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Rethinking Loyalty programs – A Case of Failed Kenyan Retailers



By Charles Mungai

Every business needs loyal customers, keeping customers is hard but acquiring new customers is more expensive. Kenyans are a fickle lot and as a marketer, you need to keep thinking about how to win their loyalty.

This, however, is not insurmountable when you understand Kenyans’ love for freebies. So once in a while brands will enlist a marketing agency to think outside the box and unearth truly creative campaigns such as this one (insert link) to get more customers.

Once you come through the door, they have to keep you coming back. So they tell you how much they value your loyalty and would love to reward you every time you shop.

You are given a Loyalty Card, and every time you shop you earn some points based on the value of your shopping. Then a seasonal campaign is created to remind you how you can redeem those points for a hefty discount on your shopping or buy something for free.

Psychologically marketers know that this will lead to customers choosing more because they want to grow their loyalty points. This was the case with millions of loyal Kenyan shoppers of Nakumatt, Uchumi and Tuskys.

Every month customers queued and shopped. What was once a calf grew into a big elephant, in every corner of the country? Then one day the elephant fell sick, now we have millions of Kenyans with Nakumatt, Uchumi, and Tuskys Loyalty Cards full of points that have been deemed redundant.

As a marketer, this was not something that I thought of seriously until recently. I had a chat with some friends about the woes that have seen great retail giants in Kenya like Nakumatt, Uchumi & Tuskys fall.

One friend asked, “So what happens to my points, can I redeem them?” I had to urge them to forget about those because these establishments will not rebound.

As a marketer, this made me realize that in this day when we live in a digital world brands need to stop being selfish.

The Future of retailer loyalty programs

In an industry where data and analytics is a key trend, it’s very easy to research other brands that you share customers with and have a partnership where points earned from either side can be redeemed on either side.

One example is the KCB Simba Points program. Customers love it when they can redeem their points as they shop online or at a partner store, or while they fuel at a partner petrol station.

Or the partnership between Safaricom & Kenya Airways where KQ customers can pay for flights using their Bonga points.

In contrast, I have a friend who will not shop at a leading international retail chain in Kenya again because they do not have a loyalty programme.

Also most people now despite being hooked on these loyalty programmes are fatigued at having to carry too many cards around for each business they interact with.

Therefore while at it, brands have to identify technology partnerships that enable them to have a universal card shared across different companies or eliminate cards and instead have, say, a mobile application where a customer’s points are loaded from different businesses.

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Sahara Foundation Promotes Clean Energy With Sahara Impact Fund

The Sahara Impact Fund will provide seed funding of $5,000 each for successful finalists, including incremental funding access based on impact, reach and sustainability matrices targeted at supporting young social entrepreneurs in Africa.



Sahara Foundation, the corporate citizenship vehicle of energy and infrastructure conglomerate, Sahara Group, has launched the 2nd Cohort of the Sahara Impact Fund (SIF) and the Governance Unusual Program to support social innovators  creating solutions that increase access to clean energy and promote sustainable environments.

 The project reinforces Sahara Group’s commitment to bringing energy to life responsibly by connecting social innovators with opportunities that will enhance their contribution to eradicating energy poverty and enhancing environmental sustainability. The SIF is a strategic partnership involving Sahara Foundation, Ford Foundation, LEAP Africa and Impact Investors Foundation.

The Sahara Impact Fund will provide seed funding of $5,000 each for successful finalists, including incremental funding access based on impact, reach and sustainability matrices targeted at supporting young social entrepreneurs in Africa. In addition, the Fellows will have mentoring sessions with business leaders at Sahara Group and other private sector partners, to scale up clean energy and sustainable environment innovations.

The inaugural cohort of the SIF produced Fellows from Cameroon, Nigeria, Rwanda and Malawi who are spearheading transformative solutions through their businesses. According to Damilola Asaleye, Co- founder- Ashdam Solar “The learnings from the Sahara Impact Fund fellowship have become a daily guide for my organization to achieve our strategic plans of providing access to clean and affordable energy for all in Nigeria.”

“In addition to the seed capital, which was a great boost to my business, I have also built professional networks with like-minded passionate entrepreneurs from all over Africa,” said Ghislain Irakoze , Founder, Wastezon, Rwanda.

