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BOOK REVIEW: Author takes futuristic look at the effects of gambling

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Book Review

Tony Mochama
Tony Mochama’s latest novel ‘2063 – Last Mile Bet’. PHOTO | MARGARETTA WA GACHERU 

Tony Mochama stretches our imagination with his latest novel, 2063 – Last Mile Bet, which came out at a pre-launch launch a few weeks back at the IMAX theatre.

Still to be finally edited by Nsemia Inc. Publishers, the book will officially be released later this year. In the meantime, one has to marvel at Mochama’s wild imagination, leave alone his method of speculation about what the future will bring to Kenya between now and 2063.

His story is set in a time when Kenya’s in its centennial year. His protagonist is 88 years old, presumably the age Mochoma will be when he reaches that autumn’esque stage of his life career.

His protagonist, Morgan Chamaroche, is a crusty old gambler who, in the course of exactly 24 hours, reflects on his past in a series of flashbacks as well as on his present, which is quite precarious.

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For it would seem old Chamaroche has dug himself into a huge bottomless pit of debt. He’s been afflicted with a gambling addiction for many years. What’s worse is that he’s been mindlessly borrowing from the Mafia all that time. So it’s understandable when the Italian mafia man gives him so many hours before reaching a June 2, 2063 deadline, to come up with the cash: It’s a cool Sh80 million that Chamaroche owes. And if he doesn’t pay up on time, it’s curtains for him.

So while his whole life flashes before him in the course of that one 24 hour day, (between 10am, June 1, 2063 and 9:59am the following day), Chamaroche takes a lot of time to reflect on the issues of death and immortality.

Clearly, he’s a man who’d like to live forever. He’s even taken sundry drugs to deflect any signs of dementia.

He’s also served as a sort of scientific guinea pig, allowing a Swiss doctor to insert ‘nanobots’ (or “the micro-metals of immortality”) into the inner recesses of his “molecular bonds.” These were meant to strengthen his valves and arteries, which apparently they have.

However, with this experiment as in so many other spheres of Morgan’s life, he takes a big risk that can have dire consequences. For instance, the nanobots can become “suicide bombers of the heart, a Trojan horse in his brain” if provoked by stress or over-excitement.

So Chamoroche hobbles around a rather dystopic Kenya, like a kind of ticking time-bomb. If the Mafia doesn’t get him, the drugs or the nanobots might. But until one of them does, Morgan has a good thing going, apart from his addiction.

It’s that addiction that compels him to calculate that one last multimillion shilling bet. Either way, Mochama and Morgan are prepared for whatever, come what may.

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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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