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Improved life expectancy lifts Kenya’s ranking

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Elderly people
Elderly people wait to receive their monthly stipend in Molo, Nakuru County. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Kenya has slightly improved its standing in the global human development parade, moving to position 142 up from last year’s ranking of number 143.

The Human Development Index (HDI), which ranks 189 nations in total, on the basis of three key parameters including life expectancy at birth, years of schooling and gross national income (GNI) per capita measured in purchasing power parity (PPP) means that it takes into account what the local currency can buy rather than merely its exchange rate against the hard currencies.

Kenyans are now expected to live up to an average of 67.3 years or nearly 10 years more than 27 years ago, have an average of 6.5 years of schooling out of an expected 12 years, and with an average GDP per capita of $2,961 in PPP terms.

“Kenya’s HDI value for 2017 is 0.590, positioning it at 142 out of 189 countries and territories. Between 1990 and 2017, Kenya’s HDI value rose from 0.468 to 0.590, an increase of 26.1 percent,” said the report.

“Between 1990 and 2017, Kenya’s life expectancy at birth increased by 9.8 years, mean years of schooling increased by 2.8 years and expected years of schooling rose by 3.0 years. Kenya’s GNI per capita increased by about 28.9 percent between 1990 and 2017,” the report says.

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The 189 countries are divided into three major groups those with very high, high, medium and low human development. Kenya falls in the category of countries with medium level of human development.

“[It is] a composite index measuring average achievement in three basic dimensions of human development — a long and healthy life, knowledge and a decent standard of living,” says the report that seeks to measure progress not merely by economic production alone, but also by the health and education of the people.

Its findings are meant to provoke policy makers to question and align income to other development outcomes.

“The HDI was created to emphasise that people and their capabilities should be the ultimate criteria for assessing the development of a country, not economic growth alone,” the UN says in the report adding that the HDI can also be used to question national policy choices, ask how two countries with the same level of GNI per capita can end up with different human development outcomes.

“These contrasts can stimulate debate about government policy priorities,” the report says.

Roselyn Wanjiru, a development economist and an independent researcher, said health and education are critical components in the report because the two tend to have an impact on economic production of people and therefore development.

“We have seen more emphasis on education and health — both physical and mental health — as well as sensitisation of people about the importance of this. This must have impacted the position of Kenya,” said Ms Wanjiru.

She said that for Kenya to improve further on the HDI there should be more investment in social infrastructure and stability of the political environment.

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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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