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Kenyans star in Netflix film

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Kenyans star in Netflix film

Chiwetel Ejiofor
Chiwetel Ejiofor (second right) attends the SAG-AFTRA Foundation Conversations: ‘The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind’ at The Robin Williams Centre on February 26 in New York City. PHOTO | AFP 

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind is a beautiful but bitter-sweet African story set in Malawi in 2001.

It’s based on the true story of 13-year-old William Kamkwamba whose agrarian community is in the throws of famine brought on initially by intense flooding followed by a devastating drought, coupled with a corrupt government’s intentional neglect.

The boy, who grew up and wrote the book, wanted to find the means to save his community. But his family’s failed crop meant there’s no money for school fees, so he’s unceremoniously kicked out. This means he can’t even read the science books he yearns to learn from.

Yet William (played by Maxwell Simba, one of the Kenyans in the film) is unrelenting and finally figures out how to construct a ‘jua kali’ (makeshift) wind turbine that can power a water pump so his family’s forsaken land can be irrigated, thus enabling crops to grow, food to be harvested and the whole community eventually fed.

It might sound like a common-place or even tragic tale, but it nonetheless illustrates how one tenacious person, with his people’s support, can overcome impossible odds. It also shows how climate change hits the most vulnerable the hardest.

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The book itself is what touched the heart of Chiwetel Ejiofor, the British actor of Nigerian descent. So much so that this award-winning actor who starred opposite Lupita Nyong’o in 12 Years a Slave chose to write the screenplay for the film which he also directed and co-starred in. He even learned the Malawian language, Chetewa, to enhance the film’s authenticity.

Playing William’s father, Ejiofor has previously starred in films like Amistad, American Gangster, The Martian and Dirty Pretty Things. But he’d never directed before; never made a film in Africa before, specifically in Malawi where he first scouted out the actual land, home and school where William had lived, farmed and schooled.

In William’s case, his efforts to sneak back into the school library to read books about sustainable energy, including wind power, was risky business. He was severely reprimanded by his stern headmaster, played by another Kenyan actor Raymond Ofula, who’s hardcore until his character finally relents.

Other Kenyans in the cast are Martin Githinji, best known for his TV series, ‘Sue and Johnnie’, Melvin Alusa, for his part in the reality TV show, ‘Big Brother’, Eddie Mbugua and Robert Agengo.

The Boy who Harnessed the Wind, despite its brilliant acting, authenticity and suspenseful story, could easily have been overlooked as just another Third World film. But probably, Ejiofor’s star-power played a role in getting the film screened at the Sundance Film Festival and picked up by Netflix which has pitched in on the film’s marketing.

This past week saw the Kenya Film Commission open its third Kalasha film market where we hope Kenyan films got similar attention to ‘The Boy’s.

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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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