Pearl Uzokwe, Director, Sahara Foundation, said the Sahara Impact Fund and Governance Unusual program will reinforce ongoing conversations around increasing entrepreneurial capacity and inspiring a paradigm shift in governance through individual responsibility. “We are delighted to lead and join the quest of ensuring that no one is left behind when it comes to energy access and shore up expertise and capacity towards providing global solutions for environmental sustainability. We urge social innovators across Africa to apply to be part of this movement today,” she said.

Uzokwe said applications for the SIF are open from 9th May 2022 to 30th May 2022. “Full details of the application process are available across our social media platforms @iamsaharafdn and the Ujana Hub at Enquiries can also be sent to,” she added.

The maiden edition in 2021 exposed the ten (10) social innovator fellows to blended capacity building sessions in the form of workshops, webinars, immersion sessions, facility tours, cohort meetings, mentoring sessions, one-on-one strategy & finance sessions and Fire chat sessions.

Since inception, Sahara Foundation has implemented various projects across its locations in Africa, Europe, Asia and the Middle East, impacting the lives of over 2,000,000 beneficiaries, with youth accounting for over 50% of the beneficiaries.

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Asharami Synergy Targets 30% Aviation Fuel Market Share To Enhance Economic Growth



Asharami Synergy Limited, a Sahara Group Downstream Company, is investing in technology and innovative solutions to enhance its capacity to fuel seamless economic growth through operations in the aviation fuel market.

Asharami Synergy Limited, which is Nigeria’s first indigenous energy company to operate as an independent Aviation Fuel Marketer, controls about 25 percent market share in the industry, operating as the preferred aviation fuel market for local and international airlines.

Foluso Sobanjo, Head, Sahara Downstream Business, at a press briefing in Lagos, said investments in infrastructure, human capital transformation, quality, health,  safety, and environmental sustainability continues to drive service excellence in the organisation.

He said Asharami Synergy would leverage its technology driven supply chain efficiency across the Downstream value chain to deliver distinctive value and innovative solutions in the market. “We have been at the forefront of Oil and Gas enterprise in the West African region for over twenty years.”

In addition, “Asharami Synergy has a formidable presence in the sector, providing best-in-class fuel procurement and distribution solutions by utilizing innovative technology and improved efficiency across the downstream supply chain. Our quest for increased market share is borne out of our commitment to transforming the sector and spurring economic development,” Sobanjo said.

Asharami Synergy operates in four countries in the Africa and has a combined storage capacity of 81 million litres of Aviation fuel otherwise known as ATK.

The company has over 30 million litres storage capacity for ATK across various locations in Nigeria as well as a fleet of ultramodern bowsers spread across various locations, fueling the development and growth of the national and sub-regional economy by providing seamless access to safe and reliable ATK.

Sobanjo said “safety first and always” is the mantra that drives operations in Asharami Asharami Synergy, a development that has earned the company multiple International Standard Organisation certifications.

He said being a strategic partner of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) gives Asharami Synergy a global credibility that is driven by a statutory self-responsibility that propels its business operations in compliance with the highest global standards.

“Asharami Synergy has several ISO certifications; ISO 9001:2015 (Quality), ISO 14001:2015 (Environmental) and ISO 45001:2018 (Occupational Health and Safety). This reinforces our commitment to bringing energy to life responsibly in all our operations. Our mantra is Safety First, Safety Always, ensuring that the health and safety of our employees and other stakeholders remains top priority in all business operations,” he added.

Asharami Synergy is a vertically integrated and foremost downstream company in the West African region with established and formidable presence in the sector, providing best-in-class fuel procurement and distribution solutions by utilizing innovative technology and improved efficiency across the downstream supply chain for over twenty years.

The company emerged from a consolidation of Sahara Group Downstream Companies with interest in procurement, storage, and distribution of white products across Nigeria.

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Video: Oppo Reno 7 Launch



Did you miss the big launch? Here is Bahati the singer and his wife during the Monday virtual launch of the Oppo Reno 7 phone in Kenya.

The colourful launch gives  the phone a leverage in the market ahead of the rest.

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