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In Sweden, a ‘second-hand’ mall draws big crowds

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ESKILSTUNA, Sweden, Jul 20 – Not content with the average neighbourhood thrift store, a city in Sweden has opened a whole shopping mall dedicated to giving pre-owned items new life.

The mall, located an hour’s train ride west of Stockholm in the city of Eskilstuna, consists of 13 stores and covers 5,000 square metres (54,000 square feet), employing between 50 and 65 people.

It has been named ReTuna, a play on Eskilstuna, which began an effort to reinvent itself as an ecological city in the 1990s. 

“We are traditionally an industrial town, we have had our difficulties and we thought we have to find some things that can build confidence and where we can take responsibility,” the city’s mayor Jimmy Jansson told AFP, adding that city leaders were now trying to develop it “into a modern industrial town”.

ReTuna, inaugurated in 2015, was named “the world’s first shopping mall designated for repaired, recycled and restored items” by the Guinness Book of World Records in 2020.

Some way from the giant shopping malls of major cities, the complex still attracts some 250,000 to 300,000 visitors a year, according to Anna Bergstrom, who was in charge of ReTuna until early 2020.

Spread across two floors the boutiques sell used tech gadgets, books, children’s toys and home goods, as well as a slew of other products. 

“You can basically do all kinds of shopping here that you do in regular stores: furniture, clothes, flowers, sports articles, building materials, almost everything,” Bergstrom said.

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The mall, where a slight hint of the signature smell of second-hand clothing reigns, also offers a one-year course in the design of recycled products.

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‘Kopskam’

Buying second-hand has seen a surge in Sweden, where “kopskam” (buying shame) and “flygskam” (flight shame) are weighing on the consciences of Swedes.

Sweden is aiming to be an ecological leader by becoming carbon neutral by 2045.

By then Eskilstuna wants to capture more CO2 than it emits and be independent of fossil fuels.

Equipped with a state-of-the-art waste-sorting centre, the city already recycles or transforms most of its waste into energy.

But the green image has some blemishes. Cars fill the city’s streets and car parks, including the ReTuna car park.

Although the buses in the city centre already run on biogas, “there is still a lot to be done to reduce carbon dioxide emissions,” Jansson, the city’s social democratic mayor for the last 10 years, admitted.

Eskilstuna – home to Volvo’s construction equipment division and stainless steel giant Outokumpu of Finland – adopted a “Climate Plan 2020” in 2012 to become greenhouse gas neutral by the end of the decade. 

In 2016 a list of “50 environmental promises”, ranging from the development of renewable energies to bicycle paths, was also adopted.

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Earlier this year, the opposition Green party noted that there are “a number of goals that have not been met.”

Citing worries over whether Eskilstuna would be able to reach the climate goals, they called on the city’s leaders to step up their efforts.

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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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