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Investment groups cure for poverty, experts say

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According to an economist, former Maragua MP
According to an economist, former Maragua MP Elias Mbau, self-help groups link members to microfinance institutions. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Savings, credit and investment oriented self-help groups have widely been billed to be the panacea to financial insecurity and indebtedness especially among the lower and mid-level earners.

They are touted as the cure to poverty by enhancing savings and investments. Yet, many that are formed get wound up without achieving their goals.

According to an economist, former Maragua MP Elias Mbau, self-help groups link members to microfinance institutions.

“Members who can’t raise capital to start their businesses are enabled by these groups,” he says.

He says the country has not invested effort in educating Kenyans on how self-help groups work and how to make them sustainable.

He adds that the government should develop policy guidelines on how to encourage, support and grow such groups.

Mr Wanjumbi Mwangi, a personal finance trainer, says such groups need to be designed and managed properly to succeed.

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“Lack of know-how and experience ihas been the major cause of the break-up of the groups without having achieved their goals,” he says.

Mr Mwangi says government’s involvement in formation of these groups is only by way of charging registration fees but do not follow it up by policy support.

“Financial institutions are also to blame since they rarely support these groups by way of advice and guidance,” he says.

As a result, those that are lucky to get off the starting blocks become nothing more than an avenue for taxes for the government and customers for banking institutions.

Deputy President William Ruto’s wife, Mrs Rachel Ruto who has been very active in bringing women together to found table banking groups says a lot has to be done to make self-help groups work.

“We should, as a nation, encourage a culture of strength in united savings. We should be concerned that many of such groups do not succeed and ask ourselves what is wrong with the whole concept. It is only by way of insisting on group savings among the poor that we can start the journey of building them economically,” she says.

She says the concept of group savings is widely known and embraced in the country but there is a major shortcoming in terms of structures due to a lack of knowledge, guidance and strengthening programmes from both the government and the private sector, adding that, without this, no meaningful achievement will be realised.

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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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