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East Africa Quarterly and Monthly Newsletter

11 May 2021
– 6 Minute Read


Bowmans IP & Technology practice ranked as a leading practice in Africa

Our IP & Technology Practice continues to be recognized by international directories as a leading practice in Intellectual Property, Telecommunications, Media and Technology. In 2020, we added to this list of accolades by being named Runner-up Intellectual Property Team of the Year for 2020 at the African Legal Awards.

In 2021, we added to this list of accolades by being listed by World Trademark Review’s top trademark professionals’ rankings, with a number of our IP & Tech department members featuring on the article. To read more, click here.

Taxation of Intellectual Property in Kenya by Ariana Issaias and Denis Magonga

Innovation plays an important role in the growth of a business and is increasingly becoming a strategic pillar for any organisation that wants to be successful in today’s global economy. At the heart of innovation is the development and use of intellectual property (IP) in both the input and output of an organisation. IP rights exist in different forms such as copyright, trademarks, patents, designs and trade secrets, and provide the proprietor with an exclusive monopoly over the utilisation and commercialisation of the IP.

IP can be a business’ most valuable asset.  Forbes’ annual list of the World’s Most Valuable Brands of 2020 had Apple (unsurprisingly) at the top of its list, calculating its brand value at USD 241.2 billion and brand revenue at USD 260.2 billion, but there were other notable contenders. These included Toyota, ranked 11th, at USD 41.5 billion (brand value) and USD 187 billion (brand revenue), PwC, ranked 70th, at USD 11 billion (brand value) and USD 42.4 billion (brand revenue), and Lego, ranked 92nd, at USD 8.6 billion (brand value) and USD 5.8b (brand revenue). 

To read more, click here.

Overview of Data Infrastructure in East Africa (Kenya) by Angela Mukora, Rose Njeru and John Syekei

From data centres to new mobile and cable connectivity, data infrastructure is capturing the attention of investors, who can only benefit from greater insight into the regulatory ramifications of entering or operating in this sphere. This is the first of three articles to be published by our telecommunications team, giving a bird’s eye view of the data infrastructure sector across East Africa.

Kenya’s dynamic telecommunications market has grown significantly in the past two decades. Mobile connectivity in the country is reported to have risen from 37% to 49.6% from 2014 to 2019, putting Kenya at the top of GSMA’s list of most improved countries in the region for mobile connectivity

To read more, click here.

Overview of Data Infrastructure in East Africa (Uganda) by Sophie Nyombi and Brian Kalule

In this article, the second in our series on data infrastructure in East Africa, the spotlight falls on Uganda and specifically the state of its cable and other network infrastructure, as well as mobile and internet penetration.

The ongoing expansion and improvement of data infrastructure in Uganda is playing a major role in the country’s economic development and boosting the contribution of the information and communications technology (ICT) sector to gross domestic product (GDP). This has risen from 2.5% in 2015 to approximately 3.1% currently. It is estimated that the sector employs over two million people (with direct employment of about one million). A significant number of young people are engaged in activities such as ICT hubs, resale of value-added services and ICT innovation, bolstering much-needed youth employment.

To read more, click here.

Overview of Data Infrastructure in East Africa (Tanzania) by Aisha Sinda

In this article, the third in our series on data infrastructure in East Africa, the focus is on Tanzania, one of the two largest telecommunications (telecoms) markets in the region.

Tanzania is the second-largest telecoms market in East Africa behind Kenya. The country’s telecoms sector contributed USD 859 million to real GDP in 2018, up from USD 672 million in 2014, an increase of 28%. This growth was attributed to the increase in mobile usage and the expansion of broadcasting and internet services.

To read more, click here.

Chambers ‘Fintech 2021’ Global Practice Guide by John Syekei, Dominic Indokhomi and Ariana Issaias

Our team was involved in drafting the Kenya ‘Fintech 2021’ practice guide for Chambers and Partners. Nairobi, Kenya is currently ranked the second largest fintech city hub in Africa according to the 2020 Findexable Global Fintech Rankings report. The Guide highlights key issues in the sector from a legal framework and practice perspective to prevailing trends and developments in Kenya.

To read more, click here.

Kenya: Termination of Franchise Agreements for Failure to Uphold Operational Standards Permitted by Wambui Mwariri, George Ndung’u, Ariana Issaias, Terry Mwango, Cecil Kuyo, John Syekei

A franchisor is entitled to terminate a franchise agreement entered into with a franchisee undergoing statutory administration without the need for permission from court.

This was the holding in the case of Hoggers Limited (In Administration) v John Lee Halamandres & 11 others [2021] eKLR (the “Hoggers Case”). The High Court of Kenya held that termination and non-renewal of franchise agreements take effect upon service of the required contractual notice and are not legal proceedings requiring the consent of an Administrator or leave of the court with the meaning of section 560 of the Insolvency Act No. 18 of 2015 (the “Insolvency Act”) and upheld the terms of the contract in favour of the franchisor.

 To read more, click here.

Public Participation on the Draft Data Protection Regulations by Ariana Issaias, Dominic Indokhomi, Terry Mwango, John Syekei

The Ministry of ICT, Innovation and Youth Affairs, issued a call for comments on the draft Data Protection Regulations to be passed under the Data Protection Act, 2019, as part of public participation in April. Three Regulations have been proposed, which are the:

  • Data Protection (General) Regulations, 2021 (available here);
  • Data Protection (Registration of Data Controllers and Data Processors) Regulations, 2021 (available here); and
  • Data Protection (Compliance and Enforcement Regulations), 2021 (available here).

A series of virtual public hearings were conducted on the 27th, 28th and 29th of April to allow for discussions on the various views, emphasizing the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner’s (ODPC) commitment to a transparent process.

Our data protection taskforce analysed the salient provisions of the Draft Regulations.

To read more, click here.

Clarity on Local Equity Participation Requirements in the ICT Sector by Angela Mukora, Rose Njeru and John Syekei

The Ministry of ICT has provided much needed guidance on how the 30% shareholding requirement under the National ICT Policy Guidelines, 2020 (the Sector Policy) will be implemented. We discussed the Sector Policy in depth here, which increased the minimum Kenyan shareholding required for Communication Authority licensees from 20% to 30%. One of the main issues we outlined was the need for clarity on timelines within which existing licensees are required to increase their shareholding to 30%, how existing licensees with waivers are to be treated and specifically how the 3-year grace period granted under the Sector Policy is to be applied.

Through Gazette Notice Number 3192 of 9 April 2021 (the Notice), the Sector Policy has been amended to provide the timelines for compliance. 

To read more, click here.