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Best Western lifts portfolio with Westlands hotel

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A Best Western Plus
Best Western Premier, Argwings Kodhek Rd, Hurlingham. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Global hospitality chain Best Western Plus has signed a management agreement with a hospitality company for a new hotel in Westlands, adding to its expanding portfolio in the country.

Aleph Hospitality will run the new hotel set to open in 2019 with 100 guest rooms, a dedicated meetings floor and two food and beverage outlets, including a rooftop bar.

“Owners are increasingly looking for the power of an international brand above their door and all of the major brands are looking to franchising as the key vehicle for growing their footprint more rapidly. Through our international brand experience and our in-depth local knowledge, we are uniquely placed to operate in the middle, bringing together both parties for mutual success.” Said Bani Haddad, founder and managing director of Aleph Hospitality this week.

The announcement was made during the Africa Hotel Investment Forum in Nairobi.

The new facility is one of at least 14 branded hotels set to open in Kenya in 2019.

The Best Western Group has the highest number of branded properties in the pipeline in Kenya with six properties already under construction.

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One of the hotels is in Naivasha and the rest are located in Nairobi under its Best Western, BW Premier Collection, Best Western Plus and Executive Residency by Best Western brands.

The chain announced two properties at the end of 2016, including its first Residency as well as Best Western Premier Collection The Alba.

Best Western debuted in Kenya with a Hurlingham and Mombasa property before divesting from the two hotels.

It rebranded city hotel Meridian under its Best Western Plus umbrella. Aleph Hospitality – which manages properties in Kenya, Ethiopia, Liberia and Senegal – also signed a deal with a three-star hotel in the tourist city Mombasa.

The yet-to-be-branded hotel will offer 106 guest rooms along with events space and leisure facilities, including a pool in close proximity to both Mombasa’s central business district and the city’s famous beaches.

Scheduled to open in Spring 2020, Aleph Hospitality is already discussing how to secure a suitable brand for the property under a franchise. Aleph also manages the Nairobi Airport Hotel. About 20 major international hotel brands are lined up to set shop in Kenya over the next five years. They include the Wyndham, CityBlue, Hilton, Marriot, Radisson, Accor, Dusit, Swiss International and Sarovar brands.

Most of the properties in the pipeline are in Nairobi.

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World Bank pushes G-20 to extend debt relief to 2021

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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.

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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.

ALSO READ:Global Economy Plunges into Worst Recession – World Bank

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Kenya’s Central Bank Drafts New Laws to Regulate Non-Bank Digital Loans

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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.

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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.

SEE ALSO: Central Bank Unveils Measures to Tame Unregulated Digital Lenders

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Scope Markets Kenya customers to have instant access to global financial markets

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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.

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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.

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