The Ministry of ICT has passed a policy that proposes artificial blockchain and critical infrastructure laws, Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru said recently.
Mr Mucheru, who was speaking at the Pwani Innovation Week said if enacted, they will make life easier for sector players. He said the data protection policy will also help in attracting investments creating new opportunities, programmes and jobs.
Noting that Huduma number was just the beginning, the CS observed that the country’s youth stand to gain more with plans to digitise the whole government. This, he noted will offer new opportunities.
“New opportunities will emerge. There are big opportunities in the digital economy,” he noted
Mr Mucheru said Kenya is doing well in the film industry, adding that the film “the elephant queen” based in Kenya was bought by Apple and is one of the most popular movies at Apple.
He said the ministry will ensure every Kenyan watches it, noting that in Mombasa, Swahili Pot can host the movie show.
University of Nairobi lecturer and former Communications PS Prof Bitange Ndemo was among the speakers drawn from the country’s most innovative companies–Safaricon, Cellulant, Seacom, KENIC and others. He called for infrastructure layout including that for broadband internet.
“Knowledge and skills are also needed to support the 4th revolution. Despite the digital learning programme having covered 95 per cent of the schools, the teachers’ unions remain the greatest barriers.,” said Ndemo. “As such we have capacity issues. As actors should offer probono capacity building in our villages.”
The Pwani Innovation Week is a platform for innovators and trend-setters to showcase their work, inspire creativity and identify areas of collaboration, and support the push to meet potential partners.
The event dubbed ‘Digital Economy’ was meant to explore and support creativity and innovation, the distinctive role of art; and the region’s authentic and diverse culture.
The event brought together innovators, industry leaders, opinion-makers and game-changers to showcase and discuss the latest trends and innovation in technology, art and creativity. The Innovation Week 2019 also saw a geographical expansion to all the six counties of the Coast region and had more sponsors other than before.
The climax of the innovation week was the annual “Pwani Gat Talent” that provides artists with a platform to showcase their talents and forge strategic linkages with the sector actors.
Mahmoud Noor of the SwahiliPot Hub said the platform provides a shared working space, fast internet, and access to reliable electricity, something that the continent overall still grapples with.
This year, the innovation week was further devolved and had activities in Lamu, Kwale and Taita Taveta counties – growth from the previous year.
Pwani Innovation Week Chairman Michael Onyango said the initiative reaches out to the coastal communities to take up opportunities presented in the digital economy.
British High Commission envoy Suzy Kitchen said the UK has supported a number of digital solutions in Kenya, targeting agriculture and nutrition where mobile phone apps are used to give farming tips including innovation and control of pests and disease.
Others are health sector, education by use of online education content the establishment of a hub for People with Disabilities hub offering assistive technology. “The UK is committed to supporting innovation from idea, seed, growth and maturity through catalytic programmes,” she said.
Do not miss out on the latest news. Join the Standard Digital Telegram channel HERE.
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.