, a 71-year-old retired mathematics teacher started his botanic garden on just two acres. Now the Kitale Nature Conservancy sits on 200 acres and has from cows with bizarre conditions to lions and hyenas.
A statue of the late Nobel laureate Wangari Maathai dressed in an orange dress holding a tiny potted plant welcomes nature lovers to the garden.
On the land, he has grown hundreds of indigenous plants, collected from almost everywhere in Kenya. There are about 600 to 700 different plant species.
Crocodiles, tortoises, ostrich and hyraxes mingle almost freely at the conservancy. Animals with dwarfism, elephantiasis, twisted neck, hernia, short tails— conditions that make them an abomination— also roam around.
There are several carvings of wild animals and stone writings with one notable that reads “the 11th commandment, thou shall not destroy planet earth, it is our only home.”
Mr Ndura was a mathematics teacher for 27 years. After he retired, he started travelling all over the country to collect plants. ‘‘I am convinced that it is important to conserve these plants some of which are almost extinct,” he says.
He has grouped the indigenous plant species into different families that includes the cider of the Lebanon, ficus sycomorus and euphoria tirucalli. There also a number of gardenia species like gardenia ternifolia and gardenia posoqueria.
In 1984, Mr Ndura moved from Limuru to Trans Nzoia in search of vast land to focus on his nature conservation activities. He started by buying land using his savings, then he slowly bought more.
“I used savings from my salary and a micro-finance business to buy two acres of land where I started the botanical garden,” says Mr Ndura.
“By then, an acre of land was going for Sh20,000. I spent about Sh100,000 as starting capital which included collecting different plants species,” he says.
His passion for nature saw the conservationist start housing animals with deformities.
“Initially, I didn’t have space to keep the animals. I bought 10 more acres before bringing in the deformed animals,” he says.
In 2000, he bought a deformed cow with four horns and a distorted mouth for Sh40,000.
His neighbours used to associate the deformed animals to any bad events that occurred in the area. “Some thought I was a mad man because people think these animals are bad omens. When there was no rains or if lightening killed livestock in the area, the neighbours came and demanded that I relocate the animals from there,” he says.
However, with time, Mr Ndura says, the neighbours started coming to see the bizarre animals.
The conservancy attracts lovers and students who come to spend their pastime at the park or learn about animals.
“Any initiative that doesn’t involve the youth is bound to fail, it is crucial to nurture conservation culture at the tender age so that they interact with the animals early and curb poaching,” says the conservationist.
He hopes that the bizarre animals can also help researchers study about gene mutation.
His environmental efforts have paid off and in 2010, he won the Head of State’s Commendation award from former President Mwai Kibaki.
Not all of the animals in the conservancy have deformities. He has Ankole cows, originally from Uganda, to help share information on indigenous domestic animals, which are drought tolerant and disease resistant.
The conservancy also hosts two lions, which were donations from Nairobi National Park, baboons, cane rats and a number of bird species.
World Bank pushes G-20 to extend debt relief to 2021
World Bank Group President David Malpass has urged the Group of 20 rich countries to extend the time frame of the Debt Service Suspension Initiative(DSSI) through the end of 2021, calling it one of the key factors in strengthening global recovery.
“I urge you to extend the time frame of the DSSI through the end of 2021 and commit to giving the initiative as broad a scope as possible,” said Malpass.
He made these remarks at last week’s virtual G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting.
The World Bank Chief said the COVID-19 pandemic has triggered the deepest global recession in decades and what may turn out to be one of the most unequal in terms of impact.
People in developing countries are particularly hard hit by capital outflows, declines in remittances, the collapse of informal labor markets, and social safety nets that are much less robust than in the advanced economies.
For the poorest countries, poverty is rising rapidly, median incomes are falling and growth is deeply negative.
Debt burdens, already unsustainable for many countries, are rising to crisis levels.
“The situation in developing countries is increasingly desperate. Time is short. We need to take action quickly on debt suspension, debt reduction, debt resolution mechanisms and debt transparency,” said Malpass.
Kenya’s Central Bank Drafts New Laws to Regulate Non-Bank Digital Loans
The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) will regulate interest rates charged on mobile loans by digital lending platforms if amendments on the Central bank of Kenya Act pass to law. The amendments will require digital lenders to seek approval from CBK before launching new products or changing interest rates on loans among other charges, just like commercial banks.
“The principal objective of this bill is to amend the Central bank of Kenya Act to regulate the conduct of providers of digital financial products and services,” reads a notice on the bill. “CBK will have an obligation of ensuring that there is fair and non-discriminatory marketplace access to credit.”
According to Business Daily, the legislation will also enable the Central Bank to monitor non-performing loans, capping the limit at not twice the amount of the defaulted loan while protecting consumers from predatory lending by digital loan platforms.
Tighter Reins on Platforms for Mobile Loans
The legislation will boost efforts to protect customers, building upon a previous gazette notice that blocked lenders from blacklisting non-performing loans below Ksh 1000. The CBK also withdrew submissions of unregulated mobile loan platforms into Credit Reference Bureau. The withdrawal came after complaints of misuse over data in the Credit Information Sharing (CIS) System available for lenders.
Last year, Kenya had over 49 platforms providing mobile loans, taking advantage of regulation gaps to charge obscene rates as high as 150% a year. While most platforms allow borrowers to prepay within a month, creditors still pay the full amount plus interest.
Amendments in the CBK Act will help shield consumers from high-interest rates as well as offer transparency on terms of digital loans.
Scope Markets Kenya customers to have instant access to global financial markets
NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 20 – Clients trading through the Scope Markets Kenya trading platform will get instant access to global financial markets and wider investment options.
This follows the launch of a new Scope Markets app, available on both the Google PlayStore and IOS Apple Store.
The Scope Markets app offers clients over 500 investment opportunities across global financial markets.
The Scope Markets app has a brand new user interface that is very user friendly, following feedback from customers.
The application offers real-time quotes; newsfeeds; research facilities, and a chat feature which enables a customer to make direct contact with the Customer Service Team during trading days (Monday to Friday).
The platform also offers an enhanced client interface including catering for those who trade at night.
The client will get instant access to several asset classes in the global financial markets including; Single Stocks CFDs (US, UK, EU) such as Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google, BP, Carrefour; Indices (Nasdaq, FTSE UK), Metals (Gold, Silver); Currencies (60+ Pairs), Commodities (Oil, Natural Gas).
The launch is part of Scope Markets Kenya strategy of enriching the customer experience while offering clients access to global trading opportunities.
Scope Markets Kenya CEO, Kevin Ng’ang’a observed, “the Sope Markets app is very easy to use especially when executing trades. Customers are at the heart of everything we do. We designed the Scope Markets app with the customer experience in mind as we seek to respond to feedback from our customers.”
He added that enhancing the client experience builds upon the robust trading platform, Meta Trader 5, unveiled in 2019, enabling Scope Markets Kenya to broaden the asset classes available on the trading platform.