What comes to your mind when you hear the word ‘guru’? Expert, right? Well, that’s the name of Narendra Raval’s new book published by Bloomsbury India.
First things first, let’s get the forewords out of the way. They’ve been penned by President Uhuru Kenyatta and Prime Minister Narendra Modi as well as Lord Raj Loomba, of the House of Lords. That aside, leaders such as presidents Daniel arap Moi, Mwai Kibaki, Yoweri Museveni, and Joseph Kabila are featured in snippets and accounts of celebratory achievements by Raval.
Guru is based on the life and times of the steel manufacturer Narendra Raval, from his days in Gujarat, growing up in poverty, palm-reading and working in the temple, the way through which he found his way to Kenya from his place of birth, India, to find his knack for business, a move that has since snowballed into his business empire in Kenya, Uganda and Congo.
Raval, who owns Kenya-based Devki Steel Mill, writes Guru from a place of reflection, but mostly sharing lessons learnt. Of this, he states “These practical guidelines for succeeding as a trader or an industrialist are all based on my personal experiences in the world of commerce and industry, not drawn from any management textbook.”
The certified helicopter pilot did not start his journey to opulence and success from a silver spoon.
Abject poverty, with nothing to eat characterised most of his days growing up as the first born son to his parents. Mischief and practical pranks were not far from him, just as his desire to make his family proud was at the constant fore of his mind growing up.
Guru is 314 pages long, even though at times it feels as though the writer were repeating himself. There are also a few mistakes in the names of towns in Kenya. From a ‘local’ perspective, having a copy editor with knowledge of the towns, besides the general descriptions found in travel books could have helped add brownie points to the body of work. However, they are far less important than the bigger picture Raval paints.
He’s a spiritual man with a keen sense of self-awareness and a do-gooder, with evidence to boot. His resume speaks for itself.
Through reading Guru, you will not only better understand the business and regulatory environments, but also, that business and politics go hand in hand, as Raval himself admits in Chapter 35.
“I played a pivotal role in maintaining peace and order in the Kenyan political scene before the December 2007 elections.”
He met with former vice-president Stephen Musyoka and President Kibaki’s strategist Stanley Murage, to dissuade Mr Kalonzo from vying for president, and when the violence broke out, “organised this peace meeting, for the sake of the betterment of the Kenyan people and for the country’s progress.”
Raval underscores family is just as important as the work life and says he has no interest to join politics. The father of three says “family is where life begins and life ends”, a lifeline, his whole world. His wife Neeta, and son Devang, daughter in law Prakurti, daughter Tulsi and last born son Devrath all take turns to write in the book.
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.