the Law that will be established in order to build capacity and instil professional ethics and discipline,” Itemere said.

The PS described the hosting of the PRSK Summit under the theme: Communicating for Behaviour Change as timely as the public and private sectors continue to grapple with challenges arising from transformational agendas.

At the Summit, PRSK Chairperson Jane Gitau confirmed that preparatory work for the introduction of a draft bill in Parliament were now underway.

Public Relations practitioners in Kenya, she said, have already embraced professional practices including the adoption of a continuous professional development (CPD) programme.

The society, she added, will also play a key role in guiding the rollout of globally benchmarked PR practices and ethical conduct.

The Summit featured PRSK members drawn from the public and private sectors and aims to provide informative and interactive sessions on the PR landscape in Kenya.

The Summit will culminate in the Public Relations Society of Kenya (PRSK) Awards for Excellence ceremony at the same venue on Friday evening. The Awards recognise and celebrate the outstanding achievements of public relations and communications practitioners in the development, public and private sectors.

READ: Pastors drive out accident ghosts on Thika Road

Speakers at the PRSK Summit included Mombasa Deputy Governor, Dr. William Kingi, Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) Deputy Commissioner Marketing and Communication, Grace Wandera, Kenya School of Government CEO Dr Ludeki Chweya, National Assembly Chief Public Affairs and Communications Officer Japhet Muthomi, USIU don Dr. Scott Bellows and PSI Kenya Chief Executive Officer Anthony Okoth, among others.

PRSK, with more than 800 active members, was established in 1971 and serves as the professional body guiding the PR practice in Kenya. The Society broadly seeks to advance excellence in Public Relations and Communication Management and to ensure that the practice continues to thrive within the ethical framework defined by the profession.

PRSK is a member of the regional East African Public Relations Association (EAPRA).  PRSK is also a member of the Africa Public Relations Association (APRA), the continental body for all PR national associations in Africa.  At the global level, PRSK is a founder member of the Global Alliance for Public Relations and Communications Management (GA) among other global bodies such as the International Public Relations Association (IPRA).

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Business News

WorldRemit is Arsenal’s official online money transfer partner

Online money transfer company will work closely with Arsenal’s first-team players to create unique content that will support new and existing community engagement initiatives around the world

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 WorldRemit becomes the first Official Online Money Transfer Partner of the Premier League club, Arsenal. The leading digital money transfer business, formed by a UK-based entrepreneur from Somaliland, has joined forces with Arsenal to accelerate the company’s growth and help more people save money on international transfers.

 The global partnership will provide WorldRemit with a range of rights and player access to support its expansion plans. The partnership agreement includes match day LED branding for every Premier League, League Cup and FA Cup match along with TV interview backdrop presence for every home Premier League match along with global digital and social media rights across Arsenal’s online and mobile platforms.

WorldRemit will work closely with Arsenal’s first-team players to create unique content that will support new and existing community engagement initiatives around the world.

The partnership will also reward WorldRemit’s customers and Arsenal supporters through exclusive events and experiences using the power of football to inspire people. The company will launch the partnership with the first in a number of competitions to win travel to London and tickets to watch the team play at Emirates Stadium.

WorldRemit was founded by Chief Executive Officer Ismail Ahmed to offer a better way to send small sums of money more frequently, bringing family and friends closer together – wherever they are.

WorldRemit’s service is available to senders in 50 countries and the company offers money transfers to more than 140 destinations across Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia and the Americas.

The company is a global leader in international transfers paid out as mobile money – where funds can be held on mobile telephone accounts. WorldRemit connects to over 130 million mobile money accounts, enabling money to be sent safely to friends and family even if the recipient doesn’t have access to a bank account.

The partnership will support WorldRemit’s growth ambitions by helping them reach Arsenal’s 74 million followers on their official social media channels and 185 supporters’ clubs worldwide. 

Vinai Venkatesham, Arsenal’s Chief Commercial Officer, said: “This is an exciting new partnership with WorldRemit who under their inspirational CEO are looking to transform the way people can transfer money to family and friends around the world.

READ: Stock market will weather political storm: NSE CEO

“We share mutual values and look forward to working together to build their global presence through our broadcast, social and digital channels which reach millions around the world. We look forward to a long and successful partnership.”

Ahmed said: “Football is a language that everyone understands.

 “Growing up in Somaliland, you would always see kids playing football – even during the war. It’s a passion which connects people all over the world and we are proud to sponsor a club whose values are so closely aligned to our own and those of our customers.

“This partnership with Arsenal creates opportunities for us to thank and reward our loyal customers and to connect with new audiences around the world.

“We look forward to using the power of football to support and inspire young people to fulfil their potential and to the opportunities which we can create to together.”

 

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Tech News

Malware sneaks into Google Play

It poses improved ability to bypass Google Play’s protection mechanisms, according to ESET

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ESET, a leading global cyber security company, has discovered another set of malicious apps in the official Android app store.

Detected by ESET security systems as Android/TrojanDropper.Agent.BKY, the eight apps form a new family of legitimate-looking, multi-stage Android malware, and with delayed onset of malicious activity.

Eset has since notified Google’s security team about the issue. Google has removed all eight apps from its store; users with Google Play Protect enabled are protected via this mechanism.

Eset-300x76 Malware sneaks into Google Play

Figure 1 – Six of the multi-stage downloaders discovered on Google Play

Anti-detection features

None of the apps, that have advanced anti-detection features had reached more than a few hundred downloads. The malware samples all employed a multi-stage architecture and encryption to stay under the radar. After being downloaded and installed, the apps tended not to request any suspicious permissions and even mimic the activity the user expects them to exhibit.

