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KAINDO: Act can’t resolve ‘hakuna matata’ copyright row

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A commentary by Tom Kabau, titled “Resolving trade marking of hakuna matata slogan”, published in Business Daily is misleading on the issue of management of traditional knowledge and cultural expressions.

The article gives the impression that the role of administering and protection of Traditional Knowledge and Traditional Cultural Expression (TK&TCE) is vested on Kenya Copyright Board (KECOBO).

The public needs to understand the genesis of The Protection of Traditional Knowledge and Cultural Expressions Act, No. 33 of 2016 and its metamorphosis and implementation so far.

The Act was assented to by the President on August 31,2016.

This law aims at creating an appropriate sui-generis mechanism for the protection of traditional knowledge (TK) and traditional cultural expressions (TCEs) which gives effect to Articles 11, 40 and 69(1) (c) of the Constitution. The application of the Act commenced on September 21, 2016.

Immediately it was passed, the Act appeared disproportionately protectionist with little or no provisions on support, access, development and promotion of TK and TCEs. It was also viewed by many as “an orphan Act” as it lacked an appropriate implementation and enforcement framework and had no clear parent ministry.

The definition of “Cabinet Secretary” was particularly ambiguously defined as the “Cabinet Secretary responsible for matters relating to intellectual property rights”.

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This definition may have been interpreted to cover different Ministries namely the Office of the Attorney General, Ministry of Industrialization, Ministry of Sports, Ministry of Arts and Culture or Ministry of Agriculture. Out of these potential ministries, the Office of the Attorney General might seem to be the most likely ministry in charge of the Act. This is so because KECOBO is the state organ under the Office of the Attorney General, designated under the Act as host institution for the traditional knowledge digital repository as well as an arbiter for settlement of concurrent claims to TK by different communities.

To remedy this short coming, the Statute Law (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill, 2018 made various, wide-ranging amendments to the existing intellectual property (IP) law related statutes, including the TK and TCE Act. Section 2 of the TK and TCE Act through the miscellaneous Amendment now states that ‘the Cabinet Secretary for the time being responsible for matters relating to culture’ shall oversee the implementation and enforcement of the TK and TCE Act.

This means that the proposed parent ministry for the TK and TCE Act is the Ministry of Sports and Heritage formerly known as the Ministry of Sports, Culture and the Arts and before that, the Ministry of Gender, Sports, Culture and Social Services.

The Cabinet Secretary will have all executive powers to operationalise the Act and to consider how best to administer and enforce the TK and TCE Act as this is not the mandate of KECOBO.

Having clarified the host and executor of the Protection of Traditional Knowledge and Cultural Expressions Act, it is fair to note that the Act does not have the solution to the current problem as alleged.

Paul Kaindo, IP expert, advocate of the High Court of Kenya and a legal counsel for Kenya Copyright Board.

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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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