The global imagination of rural, is mainly a depiction of low-income communities who rely primarily on agricultural activities for their livelihood.
Agriculture and industry have long been tied in a symbiotic relationship that sees the former provide raw material such as hides, skins, cotton, fresh fruit, tree barks among others towards the creation of final products.
Industry on the other hand, incorporates many agribusinesses into the numerous value and supply chains that drive it, and this catalyses the growth and productivity of agriculture. Its, additional generation of foreign earnings through exports also provides an income to many.
According to the Economic Survey 2018, our agricultural sector made the highest contribution to GDP with 31.5 per cent in 2017.
Just to get a better scope of the contributors to this; the total value of marketed production increased by 8.2 per cent to Sh446.9 billion from Sh 413.3 billion in 2016, with the highest marketed production being livestock and products at Sh135.6 billion, tea at Sh134.8 billion and horticulture at Sh114.3 billion
These figures are compelling! And to think that as a country we have barely scratched the surface with regards to the potential in this sector. We need to start thinking – agro-based Manufacturing. Meaning we should renew our commitment towards increased value-addition .
In the Food Security and Manufacturing Pillars of the Big 4 Agenda, the government has put in place measures that seek to expand food production and supply in the country, as well as a concerted effort towards the reduction of food prices to ensure affordability to all citizens.Under the two pillars, the government has prioritised textiles and apparel, leather products, agro-processing and construction materials.
To promote agro-processing, the government is focusing on tea, coffee, meat, sugar, dairy, fruits, and vegetables, in order to obtain more value and create an additional 200,000 jobs in the country.
Why then does value addition matter?A major contributor to food scarcity in the country has been the massive post-harvest losses that occur due to low-value addition and inadequate cold chain facilities.
The Food and Agriculture Organisation estimates that Kenya losses between 20 – 50 per cent of its agricultural production due to post-harvest losses.
However, if we change our mindset towards agro-based manufacturing we can significantly minimise this wastage and increase the quality of products and their shelf life – through value addition.
For instance, at present, fresh milk can last 24 hours at most depending on climatic conditions. But, once it is processed into various products it can last months on end.
Hence we need to kick start deliberate efforts by county governments and industry to, for instance, set up milk cooling plants along the supply chains towards this endeavor for value addition in the country.
Value addition also promotes the growth of backward and forward linkages, and in the process creates the much-needed productive jobs for the youth, and equally, increases the purchasing power of citizens.
Bryan Cuthbert, chairman, North Rift chapter, Kenya Association Manufacturers.
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.