Along with this, the malicious app also decrypts and executes its first-stage payload which in turn decrypts and executes the second-stage payload, which was then stored in the assets of the initial app downloaded from Google Play. The steps remained invisible to the user and served as obfuscatory measures.Eset-300x76 Malware sneaks into Google Play

Figure 2 – Execution model of Android/TrojanDropper.Agent.BKY

The second-stage payload contained a hardcoded URL, from which it downloaded another malicious app (that is, the third-stage payload) without the victim’s knowledge. After a pre-defined delay of approximately five minutes, the user was then prompted to install the downloaded app.

READ: Stock market will weather political storm: NSE CEO

The app downloaded by the second-stage payload, disguised as well-known software like Adobe Flash Player or as something legitimate-sounding yet completely fictional – for example “Android Update” or “Adobe Update”. In any case, the app’s purpose was to drop the final payload and obtain all the permissions that payload needed for its malicious actions.

Eset-300x76 Malware sneaks into Google Play

Once installed and having the requested permissions granted, the malicious app serving as the third-stage payload decrypted and executed the fourth-stage – and final – payload.
In all the cases investigated by ESET, the final payload was a mobile banking trojan. Once installed, it behaved like a typical malicious app of this kind: with potential to present the user with fake login forms to steal credentials or credit card details.
One of the malicious apps downloaded its final payload using the bit.ly URL shortener. Thanks to this, ESET was able to obtain download stats: as of November 14, 2017, the link had been used almost 3000 times with the vast majority of hits coming from the Netherlands.

Eset-300x76 Malware sneaks into Google Play

Figure 4 – Download stats for the final payload of one of the malicious apps, as of November 14, 2017

How to get rid of it

If you’ve downloaded any of these apps, you need to (i) deactivate admin rights for the installed payload, (ii) uninstall the surreptitiously-installed payload and (iii) uninstall the app downloaded from the Play Store.

To deactivate admin rights for the installed payload, go to Settings > (General) > Security > Device administrators  and search for Adobe Flash Player, Adobe Update or Android Update.

To uninstall the installed payload, go to Settings > (General) > Application manager/Apps and search for the particular apps (Adobe Flash Player, Adobe Update or Android Update) to uninstall them.

To uninstall the malicious app downloaded from the Play store, go to  Settings > (General) > Application manager/Apps and search for apps going by the following names: MEX Tools, Clear Android, Cleaner for Android, World News, WORLD NEWS, World News PRO.

Note that the settings structure may vary slightly depending on Android version.

How to stay protected

Unfortunately, multi-stage downloaders, with their improved obfuscation features, have a better chance of sneaking into official app stores than common Android malware does. Users who want to stay protected should not rely fully on the stores’ protections; instead, it’s crucial for users to check app ratings and comments, pay attention to what permissions they grant to apps, and run a quality security solution on their mobile devices.

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Business News

Stock market will weather political storm: NSE CEO

Mr Geoffrey Odundo said the regulator will work closely with other stakeholders to increase access and education for retail investors through the use of technolo

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Nairobi Securities Exchange will withstand political shock and emerge stronger, NSE chief executive Geoffrey Odundo has said.

He noted that the ongoing political standoff had impacted negatively on the performance of Kenya’s stock market but reiterated Kenya’s stock market resilience and its ability to recover much faster from such shocks.

“We’re hopeful that our own political issues will be put to bed soon. We are looking at a couple of IPOs next year and the government is also looking at ways to restart the privatisation programme. We believe that if we get two companies from the infrastructure and energy sectors, interest from the corporate side will spark and this will help in market recovery,” he said.

Mr Odundo was speaking at the 7th Annual EFG Hermes London Conference, where opportunities in the Nairobi Securities Exchange were discussed on-stage with a large gathering of global investors, fund managers and financial institutions.

Noting the recent development of domestic capital pools in the form of buoyant pension and mutual fund industries will help in boosting market liquidity.

“We are very committed to having pension funds enhance liquidity in the market. We are looking at how direct property ownership can be reduced from 20% to 2% to support the Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) market,” Mr Odundo said.

 Increasing access

Mr Odundo said the regulator will work closely with other stakeholders to increase access and education for retail investors through the use of technology.

“Kenya has a very advanced mobile money platform that we have successfully leveraged. We are encouraging the rollout of products on that platform. This year, we launched a retail mobile bond for the government of Kenya. That’s just a start in educating the public on capital market securities,” he said.

READ: Best matatu Sacco to win Sh5m Isuzu bus

“The second level is to use the broking network to aggregate these clients. A lot of brokers have now developed online trading platforms to encourage real-time access and transparency. We have a very young population; we encourage simulation trading before even going into live trading as part of an educational, entertaining initiative. Those are the key steps in our efforts to increase retail investors – education and access for the investors.”

 The 7th annual EFG Hermes London Conference, the largest MENA and frontier investor conference recorded the attendance of global investors with more than $9tn in aggregate assets under management and a large line-up of senior executives from leading listed companies based in MENA, sub-Saharan Africa, and Asia.

“Investors are increasingly seeking opportunities in Frontier Emerging Markets that will drive the lion’s share of global growth over the coming decade. EFG Hermes’ objective is to bridge the gap between global capital and opportunities in high growth markets like Kenya in a holistic manner,” said EFG Hermes Frontier Chef Executive Officer Ali Khalpey.

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